In the bleak midwinter, listen to music that brings you joy. This month's Instant Replay features songs that spark joy for us -- maybe they will for you, too.
This series highlights our favorite music of the moment – discoveries we’ve made when we’re at home cooking or cleaning, at the office, or out and about. Classical or otherwise, old, new, or just really cool, these are the tracks we’ve had on repeat this month. Find a cumulative playlist at the end of this post. Happy listening!
Mt. Joy -- Every Holiday
Just in time for the holiday season, the indie rock band Mt. Joy released “Every Holiday” last month – a more intimate scaling-down of their usual sound. But as always, frontman Matt Quinn shares his uncanny ability to dive into your own nostalgic memories – both good and bad – as if he had walked right through each and every one of them with you.
Alison Kraus and Union Station -- Goodbye is All We Have
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been really nostalgic for my bluegrass days! So I’ve been rediscovering some old favorites, and boy, did I forget how much I loved this song. Hope it brings you some warmth and good cheer!
Fleet Foxes -- White Winter Hymnal
Although this isn't a Christmas-specific song, this track fills me with holiday wonder. Complete with slightly ominous lyrics, it's folksy, a little sad, and carries that signature tinny Fleet Foxes sound - perfect for a comfy winter gathering. A warm mulled beverage is required for ideal listening.
Audrey Ryan -- Holding Back
The first time I heard Audrey Ryan was when my friend Tim took me to see her about 8 years ago, and we've been going to her concerts together ever since. I've seen her play 3 times in the past month and each time she played "Holding Back," after a few pretty melancholy songs, you could feel the collective mood shift and the room felt wrapped in a warm glow. She builds her songs slowly with loop pedals, and hearing this emerge out of layers of xylophone lines, kazoo lines, and her close-miced backup vocals is enchanting. I dare you not to smile.
Mother Mother -- Wrecking Ball
This song makes me feel good, and I can't stop listening to it. It's as simple as that. Don't we all need a song like this?
Clare College Orchestra and Singers -- Past Three O'Clock
I like "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Frosty" as much as the next person... but when I need soul-soothing holiday magic, "Carols from Clare" is my go-to. John Rutter conducts the Clare College (England) Singers and Orchestra in a respectful yet celebratory manner. No choir sings "Noel Nouvelet" and "Past Three O'Clock" as well. Treat yourself for those times when both your ears, and your heart, need Christmas.
Calmus Ensemble -- Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen
Yes, I’m going there. Or, really, I’ve been taken there. Christmas music, that is. A late Thanksgiving this year made it feel like the holiday season came on in one big sweep over the last weekend of November. And as I went about strapping an evergreen to the roof of my car and marking dates in my calendar (especially for concerts), this unbelievably gorgeous arrangement of Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen came up. The Calmus Ensemble is singing in Rockport on Dec. 8.
Ready for more? Hear our cumulative playlist: