I look forward to my fall music like some people look forward to Christmas music. There are certain songs for which I limit listening the rest of the year, and bring out mainly for October indulgence. I’m always editing and adding to the list, but it does have a tendency to expand–currently it’s 141 songs. This list is 14 songs. That seemed more appropriate.
1. “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”–Chris Thile
I love love love this bluegrass cover of the White Stripes song; it’s happy and string-full and fun. As soon as the trees begin to change color, I bump this song to the top of the playlist.
2. “By Your Side”–the everybodyfields
Every fall semester, there comes a time when the work feels overwhelming and I want to run away for a while. This song scratches that itch.
3. “Out of the Woods”–Nickel Creek
This song stopped my heart when I heard it for the first time. It is still just as full of starlight and sweetness for me. Give it a listen but not on the YouTubes because all the versions are super old or super weird.
4. “Prettiest Tree on the Mountain”–Ben Sollee
But as I walk through the hills of Kentucky
The leaves begin to turn red
And I think of you
6. “Fall on My Knees”–Old Crow Medicine Show
Gotta have an OCMS song on any self-respecting fall playlist.
7. “Nostalgia”–Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo
I watch a lot of Wallender in the fall because I like how spare and cold and beautiful Sweden is among all the grisly murders.
8. “Black Water Child”–Fionn Regan
DEAR GOD I LOVE THIS SONG SO MUCH. It makes a lump in my throat every time. Also every time I listen to Fionn Regan, I feel very attracted to him. Then I see a photo and remember that I am not, after all, attracted to him.
10. “Don’t Think That I Can Stay”–Chic Gamine
I listen to Prairie Home Companion sometimes, when I’m not too irritated by Garrison Keillor’s nasal wheeze (come quickly, Chris Thile), and sometimes it rewards me with music I love. This a capella song is warm and rich and just right for an autumn evening. It’s not available on YouTube so this is worth pulling up on Spotify.
12. “Tell Me True”–Sarah Jarosz
Haunting. Pure. Lovely. Perfection.
13. “How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower”–Emmylou Harris
Emmylou is stellar any way you look at it, and I think I made a subconscious association between the lonesome valley mentioned in the song and Where the Lilies Bloom, which I read COUNTLESS times in sixth grade.
14. “Strangers”–The Kinks
To be honest, I love this song anytime of year, so it just ends up on most of my playlists eventually.