The Comeback Kid


I said that I moved to Nashville to learn. So last night, in light of yesterday’s lament, I steered my little Honda toward 3rd & Lindsley to listen to music and see who I might meet. It’s always intimidating to walk into a bar alone, but as long as you have good posture, no one questions you.

I met several writers and musicians who have been here 10, 20, 30 times longer than I have. And through meandering conversation with each of them, I took away these gems:

• When it comes to creativity, there is no such thing as a dry spell. The dull, uneventful, uninspiring times are always the preparation and the cultivation of something good. In other words, get ready.
• Write when you feel like it. Write when you don’t.
• In what is becoming a resounding lesson and theme for my life, “you never really arrive.” Any goal that I set for myself will eventually be met – and then there will just be another goal beyond that. Learn to see the creative process not as a destination, but as a journey.
• Don’t be surprised if the road you’re on leads you somewhere entirely other than where you think you’re headed.
• Some people wait years before getting out there and “doing it.” Having written what I’ve written, recorded what I’ve recorded, met who I’ve met, played where I’ve played, and experienced what I’ve experienced, in a lot of ways I am ahead of the curve. Who knew?
• When faced with a blank mind and no good ideas, read. Absorb. Learn. And having read 4 books in the last 2 weeks, I AM TOTALLY DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!

I also met a woman who teaches guitar lessons, which is exciting since I have definitely reached a plateau in my skills – if we can even call them “skills.” I met another woman from Seattle – I could have kissed her on the lips. And I was once again reminded that Nashville musicians are some of the nicest people in the entire world. It’s good that I’m here.

And just like that, Annie pulled herself up by her bootstraps. Talk about emotional whiplash. I haven’t been doing this – this pursuing a dream come hell or high-water – long enough to know the patterns, the rhythms, the tricks, the necessary tenacity. But I’m a work in progress… as well as a persnickety nut case.

– – – – – – – –

One last thing: I was told to diversify the music that I am listening to. Sometimes it’s helpful to immerse yourself in the craft that you want to learn, but there comes a point where you need to get OUT. In the past, you, my loyal blog readers, have provided me with some awesome music suggestions; Michelle who suggested Obadiah Parker’s cover of “Hey Ya,” you are my Person of the Year. People, I need your help again.

Please let me know a song or two that you think I need to hear. Criteria: 1) it must have a good melody, 2) it must have great words, and 3) it must make you feel something. I’m counting on you, Guilford, CT. And you, Frisco, TX. And you, Cherry Hill, NJ. And even you, Yukon Territory. Make me proud.



  1. Luke on July 30, 2008 at 8:06 AM

    If you can find it, David Gray’s “Please Forgive Me” (the acoustic/live version)
    Luke H.

  2. Angie on July 30, 2008 at 8:46 AM

    "On a freezing Chicago Street" Margot & The Nuclear So-So's

    "Hajimemashite" & "In the Kitchen"
    Umphrey's Mcgee

    "Hold Me Now"
    Polyphonic Spree (Really anything by the Spree is bound to move you like you haven't been moved in a while).

  3. Anonymous on July 30, 2008 at 8:52 AM

    Rufus Wainwright singing Leonard Cohen’s Alleluia.

  4. Jason Michael on July 30, 2008 at 9:11 AM

    “Sign on the Door” by Edwin McCain

    “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Lady Antebellum

    “Ever After” by Christopher Williams

  5. Shanna on July 30, 2008 at 9:22 AM

    john mayer’s cover of “free fallin”
    amy winehouse, “he can only hold her”
    cat power, “metal heart”
    fionn regan’s album “the end of history”

  6. duane on July 30, 2008 at 10:10 AM

    10 points for using ‘persnickety’ in a blog post. well done annie, well done.

  7. Case and Los on July 30, 2008 at 11:10 AM

    Totally different than your genre, but inspiring nonetheless is our fave band Mute Math. Love their lyrics, and they are wild in concert, I hope you can see them some day, they would help you diversify.

