Songs from 2012

7 Jan

At the end of each year, April and I create playlists of the songs that had special significance for us. My 2012 playlist is long, but looking back it was a year of great people and great music. You can listen to my playlist on 8tracks.


Paradise Coldplay

Early in the year I led a hike up the Yosemite Falls trail with an awesome group of sixth graders. About halfway up they broke out into song. We all agreed this was the ideal song for the scenery. Now I find myself singing this when I hike here.

Banks of the Ohio Joan Baez

This is not a good Valentine’s Day song, but that did not stop Jackie and me from performing it at the Valentine’s Day open-mic night at our friend’s house.

Born This Way Lady GaGa

One day Jackie and I discovered that the chords to this song are easy to play on both banjo and guitar. For two weeks all we did was play Lady Gaga while Rebecca read the Hunger Games. It was awesome.

Wave ThePeteBox

I am fascinated by the way ThePeteBox creates music and completely enamored with this album. I listened to the entire album on repeat, but I particularly like this song.

(Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay Sara Bareilles

This song reminds me of my summer in Sausalito where Ottis Redding first penned the lyrics. I love Sara Bareilles’ version of this song that my friend Mike suggested I listen to.

Kill Your Heroes Awolnation

My brother introduced me to Awolnation when he came to visit. After a week of playing the album on repeat I went on a long backpacking trip, and I could not get this song out of my head. I particularly like the line “Never let your fear decide your fate.”


The Ring Goes South Howard Shore

I have wanted to explore the Middle Earth route in Yosemite since the first moment heard its name. I finally did it this past summer, and I was determined to put a song from the Lord of the Rings sound track on my playlist. Of course, Laura’s singing connected this adventure with an all together different song:

We Found Love Rihanna

I could not escape this song this fall. Laura planted it in my ear in Middle Earth. Then I got involved with a project that involved long days of tedious and exhausting work. It would have been complete misery except that I was working with three friends that made the work bearable and even occasionally fun. They are saints for keeping me sane and for tolerating my many renditions of this song.

Somebody That I Used to Know Walk Off the Earth

Yes, this was another inescapable earworm. Yes, there are people so sick of hearing it that they threaten to end your friendship if you play this song in their presence. I can’t help it though. I am so taken by the ingenuity and talent in this cover that I still like the song, even after Rebecca and I sang it on endless repeat.


I am grateful that Rebecca and I braved massive crowds to go to San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this year. Hardly Strictly is a music festival where 250,000 people cram into Golden Gate Park and make difficult choices, like deciding between seeing the Chieftains and Head and the Heart, or Emmylou Harris and the Civil Wars because they are playing at the same time. There was so much good music there, but these songs bring me back:

Rivers and Roads The Head and the Heart

Galway Girl Steve Earle

Billie Jean The Civil Wars (I could not find a version of this song for download so enjoy the video:)

Free Fallin’ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

I spent some time this year in the Santa Monica Mountains. I was awed by the scenery and delighted each time I recognized the name of a place from this song. It is easy to see how the place inspired the music.

Ho Hey The Lumineers

April and I have a strict rule that we have to listen to U2’s Joshua Tree album at least once each time we visit Joshua Tree National Park. Although I followed this rule to the letter, the song that sticks out the most from this trip down there was when Arielle played this while we were driving through the desert.

Hit ‘Em Up Style The Carolina Chocolate Drops

Jackie introduced me to the Carolina Chocolate Drops early in the year, and I listened to their songs over and over. I chose this version for the album when I remembered how hard Betsy and I rocked the karaoke version of it.

The Frost is All Over The Chieftains and The Punch Brothers

I was thrilled when I stumbled across a track of Lisa Hannigan performing with The Chieftains. When I looked up the album I was ecstatic to see so many artists that I love had also collaborated with the Chieftains. I chose this song out of the many fabulous songs on the album for my friend Rebecca who made the Punch Brothers regular players in the soundtrack of my life.

Safe Travels (Don’t Die) Lisa Hannigan

This is one of the rare occurrences where I love the music video as much as the song.

The story reminds me to enjoy the little pleasures in life as well as the big ones.

Happy Musical New Year!



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