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Posts Tagged ‘Grace Pettis’

I always find myself craving a certain kind of music in January: one that evokes firelight and starlight, crisp blue twilights, soft snow. I’m always a little sad to let go of Christmas music and I’m not ready for anything revved-up or summer-carefree. So here are a few albums and songs I’m playing over and over, to ease me into this year that is both about comfort and bravery.

1. Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong is technically a Christmas album, but includes several “winter songs,” and oh, they are gorgeous. And so is her voice. I adore her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and her soft version of “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

2. Oren Lavie’s “Her Morning Elegance” seems like the perfect song to start a new year – inspiring, elusive and fun. (The rest of the CD tends to make me sad, though…so melancholy.)

3. Grace Pettis’ self-titled album is a favorite all year long, but these days I’m reaching for the quiet, meditative songs – “Turning Too,” “Speak Tenderly,” “Long Sleep.”

4. I love Nichole Nordeman all year long, but I especially love “Every Season” in the dead of winter. It celebrates each season and gives me hope for spring.

5. The Pride and Prejudice (2005) soundtrack is perfect for quiet afternoons at home, working or tidying or writing or just being.

6. Dave Madden‘s songs make me want to be a better person. (I’ve always been a sucker for guitar players with rough-edged voices and dark, soulful eyes.) Favorites include “Dirty Feet,” “The New New Testament” and “This is Love.”

What are you listening to lately?

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I love knowing people who live in Austin, because they always know where to find the good music. Our friend Joey’s wedding in mid-March coincided with SXSW, a huge music/film/interactive festival, and our friends and hosts Craig and Laura already had tickets to some events. So we caught a showcase at the Zach Scott Theatre (in which we got to make a music video with Ginger Leigh). Totally cool. But before that, around lunchtime on Friday, we caught a live outdoor performance by Grace Pettis.

“Songwriting just oozes out of her pores,” Laura said about Grace, and after seeing her live, I believe it. This girl is 22 – a recent college grad, the daughter of singer-songwriter Pierce Pettis, who has written songs covered by people like Joan Baez and Garth Brooks, among others. But she’s got loads of her own talent, and charm to spare. She played under a tent at Mother Egan’s Pub, as part of the label party for Red House Records, and oh MY, she blew us away. (Can’t you see her joy and energy just bursting out in this photo?)

I bought her self-titled album and have listened to it over and over since that week. I love every single song on it, from the rollicking “Let a Little Light” to the honest “Nine to Five Girl” to the slow, soulful “Dancing” and “What You Didn’t Want to Know,” both of which made me cry when she played them live. I love the carefree zing of “Italy” and the haunting tones of “The Gypsy’s Code.” She has soul, and talent, and a great voice, and the combination is just pure magic.

You can listen to a few of her songs on her Myspace site. Or, if you prefer, here’s some video from that performance:

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