    John Mayer’s new double cd Live in LA is cool, b/c it’s solo, with a jazz trio, and with a full band. We’re fans:)

    p.s. I “tagged” you on my blog, feel free to respond as necessary

  8. Chet on July 30, 2008 at 11:55 AM

    All over the spectrum, but anyways……

    The Avett Brothers – Shame

    Rise – Eddie Vedder (from the movie Into the Wild)

    Robert Earl Keen – I’m Comin Home

    Tegan and Sara – Nineteen

    Wilco – What Light

  9. Deborah Barnett on July 30, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    welcome back Kid!

    Just about anything by Feist but I particularly like “1234” and “My Moon My Man”

    Also… love all music by Katy Bowser. “All of My Friends” and “Come On or Go On” are two of my favs. She’s also on Noisetrade.

    The other new music love I just discovered – I’m a little behind… is Where you can set up your own listening stations on line. Stick a few songs in that are your favorites and they fill your personalized radio station with like genre.

    And reading Annie Dillard and Anne Lamont are always good for the writing soul. I apparently have a thing for Annie’s. ;o)

  10. Sarah on July 30, 2008 at 12:22 PM

    No Doubt – Spiderwebs
    Linkin Park – Carousel

    Oh, we’re not being sarcastic right now? Never mind then.

  11. Greta on July 30, 2008 at 1:31 PM

    I started posting songs, but decided I’m just going to send you a cd. I’ll pick the most fabulous songs I have with an emphasis on ECLECTIC.

    This is a great blog. Way to yank on those boot straps. :)

  12. Tad on July 30, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    This is a wierd hodge-podge, but they’re all awesome.

    Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier- Old American Folk Song

    Sugar- Louis Armstrong

    What A Wonderful World- Louis Armstrong

    Great Pretender- The Platters

    You’ve probably heard these all before. Maybe a relisten might do you good. I really like them.

  13. Julianne on July 30, 2008 at 2:04 PM

    Annie…you are inspiring–I love that you just went out and met people.
    Anything by Over the Rhine–I especially like “Etc., Whatever,” “Like a Radio,” “Trouble,” Okay, basically, I love all of their stuff.

  14. dc on July 30, 2008 at 2:43 PM

    Tyrone Wells – Sea Breeze
    eastmountainsouth – Hard Times
    Nichole Nordeman – Brave
    Jim Croce – Car Wash Blues
    Dan Fogelberg – Another Auld Lang Syne

  15. krissie on July 30, 2008 at 2:46 PM

    I was gonna suggest “Trouble” by Over the Rhine, but I was beat to it.

    Other suggestions:

    Wanderin’ Eyes by Matt Wertz

    Jamie Cullum’s cover of High and Dry

    Last Request by Paolo Nutini

    Paper Bag by Fiona Apple

    Somebody’s Baby by Jon Foreman

    I am excited about checking out other people’s suggestions!

  16. Shannon on July 30, 2008 at 3:12 PM

    There are some fantastic songs here!!
    Yay for good tuneage!

    I’ll add…

    White Daisy Passing – Rocky Votolato
    Solace – Xavier Rudd
    Sovay – Andrew Bird

  17. jnt. on July 30, 2008 at 3:17 PM

    Mazzy Star- “Fade into You”

    The Sundays- “Wild Horses”

    Regina Spektor- “Apres Moi”

    The Stranglers- “Golden Brown”

    Jeff Buckley- “Hallelujah”

  18. Shannon on July 30, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    “Scratch” -Kendall Payne

    “Umbrellas” – Sleeping at Last

    “Latter Days” – Over the Rhine

    I could go on and on and on…if only I could make playlists for a living :)

  19. jnt. on July 30, 2008 at 3:32 PM

    The Lucksmiths- “Guess How Much I Love You”

    Damien Jurado- “Ohio” or “Treasures of Gold”

    The Weepies- “Stars” or “Gotta Have You” (my new favorite band)

    The Decemberists- “Engine Driver”

