Tag Archives: Music

A Gift in Vinyl

As everyone does from time to time, we clean out our attics, closets, and forgotten areas to make room for new things and our places are not over flooded with things we never needed in the first place. Yet we always find things in these places that just cant be let go because they have a little bit of magic of olden days and people we never forget. Maybe its a shirt, a photo, a ring or its a random stuffed animal you haven’t played since you were five.

For me, Its my nana’s vinyl collection.

This past Christmas season, my parents cleaned out our attic which had so many things from my nana’s old home. Since her passing in the bone chill of January 2002 we have had her stuff in a corner of our attic, away from view. We put it away as far as we could for both my dad and myself. The sting was still hurting. Many years had passed and we have slowly dug through the possessions of photos jewelry and other worldly possessions. Since these were new to me yet had a memory for others, slowly and carefully i began to ask my father what they meant and uncovering my family as slowly as they discovered the Pharaoh’s tombs so long ago. I always ask questions about who they were because of how little to no time i had with them, feeling as if they were of mythical stories and legendary tales you would see in novels.

My grandparents were of the Irish immigrants who arrived in the great depression looking for a better life from the Irish troubles of that time. They worked hard and made a good life for myself, a second generation immigrant. I always hear stories of them from my father and some kinda make me say “Ok now i know where i get it from” like my stubbornness is from my grandfather who would sit on hours outside his house in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston blasting his horn if his parking spot was taken by a neighbor, or part of my compassion and caring comes from my nana who even at age 80 plus would never forget to have a plate of my favorite cookies ready for my visit. These stories and now the newly rediscovered vinyl records finally connect me to people i never got the true privilege of meeting.

What the vinyl records mean to me, is everything. Its the glimpse i get into who they are and what they loved in life. These simple vinyls i got to have showcase things i never thought of. With all the music of their home in Donegal Ireland, it seems as if they were home sick yet they felt rewarded with their sacrifice to come here. All the times my grandparents were told “No Irish Need Apply” and found the worst jobs to make the money to find a meal and all the times they saw college degrees and marriages and a grandchild, made it worth something. They embraced Americana and her dreams of success while never forgetting their Irish love and where they came from, something i try to embrace when i think of what they gave up to let me live a successful life. We all have that one person or people in our lives that started from nothing yet we have everything that they never had and it just makes their work all the sweeter.

As i write this post, i have one of their records playing in the background of my one bedroom apartment, getting me misty eyed every other song. I missed them everyday, especially after these 17 years, these records to me seem to be a gift stowed away for safe keeping until i needed them. A gift in time. In a world where we sometimes forget where we come from or who have gone on to the great beyond, this is something to remember them by. These records of Ireland dreams seem to give myself a reinvigorated sense of identity. Not just the Irishman i know i have in my blood, but what being me means. My anger, my patience, my love, my flaws everything comes together because of these simple songs that they played decades ago on a small disc to console them yet remind them of who they were.

Photo by Steven Hylands on Pexels.com

So as i listen to these records i say to my ancestors:

Mo aingeal Tá súil agam go bhfuair tú síocháin.

Music: The Universal Beats of the Heart

The Heart. It beats somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute for an adult over the age of 18. We all have one, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sex, religion, etc.

But why is this important?

We can’t always listen to what our heart is saying. That is where I believe that music comes in.

Music is a form of art that is not only able to be listened to, but comprehends and speaks to the heart, mind, and soul of a person. It simultaneously can uplift, motivate, help grieve, and at times is a reflection of who we are at our best and at our worst. Music therapy is also a growing field, which helps to prove how beneficial music is.

According to a study by Harvard Medical School, listening to music has a lot of health benefits such as improving exercise ability, easing stress, and help blood pressure levels as well as heart rate return to baseline quicker than when compared to studies where there is no music present.

Everything we do in life has a beat, a rhythm, as the keyboard clicks away, the fan spins away in the background, or the tires spin on the old Honda Accord. We’re surrounded by sound. Surrounded by music. All of us enjoy different sounds, reflective of who we are and who we want to be. Music isn’t just a part of life that we can enjoy, it’s with us every step of the way.

Study Here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/tuning-in-how-music-may-affect-your-heart

A Great Day To Have A Day

Lately, I have had some days. Vague, I know, but the truth is, I can’t label them good days or bad days, they’re just… days.

See I am a firm believer in the saying “it’s a great day to have a day.” and I can’t claim credit because I got it from a teammate, but it stuck and now is as good a time as ever to ‘have a day’.

