That strain again! It had a dying fall . . .
—Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
It’s well and truly autumn now. You can tell because post-season baseball is going on. Here in Colorado, leaves are just beginning to turn in some areas, and temperatures have fallen out of the too-hot range. The thing about autumn that’s most telling, I’ve always felt, is the quality of light as the sun crosses to the south side of the equator and shadows become less distinct and more steeply angled.
When I sense the change to fall in this way, it usually signals a shift in my musical mood. This dying season calls for a certain type or style of music. In fact, each season has its own preferred music for me, although that doesn’t mean I listen only to that music during that season. For instance, in the spring I usually stick mostly with the wild, imaginative possibilities of progressive rock, and summer has always been the season of the classic rock from my high school days, when summers lasted forever but were never long enough.
For the autumn, I usually start craving more Celtic music and rock that has folk or Celtic influences. So I’ll usually listen to a lot of Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, and Great Big Sea around this time. It’s music that’s a little bit sad at times or has a hint of longing. It’s angled sharply, like the season’s light. It tells stories of times long gone by. In fact, the music itself is at times ancient. Perhaps that’s why it seems so appropriate for the dying season, which so clearly illustrates the passing of time.
I’m not sure why I’ve never done this before, seeing as how there are so many songs that scream out to me of the autumn, but I’ve just created a short autumn playlist, and I present it to you here. I’ll probably continue to build and work on this one, but this is how it currently stands. Let me know if it evokes that fall feeling for you or if you have other selections you would choose instead.
- Long Life (Where Did You Go), by Great Big Sea
- Come All Ye, by Fairport Convention
- Beauties of Autumn, by Dervish
- She Doesn’t Exist, by Robyn Hitchcock
- Me and the Moon, by Gaelic Storm
- The Fox Hunt (or Chasing the Fox), by The Chieftains
- Heavy Horses, by Jethro Tull
- Doing Fine, by Séan McCann
- Drowse, by Queen
- Now Be Thankful, by Fairport Convention
- Moon Over Bourbon Street, by Sting
- Collapse the Light into Earth, by Porcupine Tree
Follow B. K. Winstead on Twitter at @bkwins