All righty, folks! Here’s your first taste of Jen’s unique taste in music. You can view the whole Youtube playlist via the aforelinked text, or you can click on each individual video and/or artist below.
I’ve decided to leave the weird girls and their pianos for a later playlist and start at the beginning of my musical life. And in the beginning… there was folk and British rock.
Cotton Jenny – Gordon Lightfoot
My mum’s dad loves Gordon Lightfoot, and I spent a summer living at their house in Central Oregon. My “mission” that summer was to copy all of his Gordon Lightfoot LPs onto cassette tape, and he and I spent evenings in the garage listening to those records and just being together. My grandfather is 85 now. Someday, when he’s gone, this song will make me weep, but for now, it just makes me happy.
I’ll Follow the Sun – The Beatles
My mum has always loved the Beatles. I remember watching The Beatles Anthology on TV with my family. Loving this song taught me how to make a song repeat on their record player.
Copperline – James Taylor
I went on a school trip to Europe when I was sixteen, and I brought along my cassette tape Walkman, but I didn’t have very many tapes of my own that I cared to listen to. I grabbed this album from my Mom’s tape stash and now, whenever I remember the long, winding bus ride from Paris to Engelberg, Switzerland, this song is the soundtrack. I’m surprised that I didn’t wear out the tape from rewinding this song over and over. “…And the angels sigh” still gives me chills every time.
In the Meantime – The Ditty Bops
You can’t really call these delightful ladies “folk”; I suppose that “vaudeville” is more appropriate, and that’s pretty old-fashioned, right? I came across these gals when they opened for Tori Amos one summer, and they are endlessly charming. And they did a tour of the US by bike. What’s not to love?
Long Ride Home – Patty Griffin
Dan and I met while we were working at the same hotel in 2000. The girls I worked with kept egging me on to go out with him, but I was too shy to ask. I unexpectedly received tickets to a Dixie Chicks concert from one of my customers, but I couldn’t think of anyone who’d want to go with me. The girls insisted that I ask him to go. He politely declined because he doesn’t care for “girly” country. So, I went alone, and Patty Griffin was their opening act. I fell in love with her right then and there – and ended up falling for Dan soon after. ;)
January Wedding – The Avett Brothers
A coworker brought this album to work for the work-y gang to check out, and I instantly loved this song. Then, unbeknownst to me, Dan brought the same CD along on a beach vacation we took several years ago, where he spent a lot of time driving while I sang along to it. I’d probably love this song anyway because it has two of my favorite things: boy-harmony and banjos, but the lyrics are endearingly real to me.
My First Lover – Gillian Welch
Everything about this song is divine. A bright melody, but in a weird minor key. Incongruously dark lyrics. Awkward harmonies that, somehow, resolve perfectly. A kick-ass chick playing a banjo. I just love it.
Black Dog – Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Good god, Robert Plant used to get my little teenage heart going… I discovered this song when I was, probably, 13, and I played the hell out of it on the record player. This recording is of Plant when he was performing with Alison Krauss, so it’s an irresistible mishmash of folksy harmony and dark, bluesy longing.
Beastie – Jethro Tull
My dad loves Jethro Tull – in a completely non-ironic way, I must add. He used to play it a lot when I was a kid, and this song was one of the most fun to listen to. My brother and I were given license to yell the “Beastie!” part, which was awesome. This particular video has a hilarious Spinal Tap quality to it, what with the puppet on Ian Anderson’s shoulders.
Whippin’ Piccadilly – Gomez
Excellent boy-harmony and plenty of blippity-bloop bits to round out the poppy undertones. Gomez is what the Beatles would be if they were still recording, I think. Members share songwriting and lead vocal responsibilities, so not every song sounds the same, but they all sound like Gomez – if that makes any sense. And one of them looks a lot like Paul McCartney.
You Only Want Me ‘Cause You Want My Sister – Evelyn Evelyn
A perfect segue into my next edition – sure to include plenty of weird girls with pianos – this song is a country-fried outing by Amanda Palmer, formerly of the Dresden Dolls (aside: she’s now married to Neil Gaiman, who is a dear friend of Tori Amos, a noted graphic novel writer and author of at least one episode of Doctor Who). You really can’t ask for a better country song, but the twist is that Evelyn Evelyn “is” a set of conjoined twins with a creepy back-story.