cassette tape

My husband dedicated a song to me on the radio last week.

I didn’t know such a thing was still possible.

But it is. So I dedicated a song back to him.

And it felt like 25 years ago, when we were just figuring out what we might sound like together.

The man who would become my husband charmed me with music.

He made me a mixtape. (It was an actual cassette tape.) (This was a long time ago.)

It served as an introduction to some of his favorite bands:

• Camper Van Beethoven, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.”

• The Replacements, “Kiss Me On the Bus.”

• Sonic Youth, “On the Strip.”

• Will and the Bushmen, “Like Laughing.”

• Violent Femmes, “Good Feeling.”

I made him a mixtape back, which served as a warning about what he was getting into.

• Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

• Lucinda Williams, “Side of the Road.”

• Lyle Lovett, “That’s Right You’re Not From Texas.”

• Robert Earl Keen, “Swervin’ in My Lane.”

• Trout Fishing in America, “All I Want is a Proper Cup of Coffee.”

I took him to a recital with Russian pianists Alexander Toradze and Vladimir Viardo.

He took me to Lollapalooza.

Turns out two comfort zones are bigger than one.

Every milestone of our lives, there was music.

On our wedding day, waiting to walk down the aisle, I sat in the back of the church with my husband’s great-uncle. When the organist started to play “Amazing Grace,” he and I quietly sang along.

For one of our first Valentine’s Days as a married couple, my husband and I went to a Van Cliburn piano concert.

After our kids came along, we would sing in the car together, old folk songs like “Old Joe Clark” and “Lukey’s Boat” and new songs like Laurie Berkner’s “Victor Vito” (who eats some spaghetti with Freddy). These were sung mostly on-key, always loudly.

We all cleaned the kitchen together to the beat of the B-52s’ “Love Shack.”

For our 20th anniversary, my husband and I went to a Lucinda Williams show.

I know the song my husband wants played at his funeral.

We’re still trading music. I have given him Glenn Gould, he has given me Drive-by Truckers. (He declined my offer of the entire “Hamilton” soundtrack.)

But I only ever made that one mixtape. My husband continued to make me mixtapes, which became mixCDs, which became mixplaylists.

For Christmas last year, my stocking was metaphorically stuffed with the Isley Brothers, the Fugees, Fugazi, Elvis Costello, the Clash, Blood of Abraham, X, Kate Bush, White Animals, Violent Femmes, U2, The Time, Steve Forbert, The Smiths, Simon & Garfunkel, Rick James, R.E.M., Prince, Nick Heyward, Neil Diamond, the Monkees, the Mary Jane Girls, Icris, Lucinda Williams, Lords of the New Church and the theme song to “Doctor Who.”

Earlier this summer, I took a solo road trip to Kentucky to visit a friend. About halfway there, I was getting a little sleepy, and a little lonely.

I dug out an old mixCD, “Lisa’s Funky Blue Christmas” (cover artwork by my daughter). Madonna and Janet Jackson woke me up. My husband kept me company.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or


Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.