I guess the best way to spell out how I have been, is to look at a Twenty-One Pilots album. I’ve gone through phases this week of feeling “stressed out”, feeling like a “blurry face” in a crowd – the only difference being that I most definitely do care what people think. I’ve been detached, slightly withdrawn, and it isn’t a new feeling but it persists on – taunting me and distracting me at work ever so often.

Maybe this feeling of just having a day is part of growing up. Maybe it is a byproduct of seasonal affective or as I like to label it, “seasonal defective disorder,” maybe being stuck or lost, or maybe having a day is just a part of being an adult.

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But sometimes it worries me and sometimes I doubt myself because of the labels I have been given…And I guess the best way to explain that train of thought is to share something my friend kinda said this week… which was different but could arguably go along with “I hate the term mental illness” and I do, I hate the term mentally ill because when I think of illnesses – I imagine cures – but for most of the population, whether we admit to it or not, the “illness” going on, the “illness” attacking our brains isn’t something we can cure – it’s only something we can manage and like a good or bad day we just all manage to get through, but what if we don’t just want to get by?

And personally, I don’t just want to get by I want to have a DAY, not a bad day, or an insecure day, not even a lower case day, I wanna have A DAY. and maybe something will stop me maybe it won’t but I guess I am just sick of floating by this week. I am sick of being a blurry faced, stressed out, adulting wannabe and I am certainly sick of not feeling like me,

so today. today I am going to have a DAY, a full uppercase DAY because it is a great day to have a day, and I’m done trying to turn back time to something easier because what I have now… it isn’t perfect, but its a day. AND IT IS ALWAYS A GREAT DAY TO HAVE A DAY.




If her Voice was a Song

If her voice was a song

Would your feet stand still?

or would your ears retreat in such a way that your legs could follow?


If her voice was a song

Would your vocal chords halt

and your mouth stay shut

to hear what she has to say?


If her voice was a song

would you forget the notes she wears on her skin

or would you pause for a moment and

appreciate the lines and layers of a woman

who knows how far she has been


If you met a woman

who’s voice was a song

who could breathe notes from thin or thick air

would you stop and linger there with her for a moment


if you met a woman whose voice was a song

would you listen

or would you be a coward

and run



24 Songs to Listen to Before You Turn 24

You have friends that just never go away.

That’s a good thing. They say that after a friendship has gone seven years, it will last a lifetime. So i guess you’re stuck with me kid. Thank you for all the dumb shit we have gotten into over the years. From the long walks to Walgreens to see you suck at skateboarding, to bar hoping late at night on my birthday, we have done it all. Even though for the fifth year in a row you’ll be half way across the country ill still be calling you at 12:01am to tell you how fucking old you are, i’m glad we got all this stuff ahead of us to explore.

Music has always been a topic that we have both gotten to discover together. IN the beginning it was the classic middle school jams of Fall Out Boy and Divided By Friday, then we evolved into different tastes of music. He began to focus on the classical music aspect because it improved his talents and i went to the Teen angst phase that i sometimes still think im in. One thing that we always did was when we found something that clicked with us, we sent it along to the other to critique and break down. Actually as i wrote this he sent me to pieces to listen to online. None the less, music has been one of the many things we have used to stay in touch over the many years of moving around.

So in honor of turning 24, here are the songs that I believe you should listen to before you turn 24:

Happy Birthday Brother!

  1. Whats my Age — Blink 182
  2. Sober Up — AJR
  3. Timeless –Jon Bellion
  4. Everybody Wants Somebody — Patrick Stump
  5. Take Me Home, Country Roads — John Denver
  6. Closer — The Chainsmokers
  7. Strawberry Swing — Coldplay
  8. Aquaman — Walk the Moon
  9. Sunday Candy — Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
  10. Polaroid — Imagine Dragons
  11. Hometown — Twenty One Pilots
  12. Don’t Burn Yourself Out — Dan Masterson
  13. My Way — Frank Sinatra
  14. You and Me– Dave Matthews Band
  15. Le Vie en Rose — Louis Armstrong
  16. Cant Help Falling in Love with You — Twenty One Pilots (Elvis Presley)
  17. The Longest Time — Billy Joel
  18. Too Good at Goodbyes — Sam Smith
  19. Under Pressure — Queen
  20. Don’t — Ed Sheeran
  21. This is Gospel — Panic! at the Disco
  22. I Dont Love You — My Chemical Romance
  23. Same Drugs — Chance the Rapper
  24. The Wonder Years — Jon Bellion

And a special one :

25. Shostakovitch’s Fifth Symphony ( Special Gift for the Birthday Boy)

Why Every 20 Something Needs to listen to Jon Bellion

” We’re not sad at all, We know you have to leave and we’re not mad at all, You’ll be back in town and we’ll play basketball” –Luxury 

