Thursday, September 06, 2007

Songs That Relax Me

Jack JohnsonThough I have my rocker moments (you should see what I listen to when I'm doing my Friday cleaning) there's a time when I want to slow down and take things a little easier. Maybe I'm getting old but here's a list of my favorites from my lengthy "easy listening" playlist--and don't worry I'm not quite to the "Carpenters-and-Manilow Phase" yet.

1. "River" by Sarah McLachlan. Every time Andrew hears me listening to this beautiful ballad he points out that "It's a Christmas song!" but that hasn't stopped me from listening to it for the past eight months. So what? It's not as if it's got Jingle Bells going in the background. Oh, well, maybe it does now that I think about it. Who cares, it's wonderful--and it's sad, what's Christmasy about that?

2. "Constellations" by Jack Johnson. Ever since his Curious George gig Jack Johnson's been on the radar but I was listening to this long before--it really gives the flavor of his Maui roots which I find so tasty. He has an acoustic version but this one is better.

3. "Someone to Watch over Me" by Ella Fitzgerald. Only Ella can do justice to the Gershwins' famous song. There are many versions but only one Ella. If you want to hear the song done right, this is the one.

Eva Cassidy4. "I Know You By Heart" by Eva Cassidy. I enjoy Eva's voice and have several of her CDs, but this one is her best, her absolute best. It's sad, it's haunting, it's that sound that Eva is famous for and I savor every note--the violins and her voice.

5. "With or Without You" by U2. My obligatory U2 song, can't have a music list without U2. This song came out in the 80s when I was in high school--the first time I ever heard a U2 song I was coming back from an afternoon of research at the UAA library, it was "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"--but I still love it. Next to Sting's "Every Breath You Take" it could win the title of "Best Ballad Ever Written."

Alison Krauss6. "When You Say Nothing At All" by Alison Krauss. I'm not into country or much folk music but Alison Krauss' voice is enough to overcome all my objections. I love this song, it couldn't be more romantic and Rowan Keating's version isn't bad either, it's just not as good as this one.

7. "All At Sea" by Jamie Cullum. Not a well-known song or artist, in fact it was one I got for free from itunes as one of their weekly freebies but it's a great song. Go look it up and see what you think.

8. "Annie's Song" by John Denver. Yes, yes, I know it's cliche and is the #1 song most likely to be sung at a wedding--I think it's in the Guiness Book of World Records or something under Most Weddings--but it's still a beauty of a ballad. Romantic, lyrical, what more do you need? You know you like it too.

9. "Down to The River to Pray" by Allison Krauss. After saying I didn't like country I'm sure putting a lot of country songs on this list but this one is from the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack and it represents the beauty of southern American folk and gospel music. It's a cappella and needs nothing to accompany it.

Rod Stewart10. "As Time Goes By" by Rod Stewart and Queen Latifah. That you read that right, Rod Stewart and Queen Latifah. Did you notice when Rod Stewart made an album full of classic American songs such as this? It was so successful he made three more--I have three of the four albums and they're all fabulous though I have never been a Rod Stewart fan. This version of an American classic is perfect: it's lilting but playful and Queen Latifah's voice adds a classy touch.

11. "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" by Louis Armstrong. Satchmo has some amazing songs but this is his best and my favorite. "Give me your lips for just one moment and my imagination will make that moment live . . . give me what you alone can give . . . a kiss to build a dream on . . ." It's everything a song should be.

Errol Garner12. "Misty" by Errol Garner. An instrumental classic that makes the piano into a paint brush, painting with each note the rippling beauty of a running stream. As with other songs on this list there are other versions of this piece but only one Errol Garner.

13. "Shoot the Moon" by Norah Jones. I love her music, have her three CDs and this is probably my favorite of her songs though it's hard to choose. I had to have her on the list at some point.

Honorable mentions: Dean Martin's "Buena Sera" if I had to choose my favorite of his. Likewise "Stardust" by Nat King Cole, "Vincent" by Josh Groban (not really a Josh Groban fan but this one I like), "Beyond the Sea" by Frank Sinatra, and "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel.

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55 comments:

K T Cat said...

I have Enya's Shepherd Moons CD and play that to relax.

MommyK said...

I sang "Down In The River To Pray" to both my kids as newborns. It sent them both to sleep! Alison Kraus's voice is haunting.

