This is the first in a series of posts that will help promote some of the awesome shows being put on at the Omaha Performing Arts Center. Although I will be receiving tickets to each corresponding show in return, all of the words and thoughts are straight from my brain, and only from my brain. Most importantly, however, I solemnly swear not to write a manufactured-feeling promotional piece. 

When I was in elementary school (probably around 5th grade), my dad joined the BMGmusic club. I’m not sure why, but this was one of the most influential things he ever did for me, whether he realizes it or not.

This would have been in the mid-90’s, and while some may disagree, I think that this time was a musical golden age. So much of my world was shaped by music at that time. I used to sit and watch a station called “MOR Music” instead of cartoons, just so I could see the“Constant Craving” video by K.D. Lang again.

Do you guys remember those album commercials? Where they would highlight two different albums that were being released? The one for New Miserable Experience by the Gin Blossoms and August and Everything After by the Counting Crows is one that will forever stick in my mind. I can close my eyes and see a bright yellow Counting Crows album with faint writing scribbled on it, and all of the Gin Blossoms in the windshield of a car on a maroon-colored album cover.

I remember begging my dad for TLC’s album, Crazysexycool, and he adamantly refused. Said I could buy it myself if that was the music I was interested in.

He bought me pretty much anything else, though. I remember how excited he was to try this new band called “Hootie and the Blowfish,” simply because of the name. I remember when he saw the Barenaked Ladies on some kind of public tv station and simply had to buy their albums.

I also remember Dad listening to the Blues. Robert Cray and Taj Mahal in particular.

It was perfect background music for me when I was in high school. I loved it, but didn’t realize it. I didn’t really pay attention to the words, but I felt the sounds . . . because I think, with Blues, you definitely feel it. Now that I’m older and have listened to the lyrics more, I realize that I can’t actually relate with a good portion of those words (depending on which Blues you’re listening to), but the feelings are universal.

Surfaces were always littered with CD’s. Do you remember that? How easily a surface could be littered with CD’s? How you’d hear the clickshuffleclack of the plastic as you tried to find that one CD you were looking for?

A lot of people reminisce about vinyl. I reminisce about compact discs.

Anyway, there are a few staple albums that would always be out. A Steely Dan boxed set. The Who’s Quadrophenia, and what felt like half a bajillion Taj Mahal CD’s.

Dad would sit at his corner desk, drinking coffee, grumbling about bills, scheduling clients, and tapping his foot to those Taj Mahal albums. I would go about my business . . . which usually included brooding about boys and memorizing lines for the school play . . . all the while being mindful of the earthy strains coming from the kitchen. Some of my favorite memories involve music and my dad.

This is why, when Kim from the Omaha Performing Arts Center asked me to look at their upcoming schedule, Taj Mahal and his band jumped off the page. Getting to hear the tunes I grew up hearing, live and in-person, would be pretty spectacular. I’ve only been to a couple of Blues concerts, and they were some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Adding a visual to such a living, breathing form of music makes for a pretty memorable evening. If you’re interested in seeing the Taj Mahal Trio, as well as some other great Blues artists, they’ll be playing at the Holland Performing Arts Center at 1200 Douglas Street on Friday, October 25th at 8 p.m. If you would like to purchase tickets, go ahead and click here.

photo by V.H. Hammer