"If you need anything, just put a dime in the phone," says my landlady. She's a nice person, a bit eccentric, a bit odd, but a real sweetheart, if for no other reason than she claims the above phrase is "an old Italian expression."
"How old?" I'll ask, but I already know it can't be any older than telephones, and no more recent than when you actually could put a dime in the phone. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not an old Italian expression but a universal phrase.
It's a very democratic phrase. Imagine politicians using it as a slogan. We'd be much more appreciative of our representatives if we could follow my landlady's advice. Plus, anyone in doubt of such a candidate would be prompted to rethink their position with the question my landlady asks after everything: "Am I right or wrong?" You're right, so very right.
I mention all of this because it reminds me of Chris Garneau. His music feels open and sweeping in its own insular nature. It seems like a lesser-known, downtrodden definition for "Democracy" that no one uses, something smaller and independent and all-encompassing in emotion rather than one grand idea. If the National Anthem were changed to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," Garneau's music could wait in its shadow, its animas, its black sheep. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. He's honest, or he seems like it anyway. If I really did need something, I could just put a dime in the phone.
Of course, a phone call costs more than a dime, and he knows that. He knows, and he'll give you the extra 15 cents just because. This is the land of opportunity, and he is going on tour in support of Music for Tourists starting May 13 in North Manchester, Indiana. It sounds like a nice place, am I right or wrong?