I also love "Annie's Song." Who cares if it's a popular wedding song? It's beautiful!

Kota Bear said...

3 and 5.... lovely songs. I'm afraid I don't recognize most of the others. I usually relax well to anything soft and instrumental, but my favorite is my Celtic Whispers CD. I've never found another copy of it since my old one got lost.

Happy T-13!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

*blush*

A bit too mellow for me, but no arguments that those are great songs! They're just not apt to be played around here.

Corrie said...

I love Alisson Krauss and the girls especially love to belt out "Down to the River" on Roadtrips.

What? No Harry Connick, Jr?

Chris said...

I love "River" too. "It's coming on Christmas, cutting down trees..."

soccer mom in denial said...

Love Ella. Just love her. Great list.

crazy working mom said...

Wow, that's an awesome list! Now I feel relaxed. Thanks! :)

Heather.PNR said...

Mmmm, I could listen to "Down to the River" for hours.

My favorite version of "River" is a live one by the Indigo Girls.

Nap Warden said...

I really like Alisson Krauss. Great music!

Malcolm: said...

I have a few of Eva Cassidy's CDs myself. It's a shame she never lived to enjoy the acclaim her music has received over the last few years.

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

I'm relaxed just by reading your list! :)

No Nonsense girl said...

right now the only thing that could relax me would be the sound of silence.. ;)

Happy TT!!!!

Scribbit said...

Well Corrie if you have any Harry Connick Jr. recommendations I'd love to hear them.

Judy Callarman said...

I love your numbers 8 and 9!

G's Cottage said...

Wow; and "Mr. Holland's Opus" was just on. "Rowena" was no Ella but it was still a sweet rendition, a la high school style. (even if she was a little vixen.)

Love Eva Cassidy, love to dance to Eva anything.

Some on the list are not coming to me but I think it has something to do with all those band practices I was hanging out at trying to get the director to make a statement. The show this season is Led Zeppelin so my neurons are clogged with "Stairway to Heaven." (At least it wasn't the Tiny Tim version.)

Lisa said...

I really like Nora Jones, too, and would definitely agree she is "relaxing".

micpro said...

Great list! Johnson, Cassidy and Armstrong are on my regular playlists : )(Some classic Beatles and Bobby Darin would fit right in with your picks!)

Buck Naked Politics said...

Thanks for bringing up some memories. Happy TT.

Heffalump said...

I LOVE All at Sea...its a great song. I love Norah Jones as well, and it seems I am going to have to check out a few other artists from this list.
You really should look into Harry Connick too...

pussreboots said...

Interesting list of songs. Happy TT.

Joyful Days said...

You are always very unique and creative. Wonderful list. I'd listen!

jchevais said...

I love that Christmas album by Sarah McLachlan.

And yes, River is awesome.

Journeywoman said...

I'm with you on Annie's song, and I totaly agree that Ella is THE ONE for Someone to Watch Over Me.

To totally relax I put on Simon and Garfunkels greatest hits.

Shalee said...

You and I would get along so well musically, Michelle... well, and lots of other ways too. Excellent list. I like Fallen by Lauren Wood. So calming and relaxing.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Great selections. Especially The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel! Lai l' lai (boom) lai l' lai lai lai l'lai... [sic]. Good stuff. I like a little Carribean Steel Drum music too. Takes me right away in my mind. :)

Mike said...

Your number 6 is one of my favorites. When I hear that song, I get goose bumps. Sometimes I cry.

Don't tell my wife. :)


Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

Sparky Duck said...

The Indigo Girls have a version of the River which I think is better then Sarah's though I try so hard not to listen to it until after Turkey Day.

With or Without You is a classic

Amy The Black said...

What an eclectic mix! I'll have to check some of those out.

Babystepper said...

My cousins and I sing "Down to the River to Pray" as a quartet song for festivals etc around here. I love the harmony in it.

Darla said...

I had a comment in my head, but it's gone now while my brain tries to wrap itself around the concept of Rod Stewart and Queen Latifah.

Damselfly said...

Wow, you're eclectic! I love a lot of those songs, too.

mcewen said...

"Indoor Fireworks" [Elvis Costello] For right now I can't listen to anything as my husband networked the stereo, result = silence!
Cheers

Diane said...

