Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1/ Intro

Jukebox Girl

You can find me
at the five and dime
soda jerk counter

I’ll be in my
bobby socks
eating banana splits

I can’t promise you
a rose garden
but I can tell you
love is in his kiss
and what really happened
on the Tallahatchie Bridge

Put another quarter in
I only exist
when the needle hits
and I start to spin

Author Bio:
Ann Kestner is the founder and editor of the online literary journal
Poetry Breakfast. For over 25 years her poems have appeared in various journals. She is the poet in residence at the Poetry and Arts Barn in Cream Ridge, NJ where she hosts a variety writing groups and poetry readings.

Kevin Recommends: “Fade Away” by Trevor Something

(Trevor Something does not exist, so we don’t share photos of him.)

You know how it goes.

You meet someone new. They excite you. You think you could click with them. You start talking and things are going well. You think you’ve got a chance at a meaningful relationship, and you’re feeling pumped.

But then they fade away.

They act like they aren’t pulling away from you, but they are. Something’s got them spooked, like a deer catching a scent on the wind. You try to offer reassurances that you don’t want to hurt them, but it’s too late — there’s no getting them back. And chances are good that you’ll never know why.

This isn’t exclusive to romantic relationships; I’m sure we’ve all had this happen even with normal, close friendships. Hell, I’ve been guilty of doing it myself. Meaningful relationships are scary, and sometimes people would rather fade away than risk opening themselves up to the potential hurt that comes from others.

The pain of it stings, though. Knowing you can upset and frighten someone so deeply, so easily, simply by being present in their life — that’s a pain that stings for a long time. Yet, as with all emotional pain, music can provide a salve to help expedite the healing process.

Trevor Something has a great number of songs to choose from for dealing with whatever fucked-up problem in the human condition you happen to be facing on a given day. Today’s recommendation, Fade Away, is one of those tracks that’s perfect for putting on when you’re feeling down, and you want to hear something kind of sad, but you still want to feel cool while doing it.

To those who’ve watched helplessly as someone wonderful got scared and faded away, enjoy.

(Song recommendation by Kevin D. Woodall)


Cate Recommends: “What Keeps Me Loving You” by XYZ

I’ll admit it. Many moons ago I was a total headbanger. Jean jacket, acid wash jeans, and the only person who had bigger and better hair than me was my boyfriend. So what if he’s a drag queen for real now? That’s a whole other story. I was totally invested in Whitesnake and Ratt and Def Leppard too. My Walkman lived in my jacket pocket, and the bottom of my stone wash hobo bag contained a bunch of cassette tapes that I needed to survive, well, life. I also loved a whole string of hard rock bands that found themselves lost in the shadows of… Bon Jovi.

I accidentally revisited XYZ the other day, and in doing so, I stumbled onto one of the best power ballads that far too many people will not remember by name. “What Keeps Me Loving You” just drips with heat and emotion still, to this day. If Terry Ilous’ vocals don’t get you then I absolutely promise that Marc Diglio’s wailing guitar solo really will. I don’t care what the genre may be; when a song drips with emotion I’m a fan. If you can distract me enough to actually make me feel something, then you’ve won my respect and maybe even a tiny corner of my crispy little heart.

This song? Man, we have all been there.

Everytime I say goodbye
I can’t be free
Tell me why I never try
To let it be.”

Remember when you knew you weren’t in the best relationship but you couldn’t stay away? Remember how you went back for more when that little voice in the back of your head told you to keep it moving? Yeah, me too. So when Terry clearly feels these lyrics, so will you. When that guitar speaks, it’s going to hit a nerve somewhere inside of you too just as it did me.

The thing about songs like “What Keeps Me Loving You” is that they connect us all. That’s the calling card for a great song, one that will hold up over time, isn’t it? Grab your ear buds, close your eyes and give this a listen. It brings us all to a similar place and that is a beautiful thing.

(Song recommendation by Cate Meighan)

Brittany Recommends: “Zoot Suit Riot” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies

The lead singer, Steve Perry, makes listening to the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies an experience. I can listen to all of their albums from start to finish. When I need something upbeat with a twisted story, they’re my go-to, but if I had to choose, Zoot Suit Riot is my favorite album of theirs. The album was made in 1997, which makes this year its 20th anniversary.

The album is named after its first song, Zoot Suit Riot, which is a historical event that happened in LA. The rest of the album is filled with stories/songs which reflect the persona of different men. In a sense, the album is a reflection of what men have become within our society. Beware though — this album isn’t for PG ears. This album dives into the nitty gritty of what nobody wants to read or even think about.

(Song recommendation by Brittany McCann)

Jon Recommends: “Big Jet Plane” by Tuka on Like A Version

I usually don’t recommend covers. I still don’t.

To me, a cover is a cover is a cover. Rightfully so, if the artist did it right, imitation is all it takes to make the song great….but why am I gonna listen? To hear the same song but in someone else’s voice? I’m a’ight.

