Queen of Soul in the House

My brothers were teenagers in the ‘60’s. Because of this, I had the pleasure of listening to some great rock and roll as a child. Our parents listened to classical or jazz over the weekends and filled in the other days with country and bluegrass.

Me and Mine Daddy (Les Leverett) at our beloved Ryman Auditorium when it re-opened in '94 next to a display box with some of our handiwork

My Dad worked in the music industry as a photographer, so I was always around it. He jokingly told me to never go into a creative field, and never marry a musician.

I did both. (And he loves it.)

Larry in the pit- Jesus Christ Superstar tour

Since I married a music man, there’s no doubt that every home I’ve lived in has been full of music.

Larry, rehearsing at the river house in the early years

Our child loves music. It would only make sense.

Alli on the Grand Ole Opry stage with her P-Pa

Like mine, Alli’s life has been surrounded by it, and she also has a musical gift.

Larry and Alli catching some good vibes

As an infant she sometimes fell asleep to Kenny Loggins’ lullabies. As a toddler, she had varied musical interest. We’re talking Sesame Street to Beethoven to Steve Miller.

First trip to the recording studio with Dadda at 3 mths old!

She used to love Aretha Franklin and when in the car would make requests from the backseat for her tunes;

“Play Retha Fanklin, Qeen of Sooo!”

And sometimes;

“Play boootiful music!” (This meant classical.)

It was alarming to hear a tiny voice singing along with Steve Miller…

I’m a joker, I’m a smoker, I’m a midnight toker…” (This was the beginning of my parental music censorship gig, a job I gave up on by the time she was 15.)

When she was a little older, Alli would get us to sing rounds with her in the car. When we’d pick her up after a summer camp, she would sing all the way home, and introduce us to her new collection of funny tunes.

We sometimes request a Negro Spiritual, and Alli belts out a good one for us. Her soulful voice and humor is quick to entertain. My mother taught her to sing Three Little Fishes when she was very little, and along with Swing Low and Amazing Grace, she has a good expressive repertoire.

Alli having a little drum lesson from Chester T. (taken on a video shoot)

Oh, that child makes me laugh and smile. Some of my fondest memories are of ordinary days, riding in the car with Alli and singing our hearts out together.

We share the love of humor and enjoy playing with our words and we both like to make up funny tunes or change the words to someone else’s song.

I may, or may not have begun this little trend when she was a baby. While rocking Punky, I would sing lyrics I made up to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s Feelin’ Groovy:

Slow down, you’re growin’ too fast

You’ve got to make your babyhood last

Just spittin’ up on Momma’s shirt

Lookin’ for food and feeling poopy

Ba, dah, dah dah dah dah dah feelin’ poopy

 

Together, Alli and I made up some fun lyrics while bathing our dog. It’s to the tune of Silver Bells:

Sugar Bear, Sugar Bear

It’s Sugar Bear in the shower

Rub, rub, rub, scrub, scrub, scrub

Soon Sugar Bear will be clean

 

And one that I made up when Alli got her driver’s license – to the tune of Oh, Holy Night:

Oh, Holy @#$*!

My daughter’s out there driving

It is the night I have dreaded since her birth

Long lay our debts in cars and car insurance

til we’re all old and it’s less than we’re worth

A thrill of hope, the lottery now allows us

For yonder sits a new and glorious car

Fall on your keys,

Oh hear the agent’s voice mail

Oh night be kind

Oh night when my kid drives.

Oh night be kind

Oh night when my kid drives.

Alli singing at school -2010

One tradition that I tried to get going that actually stuck with us for a while was our Tuesday Night Song Night. We would turn down the lights, lay around on the floor in front of the stereo, and each of us would play one song that we loved. Then, we’d discuss it and why we liked it and interpret lyrics, etc. It was a great way to connect and bond.

Alli, the Rock Star, rehearsing one of her original songs with her Daddy (note- on the right, the primary color mic)

As an 18-year-old, she has very interesting and rather eclectic musical taste. I love to hear her mixes and joke that she should be a DJ.

Singing in her nightgown Note the shades, next to her on the bench...

All 3 of us write, but only 2 of us sing in the shower. Alli is the best shower singer around. It brings me so much joy to hear her melodious voice down the hall.

In the orchestra pit with Dadda after a show

She’ll be home again for winter break in a matter of days. I look forward to more shower and car singing!

Our own Queen of Soul will be in the house!

Alli with the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music Young Singers doing their thing at a senior citizen home. So sweet in their "Alice in Wonderland" wear

And after...the personalities that go with the voices

I feel like we all have a constant soundtrack playing in the background of our lives. Take time to listen!

-Libby Lu

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