Fantastic list! I agree wholeheartedly with the Allison Krauss, U2, Ella. For my list, I'd add Tiny Dancer by Elton John and Salsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel. Okay, the last one is sorta bouncy, but it makes me reflective.

Fourier Analyst said...

Know and love everything but 2 & 7, which I have to go check out now!! Thanks for sharing!!

Sheila said...

Great list! I'll have to check out the artists that are unfamiliar to me.

Jordan said...

LOVE Eva Cassidy, but for Allison Krauss I really prefer "Maybe." It's my favorite song she's ever done.

Oh, and if you like "Annie's Song," mommyk, try "Today" by John Denver (that's MY wedding song; my mom sang it to us a lot when we were little, but it's only available on one version of a live concert, and not even on the CD version).

Joy T. said...

I'm so impressed I knew a lot of these. Normally I don't have a clue. Lots of great songs for TT!

my4kids said...

A lot of great songs Scribbit, some I haven't heard of though actually..

Also I love Annies Song also..

Amy said...

I love "when you say nothing at all." That has always been a favorite. Norah Jones is super calming.

Thea said...

Don't you just love Norah Jones? I think she is by far one of the best vocalists to come out in a long time.

Melissa said...

Michelle if you want a great laid back but great CD get Jack Johnson's "Curious George Soundtrack" He wrote all songs I believe and has a couple friends preform with him, but they are amazing. Curtis and I both love that CD it is one of our favorites. Seriously...buy it...you wont regret it!

Lisa said...

LOVE Allison Kraus and Jack! Oh and Norah too. WIll have to check out the rest of those.

Life on the Edge said...

Good list! i will have to check out some of the ones I don't know. I'm in an awful stagnant music phase.

But the one date night my husband and I had in the past 6 months was to an Alison Kraus concert! She is awesome every time I see her. And the first time was when she was just a teenager at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival!

JO said...

great song selection.

happy TT

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Ahhh, I love anything by good ol' Louis.

Summer said...

Some of my favorite artists I listen to when I want to relax are Alison Krauss, (she has the most beautiful voice ever), Norah Jones, Harry Connick Jr., Sarah McLachlan, Enya (Amarantine and Shepherd Moons are my fav), Iron & Wine (not all their songs are relaxing but there are quite a few).

Doug said...

What a great selection!

The mellow music I'm into right now is Emiliana Torrini's album "Fishermans' Woman." Ah...every song beautiful. I don't know who is crazier about me...Emiliana Torrini or Norah Jones...

Miles Davis "Blue in Green" is another great one.

Everything by Electric Light Orchestra.

Hazel said...

Just leave me with a couple or ten Errol Garner CDs (our public library is very good for 50s jazz) and I'll be quite happy. And then I'd go for some classical to really relax me e.g. Beethoven's Sixth!

Lostcheerio said...

Super-love "Down to the River." I sometimes set it on repeat while writing. Literally, it probably has 400 plays in my ITunes. Weird.

And "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" was the music we picked for our daughter's baby picture DVD. So awesome, I LOVE THAT SONG. It makes me cry. Because she isn't a baby any more. :(

I will check out some of your other suggestions!

so grateful to be Mormon! said...

hi michelle:
you inspired me to listen to some alison krauss again today. haven't listened to hear for a little while.

she has such a beautiful unique sound to her, i just love it.

i love her CD "so long so wrong" and have listened to it so many times, i am surprised it hasn't fallen apart yet :) kathleen

Scribbit said...

Well depending on how much sun your garden gets and whether you've got moist, rather swampy soil or dry I could recommend a couple things. Also, Alaska Mill and Feed downtown is an excellent source of information. Bells nursery is good for the standard annuals, Forget me Not Nursery in Indian is good for hanging basket and pot stuffers.

Belladonna said...

A few years ago a friend of mine put together a CD slide show of pictures of my three grandkids, who were just wee ones back then, using Eva Cassidy's "I Know You By Heart" as the sound track. The kids are growing up in a hurry now, but every time I hear that song I see images in my head of their early childhood. It's a magic piece for me!

melody is slurping life said...

Love your list, can't argue with a one. I'm partial to Louis Armstrong and Norah Jones. Wait, Alison and Rod and...well, like I said, good list to relax with.

Kendra said...

sarah is great. i love anything by sarah m. she's one of my all time fav's.