Dr. Dog

This post is in the theme “Constructing an identity through media”. Read the first.

October 19, New York: This is the final post in this theme, as I think it’s appropriate to conclude the construction of a personality with a wedding.

Choosing a song for one’s wedding can be a difficult task. For Jill and I, the first thing we did the morning after we got engaged was start constructing playlists of our favorite songs to force our friends to dance to. Music was at the center of the ceremony from the beginning. That meant, though, that extra special care had to be taken for the Important Songs. And most especially, our first dance song.

After many months we decided on “California” by Dr. Dog. It fit all the criteria: sweet, fun, short, and with lyrics reasonably connected to our story. “Shoot the cannon / blow the horn / love was born / in Californ-/ -ia!”.

“California” is from Dr. Dog’s Takers and Leavers EP, their second release I had in my collection. I’d been listening to them for a long time, and absolutely loving their music. For a long time, I’d convinced myself that Dr. Dog hailed from New Orleans— half for their ragged, piano rag sonic qualities and half for how close to the heart each song hit me. (They’re actually from Pennsylvania.) Songs like “Oh No” get me every time, the fuzzy guitar, banging on the keys, ragged sing-alongs waiting to happen behind the wheel of any car. All of Easy Beat, really. I still get chills listening to “Wake Up”. These songs were prominently in our playlists for northen California excursions.

I still remember the moment in which we chose “California” as the song we’d dance to. Let’s say I chose it, suspected it could be the perfect song. It came on the car stereo as we were driving home on Highway One from a weekend spent north. I pulled the car over, turned the stereo up, and we danced on the Pacific seaside cliff as the seals played below.

Get to know your friendly neighborhood piano-slapping doctor, and buy some Dr. Dog.

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