Last week, my wife and I took our son to his first concert: Jimmy Eat World. The music was loud, the crowd’s energy was contagious, and my boy was kicking.

I later asked him what he thought of the performance (already grooming him to be a music journalist), and here are the results of our official post-show recap.

Son, what was your favorite song?

[Unintelligible]

Let’s get critical: what could’ve been improved?

[Unintelligible]

With emo-rock bands now existing mostly as relics, would you say that Jimmy Eat World is more like Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai or Will Smith in I Am Legend?

[Unintelligible]

At this point I should probably tell you that my son is still awaiting birth.

But it is true: he kicked like crazy throughout the whole performance—a good sign.

My baby is due in June, so I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about family. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my grandfather. And vinyl records.

Last month was the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day (RSD). It was my eighth year attending and, despite my ambivalence towards the hipster holiday, this year’s celebration was one of my favorites.

Every year I tell my wife that I’m not celebrating RSD and she makes fun of me for it, knowing I’ll cave. I tell her that I’m done, that it’s too expensive, that there are too many people now, that I’ve been burned too many times, etc., etc.

But April 22 arrived and there I was standing in line, shivering in the morning shade like all the other shmucks. Doors opened and I spent too much money and that was that. No real drama, no memorable stories. Later in the day, however, I visited my grandfather, who lives in a nearby town. We were hanging out alone because my grandmother was at my wife’s baby shower.

To kill time, I suggested we visit his local record shop. “It’s Record Store Day,” I said. He didn’t need a lot of convincing. The man has been collecting records since the ‘50s. (I know, because I have filched quite a few of them.) That said, I’m not sure my grandfather had been inside a record shop in the last 20 years. Certainly not since the Great Recession.

Once we were in the shop, the Long Ear in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, I saw his eyes light up and—like a muscle memory—he walked straight over to the record bin and began searching the vinyl selection. What an old hipster, I thought.

Before long I found him perusing used country. I joined him and we stood side-by-side, hunting for honky-tonk treasure in the closing hour of RSD. His hands paused. “Look at this,” he murmured to himself, pulling it out of the bin and flipping it over, his finger tracing the tracklist. Finally, he handed it to me. “Buy this,” he said.

It wasn’t a command, but it wasn’t necessarily a suggestion either. I held the record in my hands: Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits. It was a ‘70s era double LP with a dusty, bent cover. I pulled out the disks. They were clean.

$50 over budget from my morning shopping trip, but what’s $7 more? And look at him, my frugal grandfather, building his own impressive pile of impulsiveness.

I’ve bonded with my grandfather over the years in a lot of ways: fishing, camping, shooting and movies, to name a few. But never have we bonded together in a record shop—over budget. It was a beautiful thing.

It’s for my son,” I later told my wife.

“Uh huh.”

I was joking, of course, but the more I thought about it the more I realized this was true. It will all be my son’s someday. Or maybe my grandson’s. I’ll tell him the Sam Cooke he’s holding came from his great, great grandfather. He’ll read the word “Carr” penned onto the sleeve. He’ll be holding history, passed down from generation to generation, spinning, like music does, in that wonderful cycle of life.

This is why Behind the Setlist exists, not just because we like talking industry trends and criticizing trendy artists, but because music carries with it the sounds that pictures forget—a shared, audible history that can be passed from hand-to-hand, from father to son.

Behind the Setlist has entered its third month of existence, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share these stories with you. J.T. Dawson finishes her three-part series with Grant Mickelson, former guitarist for Taylor Swift, Sara Evans and Lady Antebellum. Craig Manning takes a critical eye and examines the proliferation of anniversary tours. Jonathan Bautts witnesses Chance the Rapper cross a new threshold for the very first time—the arena tour. Rose Hammack talks to Drew Holcomb, who is donating a percentage of merchandise sells from every show on his tour to a local charity. And I talk to the ever-eclectic R.LUM.R, a singer-songwriter from Nashville who stumbled upon a successful career releasing singles on Spotify.

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Until next time,

Kevin

 

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