Saturday, April 6, 2013

DESERT ISLAND PLAYLIST VOL. II: JESS GRAVES

This week's Desert Island Playlist comes from one of my favorite lady bloggers and an all-around excellent humans, Jess Graves. She pens the most brilliant things over at The Love List, and once upon a time, we spent a magical two days in Vermont. Jess also happens to have a fabulous ear for music, and she's graciously shared her eloquent thoughts and kick-ass taste in tunes for you here today. Read, listen, enjoy!

There are music lovers, and then there are music snobs. Music lovers can openly and audibly appreciate something like, say, a great 90's Mariah Carey jam, while a music snob is too busy pondering the gravity of B-side from the Smiths to appreciate something so sugary. A music lover probably knows and loves that same rough cut of "Asleep", perhaps even equally wrapped up in it's melancholy, but unlike a snob, isn't going to abandon that cut should it ever lose the shiny glamour of obscurity. To that end, I consider myself a diplomatic enthusiast of all music - whether that's the new Justin Timberlake album (so good y'all) or a dusty, lilting cover of the most random Emmylou Harris song I can dig up.

I have a voracious appetite for lyrics, notes on a bar, chords and hooks and choruses... so when Taylor asked me to come up with my own "Desert Island" playlist, I was psyched.... but I had to dig deep inside myself. It's conflicting stuff - on one hand, you know your picks are going to be published for mass consumption, and you don't want people to scoff at your terrible affliction with mid-90's pop music. But if you're being honest with yourself, theoretically stranded on said desert island, with no company but your own and not a soul around to judge, the truth, like the cream, is going to rise to the top - and guess what? I'm going to want some "Always Be My Baby" on that island with me. 

Of course, songs of this nature aren't only about catchiness or listenability. They're about sentimental value. Most of the songs I've chosen come complete with memories attached. Paul Simon's "Call Me Al" was my first favorite song - as a little girl I remember the dumbstruck awe of hearing it pipe through the department store sound system for all to hear, because I was truly convinced it belonged only to me. My Mom would play his Graceland album as she touted my sister and I around everywhere from school to swimming lessons. I'd always beg her to play "Call Me Al", and she would - kindly, because in retrospect it was such a huge hit at the time I'm sure she was sick of it - but her favorite track on the album was "Under African Skies." I still remember her taking the harmony as she mindlessly sung along from the driver's seat and thinking she had the most beautiful voice in the world.

Additionally, you might notice that great many of the songs here whistle Dixie. The South is my home, Texas my birthplace, and I have never known anything different. I now reside in Atlanta, Georgia, perhaps the unofficial Capital city of the Mason-Dixon, so if you think you can't stomach a little Dolly Parton or John Prine, allow me to implore you otherwise - just for a minute. And then there is Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's duet of "Stars Fell on Alabama", which I consider the singular greatest love song of all time.

Those thoughts noted, I give you all of the music I love most - a varied cocktail of tunes I'm attached to for a litany of different reasons. One thing they all share though is their familiarity. Like old friends, they are always there. I can always visit them and be transported. We can sit on the porch together, put our feet up, have a drink, and it is like no time has passed.


[Check out Meghan Donovan's Vol. I playlist, too!]

1 comment:

  1. Love your reasoning for the choices you made. Haha, if you're stranded on a desert island no one will judge you for listening to what you want... People shouldn't judge anyway!

    Kate from Clear the Way

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