Backseat band

by Jennifer on June 4, 2008

When Girl and Boy aren’t fighting in the backseat, they do something that can make any round of errands better, and make me giddy and proud…

They sing along to my music in the car. Of course, I play their CDs, too. Veggie Tales, Dr. Seuss, etc. But when they ask for music that they only know because I have played it for them? That rocks.

I try to feed them some good stuff, including some of my old favorites. The Eagles. James Taylor. Jackson Browne. Some Aretha Franklin. This afternoon, I could have jumped in the backseat and kissed them both (I would have, too, except I was driving) when they objected to my skipping over “Respect” in favor of another song on the mix CD.

They hear newer music, too, but that list is long and rather like what you might hear if you just ran up and down the dial on the radio, if you skipped over the Jesus stations and rap music.

Here’s my midlife, suburbanite confession: I subscribe to American Songwriter magazine. I really do like to read about songwriters, but it also feeds my silly dream that one day I might write a perfect lyric. Oh, and win a Grammy for it. So far, the judges of their bi-monthly lyric contest don’t think I’m even close. They’re very nice, and all, “Thanks for entering,” but that’s it. Still, it makes me feel cool and edgy (things I’m not, not even a little bit) and less like a soccer mom when I open my mailbox and find the new issue among the bills and the latest issue of Good Housekeeping. (When did I decide I should subscribe to that? Do I have to admit that I like reading it?)

A few weeks back, Girl heard “All-American Girl” by Carrie Underwood on the radio and loved the song right away. I downloaded it from iTunes and added it to a CD to play in the car.

Don’t ask me how many times we’ve listened to it since.

Because here’s the thing: I love that damn song. But what I really love about it, besides the over-sweet lyrics, is how Girl looks in my rear-view mirror when she sings it. Her face is earnest, and her voice is full-hearted and loud. When it’s on and she’s singing it, I can’t sing along with her, because two lines in to the chorus, I get all choked up. Yeah, I’m a big wuss, and I don’t care.

Here’s the link: All-American Girl. Don’t worry, though. You’ll get through it just fine. I have a few issues.

It’s great when the two of them (Boy and Girl) piece together an air band in the back seat. Boy is usually on drums, and Girl loves to play guitar. Sometimes they each play multiple instruments. It’s always fun to watch.

Proof that they have good taste in music (and that I do, since I feel like I should redeem myself after the mainstream country music song) is that they listened to this next song today and yesterday and the day before, without complaint, and even asked to listen to it twice today.

Which also makes me want to jump in the back seat and kiss them.

Tennessee Blues
–by Steve Earle
Sunset in my mirror, pedal on the floor
Bound for New York City and I won’t be back no more
Won’t be back no more, boys won’t see me around
Goodbye guitar town
Ghosts out on the highway, voices on the wind
Tellin’ me that we may never pass this way again
Voices on the highway angels beckonin’
Like a long lost friend
Fare thee well I’m bound to roam
This ain’t never been my home
Stranger in my mirror, lines around my eyes
String around my finger but I don’t remember why
Don’t remember why, boys don’t remember how
Goodbye guitar town
Fare thee well I’m bound to roam
This ain’t never been my home
Blue dog on my floorboard, redhead by my side
Cross the mighty Hudson river to the New York City side
Redhead by my side, boys sweetest thing I’ve found
Goodbye guitar town
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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

JCK June 5, 2008 at 12:31 am

Steve Earle! What great taste Boy & Girl have! How lucky they are to be raised listening to great music.

I’ve got to quit forcing the kids to listen to NPR…. Well, not really, but we do need more music in our lives. You’ve inspired me!

JCKs last blog post..Will I remember it

Hilary June 5, 2008 at 1:30 am

It took a year in university for my older son, and a bit of maturing taste-wise for my younger son, but all three of us actually have a number of songs in common on our respective playlists now. Though my older one still has some military marches and my younger one still has a predominance of metal, somewhere along the way, they developed some good taste and have come around to MY music. 😉

I can just picture your proud Mom glimpses into the rear-view mirror while your daughter sings along to the music. Very sweet.

