By Drew Olson Special to Published Jan 11, 2007 at 5:30 AM

When it comes to music, few things are more exciting, invigorating and just plain fun than discovering a band, song or CD that you absolutely love and sharing your newfound enthusiasm with your friends, neighbors, co-workers and everyone else who will listen (to you and your band du jour).

I was recently reminded that this phenomenon has a powerful B-side; one that creates a rush that is almost as pleasurable:

Re-discovering a band, song or CD that you loved once but had forgotten.

It has happened to me a few times lately, often while walking the dog with the iPod set to "shuffle" and most recently during a trip last weekend to Boston, where I attended the annual "Hot Stove, Cool Music" benefit concert put on by my good friend Jeff Horrigan, a baseball writer for the Boston Herald, and baseball media icon Peter Gammons of ESPN.

For six years, Horrigan tried to get me to come check out the show, which is held at the Paradise, a venerable joint on Commonwealth Avenue that has hosted shows by the Ramones, Elvis Costello and the first North American gig by a little outfit called U2.

I finally took him up on his offer this year and the results were staggering. The event, which includes a silent auction, has morphed into a two-day affair that features top acts from Boston and beyond.

"It's really taken on a life of its own," Gammons said. "There are people that want us to move it to a bigger place, but I think we need to keep it here (at the Paradise). I don't want to lose whatever it is that we have here."

The lineup for the Saturday night show included the Bleedin' Bleedins, Frank Smith (which gets its name from Frank Black and Elliot Smith), the Figgs (whose frontman Mike Gent says he loves playing in Milwaukee) and members of Little Feat. The show also included a set by the Gammons all-stars, which included Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, pitcher Lenny DiNardo and Bill Janovitz from Buffalo Tom.

It was Janovitz who fueled my rediscovery rush.

During the early 1990s, a friend gave me a Buffalo Tom CD, and, after letting it sit on a dresser for two weeks, I put it in the player and listened to it non-stop for about two weeks while searching out other music by the band. It was the kind of "pay it forward" moment described above. I tried to spread the word about the band as best I could, but I soon moved onto other pursuits (and probably other, less-talented bands).

Seeing Janovitz onstage, belting out the BT classic "Treehouse," reminded me why I liked the disc my friend had given me. It was like somebody replaced the batteries on my music meter and made me want to seek out more Buffalo Tom music -- and music in general -- to recapture that excitement.

It didn't take long.

A little later in the set, the All-Stars chugged into a cover of "Powderfinger," a classic Neil Young song that I hadn't heard in ages. Hearing that song reminded me of another college roommate, who we called "Lampshade" for no good reason, and how he turned me on to a lot of the Godfather of Grunge's work over cases of Bavarian Club in the dorm.

I left that first show with two distinct buzzes -- one caused by a prodigious amount of alcohol (Don't worry, Ma, we weren't driving) and the other caused by the rediscoveries. When I got to the hotel later that evening, I thought about a recent stroll with the dog. The iPod landed on "Rip this Joint" from the Rolling Stones album "Exile on Main St." This is one of those classic albums that a lot of bands cite as a major influence and nearly everybody puts on their "desert island" list but it never gets radio play and often drifts out of mind like that sweater that falls to the floor of the closet.

I listened to "Exile" beginning to end on that walk and reveled in its ragged glory and was in a good mood for the rest of the evening.

Night two of "Hot Stove, Cool Music," headlined by Eli "Paperboy" Reed, the Downbeat 5, Kay Hanley and her husband, Mike Eisenstein, the rap group 4 Peace, the Pernice Brothers, the Figgs and the Gammons All-Stars, also put me in a good mood because it brought home another example of the "pay it forward" bond that music creates.

Hanley, revered in Boston for work with Letters to Cleo and singing the national anthem before Red Sox and Patriots playoff games, .introduced a cover song. It was "Turn," by the band Travis, and she dedicated it to Horrigan, who had exposed her to the band.

"We were on a plane flying to Denver," Horrigan said as we watched from the wings. "I was really into Travis at the time and I was flying there with Kay and her daughter, Zoe, who was one at the time. We were going to see Mike, who was touring with Nina Gordon.

"Well, the baby started crying and Kay was getting frustrated so I told her, 'Let me hold the baby and you listen to this.' I gave her my headphones and she loved the band."

As Horrigan told me the story, I couldn't help thinking that somewhere in that sweaty throng of people in front of the stage, there probably was someone hearing the Travis song for the first time would fall in love with it, seek out the original version and check out the band's other work. At the same time, there was probably a lapsed Travis fan who hadn't thought about the band whose passion was rekindled by the song.

It's fascinating how listening to a particular band, song or CD can be instantly create new emotions or conjure memories and senses that have been dormant. I guess that's what keeps us hooked up to those iPods, isn't it?


Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.