The Rural Alberta Advantage

I fell in love with music in 2004. A brace-faced, energetic rabble-rouser struggling to adjust to the combination of some difficult changes at home as well as the awkwardness of middle-school, I had recently acquired two powerful tools that helped make everything right: Creative 5.1 surround speakers and a Gateway computer.

The speakers were duck-taped to each corner of my box shaped room, ensuring that the emitted sound painted every inch of the walls. The computer, a hand-me-down from my brother, was equipped with a library of a few thousand songs and Napster, the most infamous computer program in the music industry. For me, it meant an endless catalogue of easily accessible music.

Many hours were spent perusing through websites and forums, searching for “similar artists” as I traveled down a strange rabbit hole of sound. Parsing through the spam, bootlegs, and uninspired songs, eventually I’d find it – the rare gem that both confused me and inexplicably moved me. Rock, Blues, Folk, Reggae, Ska, Punk, Prog-Rock…

At that time, musical movement came in violent furies of passion, which is an eloquent way of saying my shrill prepubescent voice and pale, emaciated body had all the best intentions but none of the required attributes.

Yet safe in my personal box of a room, I was a hero.

All knobs turned to full volume, I’d stand on my chair and wail on a non-existent drum set, guitar or microphone. I’d put my foot on the back of the chair and tilt forward, crashing into the bed at the song’s climax. Shaking off the bruised knee and a brief sense of lameness, I’d dive back into the song full force.

I lived on a quiet road by a wooded area. On the off chance a walker-by heard the muffled cacophony from my room and looked through the window I imagine they’d feel extremely uncomfortable – a combination of guilt from having invaded a personal space and second-hand embarrassment from witnessing such an awkward passion.

Yet my imagined world was far more important than the reality. I was jamming, I loved it, there was no place I’d rather be, and the window to my street was too small to contain my dancing fervor.

Anyway, here’s two cool songs from The Rural Alberta Advantage. I’d be remiss to not say that tonight they’ve reinvigorated my propensity toward air instruments and in-room theatrics. With my window looking out to the Marcy ave train stop, I’m sure I’ve made a few commuters either laugh or roll their eyes.

Still, there’s no better way I could have spent the last half hour than reverberating off the walls to these two heroic tales.

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