I had a moment of indescribable elation this past Wednesday.
I was on my way to get my hair cut, enjoying one of those solo car rides I just talked about with my Pandora blasting music, and I was loving every song it was choosing.
Thumbs up, thumbs up, thumbs up.
Then a very familiar voice came on.
That sounds like… but I don’t know that song – it couldn’t be!!
I picked up my phone and looked.
Burlap to Cashmere?!?!?
How could it be… there’s no way!!
~~~ Backing up 12 years… ~~~
I’ve told the story of how Chris and I met, became best friends, and eventually fell in love all while playing together in a “band” (and I use that term loosely).
1999 – it was a fabulous year, completely centered around playing and listening to music, including both Chris’ original songs and other artist’s music.
But at the very core of that year was Burlap to Cashmere.
A couple of months before I joined the band, I had rather accidentally discovered this fantastic band. They only had one CD, if you didn’t count their small sampler album. Their sound was unlike anything I’d ever heard – a melding of Simon and Garfunkel, Greek folk music (and thereby extraordinarily appealing to my Greek blood), and modern rock. The guitar riffs were mind-blowing – I played classical (finger-style) guitar, so I was familiar with the coordination and speed that it took to play like that, but I absolutely couldn’t imagine how anyone’s fingers could move that fast.
One of the first things I did when I joined the “band” in February of 1999 was pull out my Burlap to Cashmere album. Chris immediately fell in love with them too, an early sign of our perfect compatibility.
We began to stalk the band together. In May, they came to Birmingham. We went to see them at the former 5 Points Music Hall, taking my brother JC along with us. Chris and I were “just friends”, but there was definitely some magic that happened at that concert as we were pressed directly up against the stage, obviously lacking the acceptable amount of social distance between us that is to be expected for said status of just friends.
(My poor brother, awkwardly forced to witness his little sister’s budding romance.)
Chris and I were both completely in heaven for the opportunity to see this phenomenal and seemingly impossibly complex music played live…and also for the opportunity to stand so close to each other.
In June, despite the fact that I was already well aware I was going to marry Chris, we were still “just friends” (something about Chris being 22 and me being 17 and him feeling horribly guilty for being attracted to a “kid”), but we were unquestioningly the best of friends. For my High School graduation present, Chris got us tickets to AtlantaFest on the day that Burlap to Cashmere would be playing.
For some strange reason, my parents allowed me to leave town with this old guy, and we spent the day going from concert to concert, all ending in the with the perfection of yet another surreal concert by B2C, within a month of the first, again, in the front row, up against the stage.
Although Chris somehow managed to not allow himself to admit it for another month, there was no longer any doubt that we were in love after that trip. Burlap to Cashmere’s song, Eileen’s Song, became the answer to the cheesy teenage question, “Do you guys have a song??”, and the fabulously romanticized memories of going to those concerts together in that magical we’re-completely-in-love-but-haven’t-admitted-it stage of life forever sealed Burlap to Cashmere as the soundtrack of our relationship.
And, just like untimely deaths of musicians only make them more infamous, the breakup of Burlap to Cashmere in 2001 (the year we got married), before they even had the chance to make another album, only made those few songs more special to us. We researched their whereabouts endlessly, but all we ever found was their statements that they would never get back together, and no matter how hard we tried to wish them back into existence, it wasn’t going to happen.
For the past 10 years, we’ve pulled out that one perfect CD, Anybody Out There? , any time we wanted a wistful, romantic reminder of our youth. I literally wore my copy completely out and had to buy another CD. When you ask either of us what our favorite artist is, we still unwaveringly name them – a band that lasted all of three years and has been dead on the table for the last decade.
Their lead singer, Steven Delopoulos, came out with a couple of solo albums that we quickly gravitated to, but without his cousin’s amazing harmonies and guitar impossibilities, it wasn’t quite the same. It was somewhat like a blurry dream of what had been, but nevertheless, a dream was better than nothing.
~~~ Back to Wednesday. ~~~
Considering that I know all twelve Burlap to Cashmere tracks backward and forward, the sensation of hearing a new song was quite world changing. I quickly did a Google search, and found out the news I’d always wanted to hear: they were back together again!! And they just came out with a new album a month ago!!!
I called Chris, nearly hyperventilating with excitement. We both downloaded the new album immediately, and I begged him to become a groupie with me, easily convincing him that nothing would be better for us than to quit our day jobs and travel around the country, rekindling our stalking of B2C.
(Fortunately for our kids, they’re not on tour yet.)
The only way I can describe the sensation of that moment of discovery is that all of the feelings of romance from our “just friends”, dating, engagement, newlywed, and married days were combined and rekindled afresh in an instant. All that I wanted to do was put the kids to bed, crank up their new album, light some candles, and cuddle up on the couch with Chris.
It’s powerful stuff, people.
So if you need us for the next few days, we’ll be in a state of constant euphoria and complete romance. We’ll get back to you.
Editor’s Note: Burlap to Cashmere released their tour dates the night before I published this, and they will be in Atlanta (2.5 hours away) on my birthday. Obviously, this was meant to be. And it made present shopping really easy for Chris. So we will be having an Atlanta date next month and resume our romantic, stalkerish behaviors of Burlap to Cashmere!