Sen. Alexander gets his groove back

Sometimes you have to wonder whether lawmakers ever want to cut loose and head-bang to some quality garage rock.
Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: Trump health chief backs CDC research on gun violence | GOP negotiators meet on ObamaCare market fix | Groups sue over cuts to teen pregnancy program GOP negotiators meet on ObamaCare market fix 30 million people will experience eating disorders — the CDC needs to help MORE (R-Tenn.) showed that he, for one, might harbor such desires Monday night as he smiled and bobbed his head to strains of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” performed by a student jazz ensemble at the Patricia M. Sitar Center for the Arts.

That act preceded a performance by Alexander himself, a trained classical pianist.

Alexander’s professed musical tastes may fall along less dissonant lines than the oeuvre of Kurt Cobain & Co., but his eclectic performance showed he’s by no means pigeonholed into the classics. He told the story of his own musical education, which started at age 4, by playing songs that held personal meaning for him and reflected various points in his life.

He started with a variation of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” earning the audience’s applause by playing the theme progressively faster.

Said Alexander, “Little boys like to see if they can run fast, and little boys who play piano like to see if they can play the piano fast.”

Alexander’s youth was marked by Patti Page’s “Mockingbird Hill,” while his teenage years were represented by Ray Charles’s cover of Cindy Walker’s “You Don’t Know Me.”

The senator explains, “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten mellower.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s lost his groove. Just last week he joined Page in a recording studio in Nashville, where he recorded “The Tennessee Waltz” for her upcoming greatest-hits album.