Recently, I traveled with my husband and baby to San Francisco for a wedding. When we arrived, I was overwhelmed by the stretch of city, in an engulfing stack that wasn’t my experience in Europe, even if Paris reached into the gray beyond. A quick walk, and we found ourselves at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and someone was singing one of my favorites–Blue Moon of Kentucky–a song on the playlist for my next novel, Poke Sallet Queen, but we’ll get to that book later.
Recently, I’ve been mourning the growth and calm from Multiple Exposure, rejecting all of the stimulants related to writing it, even the music that provided the background noise. It’s almost as if after publishing it, I’ve had to reject it in order to move forward. But standing there in San Francisco, I was moved by music–bucket drummers echoing under a bridge, swing dance with the stand-up bass, boom box beats groovin the roller skates, banjos and harmony on the horizon, a violin in the valley, band screamin’ on the top floor, his iPod shuffle bustles on the Muni and off again, the djembe making her middle jerk in the park, workin’ it any place…dance floor is the space under your feet.
Just like the variety of musical performances in the city, characters offer opportunities to listen with different ears. I even go so far as to imagine how their musical choices get on each other’s nerves. And, how they might use music–to elevate a mood, to seduce, to drown the cries of heartbreak into their pillows, to tune out the stranger next to them on an airplane…
I pressed play on the playlist for Multiple Exposure, and decided to share some of those songs here.
These were some of the songs on Ellen and David’s playlists:
1. You Turned the Tables on Me– Benny Goodman Orchestra with Helen Ward
2. You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby – Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Edythe Wright
3. I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl– Nina Simone
4. Paranoia in B Flat Major– Avett Brothers
5. You Don’t Understand Me – The Raconteurs
6. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
7. Cheap Sunglasses – ZZ Top
8. Miss You – The Rolling Stones
9. Precious Memories – hymn
10. Blues Jumped the Rabbit – Karen Dalton
11. Under One Groove – Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain
12. In a State – UNKLE
Here’s a blog post I wrote about music and character development at Her Circle in 2011.