Music has been a part of my life for longer than I can remember. If you were to speak with my mother she would tell you that I used to set up pots and pans and bang on them until she was cross-eyed. As I grew older I learned to whistle and would often do so while completing chores or doing fun things like fishing.
I will never forget when I was 16 years old and my grandpa, Joe, bought me a guitar that was in pretty rough shape at an estate sale. It looked like Willie Nelson’s guitar, Trigger, with the scuffs and holes from the previous owners playing. This instrument was as foreign to me as Hebrew or Greek, but I was determined to make it sing nonetheless. Over the course of a weekend I learned to play my first song and the rest is history.
There are so many wonderful things about music and the ability to play an instrument. The process of expressing yourself in your own way and in your own words. The power to create something from the deepest part of your soul, have it translated through your hands, fingers, or voice, and witnessing the impact it has on others and yourself. Life’s been to busy for me to create new music of my own consistently so I’ve had to do what I’ve always been able to do and that is enjoy the efforts and creativity of others.
Life is busy which doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon and I’m sure you will agree that even vacations can leave us needing a vacation from vacation. Well, music is the primary way I cope with the onslaught of stress and other unpredictabilities of life. I am a fan of a wide genre of music and wanted to take a moment to share some of the artists and songs that help me relax and simply find peace. I hope you will take the time to check out the list below and please feel free to send your own list in a comment as I love listening to new artists.
1. Vancouver Sleep Clinic
This is a band that I recently discovered and I find their style of music very relaxing and easy on the ears. The sound is reminiscent of Bon Iver and their 2017 release, Revival, is the first complete album I’ve purchased in a while. A few of my favorite tracks on the album include “Whispers,” “Lung,” and “Unworthy.”
2. Andrew Belle
His Black Bear album was one I listened to in the car on and off for a year. It helped me relax while studying for tests when in nursing school as well. My go-to tracks include “Pieces,” “Sister,” and “Wants What It Wants.”
3. The Civil Wars
This is one of the greatest duets ever formed in my humble opinion. They have several great tunes that I’ve listened to over the years. Their voices are angelic and haunting and I would give anything for them to reunite and create more music in the future. I love all their songs but a few of my favorites are “Disarm,” “Poison and Wine,” and “The One That Got Away.”
4. Jose Gonzalez
Jose is so subtle and simple in his approach to music and he is absolutely brilliant in his element. Songs I love include: “Step Out,” “Stay Alive,” and “Heartbeats.” He also is a major contributor to the soundtrack of one of my top movies, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” so the soundtrack is also worth checking out.
5. The Lumineers
Most people know this band pretty well as they receive a lot of radio play across the country. Tunes like “Slow It Down” and “Charlie Boy” are simplistic and raw while other offerings such as “Submarines,” “Ho Hey,” “Big Parade” and “Cleopatra” pick up the pace.
6. Bethel Music’s album Without Words
The title of this 2013 album says it all as the group from Bethel Church in Redding, California provides a creative and refreshing dose of refined enlightenment. It is difficult for me to pinpoint which titles are among my favorites so I will not fight it and leave you with the invitation to give the whole album a listen.
7. Max Richter
The Sleep record is the perfect mix of eclectic piano movements with raindrops of cello and violin throughout. I often find myself relaxing in the evening enjoying my fireplace listening to the soulful emotion in this album. “Dream 3,” “Dream 13,” and “Path 19” are among my go-to tunes on this album.
My sincere intent in this post is that you find something a little different in the aforementioned pieces of music selected. I may not be listening to any of these albums or artists a month or a year from now but I often find myself revisiting them on occasion. Music is so many things to each of us and I encourage you to share anything you listen to that helps take the edge off from the grind that is life. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to listening to your shared selections.
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