Tamara Laurel,
The TVD First Date

“The word vinyl takes me back to my parents’ basement in Woodinville, Washington. My 28-year-old Mama has her hair in a ponytail and we’re sitting on the carpet together, a bootleg Steel Mill-topped pile of records before us.”

“The records are almost too big for my hands, and we listen to song after song—her more overcome by the memories and me more overcome by the music. My barely baby boomer parents keep two early ’80s record players in the house, and on days like this, she’ll pull out her records and we’ll relive her youth together. We won’t own a CD player until the late 1990s. Madman Across the Water, Nebraska, and Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs instead crackle through the house on their original format.

A few years later, my Mom and I happen upon a bunch of classic records at Value Village. I’m a very awkward pre-teen spinning Betty Everett over and over, Shoop-Shooping until I can’t breathe. I learn to sing (and how to discern if he ‘loves you so’) alone in the family room, resetting the needle again and again. It sounds huge, like the whole band is playing right there in the room. I’ll spend an entire summer in Junior High looping that vinyl, motioning to the invisible band behind me, and pretending it’s my own.

Even now, Honky Château sits three feet from my head every night, an act intended to summon the songwriting Gods. I find records on flea market tables on Melrose, in dusty boxes at Goodwill, and everywhere in between. They keep me reaching back for that sacred time when albums were recorded live, musicians were superhuman, and finished records were painstakingly-created masterpieces.

They make me want to play my instrument better and do this all the hard way, if only to marginally slow the industry’s blend into the digital world. They keep me sitting in that basement, learning about something I’ll eventually decide to devote my life to from a pretty young woman with excellent taste in music.”
Tamara Laurel

Tamara Laurel’s debut LP, Runaway arrives in stores this Friday, October 16, 2015.

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