This was a hard episode to record, because there are SO MANY songs I love.
And, full disclosure, this list might vary on any given day–just as yours likely would!
Some of these you will likely have heard, and I hope that others will be a delightful discovery.
I tried not to include too many by the huge pop stars and bands that everyone has heard, although I couldn’t resist a couple of my British Invasion faves.
And a few others I had to leave off since I made an accompanying playlist, and the songs I was thinking of were not on Spotify.
Give it a listen, and let me know a few of your favorite songs! Bonus points if it’s one I’ve never heard before!
Spotify Playlist: 10 Songs I Really Love
welcome to the what dreamers do podcast. i’m your host carla govan and appalachian musician flatfoot dancer, mama creative and dreamer from kentucky. i’m on a mission to inspire others to realize their dreams and live their most creative lives. grab your mason jar full of sweet tea or something a little stronger, and pull up a chair, because it’s time to get your dream off.
that’s what dreamers do.
welcome back to another week of what dreamers do. i’m so glad you’re here. i am coming at you this week with an episode about songs that i really love. and this is a special topic for me, just because i’m a songwriter, and i have always listened deeply to songs ever since i was a little kid. i’m one of those people that dives into lyrics. and i’m just going to be sharing some songs that are special to me, and also why i think they’re great, because it’s always a good time to talk about songwriting, just like last week, it’s always a good time to talk about love. another reason i’m recording this episode is because it is something that’s very easy for me to talk about. and i have a lot going on right now because i’m in the middle of launching and opening up a new semester of my appalachian flat footing and clogging academy, which is an online program that you’ve probably heard me talk about, but i only do that once or twice a year. so it’s kind of a big deal. there’s a lot of moving parts, and i just needed to do something that was easy and fun for me to do this week. once that’s done, i anticipate really digging in and doing more of those interviews that i have lined up. so let’s get started. so these are in no particular order. it’s not a countdown type list. and one of the things i did was i created a spotify playlist for these songs for you. so you can go to the show notes. and there’s a link there that you can find and listen to the songs. i am not allowed to play music on here. it’s not like a radio station. so otherwise, i would play you clips of everything. but since i can’t i made you a playlist. don’t worry, it’s all taken care of. so before i get started, i have a couple of caveats about this list. first of all, i really didn’t focus in on traditional appalachian music, which is something i also love deeply. folk songs, whether they’re original or traditional, they have sort of a different set of criteria. and that’s just not where my head was at right now. and besides, i think that needs its own entire podcast of my 10 favorite traditional folk songs. the other thing i didn’t include was a whole lot of songs by big huge super groups like the beatles, or the rolling stones. i assume that you’re familiar with many great songs by these bands. i’ll just give a shout out to songs like astro weeks by van morrison beasts of burden by the rolling stones, cup of wonder by jethro tull. but again, that’s kind of a different vibe than what i’m going for with this list. so the first song on my list is by songwriter named jonathan bird. he is a buddy of mine. i’ve met him at festivals that we both in playing at different kinds of songwriting circles, and he is just a fabulous songwriter. i really love his creativity. i love his voice. i love his guitar playing. and he has an album called the sea in the sky. it’s probably one of my top 10 favorite albums of all time. it’s kind of a concept album. he was in the navy, so he was a sailor, and it has a lot of songs that are related to that watery sailing theme. and this is one of those songs this song is called for you. and i love it because it has the vibe of a classic folk song, the way the verses are arranged. he talks about going to different cities and what he’s going to bring his his girl from all the different cities, so it has a little bit of, i would say a boots of spanish leather vibe, if you know that song by bob dylan, but it’s its own thing. i really really love it. it’s beautiful. it’s soothing and the whole album is worth checking out if you’ve never heard it. honorable mention there is also a song with the same title called for you by fleetwood mac and i love that song too, but it’s mega popular and you’ve probably heard it.
