Music. It’s a variable that can change an experience. My wife says I’m a music snob, but that stems from my true distaste of the pop country genre, which is in the regular rotation on her phone. I dig Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and bluegrass; and on my lone trip to Nashville, the rockabilly house band we saw at one of the bars was lights out! But if I’m being honest, I don’t have much country music in my regular rotation. I do, however, have just about every other genre of music mixed in on most of my playlists.

I come from an era of music listening where the “album” was an art piece. Back in the day, it was a truly creative process for the artists to put together an album for the listener. Song placement, sequence, and length, when done well, could provide its listener with an emotional ride sure to bring a roller coaster of feeling. The truly great albums not only brought the joy of music, but the liner notes, cover art, band pictures and lyrics printed on the album told a story. When you opened up an album, after tearing off its protective plastic, it usually brought you into an intimate party with the band. I couldn’t wait to dig into a new bought album while furiously pedaling my bike home from the record store. That’s what we called them, Record Stores.

Things have changed. Now we live in a world of instant gratification. Lost are the grand adventures to the Record Store, spending your hard earned cash from mowing lawns. While there are benefits to streaming music, it seems the art of creating an album has lost its moxie. While I can still access just about any album I loved in my early life, new ones don’t carry the same anticipated excitement. BUT, with streaming comes the ability to create playlists!! And it is here where the creativity of creation allows the regular Joe Schmo music lover like me the ability to experience a small taste of what it must have been like to make an album.

I don’t do much in my life without music. It’s seemingly almost always on in the background. I love my classic rock and am always looking for new music I can tap into. I get excited when someone — especially my own kids — recommends a new artist or band. When you find something new that moves you, there isn’t anything quite like it. So, I try to share my love of the music world with my boys on GFW. I have tried to be the unofficial GFW DJ, creating playlists I think the boys will enjoy. The Bluetooth speaker is a staple and on the top of my GFW packing list. If it could talk, it would have some pretty funny memories to share.

Recently, we started a musical game. I asked the boys to send me a group of 3-5 songs that have a common thread or theme. I play them in succession and we all try to guess the commonality. I have an absolute blast coming up with ideas for these mini lists, but it gets difficult to pay attention to each song while playing poker. However, the music we listen to provides a vital ambiance and an incredible backdrop for the experience of spending time together.

I’ve thought about bringing music to my fishing experience, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on actually popping in my air pods on the river. Somehow, that seems like the one place music is better left off.

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