I admit it. I am a warm-weather child, having grown up in Southern California. My uniform of choice is short pants and tennis shoes. Maybe this is a good time to thank all those people who have sympathetically said to me, “California to Boston—my, that must be some culture shock!” At the same time, so many New Englanders have brazenly told me, “I HATE THE COLD!!” Yes, it is a subtle attitude. But I like hearing it. It’s like a code that says it is OK for me to admit out loud that I was cold. Not that you’ll catch me complaining about winter to anyone from Wisconsin…
Girding for real cold in New England was something I was prepared for. More of a surprise has been experiencing how beautiful winter can be—once it’s warm enough to go outside while wearing half your closet, that is. Although the same can be said of observing a snowscape safely from behind a large plate-glass window. But admittedly, that’s not quite the same as feeling the invigorating crisp air (not to be confused with air so cold it makes your jaw hurt), or the crunch of fresh snow under your boots.
Music can really enhance moments of winter beauty. Cold, slow-moving fog becomes dramatic against The Place I Left Behind by The Deep Dark Woods. Your nearby wooded preserve with streams of ice morphs into a Middle Ages forest of magic when viewed with the guitar picking of Bert Jansch, John Renbourne, or Robyn Hitchcock in your ears. The music of Pretty Girls by Northampton’s The Winter Pills turns a desolate wintry landscape into stark beauty. You get the idea. So here are some of my favorite “Winter” songs, in no particular order. Call them Songs for a Winter Soundtrack, if you will:
The Place I Left Behind – The Deep Dark Woods
The January Man – Bert Jansch
Winter Song – The Head & The Heart
*[especially good for going home for the winter holidays]
Winter Love – Robyn Hitchcock
Blue Moon Revisited (Song For Elvis) – Cowboy Junkies
*[especially good for a crisp, clear, new moon night sky]
Acadian Driftwood– The Band
The Mummer’s Dance – Loreena McKennitt [another good one for winter fog]
North Dakota – Lyle Lovett with Rickie Lee Jones.
More good songs for the occasion will probably come to me while I’m not trying to think about it. What are some of your favorite songs for the beautiful side of the Cold Season?
Have a good mid-Winter,