I never realized just how many different kinds of music I really listen to until I tried to create this playlist. As I skimmed through my finalized list, I noticed the how the songs bounce in and out of genres and really kind of go all over the place. It took way too long to narrow it down to 30 songs, but these two hours of music are essential to my being. The list features country, alternative, a little punk and many more. It features artists like Charles Bradley, one of my favorite guys to walk this earth, Family and Friends, a group some of us interns recently saw, and 2017 Roots N Blues artists like Band of Horses and Pokey Lafarge. Specifically, the following five songs are personal favorites:
This is probably my favorite song of all time, so bare with me as I sing its praise for way too long. In their 2008 album, “The Second Gleam,” the Roots N Blues alum Avett Brothers take a break from preforming together, and Scott takes the reigns for this solo acoustic track. At just over three minutes, “Murder in the City” is a relatively short track when it comes to story telling for the North Carolina brothers as Scott Avett looks into his potential downfall. I love this song not only because of its sentimental value to Scott, but also because of how much I relate to it. Lines like “I wonder which brother is better, which one our parents love the most. I sure did get in lots of trouble. They seem to let the other go,” remind me of my own brother. Those words couldn’t be more true. You can find my favorite line of all time, and one that will someday end up as a tattoo, below.
Line to listen for: “Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.”
Despite Houndmouth being my most seen artist, I’ve yet to see this particular song live. Their library ranges from upbeat and on your feet songs to slow and swaying songs; this one is the latter of the two. It’s definitely not the most complex lyrically, but definitely is relatable. In this song, the many voices of Houndmouth portray beautifully that nothing matters except that one person being there.
Line to listen for: “Cause I don’t mind if you tell me I’m wrong. And I don’t mind if you’re everything I’m not.”
This one comes from a band that heads the top of the list of artists I would love to see on the lineup at Roots N Blues. This final song off their sophomore album, “Nothing is Wrong,” was one of the first songs I was encouraged to listen to when I started listening to them. The simple piano sound matches perfectly with the simple, but deep lyrics that follow along the individual scenarios of each verse. When I saw Dawes live for the first time, this song gave me goosebumps as I heard lead singer Taylor Goldsmith sing about suicide, getting older and love. These deep topics blend together and create many scenarios where we all need a little bit of everything.
Line to listen for: “I think that love is so much easier than you realize. If you can give yourself to someone, then you should.”
The Man, The Legend, The Boss has a collection of music as big as anyone, and this one comes off one of his most notable album. “Sherry Darling” may not be the most notable from the album, but it’s without a doubt my favorite Bruce song. This playful song talks about a girl’s mother who is annoying Springsteen and how it makes him reconsider his relationship with, you guessed it, Sherry Darling. The strong presence throughout the song highlights the humorous lyrics and the extremely catchy chorus. The boss never disappoints, and this track from “The River” is definitely no exception.
Line to listen for: “Well this morning I ain’t fighting, tell her I give up. Tell her she wins if she’ll just shut up, but it’s the last time that she’s gonna be ridin’ with me”
This song was one of my favorite songs last summer and has still been stuck on all my playlists since. The collaboration between Mumford & Sons and Baaba Maal is one that you would not expect to blend together like peanut butter and jelly, but it does. The Senegal born singer, Baaba Maal, lends two verses in his native language of Pulaar to one of the most notable folk bands today. The song was intended to be a single, but later turned into an EP following the popularity of this track. The 63-year-old singer is well known throughout all of Africa, and in this song complements Marcus Mumford in a way that makes it seem like he’s just another one of the “Sons.” Mumford & Sons provide the last verse and the choruses throughout the track and do not disappoint.
Line to listen for: “So open up my eyes to a new light. I wandered ‘round your darkened land all night.”