moving right along. next on the list is a song by some more friends of mine that i also have hung out with at the kerrville folk festival. and their names are keith granger and they in chi. keith is from california around the santa cruz area. and diane is from hawaii and they do really beautiful music together. and their song i can make it, which i often accidentally call i can make it rain, because that’s the refrain of the song is one of the most hypnotically beautiful songs i’ve ever heard i could listen to it and do listen to it over and over again. i think maybe day in originally wrote the song, but they do this beautiful rendition of it together. and what i love about it, there are a lot of things i love about it. it’s it’s a beautiful, classic instrumentation. it just flows and swoops, it goes to the relative minor. and it has kind of a magical realism vibe, which i really love in literature and art and all sorts of ways that you can express that, that marriage of something that’s ordinary, and something that’s extraordinary. and that’s what this song is it kind of talks about how he feels a connection to his native land the singer. but when he’s not in his native land, he doesn’t have as much of a connection, but when he’s in his native land, he can almost make magical things happen. so definitely go to the playlist or wherever you like to listen to music actually go download this whole album or the whole song. it’s just beautiful. anything by keith and dan. all right next on the list. it is a folk song. it’s the lone folk song on this list, but it’s just such a confection of a song that i had to add it because it is another one that recently i’ve been listening to on repeat. it is a gorgeous folk song called arthur mcbride. and it’s the version is sung by paul brady and andy irvin. and it’s about two young men that go out for a walk by the seaside and someone tries to recruit them for the army and they don’t want to join up and high jinks ensue. but i just love the melody. really, it’s the melody that gets me it grabs me. and if something i’m a sucker for a melody that has a big range that goes has a lot of highs and a lot of lows. paul mccartney does that a lot. and if it’s done right, it just, it makes your heart almost leap up every time the melody lifts. and this one’s just beautiful. so arthur mcbride is on that playlist for you. the next one is a song in spanish. and i do listen to quite a bit of spanish language music. that was one of the things that really helped me learn the language. there’s so many amazing songwriters. but this one is one i particularly listened to a lot when i was learning as a teenager, and it’s by an artist called tish, you know, hosa, whom i’ve had the privilege to meet and get to spend a little time with. she did not write the song. and i’m sorry, i can’t remember who wrote it at this moment. but she recorded it in the 90s, i believe might have been the 80s. and it’s called a soul crystal, which means crystal blue. and it’s kind of one of those songs about overcoming negative things that have happened in your past. obviously, this is a theme that i like a lot it comes up in my own songs, but it’s about overcoming, and about how love can transform us and bring color and beauty to our lives. so if you haven’t ever heard it, it’s on the playlist check out a smooth freestyle. and it has a really nice kind of rhythm to it and drums and a beautiful guitar. and of course, tish has this classic, gorgeous tex mex kind of voice. and i love many of her original compositions as well as her covers. just by the way, it has begun to rain in earnest here, outside my window in kentucky. so if you hear that rain, hopefully it will just add to the podcast and not not distract from it from the audio quality. next up is one of those songs that i listened to it. i’m just like, dang it. why didn’t i write that song? it’s just that beautiful. and in fact, it’s one of the songs that i’ve actually decided to cover. so i’ve performed this song from time to time. it’s by another friend of mine. i’m repping a lot of my friends here today. named robin ella. that’s she’s she’s kind of that big of a deal. she just has one name like madonna or saying. her name is robin ella, and
she lives in maryville, tennessee, and she has a gorgeous angelic voice that’s kind of in the vicinity of dolly parton and some major songwriting chops. i love the melody of the song. i love the chord progression of the song, and she actually incorporates a bird call a mourning dove. she incorporates that into the song, which to me is brilliant but she makes it just like part of the song if you weren’t from here and you’d never heard a mourning dove, you would just think, oh, that’s a beautiful song, you wouldn’t realize that she had incorporated this this bird call, but i love it. again, it’s on the list for you. and i can’t wait for you to hear it if you’ve never heard it. in fact, if you’ve never heard morning, dave before i buy nvu so go check it out. next up, is a canadian songwriter that i love a lot. i don’t know him. he is not actually a buddy of mine. but his name is bruce coburn. he’s he’s pretty famous. he’s been around a while he gets around and he’s got a lot of great songs, so many great songs. but i particularly like this song called messenger wind. it is simple. it’s not one of his more electric songs. it’s guitar is the predominant instrument. and it’s so soothing. and one thing i love about it is because it seems to be talking about reincarnation, i love songs that make me think and make me wonder now what exactly is it that they’re trying to say here? what’s the story about and so my theory is he’s talking about a soul that’s just incarnating into earth in chicken out their new life that’s getting ready to come to pass. but one thing i love about this song, another thing that i love about this song, i should say is that it is very soothing. so if i feel tense, or if i have not inside, i just put this song on it and untangles me inside messenger wind. alright, next up is another song that makes me wonder what it’s about exactly. and it came out in 1979. so i remember it from when i was a kid. and it is an exception to not putting huge artists on this list because it’s by peter gabriel. and i, it’s got a mystical quality to it. and when i listened to it, you know, it seems to be talking about like aliens coming to abduct him. and that’s a good thing or spiritual messengers or birds. i don’t know. i get a lot of ideas when i listen to it. so i’m curious if you’ve never thought about what this song means you’ve probably heard it. but if you have any theories on what, what it means to you, i’d love to hear them. i did read that he wrote it about the time when he was leaving the band genesis, which was