For a musician, you’d think I would listen to more music.

The sad but true fact is that I have had to ~ lately ~ make a point of having music on in my house, seeking out new music, and filling my ears with all sorts of inspiration.  Part of the shift has been a willingness to newfound joy in paying for music.  Again, sounds counterintuitive for a musician, I know.  But hear me out.

I have always struggled with money.  And I was guilty of downloading pirated music, mostly because I never had the money to pay for it properly.  Then I started downloading stuff, giving it a listen, and if I knew it was something I’d listen to again, I would purchase it off of iTunes.  Sara Bareilles, case in point.  Downloaded some of her stuff off Limewire.  FELL. IN. LOVE.  (She is my full on music crush, for those who were not previously aware.  She is the bomb.  In every way a singer/songwriter could be.)  So I went back and paid for everything I’d downloaded and then everything else I could find, off of iTunes.

Digression – I have long been guilty of downloading songs I have to learn for gigs.  And truthfully, I have no issues with that.  I’ll probably keep doing that.  Because I know that if I had a song on the charts (or even if I didn’t), and there was a band who wanted to learn it and cover it live (which the bars pay mechanical royalties to, so the writer gets paid), I wouldn’t give a shit whether they paid the $1.29 to download that one song.  Instead, I’d be happy that they were getting my tune out to more ears. – Aaaand, scene.

But here’s the thing.  (Back to regular music consumption by normal people. Not those bloody musician types.)  If we don’t make a point of paying for things, the money to do so will never show up in our lives. If we keep trying to figure out an end run around to scam it for free, the Universe will likely acquiesce by making sure we don’t have the dollas.  So I’ve been paying for it, and downloading things off iTunes like crazy.  I hear a song on a TV show that I like, I search it out.  I hear music at a friend’s that I like, I start downloading it on my iPad, right then and there.  I take my kid to a dance convention and watch ShoTyme choreograph some pretty cool shit to music that totally grooves…I seek that same shit out and put it on in my house.  For my ears.  For my soul.  For my inspiration, my groove.

Aside of this burgeoning joy for spending money on music, and the satisfaction of knowing that I am finally doing my part to support the industry that I both love and hate, I am loving grooving to music again.  I have also started going back through all my CD’s (after having lost an entire iTunes library after a helpful someone emptied the trash on my computer, and somehow the whole library had gotten moved there…it’s OK, I went to therapy…several times…)  Right.  So.  Where was I?  I am importing all my CD’s with the intent of (after BACKING iTUNES THE FUCK UP!) getting rid of all my CD’s.  Happy little by-product?  I have (or will soon have) all my music at the tip of my fingers at all times.  I know, most people were on this train about 5 years ago…I’m getting there.  Simmer down.

I’m learning that I love happy, poppy, funky, up-beat stuff when I’m cleaning (granted, this doesn’t happen often.)  I love instrumental jazz and classical (no lyrics to pull focus) when I’m writing.  I love jazz again period, after a brief hiatus the last few years.  I still love my old faves, but I’m incredibly happy to be discovering some new ones too.  And, I am so grateful for the joy I feel at the sound of music in the house again.  It’s been quiet here too long.

One of the things that I think is the most positive about music and the digital age, assuming you’re taking the high road and paying for your downloads, is the ability to instantly access new music. In addition, it makes it killer easy to pluck single songs that rock your soul, without having to take the whole album. Which means that my iTunes library is more diverse than my music collection has been, ever.

NEW DISCOVERIES & RE-DISCOVERIES – well, new discoveries for me. Or things I used to love and have just newly rediscovered. Things that will stay on my playlist for a good long time. Some are albums, some are songs, some are artists.

  • Florence + The Machine – Between Two Lungs
  • Shawn Desmond – Shiver
  • Brad Turner – everything. Fucking genius this guy.
  • Metalwood – see Brad Turner
  • Sharon Minemoto – my college roommate. And a stellar musician.
  • James Taylor – At Christmas, along with everything else.
  • Laila Biali – Tracing Light; From Sea to Sky
  • Singers Unlimited – every-freakin-thing
  • Aaron Copeland – Appalachian Spring; Fanfare for the Common Man
  • Take 6 – He Is Christmas
  • Ella Fitzgerald – there is no one like Ella. ‘Nuff said.
  • Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation
  • Tegan & Sara – a big catalogue to work through!
  • Jellyfish – Bellybutton; Spilt Milk (both are so good!)
  • Colbie Caillat
  • Huey Lewis & the News
  • Tower of Power

OLD FAVES – in no particular order (and yes, I’m aware that some of these are very old favourites!)

  • Marianas Trench – Fix Me; Masterpiece Theatre (this was a no-brainer. Hello?!? Welcome to my family!)
  • Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
  • Silverchair – Diorama
  • The Eagles – all of it
  • James Taylor – everything. Every. Thing.
  • Steely Dan – Greatest Hits
  • Sheryl Crow – all of it
  • Brand New Heavies – Brother, Sister
  • George Michael – Faith
  • Shawn Colvin – A Few Small Repairs
  • Sara Bareilles – ALL. OF. IT. <3 sigh <3
  • Paula Cole – Harbinger; This Fire
  • James Taylor – all of it (oh wait, did I already say this?)
  • Paul Simon – Graceland; Rhythm of the Saints
  • Michael Jackson – Thriller, lots and lots more
  • Adam Woodall – Silver Ring (I melt at Adam’s voice)
  • Stevie Wonder – must I give particulars?
  • Billy Joel – uh, yeah, just about everything.
  • Bonnie Raitt – I love this woman. So much soul. So, yeah…everything.
  • Carol King – greatest hits

You can link here to my playlists: Positivity Jam, Groove Jam, and Chill Jam.

I will probably come back and amend this list as I continue through my CD catalogue, and as I discover new things on iTunes. What about you? What are your new faves or your go-to, always there when you need it, know every word bands or albums? Maybe I’ll find some new favourites in your list!