Rachel Eckroth:
The TVD First Date

Rachel Eckroth plays Bohemian Caverns tonight (5/15) with Mimi Jones.

“In 7th grade, I didn’t speak. Not one word. At least not to other people. I don’t think I started doing that until high school, and even then it was only under special circumstances. Such is the way of introvert.”

Being an introverted musician is complicated. Performing is a musician’s currency, and that doesn’t really go with being an introvert.

Enter my parents’ vinyl. They were a product of their generation, so I was swimming in the best of the 70s and 80s. And when it came to Pat Benatar, this introvert hit the hell out her best shot. There was no introvert when it was just me and the vinyl. The vinyl also brought out my many other hidden talents—I used to put Saltine crackers on my record player, turn it on and pretend I was a baker.

You could argue my parent’s vinyl taught me how to speak (and bake), but “speak” isn’t the right classification for what it gave me. I didn’t have to speak with the vinyl, all I had to do was sing, and that was easy. Speaking, I found, just wasn’t my preferred form of communication. I do much better when I can set everything to music.

It’s far easier and more effective to communicate through music, anyway. There are colors and tones and harmonies and an entire range of instruments to express it all—speaking is just so limiting. Fortunately, my parents’ collection extended beyond 1980, so my vocabulary goes beyond “put up your dukes, let’s get down to it.” They also had a classical collection. So that’s where part of my music education came from—sitting underneath the record player in the living room listening to Schoenberg String Quartets. I had to sit under the record player—there weren’t any words to sing, so I had to take cover.

And lest I be left to compose songs about best shots set to classical string arrangements, some divine vinyl force sent me what may be the greatest gift of all: a dumpster full of Steve Miller.

For real.

It was epic. We—my brother and me—found a goldmine of Steve Miller on vinyl in a dumpster one summer. A stinky, steamy dumpster. Actually, it wasn’t steamy. We grew up in Phoenix; we don’t have water there. So there was no way to make steam. It was just stinky.

But what’s a little stink when you’re looking at the best of Steve Miller? We foraged it all, brought it straight back to our parents’ house—I’m sure they appreciated it—and listened like mad. Every last groove in every last record. God bless Steve Miller and the blues. He put a lot of soul and a little grit into my 80s vocal training. I probably ought to write him a letter and thank him. And whoever tossed out all their records, no doubt to be replaced by that new-fangled cassette tape.

I do speak these days. It makes things like ordering coffee a lot easier. But it would be a far better order if I set it to music, with a little Ella-Fitzgerald scat and an upright bass behind me, laid it down on some vinyl and set it spinning every morning. Vinyl is basically how I learned to communicate. It gave me my first words.

I’d trust it to order a good cup of coffee for me, definitely.”
Rachel Eckroth

Rachel Eckroth Official | Facebook | Reverbnation

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