For someone who didn’t play any musical instrument, and who never sang an audible note to my recollection, my dad sure loved music.

When I became musically aware, and started buying music, first in the form of 8-track tapes, my dad began acquiring music too. For my 10th birthday I got a small stereo from Sears. No turntable. A radio and an 8-track player, and two small speakers were the setup. It was good enough. I’d come home to find my dad laying on my bed, listening to music.

This started a nightly ritual for my dad. Almost every evening he would lay down and listen to music for about an hour. As I went through junior high and highschool, once a week we’d go to a nearby music store and each buy a cassette tape. We ended up with a lot of cassettes. They are still at my mom’s house, I think. Eventually he bought a similar but slightly nicer Sears stereo for their room. Nothing too great, but it got the job done.

Though his musical tastes expanded over the years, country music and bluegrass were my dad’s primary preferred genres. Occasionally I’d find him listening to a rock band if the song sounded like country or bluegrass. Once he was listening to Led Zeppelin. He had no idea it was them.

I’ve been remembering this stuff for a few hours now. You see, a few days ago I got a new stereo. Not super expensive, but not a cheap one either. A nice Yamaha amp and some Klipsch floor speakers. After almost 10 years of listening to music mostly on headphones and an iPod, having the BIG sound filling a room is fantastic. I think a lot of people have forgotten how great that is. While I wait for a new phono needle to arrive for my turntable, and wait to get a nice new CD player, I’ve had my iPod plugged into the system a lot and running it on Shuffle.

Last night, for the first time, some Willie Nelson came up. I’m not a country music fan at all, but I do love Willie. Over the nice big speakers, turned up loud, it sounded so good. Just beautiful. My dad listened to a lot of Willie.

I wish that at some point I had given my dad a really nice stereo as a gift. He would never have gone out and bought a nice system. Before he died, he and my mom had a small compact system. It doesn’t sound horrible, but it isn’t a rich sound. Dad would have enjoyed a good stereo so much. I really regret not thinking of this 15 years ago.

Willie Nelson deserves a rich sounding stereo.

And so did my dad.

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