Here it is, the first weekly playlist of the new year. Last year’s lists only started in July, so I only had 500 songs listed by the end of 2012. There are 52 weeks in the year, though, so this year should bring 1040 different songs to light here on my blog. That’s a crazy number, especially considering that next year will offer another 1040 different songs, and the year after… Celtic Thunder has a new album coming out in February, and many of the other artists I really like also have new music in the works, but many of them are less prolific, and will fade into the background a bit as new artists weave their way into these lists. It’s unavoidable, but just as when I posted the last of Darrell Coyle’s songs from his EP, I’ll be agonizing over posting ‘that last song’ for any of my favorites. Anyway, back to
1. “I’m Yours/ Somewhere Over the Rainbow”- Straight No Chaser (With A Twist): I don’t usually like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, even when my favorite singers record it. But in this mash-up it works very well. I’ve had this version of these songs stuck in my head off and on since before Christmas, since it was a track I heard while discovering this group’s fantastic rendition of “12 Days of Christmas”.
2. “The Lonesome Road”- Randy Howard (Bluegrass Ballads) : A bit of nice bluesy bluegrass to start off the year. My good friend’s boyfriend just moved into town and plays bluegrass, so I suspect that my music calendar this year might include a bit more bluegrass this year. This is a genre I swore I hated until about 7 years ago when I heard a compilation bluegrass promo album that I really liked. I still don’t know the names of the subgenres within bluegrass enough to articulate what I like and what I still dislike in this genre, and while I know a lot of tunes, I don’t know the names of many of these tunes. So, expect a bluegrass track or two every week for a while as I poke at this genre a bit more.
3. “True Religion”- The Duhks (Folk Blues): This is the sort of stuff that is always great to sing along with. If I was arranging music for small ensemble a capella groups, I can also imagine how cool this song would be arranged for 4-part a cappella. Now all I need is an a cappella group for whom to arrange it.
4. “Coffee in the Morning”- Adam Burrows (Never One for Silence): A nice pleasant folk tune about mornings. I’m not exactly a morning person, and I can’t quite imagine changing my mind about them even if I had a fantastic guy. (I’m imagining someone along the lines of Ryan Kelly or Neil Byrne here, of course, and tea with milk and suger, not coffee. I don’t remember offhand whether Neil likes coffee, but I know Ryan does not, and I landed at my current tea preferences after trying the ones these guys mentioned as their favorites.) Anyway, the sentiment of this song is nice, even if ‘morning’ translates to something closer to noonish in my household.
5. “Castles in the Air”- Celtic Thunder (Act II ): Awww, he sounds so young! Keith Harkin has certainly matured a little since he recorded this song with Celtic Thunder, back in 2007, I guess, since that’s when they recorded the material for their 2008 inaugural Celtic Thunder tour. He’s much better at looking pensive, and there are some rather sexy photos of him, brooding, that he has shared with the world online over the past few years. Back in 2007-8 he was a lot cheerier, but already by this first year in Celtic Thunder his original songs were finding their way into the Celtic Thunder repertoire, with “Lauren and I”. He was pretty scrawny, though, back then, and not quite so nicely hairy- he’s grown into himself quite nicely, I think.
6. “Lift the Wings”- Michael Ball (Centre Stage) : I heard this song for the first time when it was on Riverdance, which I saw for the first time at my grandmother’s house. I really like the Riverdance version, because it is sung by a woman, in a key that is comfy for my voice. Still, I can manage to sing along to Michael Ball happily enough on this one, and he sounds lovely when I stop warbling along and just let him sing. (This is why that ‘Coffee in the Morning’ thing is really unlikely. My cat could tell any prospective coffee/tea buddies that I sing along to everything, and whistle along if the song in question has no words. I probably don’t always sound awful, but it still would drive most guys nuts long before our second morning’s coffee.)
7. “The Ranger”- Goats Don’t Shave (The Rusty Razor) : I got pulled in by this band’s name, really. This song is pretty cool, a bit of a sea shanty to balance out the other folksy stuff on this list.
8. “When the Dragon Came Down”- SHEL (SHEL): SHEL is working on, or has been working on, a new album- very exciting- so soon there will be more amazing music from these 4 sisters to add to my playlists. This song has been a fan favorite for quite a while, and since the Hobbit came out, it seems particularly appropriate. It could easily have been written for the Hobbit, actually, and if/when I get a chance to chat with these ladies that is one question I mean to ask them.
9. “Stone Cold Crazy”- Queen ( News Of the World ): Like horseradish or vinegar for the sinuses or cool water for the tongue, this Queen song cleans the pallet, music-wise, a nice crisp, clean bit of fast rock with lots of lyrics. It is a mark of a true Queen fan, knowing the words and being able to sing them in time with this song, at least among the Queen fans I’ve known. (Yep, I know ’em, of course.)
10. “Last Train Home”- Lily Henley (Found in Translation: The Songs of Kazuo Zaitsu) : I found this song about a week ago, so I still haven’t completely absorbed it. In a few more days I’ll see the title and immediately recall what it sounds like, but for now it’s still a pleasant surprise every time this song starts. There were several other songs on this short multiple-artist album that I would have added to this week’s playlist, too, so definitely check out the whole album if you have time. Lily Henley released a new solo EP in October 2012, which I’ll have to check out soon. Her website is not yet updated to reflect that her EP is out, but hopefully it will be up soon to reflect what she and her band are up to now. At least it has pretty colors and no annoying autoplay tracks.
