Tunes from 2011

29 Jan

Years ago, April started the tradition of making playlists of the songs that followed her around all year.  A few years later I stole the idea and started making a few playlists of my own.  You can find my 2011 playlist on 8tracks.


Man of a Thousand Faces by Regina Spektor
When I lived in Illinois I had a habit of commandeering the campus conference room. I had holed up there during a snow storm when I thought my brain had finally snapped. I kept hearing piano music. After a full minute of thinking I had gone mad I discovered my Ipod had turned itself on inside my backpack and was playing this song. It was the perfect soundtrack for watching the snow fall outside the window.

Low by Flo Rida (Featuring T-Pain)
Try as I might, I could not escape this song. It started with Andy taping up a sign by the door of the Field Equipment Room that said “Please wear your apple bottom jeans and boots in the FER.” Then it became a staple at Yosemite when Laura invented a new dance move when she interpreted the line “she hit the floor” literally.

Everlasting Light by The Black Keys
I listened to this song a lot this year, but I remember listening to it the day we accidentally stumbled onto a hot air balloon festival.


Furr by Blitzen Trapper
This song brings back so many memories. It makes me think of April who first introduced me to it on her 2008 mix, of the time Marco and I listened to it in his car in New Hampshire, and of Ned, who this song seems to be written about. Grace and I taught this song to her campers at Spring Valley. One of the campers, who went by the name White Tailed Deer, was particularly taken with it, and now it makes me think of her too.

One Voice (cover of the Wailin’ Jenny’s) by the Mound Glow Girls
I love singing with Mary and Grace.  We recorded this cover in between visiting ancient earthwork mounds, running a camp, and discussing the cause of mountain glow.  The Mound Glow Girls seemed like a good name for our “band.”

Roll Away Your Stone by Mumford and Sons
Mary, Grace, and I listened to a fair amount of Mumford and Sons when I visited them this summer. I love the line “It seems that all my bridges have been burned, but you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works.”

There is a Time by Girsa
I wandered into a Girsa performance by accident while trying to find another band at Cleveland’s Irish Cultural Festival. I never did hear the other band play.

First Arabesque by Claude Debussy
This year I read a book by Daniel J. Levitin called “This is Your Brain On Music.” It’s given me a new appreciation of both music and the fascinating human brain. Shortly after reading this book I stumbled across a series of videos by the Music Animation Machine. I’m convinced their creator, Stephen Malinowski, has a telepathic link to my brain and has finally managed to portray what music “looks” like inside my head.

Träumerei by Robert Schumann
After charging through “This is Your Brain on Music,” I picked up Noah Adam’s “Piano Lessons.” Which did not so much introduce me to this song, as it put up a big red flashing sign stating that my life would be empty of all beauty if I did not listen to it immediately. He was, of course entirely correct. (P.S Noah, he was totally right about the whole Horowitz thing. I like Valentina Lisitsa’s version much more.)

Natural Bridge by Adrienne Young
I tried (rather unsuccessfully) to make this the unofficial theme song at our fall staff training. Although it didn’t take, there is always next year.

Raglan Road by The High Kings
This is another band that I discovered at the Irish Festival. I didn’t really fall in love with this song until I listened to it on an ordinary day while I was waiting at the light on the 140.

Take the Long Way by Po’Girl
JonJon played this song while we were driving across the pass to Lake Tahoe during sunset on the way to Jenny and Delayney’s wedding. You know those random moments when your life becomes unexpectedly sublime? This was one of those.


Bones by The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit
Jenny and Delayney’s wedding was a great shindig, and I will think about it whenever I hear the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit.

Golden Vein by The Trespassers
If you live in El Portal it’s pretty much inevitable that the Trespassers are going to become a soundtrack to your life. They even sing about Thursday Taco Nights in one of their songs.

Ghost Town by First Aid Kit
I first discovered First Aid Kit through their cover of the Fleet Foxes Tiger Mountain Peasant Song. When their album was released I started playing it on repeat. I remember having this song stuck in my head while sleeping freezing in my friend’s car near Mammoth Hot Springs.

All The Wild Horses by Ray LaMontagne
This song is the perfect song for driving around on a gray December day.




One Response to “Tunes from 2011”

  1. aprilinautumn January 30, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    That’s my favorite line from Mumford & Sons, too! And I think it’s funny that we have two songs in common without consulting each other. 🙂

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