My relationship with Fleet Foxes began with a blind date.

I was 19. A year before, I had moved from the city of Charlotte to the bigger city of Chicago. From there I had come to a small town in central Virginia just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Still reeling with culture shock and trying to find my place, I was sitting alone in a common area of my college studying. Out of nowhere, I was interrupted by a random guy I’d never seen before asking if I’d like to go on “The Great Date ‘08” with him. He explained that his roommates had challenged each other to find someone they don’t know and treat them to a group date involving home-cooked food and go-karts.

After talking to my roommates (and definitely NOT talking to my parents), I agreed to push past my hesitations and say yes. (We did go on a quick coffee date before The Great Date so I was reasonably reassured that he wasn’t a psychopath).

When the date day arrived, I was summoned from my dorm room by my date blasting music from his car, dressed up and holding flowers. I was so embarrassed I ran to the car. Inside there was a poem he’d written on the seat and a custom mix-tape. (Oh, did I mention, these roommates were trying to out-do each other?) We listened to the mix as we drove to dinner, all the while I tried to squash down my pressing fear of being abducted. I felt better after a while, thinking that murderers probably don’t know all the lyrics to Aladdin’s A Whole New World.

Then this song came on:

“Who IS this?!” I was SO into it. The date could’ve ended right there, and it would’ve been a great night.

Folk music is certainly in my blood, being raised on Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel. But I’ve never been one to keep up with modern music so I need people in my life to introduce me to new bands. Music is the background in my life. While I don’t necessarily sit down and focus on it, music sets the mood and weaves memories together for me.

Fleet Foxes soon became the soundtrack to my falling in love with Virginia. Driving on the Blue Ridge and picnicking beside the James River. This city girl visited farms and hiked mountains. Fleet Foxes became a bridge for me into bluegrass, which I love (although I’ve never found a taste for real country music). I even joined the James River Blue Grass Association so I could sit in on bluegrass jams. It was me, an enormous potluck meal, and about 30 people over 60 with incredible musical ability. The best time.

Fleet Foxes is the glue to all of these memories.

Back to the date – I did not get murdered. I made a lot of new friends and saw new parts of my small city. It was so much fun, I was honored to be a part of it.

Although no romantic relationship came of that night (I honestly can’t even remember my date’s name), I did walk away with a decade-long relationship with an amazing band. It’s been me and Fleet Foxes through the years of settling into my own Virginia home and building a family here.

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