Allison Plean: Sounds of spring

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Every time I hear her in concert, I cry. (And I'm not a crier.)

She is the finger-picking inspiration for every thought I wish I could finish. She is the only artist of whom I own more than 20 albums -- she writes brilliant lyrics that are visceral and without ego or concession. She is my cure for any breaking heart or insecure feeling, and she is the reason why I started writing.

Her name is Ani DiFranco.

All of us have one singer, band or song that makes the rest of the world make sense or disappear. And because it's spring in the Yampa Valley, these sounds are everywhere.

They are escaping out of cars with windows rolled down, they are drifting off decks hosting barbecues, and this music soon will be filling our bars and restaurants.

Music is the soundtrack of our lives because it can timelessly trap a feeling in a moment that can be relived.

In fact, music is the one common denominator in every culture. Music creates a record of history that's a lot easier to listen to than a textbook. It is one of the last truly uncensored mediums and can carry political sentiments that can reach more people than any inaugural address.

The fact that music can be continually reinvented will guarantee the endurance of selling concepts such as the iPod, and music will continue to be one of the reasons every one of us wanted to be a rock star at some point in our lives. Rock stars are exempt from mediocrity and live lavish lifestyles that seem to evade responsibility and hardship. But as the music industry becomes more tangible with advanced technology, there is more competition.

I'd still rather sing into my hairbrush than try to compete in the saturated music industry.

But our local music scene breaks most of the rules of the industry. From open mic night to the Battle of the Bands, there is room for anyone who wants to get on stage and for anyone who wants to try to be a rock star.

I interviewed a local 18-year-old woman who already is experiencing the success the area has afforded her. She is a member of In the Gutter, Craig's first all-girl band.

Her band members' influences are one another. "We've encouraged each other to get better, and when we have a problem, we go to each other," Jojo La said. "We motivate ourselves."

Music is about that inspiration. It's that rap mix that can motivate you to vacuum your house or unload the dishwasher. And it's that song that you have for every mood.

Many of the visiting bands I've interviewed have somehow alluded to wanting to change the world through music. Its vast distribution allows music to permeate any society and raise awareness about any issue, but I think its importance this time of year has a more simple purpose.

Music should strive to create that feeling you get when you are driving down an empty highway on a sunny spring day, listening to that one song that can make the world make sense or disappear.

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