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If instead of growing up in Pennsylvania, I’d been born and raised somewhere like California, or New York, it’s a fair guess that I’d be one of those tried-and-true Democrats who is running around now. Because my parents were adamantly opposed to big government, unions, and were generally pro-life (in spite of being Democrats themselves), I’d probably still be a bizarre hybrid of sorts, but it probably never would have occurred to me to ever identify with conservatives in general in a more liberal state. I say that because of the other half of my life – the music industry.

My parents introduced me to the political BS at a very young age, but they dragged me around the Pittsburgh music scene before that. While it was a bit heavy on the 50’s Doo-Wop, the fact is that there were few genres of music that I didn’t grow up around. It was just as likely to hear Beethoven blaring in the house on a Saturday morning, as it was to hear Buddy Holly. While I was sneaking out to punk bars when I could in high school, my parents would openly take me to jazz bars and music conventions. The first real boyfriend I had – back in 8th grade – was fully endorsed at least by my father, because he liked “oldies.”

While friends talk about concerts they’ve attended, I gave up keeping track somewhere in the late 1980’s (or earlier.) There are a couple particularly memorable ones with friends, but the blur happens when I try to remember all the backstage passes, or promo freebies from radio stations. The same goes for meeting musicians, but at least I still remember the first time I shook hands with The Boss, and the last times I saw the older artists that people from my parents’ generation would remember.

With the music came the art and literature, and I did spend a fair amount of time in that world not so long ago. The politics were always in the background, but for a while, it was all about the art and culture. I won’t lie and say my life was perfect then, but it definitely was much happier.

So, I’m going back to my roots, so to speak. It’s not likely I’ll ever end up behind the microphone again as a singer, but I can still talk. For now, I’ll make an informal wager – if I find myself wandering from focusing on culture, and get myself too mired in the mud of politics again, whoever catches me doing it can feel free to tell me it’s time to dust off the following song. It’s been years since I performed it, but it was one of the first I ever sang in public. (Sorry, but there’s no recording of that, so you’ll have to settle for the original.)

Since I don’t think I still have a “singing voice,” I guess that means I need to keep away from the politics!

~ Liz

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