11. “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”- Tina Turner (Tina Turner Love Songs) : It was a toss-up between this one and “Proud Mary”, so this lady will turn up at least once more in the near future on my playlists. Considering how much music Tina Turner has performed and recorded, she’ll probably have a few more songs to add to this blog’s lists by the time I’m done.
12. “Suantrai”- Orla Fallon (Winter, Fire & Snow (1947-1949)): One of the other traditional lullabies that comes up whenever I am looking for stuff on my favorite one. ‘Suantrai’ means ‘sleep-song’ or lullaby, and there are several other tunes that occasionally are just titled ‘Suantrai’ on recorded albums. I’m sure there are more useful first-line titles for most of these, but since they are all in Irish, most people who don’t read Irish would find these first lines more formidable than the task of sorting through a bunch of different ‘suantrai’ tunes.
13. “Everybody Wants to Rule The World”- Tears For Fears (Songs From the Big Chair ): Every time I hear this song I recall that house at the end of Real Genius that is splitting at the seams as the expanding ball of popcorn inside starts gushing out of it. As my friends so kindly remind me from time to time, I’m getting old, and not everyone was alive when Real Genius came out. If you have not seen this movie, I won’t gasp in horror at this serious gap in your movie experiences, but do see it. This movie has the geekiness of CSI, but with more comedy, on a college campus setting, with a very young (early 20’s) Val Kilmer when he still looked hot and was not yet the asshole he apparently became later. If you don’t know who Val Kilmer is, I’d reference Willow (he was Mad Martigan) but if you haven’t seen Real Genius, would you have seen Willow?
14. “All With You”- Hayley Westenra, The Pavao Quartet (Winter Magic) : Hayley Westenra, at her most angelic. This one’s off her Winter Magic album, which has lots of Christmas music, but this song is not a Christmas song. It’s very pretty, easily one of my favorites of her songs.
15. “Blackbird”- Daryl Runswick, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The King’s Singers (Best of the King’s Singers ): The standard against which all other recordings of this song may be measured. Well, when you put these people all together on one song, it’s almost guaranteed to be great. It is all a cappella, with whistling, which is where the King’s Singers come in- the stuff that someone else would be playing on guitar is all done with voices instead.
16. “Silver Dagger”- Martha Tilston (Of Milkmaids & Architects) : This song is very similar to “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies”, a similar tune, and with similar phrases, but in this song a girl is telling her would-be suitor to go away. The other song is warning girls about leading on young men, and about how easily distracted men are.
17. “Tower’s Callin'”- Europe(Out of This World ) : One of my childhood favorites. I loved that this song is left unresolved but while implying a terrible tragedy as the pilot plummets to his death. I used to be able to whistle the gorgeous guitar solo, too, but sadly it seems I’ve gotten rusty when it comes to whistling fancy guitar lines. This is the stuff people used to do with electric guitars. The effects many people use now are cool, but I miss these songs with show-stopping guitar solos in the middle of songs with strong melodies and cool lyrics.
18. “I Want You”- Savage Garden (Savage Garden) : You all remember this one, right? I haven’t found as much on their later recordings that I like as much as the songs on their self-titled debut album. Whether it was because they were running out of steam or not, Savage Garden has disbanded, and the singer of this duo is now on his 4th solo album. The break-up according to wikipedia- “In late 2000 Hayes announced that Jones was taking time off to work on a record label he had founded. The band took a hiatus but was expected to reform by early 2002. In October 2001, Hayes announced that Savage Garden had broken up. Hayes and Jones had agreed that they would break up after finishing their tour for their second album. It was reported that Jones did not learn about the actual date of the break-up until he read the report of Hayes announcing the split. “In an interview on the musicMAX network, Hayes said that a few weeks before the release of their second album, Jones did not like the fame that the band was receiving and was not happy. Hayes wanted to move on in the music industry as a solo artist. His first solo single, “Insatiable”, was released in January 2002 and his solo album, Spin, followed in March. Jones started his own production company, Meridien Musik, and built a recording studio, Level 7 Studios. In August 2007, Hayes was asked by The Daily Telegraph if he and Jones would ever consider a reunion, he replied abruptly, “No, never. I once said I’d only do it if it cured cancer, and that’s still how I feel.” In other words, it was not entirely an amicable break-up, but at least they have moved on and never have to share a stage or studio again. 🙂
19. “Outside Looking In”- Celtic Thunder, Ryan Kelly (Storm) : So, after that bit of Australian pop music drama, here’s another Celtic Thunder song. I try to not include 2 songs by the same artist on a single playlist, but this song is an exception for this first week of 2013. This song describes a bit of the dynamic I am theoretically getting at in my thesis, and theoretically I am going to be done with this thesis this semester, because continuing to pay a university while I put off finishing this degree is dumb. Every time I hear this song, I am reminded of my thesis, which is also about Gypsies and Travellers in Ireland (which from their clothes I must assume Ryan and his ‘sister’ are supposed to be), so if this song starts off my first ‘accumulated playlist’ for the year I’ll get a reminder every time I hear my growing playlist of what I ought to be writing.
20. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”- Starship (No Protection) : Mannequin was such a cute movie. This song’s pretty great anyway, but as one of the songs on a movie about a mannequin that happens to also be an Egyptian princess, and an out-of-work artist who becomes a window dresser, the combination is magic.
Happy New Year, everybody! 2013 should be fun,