Jamie Anderson – Drive All Day Book (2022)
Jamie rants about everything from Spotify, who paid her ten cents one quarter, to sharing the road with clueless truckers who don’t pull over even when they’re dragging a curtain of sparks behind them. Read about a trip to Hawaii where she hardly noticed the beaches, (Because: Ukuleles), a gig at a hospice where they didn’t want soothing instrumentals and candlelight, and a Canadian winter that saw her walking to class every day, even when the Real Canadians were driving. There’s also the trip to Dollywood where her mom was the oldest person in line for a bone-rattling roller coaster but, then again, this is the same woman who jumped out of a plane in her seventies.
Jamie’s a guitar teacher too, even if any search engine would have you believe guitar teachers are all young guys leaning over smiling women who can’t possibly learn how to form a G chord without manly instruction. She’s had several students from the Chinese embassy who pepper her with questions about Beatles songs, such as, “Did Eleanor Rigby really exist?” or “Why are these songs so sad?” There are pupils with creative excuses for not practicing like, “We couldn’t find her guitar.” She’s had students who aren’t neurotypical, such as her student who communicates using their favorite lines from vintage cartoons. On her popular YouTube channel, viewers ask about lesson details, but they also want to know if she’s married and if she’s lost weight. There are thousands of men who teach online and not one of them is told that the blue in his shirt matches his eyes.
You’ll find out that one publisher refused her last book because they were afraid men wouldn’t buy it; cloaked in so much academic-speak she needed a professor friend to translate. There are reviews of women’s music festivals, a chapter about lesbian folk singer Alix Dobkin, and stories from the road, like the gig where a disheveled woman got up on stage and threw pennies at Jamie’s guitar. Read about what it’s like to teach at a girls’ rock camp even though she’s never owned an electric guitar.
It’s not all music related, like the chapter about being an administrator for a neighborhood group where threads sometimes end up with writers hurling expletives at each other. Very un-Canadian, eh? She also writes about living between two cemeteries (the neighbors are really quiet), and the Uber ride from a New York City airport wherein her driver decided not to kill her and throw her body along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Get a glimpse of 1970s lesbian bar life with characters like Big Jan in “Definitely a Habit” and a more recent chapter about why barbecued chicken is what makes a festival better.
Dive into a musician’s life and if you learn anything, remember to stay off the roller coasters at Dollywood, unless you have a jumbo bottle of Ibuprofen.