My Soundtrack — And Yours?

Nick Drake, c. 1969.
Nick Drake, 1969. Image via Wikipedia

I rarely go through a day without listening to music.

As I write this, I’m listening to one of my favorite radio shows, Soundcheck with John Schaefer, now in its 30th (!) year on-air from WNYC, 93. 9, in New York. John always has something fun to offer — today’s show included a version of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, sung in (of course!) Klingon.

Follow that link and you’ll find some of his shows, whether featuring Gaetano Veloso or Courtney Love.

My taste in music is pretty eclectic, from Baroque faves like Couperin to Japanese shakuhachi, a haunting bamboo flute you might have heard in tunes by Tangerine Dream, Dave Brubeck, Peter Gabriel and Sade.

My classical favorites include Erik Satie, Aaron Copland, Bach, Handel, Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Rodrigo; I never tire of Concierto de Aranjuez or the Brandenburg Concertos.

I don’t listen to rap, hip-hop, country or Top 40 stuff.

Here are some of my favorites, some of which you’ll know and maybe some of which will be a discovery:

Bruce Cockburn is a Canadian whose music I’ve loved since the 1970s. Try to find some of his earliest albums: great guitar, haunting lyrics.

Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Jane Siberry are all Canadians whose music I enjoy.

Acoustic guitar music is a favorite: Leo Kottke, John Renbourn, Richard Thompson, Kaki King, David Bromberg.

Singer/songwriters: Canadian female singer Feist, the late super-talented Englishman Nick Drake, American Duncan Sheik, Katell Keinig, Joan Osborne, Ricky Lee Jones, and Irishman Luka Bloom, among many others.

Nina Simone!

Instrumental music, like this amazing CD I keep playing over and over, La Valse Des Monstres. I have some odd affection for accordion music.

Genesis — 1970s British prog-rock. Check out The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, a double album, and set aside a few hours to disappear into it.

A local New York band, whose vocalist and washboard player is a friend of mine, The Hot Sardines — who play music from the 1920s and 30s. Great fun!

The Waterboys. I was bouncing on my seat at The Beacon in NYC when I heard this terrific Irish band.

What songs, bands, musicians or composers do you love best?

Do you have a great radio station we can listen to on-line?

I’m desperate for some new-to-me tunes!

13 thoughts on “My Soundtrack — And Yours?

  1. Nice post, and lots of crossover between my taste and yours. I love Feist and Nina Simone (it’s great to write that sentence). And Peter Gabriel’s duet with Kate Bush, ‘Don’t Give Up’, still makes me gooey inside.

    Off the top of my head, here’s some music that I currently can’t live without:
    – Johan Johannson
    – Beirut
    – The Smiths
    – M83 (their latest album, ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’, is on high-rotation at my place)
    – The Go! Team

    Music is such a core part of my life that I really wouldn’t cope if I ever went deaf.

    Books and music, books and music, books and music…

    It’s in my blood.

    Thanks again for a wonderful post that yet again has me thinking about the importance – and power – of music.

  2. I love radio and I have our local station WWOZ on most of the time when I’m home. It’s jazz, blues, funk and lots of local music. Recently I learned about Mayer Hawthorne whose sound is retro-Motown and fabulous. My favorite genre is old school R&B but I like lots of different types of music. Not crazy about country or rap. Hip-hop is ok. Top 40 is ok when I’m in the mood. I will always love U2. 🙂

  3. I couldn’t do most of what I do without music, and I always write to music. For me, music is like mainlining emotion…. it gets in deep, you know?

    Current favorite albums:

    Suzanne Vega – 99.9 F
    Traffic – The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys
    PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
    Counting Crows – August and Everything After/Live at Town Hall
    Thievery Corporation – The Richest Man in Babylon

    I have no idea if any of this will appeal to you (smile), but there you go.

    And for online radio, I urge you to check out Radio Paradise ( Plenty of streaming options including iTunes, no commercials, all hand-programmed, eclectic and fabulous. I have found more must-have music from Radio Paradise than any other single source in my life.

    And now back to work (current track: Conjure One, “Tears from the Moon.”

  4. Nice to see you mention Nick Drake and Bruce Cockburn, two of my favorite, yet obscure to many, musical artists.

    I will have to second the recommendation of as the best online radio station ever. Mostly a mix of eclectic rock with some classical, jazz, soul and country music blended in quite tastefully. You never know when you may hear Ray Charles, Roy Clark or Vivaldi in the mix. You can find music you like easily with RP by checking their playlist when you hear a song you like for artist and title info. That is true even if you heard the song on RP yesterday or last month as their playlists are archived.

    A few of my current favorite artists would be Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Toubab Krewe and the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

    1. Aren’t they wonderful? I could play their music every single day and never tire of it…I love Mayfair Moon by Drake and All the Diamonds (and many others) by Cockburn. I saw him play very early in his career (and several times since) when I was a high school student in Toronto.

      Thanks a lot for the recommendations! Love Wilco and Lucinda and must check out the latter two.

  5. spurandprod

    Hmmm… doubt I have anything you haven’t heard of, but this week’s soundtrack has included:
    1. Ray Charles
    2. Christy Moore
    3. Tom Waits
    4. The Replacements
    5. Bob Dylan
    6. Big Mama Thornton
    7. The Heptones
    8. Waylon Jennings
    9. The Black Keys
    10. The Band
    11. Mississippi Fred McDowell
    12. Django Reinhardt
    13. Ralph Stanley
    14. Edgar Meyer

    1. Love your list! Django Reinhardt is so cool…I heard Stephane Grapelli play once in Toronto and met him backstage as my friend Rob was the promoter. I need to go check out 13 and 14…thanks!

  6. My musical tastes are all over the place. Here are a few I listen to with regularity:

    Caspian Hat Dance
    Middle-Earth Ensemble
    John Williams
    Tori Amos
    Jason Mraz
    Jill Tracy
    Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
    Michael Buble
    Beats Antique

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