Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On the Radar -- My Fall Playlist

I'm writing this blog post really as a procrastination tactic -- which is odd, since I usually procrastinate about writing the blog.  I need to be making sock monkeys right now, as I have an art fair this weekend.  But being slightly burnt out in the monkey department, I thought I would be productive in another way, albeit a way that doesn't really accomplish my goals for what needs to get done today.

Anyhoo, I thought I would share my favorite ten songs of the moment -- an important clarification because this list is constantly changing.  I live my life by mix CDs.  But right now, this week, as the first leaves start to change and the air gets a little colder, a little crisper here in central North Carolina, these songs make me feel warmer and just a little more alive.  The other Blackbird will tell you that I'm a softie, and it's true, I am.  And there's just something about fall, my favorite season, that makes me crave love songs, soft songs, and songs that just make you feel...more.   I've scattered some evocative finds from Etsy throughout, as well, just because, well, you need something pretty to look at while you listen to all this great music!

Photographic Print by bomobob on Etsy, here.

1.  David Ramirez, Fires

I found David Ramirez on NoiseTrade, a site that has tons of free music and books from new artists that you can download for free.  Luckily, the version of Fires from that site was the acoustic one.  The original track, from his album American Soil is good, but it doesn't have the intensity of the one below.  Lyrics to die for:  "I could start fires with what I feel for you."  Swoon.

2.  Sam Airey, Stars

His voice is distinctive, and I get so caught up in the sound and words.  From his Station Approach EP, it's amazing to me to hear that he did this version in one take.  Haunting and beautiful.

3.  Damien Rice, I Don't Want to Change You

I'm obsessed with this song and video.  I love Damien Rice, and this song is off his upcoming album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy.  I've been waiting YEARS for a new album (eight, to be exact), so I'm pretty excited about a new one.  He is so amazing at bringing out raw emotion, and the lyrics just stick in your mind.  My fave lyrics: "I've never been with anyone in the way I've been with you".

Photogray by Shashamane Dream Photo on Etsy, here.

4.  Ryan Adams, Elizabeth, You Were Born to Play That Part

From his 2005 album, 29, this song is pretty depressing.  But so very, very beautiful.  Written for a friend who lost a child, this song has a long instrumental part at the end that uplifts the whole thing.  The song is so heartfelt, and it means so much more because of the magic that Ryan Adams can put into any song he creates.  It's all beautiful, but my favorite lines are: "For you I'd do anything / tear myself in two / just to hear you breathe."

5.  A Fine Frenzy, Pinesong

A Fine Frenzy, a.k.a. Alison Sudol, has long been one of my favorite artists.  Her album Pines really works best if you listen to the whole thing together -- she said, "the entire record is a story, and each song is a chapter that leads into the next."  And it's all about nature.  My favorite part: "Rolling hills are / Roaming through my veins / And open arms / And all is full of / Hope."

From Boho Quilts on Etsy, here.

6.   Laura Marling, Breathe

I didn't discover her until last fall, after one of my students mentioned her.  It was love at first listen.  She quickly moved into my top 5 artists ever, which is a very select group.  Her entire Once I Was an Eagle album is ah-ma-zing, but Breathe really stands out to me.  Such great storytelling -- for example: "When you wake you'll know I'm gone / And where I'm going there's no one / So don't follow me."  Watch the whole short film, When Brave Bird Saved, if you have 18 minutes to spare, but if not, just enjoy this -->

7. Dave Matthews, Come Away Death

Here's another from my top 5 artists ever -- Dave can do no wrong.  He released this musical video last year, and I am dying -- dying -- to have a downloadable copy of this song.  The words are Shakespeare's, from Twelfth Night, set to music.  It's just Dave, a piano, and lovely words.  Who needs more?  (I do -- a mp3 of this song!!)

Photography from Raceytay on Etsy, here.

8.  Sarah Jarosz, Gone Too Soon

I was lucky enough to get to see her perform at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC a few years ago, and she is the real deal.  She is so very talented, taking bluegrass and making is more accessible, I think, for larger audiences.  Gone Too Soon is another song that tells a story, drawing the listener into her web.  My favorite part: "When you sing / It’s like silver / When you touch me I’m on fire."

9. Bearfoot, Doors and Windows

This song is a major standout to me, and always seems to make its way onto my playlists.  Again, I love a song with a story, and this one is so fairy tale-ish and deep that you can't get it out of your brain for days.  So beautiful just to listen to it -- musically and lyrically. I mean, the first line is: "Both you and I know that this monster is no longer sleeping."  And it just gets better from there...

Photography from Fizz Studio on Etsy, here.
10.  Emily Jane White, Dark Undercoat

From her 2007 album of the same name, this song is another sad story.  (I promise I'm not sad all the time.)  I want to listen to this song, with headphones, in a warm coat on a blustery, gray, fall day, with dry leaves skipping around my feet.  It, as do the others, has lyrics that pull me in.  For example: "Oh, but if I was a deep bathtub would you sink down, / To the bottom of my love?"