Hilarys last blog post..The Scent of a Puppy

Madge June 5, 2008 at 3:12 am

we’re all about linkin park and talking heads…. i know. oh, and somehow nasty little ralph’s world has snuck back into our lives………

Madges last blog post..Blahhging

D / Momma June 5, 2008 at 3:34 am

This was a wonderful post to wake up to, Jennifer. It makes me remember my kids in the backseat singing along with the music, seems like so long ago now, but they still like a lot of the same music they heard while growing up. And they got the bonus of seeing Daddy playing in a band and going to band practice a couple of times a week.

The Steve Earle song? Awesome. I may play it again… 🙂

Peace – D

D / Mommas last blog post..The Trouble with Cherries

Sturdy Girl June 5, 2008 at 3:36 am

I used to like to read Good Housekeeping while raising my kids on MTV. (back when MTV played music videos.) My kids, especially my youngest, always requested my music in the car. In some strange way this stuff made me feel different aka better than the other mom’s, helped me hold onto my identity when I was in constant danger of morphing into something else (something that wore Mom jeans and drove a mini van.)

I smile everytime I realize my now 25 year old listens to the 80’s channel on satellite radio….

Sturdy Girls last blog post..Ancient Fertility Icons Just Want to Have Fun

Brenda June 5, 2008 at 6:19 am

I completely understand your wanting to jump in the back seat and kiss them!

With me, it’s when they pick out obscure instruments from the classical music I listen to. (I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to do that until high school.)

But my favorite is when they sing (and dance. and act out) songs from “Dean Martin’s Greatest Hits.” Our 3 favorties are “Sway,” “Mambo Italiano” (the very favorite) and “Standin’ on the Corner Watchin’ All the Girls Go By.” And yes, it’s the expressions on their faces that make it worth it. And make me happy and proud.

Brenda, I changed it for you, from Steve’s name to yours. 🙂

we_be_toys June 5, 2008 at 6:35 am

This sounds like our daily drive to school, except the Bohemian is the one singing; the Professor is too cool for that (but I catch him grooving to the tunes, when he isn’t looking!). We’ve been listening to Peter Case (similar type of music to Steve Earle), the Cranberries, B-52s, Peter Gabriel, Natalie Merchant, and the other day, I admit – we sang along to the soundtrack to “Annie” (because occasionally I channel Ethel Merman and need to belt out a show tune).

It turns an otherwise ho-hum daily grind ride into a wonderful experience – and it cuts down on the back seat wrestling.

I love that your kids do air guitar/drums in the back seat – how cool are they?!

we_be_toyss last blog post..Digging In The Dirt

Mrs. Chili June 5, 2008 at 6:51 am

My daughters do this, too. Matchbox Twenty, Dave Matthews Band, The Indigo Girls – I love it…

Mrs. Chilis last blog post..“I *Heart* the Way You Teach”

Ann from Montana June 5, 2008 at 7:18 am

Although I have the songs of my era – late 60’s, I can really be transported by the music my dad played…The Tijuana Brass, Big band – Glen Miller…it is good to know both!

Ann from Montanas last blog post..Last night’s walk

melissa June 5, 2008 at 7:37 am

I take my responsibility as Music Educator very seriously–considering the bad influences on my children’s ears! I feel the same pride when they sing along to Neil Diamond!

melissas last blog post..Fresh Starts, Fresh Curds

Dharmamama June 5, 2008 at 8:35 am

Isn’t that a great feeling, to share something that means so much to you, and have them *like it*? I’ll remember forever my oldest, at two years old, belting out “Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rights!”

Dharmamamas last blog post..A Couple o’ Dreams

Jenn @ Juggling Life June 5, 2008 at 8:43 am

One of my favorite memories of the kids when they were little is that after bath time we would turn up the stereo and they would entertains us with “Naked Rock Star Band.” Clean, sweet-swelling naked kids using hairbrushes as microphones . . . does life get any better than that?

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Toddler Vs. Teenagers: The Barfy Flu

Daryl June 5, 2008 at 8:52 am

Steve Earle … never heard this one and now I am going to download it from iTunes


Daryls last blog favorite flower

brenda June 5, 2008 at 9:52 am

Oops. Since I’ve been away, the computer settings have changed. Please attribute the above comment from “SteveCinMO” to me! You probably already figured that out, but just in case…..


I wondered! –Jennifer

Akelamalu June 5, 2008 at 10:12 am

It’s great that the kids appreciate such good music. Our youngest son is a big Beatles fan. He was born in 1976 but was brought up listening to the Beatles whether he wanted to or not! (wink)

Akelamalus last blog post..Dona Nobis Pacem…….