If you have ever had a favorite musician come out with an album you just can’t take off repeat on Spotify or dig through a discography of a new artist you found on Pandora, chances are you’re gonna understand this article a lot better. Music is like medicine for the soul, when we have a feeling or “ailment” we put on that favorite record or song and it begins the healing process. One of my favorite artist of all time has to be Jon Bellion. His music is unlike anything else i have ever heard before for multiple reasons; the passion, the lyrics, and too may other things to mention before i run out of space in this article. When you listen to Jon, he gets the human spirit in ways we haven’t heard before, mainly because he appeals to millennial’s who are a generation of firsts and different conversations than generations of  yesterday. However the question still remains: Why should i listen to him?

  1. The lyrics hit you like Fucking Bricks

The lyrics are in sane, Jon hits the core of emotions in every song, mix-tape and most recently his first album that he has produced. The lines do not sway with modern pop songs that take IQ points away from its listeners, instead he goes for the stuff that apply to his core listeners especially when it comes to Mental Health, Self Discovery, Personal Success, and any other topic we experience in our 20’s. If you want a direct example go Listen to Human off of the Mix-Tape The Definition. Or if you want to go on the discussion of mortality The Wonder Years is a great example of how our generation is nostalgic and wishes for more time as children.

“So take me back to the days when I was younger All this bullshit is overrated “– The Wonder Years

2. He takes the time to care for each song

On YouTube you can see the behind the scenes making of some of his best hits and boy does he dedicate himself to the craft. Jon develops the tone and tempo of his music to match what he’s trying to convey to the listeners if its an upbeat message, the tempo changes to create that. If the message has melancholy undertones Jon matches the sound to embrace it. What amazes me is when you break down the basics of the songs he has to the very core of the beat; its a sound he makes, a synthesizer, and his ideas. Nothing more. His music has a purer feeling to it because its hand crafted to the point where we could call it old school style.

The secrets you tell me, I’ll take to my grave, There’s bones in my closet, but you hang stuff anyway, And if you have nightmares, we’ll dance on the bed,I know that you love me, love me. Even when I lose my head; Guillotine — Guillotine

3. He doesn’t hold back

Jon doesnt just talk about the generic love relationships, daily life issue, self image, money problems we all have in the same light that maybe pop artist would. He talks very openly of drug usage, faith, and what its like to be him in a very realistic way. Off of The Human Condition, Jon talks about the opioid crisis affecting not only his own hometown but the effect it has on america and her citizens in the song Morning in America. What artist takes something affecting their neighborhood and sheds a true light on it? Not many. If they even attack the subject i feel as if they play it down or make it  about themselves. Jon even goes into the nitty gritty of things like being an up and coming artist looking for a living, love that he can never have, and the hope fame doesn’t change him among numerous other topics.

“When the lions come and they turn to fight, Will you lose your soul?, Will you lose your pride?, Cause the only thing they needs, To smell a drop of fear inside, When the lions come, will you turn to fight?”              — When the Lions Come

4. All the Feels

Wait until you find that one song, the one that hits you the most whether it reminds you of a friend, a family member, an event in your life what ever it is Jon will pull at the heart strings. For me, the song Luxury off of The Definition is that song for me. It brings back my memories of senior year with my good friends and the fact that we were going our separate paths. Back to the point, his music stirs in the soul what we always think about and says it for us so we don’t look weird pouring it out. I have seen new people listening to his music, who are music snubs and finding something they can connect to and maybe even help them through the tougher times.

There’s someone gorgeous in my bed tonight, Yet I’m still petrified that I’ll die alone –Human

5. He is one of us

Jon was signed to a major label after his first mix-tape but he kept it on the down low to prevent his fan base from thinking he was a sellout. Jon built his musical abilities and fan base the old fashion way thus why so many have been drawn to his music. Essentially he is one of us, he has gone through the issue we go through and turned it into music medication for us to use. He never takes his fame to seriously and he never forgets who he was before he made it big. I cant think about a lot of artist who make it big and keep the same mentality they had when they weren’t worth much to record companies ( Only two i can think of is Twenty One Pilots and AJR).  In short fame never got to him, hes always been like this.

“All he needed was a platform, built a real fan base, Took ’em with him when the deal came, Selling out in every state, Signed a deal after his first tape, But he kept it on the low, They could never say he sold out, That’s why they come to every show” –He is the Same

Basically if you’re a 20 something, then Jon Bellion is your next artist to binge. His style and meaning behind every lyric he puts out speaks to something you have gone, going or will go through in your twenties. If nothing its good music to jam to at your next social gathering.