    Counting Crows- “Anna Begins”

    Matt Costa- “Cold December”

    Stars- ” your x-lover is dead”

  20. MB on July 30, 2008 at 5:02 PM

    Goodness. Your fans have already recommended all three I was going to suggest, so I’ll have to think. Hmmmmm . . . how about:

    Iron and Wine: Naked as We Came
    Griffin House: The Way I Was Made
    Neko Case: Star Witness

  21. Ross on July 30, 2008 at 6:54 PM

    I’m pretty sure I’m Yukon Territory… unless there’s another one out there =). Right now, I’m “Pocatello, Idaho,” just for clarity’s sake. Now down to business.

    The Everybodyfields – Wasted Time
    Throw Me the Statue – Young Sensualists

    not exactly “out there,” but worth a listen

  22. breepick on July 30, 2008 at 8:56 PM

    Love the post, Annie. I’m so impressed by your bravery and gumption. I know you hear it a lot, but you are so incredibly inspiring.
    I’m sure I’ll think of many other songs and may post again, but I currently ADORE pretty much anything from Dave Barnes. I especially love “The L.A. Song”, “Nothing Fancy”, “Grace’s Amazing Hands”, “Close Your Eyes”, “Until You”, “Sticks and Stones”, “On a Night Like This”, and “More than a Man”.

  23. Laura Jackson on July 31, 2008 at 12:44 AM


    This is Sean, not Laura…Love your thoughts on life in Nashville and music suggestions is something that I can offer.

    Someone mentioned the Avett Brothers. I would say just check out their entire album “Emotionalism.” Salina is a standout.

    Check out Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
    Skinny Love and Blindsided are real good

    Grand Archives – Sleepdriving

    Anything and everything by Josh Ritter…please tell me you already know this man’s music because it is has everything you need!

    I am loving the track “Arizona” by The Kings of Leon.

    “Pasadena” by the Modern Skirts is terrific.

    There’s more but that’s probably enough. Enjoy!!

  24. Allie, Dearest on July 31, 2008 at 7:45 AM

    Wow! I’m totally going to steal all these music suggestions, since I need them, too!!

    I would suggest anything from the Cold Roses album by Ryan Adams. That may be “in” your genre too much, though. Keane is my new fave.

  25. Sarah on July 31, 2008 at 12:51 PM

    Hello Annie!
    I read your blog via “Allie, Dearest”‘s blog…you both are such fantastic writers! Does Texas by way of China count? :) (I’ll be back in the states in 3 weeks anyway :)
    Amazing suggestions, so many that I would have written myself. These songs are really feeding me while I walk thru the streets of China…
    –“Lost” by Anouk
    –“La Vie en rose” by Edith Piaf
    –“I’m Movin’ On” by Jeff Johnson
    –“The Idea of Growing Old” by The Features
    –“Fragile” by Sting
    –“Stop This Train” by John Mayer
    –“C.S. Lewis Song” by Brooke Fraser
    –“Black Coffee” by Ella Fitzgerald
    –“Shine On” by Eric Bibb
    –“A Living Prayer” by Alison Krauss

    Can you post the songs that are moving you these days? I’d love to hear them! Thanks for writing!

  26. Annie Parsons on August 1, 2008 at 10:33 AM

    GAH! People! You’re killing me with your genius taste!

    Okay. So I have downloaded AT LEAST one suggestion from each of you, if not multiple. The only person whose suggestions I immediately grabbed all of was Chet. Because we were sired by brothers. And I trust his judgment.

    My iTunes bill will be huge this week. Astronomical. I think it’s going to be worth it, though.

    Stay tuned for a Muxtape of my favorite tunes.

  27. Nicolas Frisby on August 3, 2008 at 11:24 AM

    I subscribed to NPR’s concert feed, and it’s awesome. Sera Cahoone was good. Perhaps not dissimilar enough…

  28. […] I’ve been here before.  Remember?  And so I’m taking the same approach as last time, and giving myself the grace of filling up my […]

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