The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

Music to read Charles De Lint

with one comment

Music is one of the most awesome things in the world. It can transform you, destroy you, and inspire you. Here are some of my favorites. They take me in to a world where there is still a degree of magic behind the veil, and where there are hidden legends around every corner, or maybe just another day to walk around the block. As I wrote this list, I realized that this is the kind of music I’d like to listen to while I read good urban fantasy, like the stuff Charles De Lint writes. So burn some candles, lay back, and relax.

These are, by no means all the artists I love, but they have a folksy magic quality to them I really enjoy. I hope that you will enjoy it too.

Old Crow Medicine Show

Bluegrassy and honest, this band has an awesome “down home” feeling that reminds me of the beauty of this country. I especially like “Wagon Wheel,” and “James River Blues.” I love “I Hear them All.”

The Decemberists

Intellectual, old school, and political. This band is very poetic and literary in their selection of lyrics. They are a very nice juxtaposition to the previous band. Their instrumentation is much more European–almost British. I love “The Crane Wife” and “16 Military Wives.”


Deep ambiance Texan music. Southwest and desert. Deadman is all of these things. They can raise your soul when it i s crushed. Their style is full of nostalgia and hope for a better tomorrow. They are a little twangy, but in a sweet way. It can be metallic too. Like everyone in this list, you have to listen to understand. I love “Mankind,” and “When the Music’s not Forgotten.”

The Paperboys

Tom Landa’s band is one of those very multicultural bands that you can tell love to perform. He does a lot of covers, but he brings his own sensitivities to them. Although I have a hard time relating to some of his lyrics, there are some, like “California,” that really, really speak to me about home. The paperboys remind me why I love life.

Jeff Ball

Deeply ceremonial and uplifting. Jeff Ball creates southwestern landscapes with every note. Although he is classified as a New Age musician he manages to overcome the saccharine tendencies of the genre by enriching his creations with acoustic instruments and performable compositions. My favorite song is “Out of the Darkness.”

Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer

They are the countriest on this list. I love them because their lyrics are intelligent and evocative. “Lancelot,” for example, combines masterful references to Arthurian lore with sad country music motifs. They are masterful folk musicians who play with words and songs with the ease of Tennyson, and the charm of Twain. “Gentle Arms of Eden” explains my spirituality. Dave Carter passed away in 2002. I’m sure the Earth will hold him forever as it moves along in the Universe.


Different from all of the above, Beirut is what indie music would have sounded like in the twenties. Soaring voices mixed with almost humorous counterpoints and anachronistic instruments fill the heart with longing. My favorite song is “Scenic World.”

Moonshine Willy

I just discovered these guys, but I’m having a lot of fun with them. Rockabilly meet They Might Be Giants. So far I like “Eatin’ Crow.” Their album, Pecadores, is pretty cool.

Tish Hinojosa

Tish’s music is varied. Her best songs are ethereal, but not airy or cheesy. They have that southwest feeling I like so much, but her voice grounds them. I like “Beyond the Battle of Man.” I also like the classic “Eres Tu” and “Llorona”

The Wailin’ Jennys

Harmonic and uplifting. Heavily acoustic and crisp with strings. Their songd are the kind of stuff that can make you feel better about life when things are not going well. Sweet voices, and beautiful harmonies. My favorite song is “Heaven When We’re Home.”


Written by Hector

October 10, 2008 at 3:21 am

One Response

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  1. It’s incredible how much power music can have over us (and a little scarry, too)…it’s one of the many ways we can define and express ourselves.
    I would be very sad if we didn’t have it.


    October 13, 2008 at 5:56 pm

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