Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nick's Birthday

Nick with one of his and my favorite singers, the legendary Ray Price at the Perot Theater

Nick with one of his favorite bands: House of Heroes

Today--August 31, 2010--is Nick's 17th birthday. As parents we are quite proud and amazed at Nick. God has blessed him with musical talent (largely from his mother) and a voracious appetite for reading (largely from his father).

As you might note from his reviews, Nick has an incredibly eclectic range of musical knowledge. Thankfully, I still know more about the Golden Age of Country Music than he may ever know, but he knows music by moderns and oldies, by rockers and blue grass artists, by folks of every race, musical genre, and style. He knows details about music that are astounding. He often tells me things like, "I wonder why X went from playing bass for the Something or Others in the 1970s to playing in a some-other-kind-of-group band in the 1990s. Why he even did a cover for Y."
He might as well be talking about calculus as far as my understanding is concerned. (And he is taking calculus this year.)Just look at his list of favorites on the right.)

While I catechized him in the great traditions of country, bluegrass, gospel, and some other types of music, he has widened my range of interests. I was country before Barbara Mandrell thought country was cool, so I grew up listening to Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe, rather than the musicians of the 60s. I was mourning--long after the fact--the sad early death of Patsy Cline while people my age were listening to what I wrote off as long haired noise. Thanks to Nicholas, I have grown to like Simon and Garfunkel, Lynyrd Skynyrd, U-2, B.B. King, and some of the more recent Christian rock bands (which I used to think was a contradiction in terms). I must add that I can only take this loud stuff in small doses and have to retreat back to where I can listen to Ernest Tubb, Ricky Skaggs, or Ralph Stanley.
Nick and I have encouraged each other in our love of Bob Dylan.

With all his factual knowledge of music, he is also a really good singer, an ever improving guitarist, a potentially good piano player, and a promising song writer. Not bad for a student whose major interest is literature and history.

Of course, as a teenager with an older father, we have real serious communication and relationship battles. He doesn't agree with me over James Fenimore Cooper or Jim and Jesse McReynolds or Eddie Arnold. And I don't know if the poor kid could accurately distinguish between Henry Wallace's politics and those of George C. Wallace. I continually warn him of the consequences of his mental lapses and rebellion. These and a few other serious flaws aside, God has blessed me and Stephanie and the rest of our family and friends with Nick.

Happy birthday Nick.


  1. Nick says:
    This post creates some serious tensions between father and son. Not only did you commit the minor error of adding a "The" before House of Heroes, but you committted the almost-unforgivable sin of mispelling Lynyrd Skynyrd's name. (Hint: No vowels.) I have since changed my position on Eddy Arnold- partially due to an increase in maturity, and partially so I can stick it in the eye of the musically uneducated Michael Jackson fans with whom I am forced to hang out. Finally, X didn't play with Something or Others, but with That Other Band.

  2. Nick,
    What are you talking about? Everyone knows that House of Heroes does not have a "the" before their name. And I see no misspelling of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the post. (Hint: Y is a vowel. Whie would you think there are words with no vwls?
    And from 1993 to 1995, X played with Somethng or Others and only later with That Other Band. We are still celebrating your birthday.

  3. Happy Birthday Nick. I am approaching 57. Wanna switch?