Oh My Shelves welcome to the blog author Lynn Charles to give us a list of her all-time favorite songs, bands, and/or musicians and tell us why we should be listening to them.
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I listen to music to relax, to help me focus when I’m writing or doing a quiet task, to stir my soul, to vent my anger and to celebrate my joys. Music has played in my home as far back as I can remember and I presume it will until my final breath. And really, that is the reason why you should be listening to the millions of suggestions I list below—because they move me and maybe they will move you too.
Giving an answer of “all-time favorite” is impossible. Since I have a constant soundtrack going, “favorite” depends on my mood, my circumstances, the phase I’m in at the time. The best I can do for all time, is list Michael Jackson, Eagles, The Beatles, Queen—timeless music that made its way on my radio, my record player, my cassette mix-tapes and now, my iTunes. I also would argue that everyone should have a go-to classical composer or piece in your repertoire. Even though I studied music in college, it never hit me as my favorite thing, but I do have a few composers and pieces that I retreat to: Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi. I can enjoy a good light opera from time to time—Gilbert & Sullivan alone have a great catalogue with The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, and many others.
But, for day-to-day listening, I’m a pop-rock girl with a side order of Broadway. I love women who sing about all sorts of things—including love—but never from the angle that they need a man to rescue them from their lot in life. Pink, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Melissa Etheridge, KT Tunstall, Dixie Chicks are favorites. A lesser known duo tops my list: The Pierces. I recommend their album Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge above all others, but nothing will disappoint. Their style is retro yet current, their harmonies lovely and their lyrics are very sexy.
I love my boys as well—a good singer-songwriter will make me swoon in a heartbeat: John Mayer (where did he go?), Jason Mraz, old school James Taylor, and lesser known Theo Katzman can all light me up. I love a simple Lenny Kravitz funk—find him in Black Dust; Toby and Emmett are fans as well. Back when I was a good little Christian girl, Steven Curtis Chapman was on constant rotation. Even though his message is no longer my own, I still listen. The layers of his music always thrill me.
Right now, my playlist is loaded with all sorts of groups and singers, but I slow down work to tune in to Adam Lambert—that voice—Scissor Sister, Walk the Moon, Imagine Dragon, A Great Big World and did I mention Adam Lambert and his voice? No? Well, let me do that now.
I’m a fan of a cappella music and today we are so lucky to have Pentatonix to fill that slot. I also love Straight No Chaser—an old college group that went pro—and the occasional Rockapella that I can only seem to find during the holidays. Pure voices making pure music. I’m always impressed with all of these groups’ ability to hear and produce such a wide range of sound.
And finally, I can’t leave Broadway out of this list. Wicked, Rent, Avenue Q, The Lion King, and of course older classics are simple go-to’s. But now? Today? Every day out of my mouth, out of my son’s mouth, my husbands? It’s Hamilton. I can’t recall a musical, an album, a story to grab me around my jugular quite like this one has. If you haven’t listened, do. And do it from beginning to end, in order. Hear the story. This is coming from someone who hates history more than anyone she knows. Listen to Hamilton. To thank me? Go buy my book.
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“I can’t, Emmett. I—can’t go back.”
“Then we are clearly not ready for any sort of commitment.”
“Wait. You won’t agree to—to us—unless I come to Indiana?”
“I won’t,” Emmett said. “It’s all feeling a little one-sided to me, and I’m not okay with that.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I do understand, Toby. I was there for everything that makes you afraid of that place.”
“Yes. You were,” Toby said, taking Emmett’s hand in his. “But my concerns about going back have nothing to do with you.”
“Maybe they should have something to do with me.”
“That’s—” Toby pulled his hand away. “That’s not fair.”
“It really is,” Emmett said. He reached across the table for Toby’s hand again. “Please?” Toby took his hand and Emmett squeezed, holding on as if he might never let go. “We experienced a great tragedy together. And while Scotty’s parents lost their son, no one felt the things we felt. No one else woke up screaming and sweating when we heard the sounds of the crash in our sleep.”
“No one else knew the fear of maybe never walking again. No one else lost weight and a semester of school because he might get thrown in jail. No one else felt the things we felt together. That’s all ours. As much as you want to, you cannot take me out of the equation.”
“But, that’s just it, Em. I don’t want to feel those things again. I cannot walk back into that—that darkness.”
Emmett pulled their joined hands to his lips and kissed Toby’s knuckles. “You already have. You have been so enamored—you’ve practically spent this entire week making love to my scars. You’re there. And it’s not so dark anymore.”
“No, because you’re whole again. You’re not broken anymore.”
Emmett saw it, then. He saw in the way Toby had almost obsessed over the ridiculous tattoo and Emmett’s scars, as if begging for them to also bring him the powers that Derek had wished upon Emmett’s body those years ago. He saw it in Toby’s insistence that they start all over as if the accident never happened, as if the years of silence weren’t strung between them like a rope and plank bridge connecting two separate lands.
Toby nodded, grasping at Emmett’s fingers like a lifeline. “I’m so—” He took a deep, shuddering breath. “I’m so exhausted making sure no one knows.”
“Oh, Toby.” All the more reason “trying again” was a bad idea. Unready to let go, Emmett kissed Toby’s fingers again. “Then come to my home,” Emmett offered, trite as it sounded in his own ears. “I’ve remodeled the master and made a party room in my basement for the kids.”
“You’ve never told me—”
“It’s beautiful, really. It’s on a couple of acres, and the back of the property is lined with a stream you can hear from the kitchen when the windows are open. It’s very peaceful. It sounds like you need some peace.”
“You deserve a beautiful life.”
“So let me share it with you. At least think about it?”
Toby nodded and began to clean up. “Will you still come see me in San Francisco after school’s out?”
“I don’t know. I’d really like an answer before I agree to see you again.”
“Okay. I’m sorry it’s not as easy as it should be.”
“I am too, Toby. Being with you was always so easy.”
Black Dust by Lynn Charles
Release Date: April 7, 2016
Pages: 312 Cover Artist and Design: C.B. Messer
Published By: Interlude Press
Interlude • Amazon • ARe • Indiebound • Smashwords • Barnes & Noble • iBooks • Book Depository
No matter how busy he keeps himself, successful Broadway musician Tobias Spence can’t outrun the memory of a tragic car crash from his past that claimed a friend’s life and permanently injured his former boyfriend, Emmett.
Even after losing Tobias, Emmett Henderson made peace with that awful night, living in his Indiana hometown where he has become a revered choral director. When his students are asked to perform in New York City, he decides to chance reconnecting with his former love, if for no other reason than to get a proper goodbye.
When Emmett and Tobias finally meet 15 years after parting ways, it is clear to both of them that their feelings for each other have not changed. As they explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?