Summertime – Kenny Chesney


Album: The Road and the Radio
Performer: Kenny Chesney
Writer: Steve McEwan / Craig Wiseman
Year: 2005

I’m fairly picky when it comes to country music that I genuinely like. One of the artists that I tend to like most of the time is Kenny Chesney. This particular song is a perfect summertime tune that definitely sounds like it came right out of the early 2000s.

Check out the “Summer” playlist I put together on Spotify:

The Bees – Lee Ann Womack


Song: The Bees
Album: Call Me Crazy
Performer: Lee Ann Womack
Writer: Natalie Hemby, Daniel Tashian
Year: 2008

Lee Ann Womack became one of my favorite singers about a year ago. I was playing bass with a band for a rehearsal dinner and one of the songs on the set was “The Bees.” I thought it was a really interesting song and decided to check out the whole album. Call Me Crazy is true art. There is fine songwriting brought to life by some of the best musicians in Nashville: Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Aubrey Hanie (fiddle), Brent Mason (guitar), Michael Rhodes (bass), Bryan Sutton (guitar), and others.

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Summer Skin – Death Cab for Cutie


Song: Summer Skin
Album: Plans
Performer: Death Cab for Cutie
Writer: Ben Gibbard / Jason McGerr / Chris Walla
Year: 2005

I’m a big fan of Dan Harmon. He created the NBC sitcom Community and co-created Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty. I love both of those shows and I listen to his weekly podcast Harmontown which is basically just him exorcising his demons through hilarious conversation, spur of the moment monologues, and role playing games/intentionally bad improv comedy every week. One thing that he said on his podcast that has really stuck with me was this:

“Happiness is defined by the unhappiness that follows it.”

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Raining at Sunset – Chris Thile


Song: Raining at Sunset
Album: Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Performer: Chris Thile
Writer: Chris Thile
Year: 2001

Summer has gotten off to a rainy start here in Nashville. I’m drawn to this beautiful instrumental tune by Chris Thile every time it rains. I have a deep emotional connection to this song. The first time I heard it was actually in February of this year. I was halfway through listening to it when I got a call from my mom that my uncle had passed away. I finished listening to the song after getting off the phone. He had cancer for a number of years and he died unexpectedly during a treatment. I got off the phone and finished listening to the song.

My uncle had cancer for a number of years and he died unexpectedly during a treatment. He gave me my first electric bass. For a gift in middle school he gave me a hard drive full of music which sparked my love affair with The Eagles, Queen, Styx… and just a love for discovering new (or at least new to me) music in general. Even though we didn’t live very close for a lot of my life, it was tough to lose him and I’m grateful to have had him in my life.

This song is a perfect reminder to me of the influence that Uncle Jim had on my musical exploration.

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A Summer Song – Chad and Jeremy

bf856beccaa1e771ba5a8fa54917484cSong: A Summer Song
Album: Yesterday’s Gone
Performer: Chad & Jeremy
Writer: Clive Metcalfe / Ken Noble / Chad Stuart
Year: 1964

This is one of those songs that I listen to and I can’t really place where I’ve ever heard it in the past, but it feels like it has just always been there. “A Summer Song” is the 1964 summer song by British duo Chad & Jeremy.

The song sounds like a cross between Pete Seeger style folk and 50’s crooner songs with a very lush and romantic string arrangement. It’s a beautiful song with soft and perfectly blended vocal harmony. The string arrangement kicks in at the second verse. It’s one of those string arrangements that was orchestrated to just make your heart ache.

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Summertime – Nina Simone


Song: Summertime
Album: Nina Simone at Town Hall
Performer: Nina Simone
Writer: George Gershwin
Year: 1959

“Summertime” is an obvious choice for a summer playlist. Nina Simone’s take on the song is one of my favorites. It is a very unique and dark interpretation of the classic. The recording I’m referencing is from a live album she recorded at The Town Hall in New York in 1959.

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San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) – Scott McKenzie


Song: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)
Album: The Voice of Scott McKenzie
Performer: Scott McKenzie
Writer: John Phillips
Year: 1967

I have never had the pleasure of traveling out west but I have been enthralled by a romantic picture of San Francisco in the 1960s that I’ve imagined since middle school when I first learned about the counterculture movement that exploded in that decade. I always wished I had been a 20-something during that time, maybe living in the Haight-Ashbury district… I’m sure that in reality (both real reality and my fantasy reality) that I’d be too much of a square to really fit in there, but a girl can dream.

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The Sound of Summer Running – Alison Brown


Song: The Sound of Summer Running
Album: Stolen Moments
Performer: Alison Brown
Writer: Alison Brown
Year: 2005

It is officially Summer today! This means that I will be paying more than I want to in order to keep my house relatively cool for the next few months… and it means some great music! I put together a playlist of songs that are must listen summer favorites for me and I’m going to feature those songs for the next week.

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In Tall Buildings – John Hartford


Song: In Tall Buildings
Album: Nobody Knows What You Do
Performer: John Hartford
Writer: John Hartford
Year: 1976

John Hartford is looked to as an influential and trailblazing figure in bluegrass and traditional music. He pushed limits musically and especially with the subject matter that he wrote about, often singing about drugs and sex, both of which weren’t (and really still aren’t) common things you hear in this style of music.

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