Music is where you find it

2 Apr

This column originally ran in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in 2008.

BY SHEENA BARNETT

I love music, so when I find music that particularly perks up my ears, I like to tell folks about it.
I tried to do that a couple of weeks ago in Scene, when I wrote about my top albums and singles in 2007.
I wrote about major music players like Jay-Z and indie Swedish songwriters like Jens Lekman, but moreover, I talked about the music I discovered and loved in 2007.
After the story published, I received mostly the same comment from a variety of people: “I’d never heard of some of those musicians.”
Well, that’s natural – there are so many ways to hear new music that we can all have our ears to very different grounds. For example, while I discovered Lekman late in 2007, some people have been following him for years.
Music is good for the soul, and there’s a lot more out there than what you find on TV or the radio. If you want to increase your music consumption, especially in genres you don’t normally hear, here are a couple of ways I suggest doing just that.


– Talk to your friends. Some of my best finds in 2007 – like Band of Horses, Blaqk Audio and The Avett Brothers – were because my friends said I had to hear their albums.
– Use the Internet to your advantage. Youtube.com is a great way to check out a band’s music and overall style. Give a listen to free songs offered by services like iTunes or music magazine Web sites like Spin.com or RollingStone.com. Also, find music bloggers and try the artists they suggest.
– Turn on NPR and click on Slate.com. Both turned me on to Bettye LaVette and Lekman, two artists everyone should try. The folks there know good music.
– If you want to break into a new style of music, like rock, country or pop, go for the bottom denominator – radio and TV. If you like what you hear on your local stations or on stations like MTV, BET or CMT, dig deeper online.
– Some music magazines like CMJ New Music Monthly or Paste offer free CDs full of music with a subscription. I found Of Montreal this way, so give it a shot.
Music is everywhere; you’ve just got to find it. Even better, because there is so much music available, you can listen to about anything and no one can give you grief for it. Everyone has guilty pleasures or music that, for some reason, just makes them happy.
And that’s what music should do – it should make you feel, it should make you cry, it should make you laugh, it should make you think. Find what moves you.
Happy hunting.

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