April 26, 2012

Treasured Memories & Kenny Rogers

I just saw the news that Kenny Rogers has been added to the Bonnaroo Music Fest lineup. [side note: my mom and grandpa went to a past year’s Bonnaroo which just tickles me to me no end] But I digress. I would love to see Kenny in concert. There, I said it. This might come as a surprise to everyone except my college roommate who endured waking up to his music every day for the two years we lived together. Didn’t peg me as a Kenny Rogers fan? Let me explain.

When I was younger, we had a bunch of old home movies (8mm films maybe?) professionally dubbed over onto VHS. Footage includes my mom as a baby, my grandparents as teenagers and my great-grandparents long before their hair turned gray. The films are silent, so when given the option of a soundtrack, my mom requested ‘elevator music.’ I distinctly remember my aunt not liking that idea and somehow our movies ended up with the soundtrack of, you guessed it, Kenny Rogers.

pa & granny c. 1960s?

I must have watched the VHS tape at least 20 times. I loved seeing images of my tall, handsome great-grandfather standing around with his friends, smoking cigarettes and looking so dashing and debonair. I imagined the entire life he must have had before I was even born. I’d sit and watch, wondering what he was like, before he became a grandpa. And all that time, The Gambler or some other Kenny Rogers song would play in the background.

This speaks about the power of music to transport us. Ever since, I have always equated Kenny Rogers music to memories of family and my loved ones. Maybe this is why I insisted on waking up to it every morning during college…I was away from home and the songs helped me feel connected.

I’m sure you have some experience like this, right? Maybe your music isn’t Kenny, but I’m willing to bet there is some song or artist that takes you back to a different place and time. I’d love to hear your story!