A casual thanksgiving week in Chicago has helped fuel my understanding of my subject matter a bit. I spent the time with many of my highschool friends that have strongly influenced my musical preferences: they have introduced me to many of the artists that I spend my time enjoying. We had many informal conversations about music in general and occasionally I would try to push a subject or play the devil's advocate. We listened to music almost constantly on Steffen's 5.1 surround system while playing Wii, board games, or just sitting around and talking. While basting the turkey At one point, there was some downtime before we planned to go to the museum of contemporary art and ended up watching In the Dark: Live at Vicar Street, a DVD recording of a Josh Ritter concert in Ireland. The main theme that emerged in conversations with all of my friends was their emphasis on authenticity in music making. Comments were made about their adoration for Josh Ritter and their somewhat wilted appreciation for the seemingly "just going with the flow" Sam Beam of Iron & Wine. It seemed that they all had value scales that emphasized the sincereity, or as Steffen had previously coined it "realness", with which their favorite artists created their music.
I have interviews scheduled with my friends Andy and Joe soon and I hope to highlight their individual value scales and rationales for specific listening choices.