When I was a young ‘un, I used to dread visits to my Aunt Edy’s house, particularly if we were staying for dinner. Aunt Edy had a rule that children at the table had to sample everything offered to them, even things they didn’t want. This resulted in my being forced to accept “No-Thank-You” portions of everything from fried chicken livers (which I grew to love) to canned beets (which still turn my stomach). The benefits of the rule were twofold: a) we kiddies would get to try something new, something we wouldn’t necessarily get to eat normally, and b) Aunt Edy got to unload her canned beets on her sister’s gagging children.

Just as my palate for fried chicken livers evolved (or regressed, depending on one’s perspective), my tastes in music have likewise expanded over the course of the last 25 or so years. Though I fancy myself as something of a musical omnivore (yes, I write about power ballads, but I’m also a fan of jazz, jam bands, garage rock, ’70s punk, harmony singing, and a couple dozen other genres), there are just some things I haven’t gotten around to sampling, or have consciously avoided. There’s also lots out there I don’t even know about, even though I am practically tied to a computer for the bulk of each day.

Thus, I am asking you, dear Popdose reader, to help expand my horizons, by guiding me to some of those sounds to which I have not yet been exposed.  I hereby solicit your input for a column that has been dubbed “Rob Smith Can’t Say No.” The rules are simple:

  • Email me your suggestion/submission. Shoot me a note with links to MP3s, albums, or to let me know you’d like to send me a CD (I’ll provide a mailing address in my response to your email). It could be anything: obscure prog rock, Bulgarian dance music, twee singer/songwriter mush, Tuvan throat singers, or the garage band next door. If I haven’t heard it previously, it’s fair game. If your suggestion is used, you will get credit in the article.
  • I will write about your suggestion/submission. I’ll try it, write about it, and let you know if I’m willing to listen further. Fair warning: I have a potty mouth, and depending on my mood, I might not be as gentle or kind as some would like. If it’s good, I shall praise it; if I don’t care for it, I might just be ever-so-slightly unpleasant.

If I don’t get suggestions from you, dear Popdose reader, I’ll be forced to take input from my editors (those long-distance life partners we all know and love) and, well, all I can say is that I’m glad I’ve already heard Metal Machine Music once.

You can reach me here. I look forward to hearing from you.