I was chatting with a friend who was feeling down today, and I realized that I have a favourite song for melancholy days: Various Stages by the Great Lake Swimmers (graciously offered free on their label's download page). It's not a pick-me-up tune, but not really wallowing in gloom either -- perhaps just more reflective. Although I haven't gotten into the rest of their songs the same way, this one is a keeper, especially for a cold, grey October mood.
Update: One song is pretty skimpy for a music post. Two more songs I love with a similar vibe and some subtle banjo goodness:
- Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory -- Coyotes Song -- this is actually one of our family's favourite songs, perhaps despite the melancholia. At just before the two-minute mark, an instrumental section soars and makes the whole song more hopeful somehow. Beautiful.
- The Pirate's Gospel by Alela Diane (excellent video here). This is a more recent discovery for me, but I've grown to love her music very quickly -- great soulful voice, and quirky, rootsy accompaniment that's sometimes dark, but never miserable. This pirate song is actually full-on playful, I think...check out The Rifle (video here) for something a little darker. It's lacking banjo, but is probably a better companion to Various Stages. Plus her main publicity photo (see above) includes a late-'70s Chevy Nova...how could I resist?