I listen to a lot of music while I’m driving. A lot. I don’t listen to commercial radio at all. There is literally nothing on commercial radio that I would a) like to listen to or b) haven’t heard a million times already. I will occasionally pop onto one of the many college radio stations in the area, especially when there is a particular show on that I dig (i.e. Robbie DeRosa’s “Homegrown” show, which is a great showcase of local, original music in Connecticut). But for the vast majority of my driving time it’s my trusty, oldish iPod, which I’m continually loading music onto. (Although I’m having to charge it all the time now, so that means it’s on its last legs, doesn’t it…) Unless I’m in a particular mood for something my favorite thing to do is just hit the Shuffle function and let it ride. It makes for an interesting commute most days as I shift gears rapidly from say brutal death metal to whimsical folk to dirty blues and back again. So I’ve decided to share on a weekly (or more) basis some songs that have popped up in my travels that just hit home in one way or another. Here’s to hoping you find a song/artist that you dig.
Note: For my metal brethren please note this first volume is a decidedly ‘un-metal’ list…
Canyon – “Free”
There are very, very few voices I love as much as that of CT singer/songwriter, Canyon. To me, she is not only one of the best singer/songwriters in CT but anywhere around. Just an amazing talent and I’m baffled as to why this woman hasn’t been offered a record contract yet. Seriously. This past summer I had an extremely amazing experience with this song coming over a bridge with a glorious sunset in my face. It came up again for me recently and I was reminded again how much I dig this track. Having my 11 year old in the back seat singing along helped too. Below is a video of a stripped-down, acoustic version. Head over to Canyon’s Facebook page to hear the album version as well.
The Kinks – “Big Sky”
I have a friend, who hates The Beatles (don’t judge him too harshly, he does have solid musical tastes for the most part), and he posited once that The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was a better overall album than anything The Beatles did. You know something…he actually might be right. First of all, I think The Kinks are criminally underrated. Yes, I know they are Hall of Fame inductees, blah, blah, blah. But they are still never mentioned in the same breath as say The Beatles or The Rolling Stones who seem to be the two sacred rock cows that no one is allowed to be compared to. As far as their influence and importance in rock history I’d put them right next to or above just about every one of their contemporaries. Their output throughout the 1960s was especially important for a variety of reasons and this song comes off probably their most accomplished album. Truth be told – I listen to …Village Green… more than anything The Beatles recorded. This is one of my favorite songs off the album.
Connie Francis – “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”
I picked up a lot of music from my parents, as my kids do from me. My mother had this massive stack of 45s from her childhood, all ranging from roughly 1958-1969. I listened to those records non-stop from the ages of about 5-12. Those days spent listening to the music of my mother’s childhood was the embryonic beginnings of my own musical obsessions. A couple summers ago, for her 60th birthday I took all those records, which she had gifted to me, and transferred them to digital files for her, burned them on to CDs, categorized by release year and gave her the gift of music back to her all those years later. It took me weeks to go through both the A and B sides of all those records but it got me to revisit songs and artists that, for whatever reason, I had stopped listening to. One of those artists was Connie Francis. The first time I re-heard those handful of songs I was enamored all over again. Connie Francis is one of the sweetest voices in the history of music. Period. I like her best when she is singing slow, sad ballads but this song is so catchy you can’t help but hum it all day long.