Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The background music awards

Growing up, my dad would come home from working at the brake factory (it was Michigan, after all) around 4pm and need a nap straightaway. He'd stretch out on the green plaid couch, but only after putting on the sweet sounds of Johnny Cash or steam locomotives. Yep, a train nut, he'd put on a record of steam engines to drift off to.

These days, when I'm writing, I often like to block out the rest of the coffee shop by fishing out my iPod. When I'm home, I do it up old school and pop in a CD. Here's a sampling of the favorites I turn to for inspiration, relaxation, and, to be honest, a little white noise.

  • Joni Mitchell, Blue (I come back to her again and again. In fact, I could drink a case of her, and I did while writing The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life.)
  • Neko Case, Furnace Room Lullaby (Her voice is like no one else's.)
  • Various artists, Bossa 'n' Stones (Keep your Coldplay. I love this chick bossa nova take on Rolling Stones' classics. Beast of Burden, sung by Urban Love + Anika, may be the sexiest song ever recorded.)
  • Project Runway and Grey's Anatomy podcasts (am I a walking cliché or what?)
  • Sufjan Stevens, Come on Feel the Illinoise (Dreamy, although I skip the John Wayne Gacy Jr. song.)
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg, 5:55 (Even more dreamy.)
  • Indigo Girls, Rites of Passage and Indians, Nomads, Saints (When I need a dose of adrenaline, I reach for the Girls.)
  • Keb Mo, Just Like You
  • Patsy Cline, 12 Greatest Hits (Plaintive yet plucky, just like I feel on certain days.)
  • Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (I always thought it should be "cartwheels" on a gravel road. Ouch!)
  • Lucy Kaplansky, 10 Year Night and Beth Amsel, Kindling (As a result of a trip to a 3-day folk festival in Upstate New York, I have a penchant for folk music.)
  • Billie Holliday, Ultimate (Perfect for a working brunch!)
  • Beck, Sea Change (So quiet and melancholy, like me with writer's block.)
  • Django Reinhardt, Djangology 49 (I love the scratchy old record sound of these recordings.)
  • The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (The songs are so beautiful, you almost forget what they are about. The perfect soundtrack when walking through O'Hare Airport. Try it!)
  • KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope (She's overplayed now, but I swear I got in on the ground floor!)
  • Lyle Lovett, The Road to Ensenada (When I'm stuck at the computer, this reminds me of a day trip when the weather was perfect and I got to stick my head out the window as we drove back from the Olympic Peninsula.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This site has some great background music for use in podcasts, blogs etc..

Free Music Tracks

All tracks are free, well worth a look

A sampling of my books