LifeAsIKnowIt June 5, 2008 at 10:59 am

My 6 year old’s favorite song is U2’s Stuck In A Moment….we’ve raised our kids on U2, Springsteen and James Taylor!

LifeAsIKnowIts last blog post..Just For Today

Franki June 5, 2008 at 11:17 am

We have Rock Band for the Nintendo 360 and I can’t tell you how it tickles me to hear my 12 year old singing Blue Oyster Cult and Kansas and that Tom Sawyer song.

Our new fave album is the soundtrack to Across the Universe with all the Beatles remakes…it’s absolutely lovely. What a great post!

Frankis last blog post..

flutter June 5, 2008 at 11:48 am

They are sweet, your short people

flutters last blog post..Tea Party

tysdaddy June 5, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Just the other day, my son starting singing a tune from the Veggie Tales movie. The one about the first day in the first grade. They love that tune!

And they are learning to love what I appreciate as well. We are a music-lovin’ bunch and tastes vary, which is a very cool thing.

Nice post.


Lisa June 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Dino loves all music but esp. Stevie Wonder and Michael Buble 🙂 my girls on the other hand will only listen to RADIO DISNEY (if you are smart you will never ever let girl and boy know about this channel).
We need to hear GIRL singing–I bet she is even better than Miss Underwood 😉

Lisas last blog post..Do I lose my girl card for this one?

Jonathan June 5, 2008 at 2:29 pm

We just adopted several children, and have had these big decisions to make when putting music on for them to dance / run around / cause mayhem to – which albums to put on!?

It is wonderful to see them enjoying people like The Beatles, The Who, and Jackson Browne – but I guess in a couple of short years they will only listen to electronically assisted soul-less pop music…

Great blog btw – found my way here from Blog365

Jonathans last blog post..Running Out of Pockets

Gwen June 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Steve Earle! Love!

My husband is the one who brings the good music into the family. The kids are much more tolerant of his stuff than of mine.

And I know what you mean about that earnest singing face. It is heart warming and rending all at the same time.

david mcmahon June 5, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Good on you, Jennifer! There can never be too much of James Taylor!

david mcmahons last blog post..Winter Colours

Ann June 5, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Despite the name on the magazine, or the title of the song – you’re still just ONE COOL CHICK, period. 🙂

Anns last blog post..Please Excuse The Mess

Minnesota Matron June 5, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Carrie Underwood is too adorable and I like that song, too. Love that your kids are singing along. Nothing better. Stryker is at an REM concert with John– they won tickets. Needs to say, both are totally excited for sort of different reasons.

rima June 5, 2008 at 7:25 pm

You are way ahead of me in the coolness department, and not only because of the American Songwriter subscription. I don’t even have an iPod, and I still sometimes listen to MIX TAPES!


rimas last blog post..Post It If You Got It

Tricia June 5, 2008 at 8:22 pm

We just did a 1200 mile road trip in one day with our four-year-old who was singing The Rolling Stone’s Satisfaction from the back seat. I’n not sure if he chose this particular song because he loves to shout, “No, No, No” or if he was trying to send the message that 1200 miles in one day is really, really obnoxious.

Tricias last blog post..Stop Pooping in the Pool, Please

the mama bird diaries June 5, 2008 at 9:14 pm

I hate being in the car but you always make it sound fun and awesome and cool. I hope someday I get to go for a drive with you.

Coco June 6, 2008 at 10:50 am

Awww. So sweet, the image of Girl singing her heart out to All American Girl.

Bean and I have been rocking out to Veruca Salt & Concrete Blonde this week. I’m having a 90’s Girl Rock Revival. Heh.

Cocos last blog post..No Greater Reward

Sandy (Momisodes) June 6, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Good for you for playing your music! Hearing my parents records are some of my fondest memories as a child 🙂

When my 2 year old sang along in the back seat to my Michael Buble and Brazilian jazz CD’s, I shed a little tear of pride 😉

Sandy (Momisodes)s last blog post..Hai’school

Rhea June 6, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Ever since my boys started playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band, they’ve really enjoyed rock music. lol Scary, huh?! In fact, now some of the stuff I listen to is not “cool” enough. Yikes!!

Rheas last blog post..Yet Another Very Serious Interview with the Little People.

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