Country Music For Babies – A Calming but also Entertaining Playlist

Continuing our exploration of country music for babies, our initial recommended calming-type playlist, in no particular order, is below. Normally I’d put my caveats, disclaimers and explanations here but Z is strapped to my chest and I want to make sure we hit at least the list before she wakes up. See bottom of the post for those disclosure notes.

  1. Love Without End, Amen – George Strait
  2. Even If It Breaks Your Heart – Eli Young Band
  3. Livin’ On Love – Alan Jackson
  4. I’d Love To Lay You Down – Conway Twitty
  5. Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good – Don Williams
  6. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
  7. Good Stuff – Kenny Chesney
  8. Humble and Kind – Tim McGraw
  9. Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis
  10. Colder Weather – Zac Brown Band
  11. Follow Me – Uncle Kracker
  12. Springsteen – Eric Church
  13. Down the Road – Mac McAnally
  14. Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes – George Jones
  15. If I Needed You – Emmylou Harris or TVZ, both wonderful
  16. Angels Among Us – Alabama
  17. What Cowboys Do – Casey Donahew Band
  18. Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes – Jimmy Buffett
  19. I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
  20. My Church – Maren Morris
  21. God Bless the USA – Lee Greenwood
  22. I Wish Grandpas Never Died – Riley Green
  23. I’m Coming’ Home – Robert Earl Keen

Color on the list. First, no artist appears more than once. We could create a fine playlist with a much smaller handful of artists, but that wouldn’t be as fun for me and wouldn’t capture enough range for baby’s country music learning and enjoyment. Second, as I’ve done with other playlists, the number of tracks here roughly corresponds to how many tracks you’d be able to get onto a burnt CD of my childhood. Third, I’ve focused here primarily, though not exclusively, on calming potential. There’s a great playlist to be made for when you want to purely rock out with baby during awake time, but it’s not this one. Of course it’s not purely about calming – there is consideration given to quality of lyrics and themes and a number of other variables that I’ll unpack in a later post. And so, fourth, this isn’t even the top songs that I find most calming for either me or the baby or solely my favorite group of calming-type songs primarily because, as I’m learning in many other respects too, this playlist is not just about me and I want to try to capture some of those other variables. And as always apologies to the unlisted songwriters who I don’t think ever get enough credit.

If readers have any recommendations that I can add to Z’s playlist, please let me know!

REK Reminder

I’m embarrassed to admit that I sometimes forget about Robert Earl Keen.  I don’t know how it happens, but for periods of time he seems to slip right through the middle of Spotify’s triangulation of my listening interests to create those daily mix playlists and slip down the chain of Pandora radio stations so I don’t see him there towards the top when choosing the next one.  On blind grabs, my koozie drawer seems to offer up a REK koozie less than I’d suspect was statistically warranted.  Ditto for country t-shirt grabs.

But each time REK does come back around – this time it was thanks to the Jason Boland/Cody Canada cover of Shades of Gray from Undone coming on – it’s a lightening bolt reminder of not only how great he is, but also of some of the very best things about country.  No matter how many times I hear his songs, his content is fresh and original – he tells stories with ups/downs, characters and emotions.  And picayune details.  The stories feel authentic.  They do not feel like they were written to trend on twitter.  His content is funny, sometimes it’s a poke of darker irony, but more often it’s silliness – either cleverly woven into the fabric of a story or sometimes just for its own sake.

Performance is important too.  The same song can take on very different feels, depending on tempo, instruments, delivery, etc.  But back on lyrics and content, most REK songs make me feel like he’s capturing experiences, rather than performing.  It feels like what he has to sing about is unlimited.  Probably a couple other songwriters still recording who fall into the same camp – want to think more about that – but the most similar, modern comp that I’ve thought this about is or was Evan Felker and Turnpike Troubadours.

Anyway, great reminder! Robert-Earl-Keen.