If the Emily of yesteryears could see the Emily of today, I think I would be jealous of me. One of the many examples of said-jealousy is coming up this Thursday. I will be hanging out with Marc Roberge at a golf tournament. Who?? Marc. The man with one of the coolest voices in music. The guy who leads a group of musicians in honest and pure artistry. The dude who is the lead singer of the band O.A.R. Holla.
Ex-fiance Number One introduced me to O.A.R. yearsssss ago. As a huge fan of Dave Matthews Band, I was shocked that I had never heard these guys before. Not that the two bands are very similar, but I bet they would listen to each other's records and enjoy them. O.A.R. has a jam-bandy quality about them, a hint of reggae, a touch of rock, and a helluva lotta soul. And as I said before, their songs are just honest. They're soul-bearing. They're simple and sweet and deep and touching all at once.
I'm a fan. Can ya tell?
Allow me to share some moments in life with you, in which O.A.R. was playing in the background, burning these memories and songs into my heart forever.
A long time ago, EFNO and I went to the wedding of one of his childhood pals. At the end of this delightful event, the whole group of friends, old and new, formed a big circle. We were all connected at the hip, and swayed to this song. We sang to each other and, in that small moment, were a part of something bigger. We were family, friends, partners, comrades. We were love.
For a time, I put this song on every mix CD I made. When I lived in San Diego I would drive from where I lived in Encinitas, down to PB to visit my best friend. I would take the 5, due to the spectacular view of the ocean, roll down the windows, and blast this song. I can feel my hair whipping in the wind and smell the salt off the Pacific. Hey Girl represented my life at the time: freedom, butterflies, late nights, and overwhelming craziness.
I didn't know what this song was about when I first heard it. But it spoke to me. Later I learned that it was written about the grandfather of the saxophonist/guitarist, Jerry. Hello, goosebumps. This is a great example of the honesty that I love.
This was the first song of theirs that crossed over from us loyal and true fans to the mediocre ears of the general public. And I gotta admit, as a protective and silly fan with the mind set of, "I knew O.A.R. before this, so you are all posers", I was a bit upset at the popularity of this tune. Isn't that ridiculous? Every musician dreams of commercial success, right? And while I loved them so much, I wanted O.A.R. all to myself. (I have since grown up and am totally ok with sharing them. But you should know that they were mine first.)
Normally I don't like to rock out to break-up songs, but this one is just so good. Sure, I listened to it in the after math of certain breakups, (note who introduced me to O.A.R.), but even today, there's an appealing beauty to this song.
This is their latest single, and I think it represents their maturity as a band. It's so lovely and precise, still a bit emotionally wild and raw.
So there you are. If you want a taste of old and new O.A.R., with the added magic of Red Rocks, this album is fantastic and you should add it to your collection.
Your cool value will go up at least 300 points.
And to the younger Emily, who only got as close to O.A.R. as front row, neener neener. I'm gonna have a beer with Marc in a few days.