My relationship with Blue Earth County District Court Judge Krista Jass goes back a long way. I knew her when she was a public defender. But whether she was handling cases, running the office as its Chief Public Defender or presiding over cases as a judge, one thing stands out about Krista: Wherever she goes, she's usually one of the coolest people in the room. What I've never really known about her, though, is anything about her taste in music. And I think after you read this, you'll not doubt agree wholeheartedly with my assessment of coolness. And if you ever find yourself in front of Hon. Judge Jass, you can do so with the knowledge that this is a woman who appreciates the finer sides of Springsteen and Wilco. And there's nothing wrong with that. ENJOY
I hear my share of stories about shame and regret, some of them quite heartbreaking. While we may try to live life in such a way as to have no regrets, everyone experiences a certain amount of shame and regret. We all make choices and all make mistakes. And sometimes we wish we could have a “do over” and make a better choice.
But since we can’t “turn back time” (it would be too easy to include Cher’s tune on my playlist), sometimes the best thing we can do is learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them. There is a quote that states “[s]uccess is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.” Sure, I have some regrets but, some of those have led to events in my life that have turned out to be wonderful blessings, so I can't really regret them anymore. It is funny how life can be like that, isn't it? Spending too much time dwelling on the “what ifs” in life seems to drain energy that could be used more productively. I prefer to try to learn from my mistakes, move on and focus my energy on what is happening right now and creating good things to come.
Unfortunately, some of my regretful fashion and hair style choices from being a teen in the ‘80’s have been captured in photographs and will never go away. Why on earth did I want to make my shoulders look bigger with shoulder pads? And how do I try to explain wearing stir-up or parachute pants to my child? It does not make me feel better to realize no one noticed my pants or shoulder pads because they were too busy looking at my “mall hair” with stick-up bangs. Ugh.
In the end, we are all human and nothing brings us together like acknowledging our universal difficulties. Maybe that’s why there are so many songs to choose from when it comes to Robb’s theme for me of “tales of shame and regret!” It was hard to narrow down, but I’ve tried to select a few that you may not hear on the radio every day.
10) “Ooh La La” The Faces
The lyrics describe a conversation between a grandfather and grandson, with the elder man warning the grandson about the risks of relationships with women. The lyrics “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger,” describes a collective theme we have all wished at times and demonstrates that this catchy song belongs on the list.
9) “Whiskey” Trampled By Turtles
This band is mostly based out of Duluth but their lead singer/songwriter, Dave Simonett is a Mankato product. This successful band has a dedicated fan following and we are lucky they often hold concerts in Minnesota. This song illustrates how alcohol is often used to cope with shame and regret with the opening line, “Whiskey won’t you take away my trouble ‘cuz I can’t seem to do it on my own.”
8) “Passenger Side” Wilco
This song is a great homage to Neil Young’s “Roll Another Number.” It is about the perspective of riding in the passenger side after losing your driver’s license.
7) “Highway Patrolman” Bruce Springsteen
I was lucky enough to enjoy Bruce in concert while sitting close enough to have droplets of his sweat reach me. This is a great story song about a law enforcement officer that has a rowdy brother. Should the brother be arrested for his behavior or should the officer look the other way?
6) “Jolene” Ray LaMontagne
This is a song about a scorned man making some poor life choices. Mr. LaMontagne has a distinct vocal style that is almost otherworldly.
5) “Until You Came Along” Golden Smog
Golden Smog is a side project of members of Wilco, the Jaywawks, and Soul Asylum among others. This is their tune of a man lamenting his old ways before he found the right woman.
4) “1000 Dollar Car” The Bottle Rockets
The Bottle Rockets are undeniably the greatest band to ever come out of Festus, Missouri. This is a profane, homespun tale of how a $1000 car can quickly become a $2000 car. Brian Henneman says that he is glad he wrote it, “’cause every time I sing it, it reminds me not to do that again…”
3) “Bittersweet” Big Head Todd and the Monsters
I enjoyed this talented Colorado band perform in Mankato for a wonderful concert. “Bittersweet” played in my head for days following the concert. It is the band’s take on how life is challenging, even after you meet some of your goals.
2) “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” The Band
This is an entertaining story song about the hardship of the Civil War and conditions in the Southern states in the winter of early 1865. I like how 1860’s history is put into popular music.
1) “Shame” The Avett Brothers
The Avetts are a group out of North Carolina that plays traditional folk instruments with a bit of rock attitude. They are known for their heartfelt lyrics. Their songs often have a theme of the struggle between right and wrong. This song is about feeling not-so-good after making some bad decisions.
Shame/Regret Song List Bonus
“My Favorite Mistake” by Sheryl Crow
I had the pleasure of attending Sheryl Crow in concert when she came to Mankato. Her music incorporates elements of rock, folk, country, and pop. This fun tune has created much speculation about who the subject of Sheryl’s “favorite mistake” is.