But sometimes a cover is fucking beyond. GATE GATE PARAGATE, know what I mean?

Here is one such song. Tuka et al. took this song apart, burned the pieces to the ground and birthed their version from the ash like Fawkes the fucking phoenix.

I’m not saying Angus and Julia didn’t do it right. Respect. But I can’t remember a word of their song (other than the chorus).

Yet here I am, singin and groovin to every word in Tuka’s “cover”. We are talking strings, lyricism, Thelma Plum, Lana Del Ray references, and some type of 3D theramin Nintendo wii air drum? Live?

The actual fuck.

Also, if you aren’t turned on to Like a Version yet…flip that switch, baby.

Lazy ear tip: skip to 1:42-ish to get down to business.

(Song recommendation by Jon Johnson)

Sam Recommends: “L.A.” by Elliott Smith


As much as I’ve always loved Elliott Smith, I could never understand the appreciation he expressed for Los Angeles in his appropriately named song, “L.A.”

I definitely never thought I’d end up here. In fact, I had always been dead set against living in this city.

I’d made the drive in from Riverside for countless concerts, readings, and trips to Amoeba, but the insufferable traffic paired with my nonexistent navigation skills always made it a trip rife with anxiety and frustration.

But when my husband got the job of his dreams in North Hollywood, and I found mine in Santa Monica, it became pretty clear that we were destined for a Los Angeles zip code.

Turns out, I love it here (in spite of the traffic, which remains insufferable, and seems to get worse each day.)

This gorgeously strange place, and the people working hard to make their dreams come true here, are an endless source of inspiration for me to push myself harder, and to do more.

My first year here has been one of my most creatively fulfilling; Memoir Mixtapes probably wouldn’t be a thing if I hadn’t moved here. And that would be a tragedy because Memoir Mixtapes is lyfe.

I’m also really happy that I can finally relate to a song I’ve loved since high school.

Feels good, man.

(Song recommendation by Samantha Lamph)

Kevin Recommends: “Shadow” by Chromatics

                            Isn’t it too dreamy?

You know that homesick feeling you get sometimes?

Not the normal one, simply wishing you were back home, but the other one. The one that has you pining for a place you’re not entirely sure you’ve ever been to, or whether it even exists. A yearning so strong that you get a little choked up and teary when you feel it.

That’s what this song makes me feel. It anchors me in the present, yet I feel like I’m floating through someone else’s distant dream.

My first time hearing this track came when I was watching Twin Peaks: The Return; this song closed out the two-part opener of the season. It was the perfect choice to cap off a strange but wonderful two episodes of television. It’s also the perfect choice for listening to when you’re driving along a highway at midnight on a moonless night, with your way forward lit only by the headlights of your black Cadillac and the stars in the sky.

Come on, give it a listen. Sway with me.

Let’s go back to a place we’ve never been.

(Song recommendation by Kevin D. Woodall)

Seigar Recommends: “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West (ft. Chance the Rapper, The Dream, Kelly Price, and Kirk Franklin)

Hey! This is Seigar (the photographer) again, and I’ve made my way back to Memoir Mixtapes to bring you the gospel from Mister Kanye West. He brought all the angels around him on the Earth to share this heavenly anthem with us. West is probably an ego man, but he has what is needed to produce an excellent track, rated 10. The perfect composition…

This song is my favorite from 2016. Kanye pushes religion, society’s problems, stardom, and himself into the lyrics. He played the same cards that Madonna did decades ago in “Like a Prayer.” Many people are involved, but it is Chance The Rapper who tries to touch the sky too: “this is my part, nobody else speak”, he repeats over and over.

West used silent pauses like James Blake, presented the gospel like Madonna, and exploded with soul like Michael Kiwanuka. And he did it all in just five minutes.

God bless you Kanye.

Here I leave you my full playlist of my fave songs of 2016.

(Song recommendation by Seigar)

Dale Recommends: “Tulsa Queen” by Emmylou Harris

I love Emmylou Harris for so many reasons. She is a great picker of songs, blessed with the voice of an angel. She always chose to be surrounded by the best musicians from Albert Lee to Ricky Skaggs.

Of course, we owe her discovery to Gram Parsons, the sort of mythical musical creature that, if you haven’t discovered him, go forth and sin no more. The album where this song first appears, Luxury Liner, is named for a Parsons song. This beauty was written by Emmylou and Rodney Crowell and exudes sadness and longing and all the qualities so much we have lost.

I got to interview Emmylou once, in 1992. I told my mom before going that if Emmylou wanted me to go on tour with her and be her lover, I was going to do it. My mom replied, “As long as she pays for your college, I don’t care.”

Enjoy, and try your best not to fall in love with Emmylou.

Dale Wiley is an author of three novels: The Intern, Sabotage and Southern Gothic. He is a podcaster, working on the Soutee podcast about a larger than life friend who lived a one of a kind life that included horses, parties, law, prison and maybe even a murder. He is working on a TV project called The East Side, and also started the roots rock record label Slewfoot Records.