Remember that TV game show where the contestants would say how few notes they needed to hear to name a song? (I know, I know, I’m dating myself.) I would watch it in awe, knowing that even if I heard the entire song, I wouldn’t be able to name it.

So when our publisher, James Ricks, suggested we do a music section, I figured my days were numbered. My musical ignorance is the butt of many jokes in our office. It’s not that I don’t like or enjoy music, it’s just that it’s not something I remember very well — if at all.

It’s hard to admit, but I could hear a song every day for a week, be told the name of that song and who sings it every day for a week, and the following Monday, I wouldn’t be able to recall any of that information.

So the thought of having to put together a bunch of stories about music and musicians was downright terrifying.

Fortunately, I’m surrounded by musical savants who live for the greatest songs and newest bands. Thanks to them, even if I can’t name the band or the song, I can at least recognize it (most of the time). I love that they keep me up to musical speed with song and CD suggestions. At least I appear to be hip and in the know.

I know Modest Mouse (whom I called Modest Mouth for the longest time) and Ben Lee and the phenomenal Austin band Del Castillo and the really cool Kile … Kiley (see what I mean? I have two of their CDs and still can’t remember their name!) … Rilo Kiley. (Thanks to iTunes, I was able to search my music library for the correct name.)

Don’t be fooled, however, by this impressive wealth of knowledge. The real brains behind all the great music stories you’ll read in this issue are my co-workers. They knew exactly what you’d want to read and what you needed to know, and our designers put it all together into a compelling package. So turn to page 67 and see if you don’t learn a few things.

Also, don’t miss our excellent interview with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, which starts here. Although you’d think you’d find him in the music package, he’s our signature “Celebrated Weekend” story, so we had two places where the story would fit. A flip of a coin determined his placement. (Magazine employees are a highly scientific sort.)

You’ll also want to try our version of a reality show. Our 4th annual Road Warrior contest is under way, and there’s nothing more real than life on the road. And just like in any of the reality shows that have made it past one or two seasons on TV, it’s going to take lots of creativity to get our attention, because the path before you has been paved with greatness.

Click here to see what’s required of you and what fab prizes you can win. Then show us you’ve got what it takes to be the ultimate Road Warrior.

I’d love to talk more, but I’ve got to run. I need to figure out the best way to thank my coworkers for making James Ricks think I’m a musical genius.

Picture of Sheri Burns