Some of my favorite fall-themed music:
In times of turmoil, the song “Count Your Blessings” is a beautiful reminder to be thankful. I’m thankful that Nas and Damian Marley collaborated on 2010’s Distant Relatives album and created 13 harmonious tracks of rap-reggae goodness.
The gorgeous track “Gone Till November” from Wyclef Jean’s classic 1997 hip-hop album The Carnival features instrumental accompaniment by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Download “Gone Till November” and more Wyclef Jean on Freegal.
Thinking about autumn harvests and all the great late season fruits and vegetables available right now brought to mind a song that my niece loved for me to play (and replay and replay) for her. It's been a few years, but I found it again - 5 Red Apples from the album Songs From the Great Outdoors by The Chickadees! There's a playful catchiness that is just right for your preschool and lower grade kiddos. Listening again, I noticed that so many of the songs on this album are perfectly suited to this time of year, such as Acorn, Acorn; An Owl in the Trees; and Autumn Leaves.
When I heard our Movie and Music Team topic this time was Harvest, I immediately thought of the Neil Young album titled Harvest. This classic 1972 album was an essential soundtrack for an era and has influenced generations of singers and songwriters. Twenty years later he revisited the subject with his release Harvest Moon- the title track is a standout.
King Harvest is a great tune by another 1960s and ‘70s mainstay group: The Band. (On the album The Band: [remasters]) Explore their music on CD. Be sure that you don’t miss their grand farewell concert, the star studded documentary The Last Waltz directed by Martin Scorsese.
When you search the word Harvest in the Alexander Street Music databases you will find dozens of songs in all genres: Pop, Blues, Polka, Jazz, Folk, Country and Bluegrass, Reggae, World Music and more. Build a playlist- it could serve as a great backdrop for your Thanksgiving meal.
Watch chef Jacques Pepin prepare a Thanksgiving feast on Jacques Pepin's Thanksgiving Celebration to get ready for the holiday. Fans of salmon will love the three salmon appetizers Pepin makes. Pepin's turkey made me salivate. No pumpkin pie, but the pears poached in citrus juice look delicious. This DVD will give you some great ideas for your Thanksgiving!
New Age pianists have enjoyed long careers and recognition but George Winston is the one who started it all. His 1980 album Autumn is the perfect companion for this time of year when the days get shorter and the weather turns cooler. Featured here is the 20th anniversary edition with "Too Much Between Us," a bonus track. This album is absolutely beautiful and sparkling.
Released in 2011, The Harrow and the Harvest was Gillian Welch's first album in eight years. It was worth the wait. Welch sings in her plain country voice of the every-person and their experiences with joy, loss, revenge, hope, love, and everything in between. She and musical partner David Rawlings are a force together. And did I mention the banjos? They're incredible. This is by far my favorite Gillian Welch album.
When I think of Autumn harvest, I picture endless gold, red and orange leaves falling from trees making a carpet on the ground like in director Todd Haynes' gorgeous Far From Heaven. The story about a love lost and another found but all against the sense of ending that autumn can bring, reinforces the sense of the season.
Of course it's not just about fall colors, it's also about the actual harvest and once again I think of a lovely to look "heavenly" film, this time, Days of Heaven, with its striking images of expansive fields and harvest routines framing a doomed love triangle between a farmer and two of the workers on his estate. Days of Heaven is often considered one of the most beautiful films of all time.
Finally, I think of feasting on the good food that harvest brings and to my mind there is no better feast movie than Babette's Feast, about a French maid who shows her appreciation, for the two Danish sisters who gave her refuge in Denmark, by cooking one of the greatest epic meals in film history.
Thomas Newman's lovely autumnal score for director Gillian Armstrong's 1994 adaptation of Little Women always puts me into the perfect mood for celebrating the pleasures that autumn brings. The score is available to download or stream on Freegal.
Movies & Music - Question of the Week
In their 1978 hit song “September”, Earth, Wind & Fire asks if you remember this night of the month.
Last Week's Trivia Answer: Sarah Jessica Parker