Mother’s Music and Revolution

Time for another guest post here on Your Older Brother! Nathan Felix is here to tell us about Texas, Janis Joplin, Revolution Music, and his Older Brother – his mom.

I do have an older brother but he didn’t have a huge impact on my musical tastes. We were close in age (2 years) and I was the middle child always trying to get out of his shadow, so if he liked the White Album, then I liked Sgt. Peppers! It was actually my mom who indirectly influenced my early tastes in music. I vividly remember two major periods in my life that are painted by sounds of music. The first is when I was 4 or 5 years old. In the mid-80’s, to keep my younger sister (by 2 years) from crying, my mom would take the back forest roads to get home each day. I would look out the car window at the countryside as my mom played George Strait, Dwight Yoakam, and a girl group called Sweethearts of the Rodeo. I can’t even explain how I feel each time I hear an old George or Dwight song, especially the former. It’s a sweet memory I have that really captured my early years growing up in Texas.

Years passed on and music wasn’t really a prominent fixture in my household, until I was about 11 or 12 and we got a family CD player. At night my Mom started playing 4 particular records. Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills (with Big Brother & the Holding Company) and Pearl, and the Beatles White Album and Sgt. Peppers. She had them on repeat for what seems like years! I used to crack open my door so I could hear better. I memorized all the lyrics and the arrangements yet I never got tired of them. I had no choice really. She never knew I was opening the door and that I was staying up late listening (or at least I don’t think she knew). And this was my first real taste of music. It sparked something inside me that became a bit of an obsession when I hit my teens. After school I would get dropped off at this random record store in north Austin called Revolution Music. It had thousands of CD’s and I swear I forced myself to listen to them all! The record store owner was really my only friend when I first moved to Austin and he recommended so many great listens and even played guitar and let me come to a rehearsal. It was about 1995 and I remember listening for the first time to full albums by bands like the Flaming Lips, Self, Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Smiths, and even young local bands like Fastball, Butthole Surfers and The Jesus Lizard. I know they had already been around and established but to me everything was new. And then the store closed :/

So that’s my story, but I wanted to include this funny episode that happened about 8-9 years later when I was running this small open mic and the owner of Revolution Music walked in to play! He looked the same (only a little older) and he had the same black guitar. I ran up to him all cheery and blabbed out “Hey man, remember me?” (blank stare) “I used to spend every day after school at Revolution Music and you influenced my tastes more than you know! I looked up to you. And now I even play guitar and I’m in a band and we tour…” and I was kinda bummed because he just really nodded and said a few words. I set him up later and he played his songs for open mic (I even hooked him up and let him play an extra song) while I was bragging to whoever would listen about how cool he was.

Here are playlists of the artists that Nathan mentions in his story, one album apiece:

Don’t forget that Nathan’s symphony The Curse, The Cross and The Lion premieres next week in Cleveland, Ohio!

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