Someone close to me recently asked what type of music I listen to. I often hesitate when asked this type of question; what type of music do I listen to when? as I am cleaning? as I sit and watch my daughter, playing in the sand, in the dwindling evening sun? as I stare out the window… surrounded by grapevines, mountains, flowers, and highways?
Layers of music have always fascinated me. Definitively, it began with exposure to San Antonio’s Gilded New Wave Age, with bands like Exposure, Depeche Mode, and The Cure fostering my early listening habits. Of course the mainstream songs like Give A Little Respect and Just Like Heaven made proud announcements into my cassette player, but Oh La’Amour really stole my heart, with its electronic beats marching into my mind, stratums of harmony circling my heart, creating footpaths into verse my soul could understand. Of course none of us actually believed these boys loved us, right? Let’s just agree that I really needed a Panasonic Keyboard.
In high school we moved to Ohio, and while surrounded by cornfields and pig farms, I discovered The Steve Miller Band, Rush, and Pink Floyd. Bonfire playgrounds, small circles, and a short stint in marching band built the stage for my formative musical imagination. Sitting in my high school boyfriend’s restored 1984 Ford F-150, looking up at the starry night sky, autumn winds blowing through the trees, I thought I could tell heaven from hell, blue skies from pain, and green fields from a cold steel rail. Tiers of notes would pile into my awareness, like rapid beams of thought that knew no boundaries, firing into the heavens, riding on structures made of steel guitar, piano organs, and cymbals. The beauty in my ears matched the beauty of the forests that surrounded us. I was changed forever in those times.
Eventually, these musical phantoms turned to Coldplay, Jet, Kings of Leon (before they were On Fire), and Guster. I still sing loudest in my car to “I Spy”… not only because I remember the May Parades… but because I’m also so damn tired, don’t know how far I’ve gone, or recognize who I’ve become… at times. In more recent days, my stereo has blasted everything from The Knife, Phantogram, Naked and Famous, and Passion Pit… to Of Monsters and Men, Peter Bjorn and John, and Shout Out Louds. When feeling especially amorous, usually within sights of mountains, valleys, grapevines, and clear skies… I bust out Beirut, close my eyes, and feel the vintage style of Italy.
Even in Texas you can feel this particular musical voyage, as you drive North from San Marcos to Driftwood, where the vineyards of Duchman Family Winery sweetly sing from the fields around you. The trumpets and stringed guitars play in harmony. A pillar of Texas Terroir, Duchman only uses 100% Texas grapes, a feat only a few wineries here can claim. One of my favorite varietals is Vermentino, a grape typically grown in clay-soiled, humid areas like Sardinia, Corsica, and Piedmont. With fresh citrus and light florals on the nose, Duchman Family Vermentino is light, slightly aromatic, and bright. The palate recognizes faint lime, with invigorating acidity and subtle minerality on the finish. It’s a perfect wine for sipping outdoors during the new Spring, and available at Whole Foods, Central Market, and Specs, for about $20. Sitting on the back porch, breathing in the bright winds, there is no other place I’d rather be.
Oh, how I wish you were here. With trumpets. And string guitar. Go Texan. Cheers.