We need something real again

When I tell people I used to work in Nashville and mainly around music, they ask, “Do you like country music?” It’s their first response to the word, “Nashville.” My usual response is, “I enjoy a lot of types of music, but my heart lies with the singer/songwriter, acoustic types… and the occasional punk rock and rap.”

I have to confess though, my beginnings in this passion started with emo and alt rock. The Verve Pipe’s hit “The Freshmen” was my favorite for more years than I can remember. But the real winner of my teenage heart some fifteen years ago was Dashboard Confessional. I’m talking posters in my bedroom, listening for hours, learning to play the songs on guitar. In more detail, taking guitar lessons and telling the teacher I wanted to learn Weezer and Bush songs because I didn’t want to admit that I wanted to learn Dashboard songs. I had this idea in my head that everyone who liked this band was part of some unspoken club. I’d stay up all night watching music videos and live shows, watching every person in the crowd sing along to every single song.

Today, I was perusing Facebook and ran across a post from a blog I started following once moving to Nashville. This blog, No Country For New Nashville, posted an article titled, “The Return of Dashboard and Why We Need Emo More Than Ever.” Naturally, it caught my attention. Dashboard is emerging from a five year hiatus and beginning to play shows again.

“In a global climate where the world is feeling increasingly more artificial, divisive, and isolated, finding something communal, an emotional connective tissue, a music scene that is not by any one group of people or for one any group of people, seems not just necessary, but urgent.”

The above almost perfectly describes how my teenage self felt about this “emo” scene. The article mentions that “emo” music is largely seen as sad music, but also real music. It’s our “connective tissue.” And I think it’s exactly what we need right now.

After some nostalgic listening of Dashboard tonight, I’m reminded again of how much the world needs these blissful distractions. I’m reminded again of why I’m an advocate and supporter of the arts in general. It’s our escape, for some, our religion.

Once upon a time, in 2016 at a Dashboard show in Nashville.

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