of course, a super group. and it was a difficult breakup for him. and that’s when he wrote the song. anyway, i don’t know there’s something about it. i love the melody and i love the pulse of it. it has this really like the downbeat on the one, it’s just boom, boom, boom. and it actually says the words boom, boom, boom, in the lyrics, and it has this great drum beat so i adore that song. i get happy every single time i listen to it. number eight is kind of in the same neighborhood. it is by paul mccartney. i couldn’t resist including one paul mccartney song on here because he is one of my all time favorite songwriters. and i did though pick one off of a wings album. and it’s off the album ram, which, you know, obviously was a hugely successful album. and i can listen to that album over and over again. but the song that i love is heart of the country. so many of you have probably heard that one, but it’s just about you know, trying to find a place in the country and move there and, you know, maybe get a horse or maybe get some sheep. i can relate because i’m been looking for a place in the country for a while. and the song the melody is just so happy paul mccartney also just makes me so happy. you can tell i love songs that make me happy. i don’t listen to depressing songs too much. i listen to john prine. but even even his depressing songs make me happy. moving along. number nine on the list is by a singer from i want to say she’s from texas, but i’m probably wrong. oh wait, i just looked it up. and i’m not wrong. she is from texas. she’s an incredible bluesy singer. she’s been compared to aretha franklin. but she does this song. that’s a version of
the maya angelou poem, phenomenal woman, but it’s set to music. so it’s just called phenomenal woman. and honestly, it’s the song that i put on whenever i just need to feel a shot of confidence. because it just helps me, you know, pull myself up kind of like my fight song. i really love it and it’s got a great feel. and of course, that’s a brilliant poem. so i’m going to finish with a song that i wrote. it’s on my album gypsy ways and it’s called hold on. and one reason i’m putting on there is not to just toot my own horn, but because i can actually legally play it on his podcast. and i wanted to have a song that i can play on here. and it is one that i’m proud of, particularly that i wrote, i just liked the way it came out. i was inspired by a scottish ballad called tam lin, when i wrote it, and it’s about this young woman on her father’s estate, and her boyfriend gets pledged as a tithe to the queen of hill, and they’re gonna throw him in the hill on halloween night. and the only way she can save him is if she hurls herself at him as he rides by on his horse on the way to be chucked into hill, and hold him down. and he turns into all these horrible things. while she holds on without letting go. and if she can do that, without letting him go, then at the end, she gets to keep him, he doesn’t have to go to hill and they can live happily ever after. and there are other songs in mythology from around the world. other ballads, other stories that use this motif of holding on to somebody while they transform. and to me, it was a really good metaphor for relationships. for sometimes we have to hold on, you know, with, with people while they go through transformations that might not be pleasant. and sometimes we get to have the happy ever after, after holding on. and then sometimes actually, in relationships, we have to know when to let go. but this song kind of explores those themes. and one thing that i was proud of about it is that i wrote a melody for the chorus. and then i wrote a counterpoint melody that also has different lyrics in the chorus as well. so it has a couple of different melodic and lyrical lines going on at once. that was something i had tried to do before and i liked the way it came out in the song. and then the recording of it is really special to me because my oldest daughter sang the harmony part of the counterpoint. and she was only 11 years old when she sang it. but she always had a great year. and it was really special. that was like the first real art artistic musical project recording that i did with her. and so that was pretty awesome. the other thing that was special about making it is that i ran into an elon pipe player, which is like a small bagpipe. and he was really good and i asked him to put down like an instrumental accompaniment to the song because it is a scottish ballad originally and i wanted to sort of give a nod to that even though the way i wrote it, it’s completely rewritten. it has a different melody it has a different it’s it’s not the same song, it’s just the the theme of the song that i rewrote, but i wanted to give a nod to that scottish origin so we put the small pipes in there and i really love what he did on the on the pipes for that so so go check it out. the links in the show notes is on spotify, you can also just look under the car link over spotify account if you don’t want to mess with the show notes and you can see various playlists that i’ve made. this one’s called 10 songs. i really love that it has been fun to put this together for you guys and thanks for playing along thanks for listening along. i’m gonna close out the show with a little bit of that song hold on and again you can catch the whole thing on the playlist
you pulled the flower you thought to get in your head and then i saw you then and then i won your head that i am the ap i will agree five there’s a spirit that said on me dolly you can set me free. i will change shape amen different skin things that sometimes may seem to are you misled and misled return? amazed
and if you’re inspired, send me a message hit me up. you can send me a message on facebook, instagram, send me an email and let me know what one or two or more of your favorite songs are. and bonus points if there’s songs i’ve never heard, because i’m always looking for great new songs. and i’m always inspired by the things that you guys share with me. so keep on listening, keep on creating, keep on making keep on doing what you do to make the world a better place because that’s what dreamers do.
thank you so much for joining me this week. if you want to make sure you never miss an episode, please hit subscribe wherever you’re listening now, or visit my website to get on my email email@example.com. when you sign up, you’ll instantly receive my milton mama digital care package, a bundle of music and videos to help you wring every drop of yeehaw out of life. you’ll even find a dance lesson as well as my granny’s cornbread recipe with new goodies being added all the time. i’ll see you next thursday on the wet dreamers do podcast
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