Fall and the changing of the colors always makes me want to keep my headphones on all day just so I can have a quiet soundtrack to the beautiful weather. If I could do that all fall, this would be the playlist that would be on my iPod. There’s something about quiet, introspective folk songs that makes them seem to have more meaning in the fall. Here are some of my favorites to take you into the new season with a smile on your face an appreciation for the natural beauty around you.
“Helen” – Horse Feathers
I love the quiet intro to this song because the instruments seem to play off each other like wind and leaves in the fall. There is a hushed beauty to this song, which is something I love about Horse Feathers songs and something I also love about the changing of seasons. The addition of some sparse violin makes this the perfect quiet folk tune to start off this playlist
“Crosswinds” - J Tillman
I think almost all of J Tillman’s songs seem like the perfect soundtrack to the quiet of fall and winter, but this one is a personal favorite. The instruments at the beginning literally sound like wind, Tillman’s clear voice breaks through, and layered background vocals add depth and harmony.
“Tangle In This Trampled Wheat” – The Tallest Man On Earth
The rolling guitar (signature TMOE style) of this song and Kristian Matsson’s weary voice remind me of gazing at the fall colors from the backseat, quiet and undisturbed. He sings of birds, pine, sweaters, and longing with a quiet and solemn introspection that sends this song straight to the heart.
“It Ain’t Me Babe” – White Antelope
Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes reworks this classic song with nimble guitar-picking and overly layered vocals. Nothing says fall to me more than piled-on harmonies and quiet finger-picking guitar (if you haven’t figured that out already). This song puts a smile on my face and relaxes me all at the same time.
“Furr” – Blitzen Trapper
What could be more appropriate for fall than an indie-folk band singing about a man turning into a wolf? These Portland folksters won me over with this mythical song full of tambourine, harmonica, and lifelike animal sounds. This one’s perfect for a chilly night around the campfire.
“Down The Line” – Jose Gonzalez
I love the unrelenting rhythm of this song by folk-master Jose Gonzalez. He is always one of my go-to artists for peaceful, meditative guitar songs, and this one is no exception.
“And It’s Alright” – Peter Broderick
This is a lovely song from newcomer Peter Broderick, who I stumbled upon at last year’s PDX Pop Now festival. Broderick uses repetitive lyrics and melody with a mellow sound and building momentum to create a truly beautiful creation.
“Beach Baby” – Bon Iver
From Bon Iver’s lesser-know EP Blood Bank comes a song that has always struck a chord for me. Justin Vernon’s stunning falsetto and the bouncing lullabye of the guitar are the perfect simple backdrop for that unexpected and lonely-sounding slide guitar. This one would be a great soundtrack for a quiet night on the deck with a hot mug of tea.
“Innocent Son” – Fleet Foxes
This solemn song from my favorite Pacific Northwest folk band is uncharacteristically sparse and almost a cappella at times. Robin Pecknold’s voice rings out so clear and loud that it almost sounds as if it should echo into the wilderness.
“Majesty Snowbird” – Sufjan Stevens
I’m letting you in on a secret with this one, because this song has never been released and has only been played at live shows. But…it is indeed majestic enough that I want to share it with you. Epic is pretty much the word that comes to mind when I hear this 10-minute long saga about a rare bird. I will let the song speak for itself.