Make a joyful noise

This is the statement that is boldly proclaimed on the back of my lime green iPod.  And I love it.  Both the statement and the iPod.  I know I have an unnatural love for this gadget.  The first step is admitting it, right?

It’s been a hard couple of weeks.  Work is stressful.  Remember that little thing I love so much called the Offshore Technology Conference?  Well, it’s coming.  Coming to take me away.  In a straight jacket…

I digress.

The only thing that has saved me at work lately is the soft ambiance of my soothing music.  You all know that making playlists and mixed tapes is one of my spiritual gifts.  Well, I have one that is a glorious mixture of crooners and soul searchers with a little bit of soft jazz, acoustic piano and mellow country for good measure. It calms me.  And that’s a good thing when I’m wondering how the to-do list is going to get done when I have to categorize it by “hot”, “very hot” and “MUST GET OUT TODAY.”

I digress again.

This post is not about my ability to construct a decent OFFICE CHILL playlist.  It’s about four artists who hold special places on said OFFICE CHILL playlist.  These are the beloved musicians I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy in person recently.  If you don’t know who they are, it’s clear why you were lead to this website today.  You can thank me in the comment section after you experience their greatness.  I’m just saying.


I was first introduced to the music of Amos Lee two years ago when I friend of mine gave me a couple of his tracks on a burned CD for my birthday. Clearly I’m friends with this person because of his appreciation of a good mixed tape, but that’s not the point right now. The point is…I was hooked. He’s soulful, passionate, jazzy, bluesy and just plain smooth. He writes most of his stuff and you can feel the emotion in each and every verse. I saw him with about a million other people at The House of Blues and not since my experience seeing George Michael in concert did I scream for an encore with such vigor and conviction. And that’s when he played “Arms of a Woman.” I may, MAY, have had to take a seat because my knees went weak. Lord have mercy. Sadly, it was standing room only, so I had to lean against the stranger next to me. She totally understood.

– Arms of a Woman
– Supply and Demand
– Careless
– Windows Are Rolled Down
– Night Train
– Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight


Let the record show that when it comes to country music, I will always prefer the old stuff to the “country” music that is played on the radio today. I grew up with Waylon, Willie and the boys playing in my house and old Chevy trucks my Daddy used to drive. However, when the 80s came, I embraced my jelly shoes, crimped hair, day glo t-shirt and Madonna gloves along with all of the righteous tunes that accompanied that decade. To the max. With high school came the rise of Seattle grunge. I was never a fan, so I made the switch back to country music, just in time to catch Garth Brooks thankfully before the Chris Gaines debacle. I’ve been a genre surfer since those years, but never really settled in to country music the way I love the classics.

With that said.
A. Look at this guy.
B. I mean really. Future IHGB Hall of Famer for sure.

I saw Billy and the Houston rodeo this year and I have to say that he is mighty good lookin’. That’s code for hot. Although he didn’t display a spunky personality, anyone who sings “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” has to be President of their local Fun Club.

And look at him. I’m a fan.

– Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer
– Good Directions
– Must Be Doin’ Something Right (I’ll say)
– Let Me Down Easy


Okay. I know I just went on about how I’m not die hard country and here’s another country selection. Hey. When you have friends who have friends who work at the rodeo, you get in free. (Thanks for the tickets Keri!) We were sitting near the chutes. The energy was palpable in Reliant Stadium. Everyone in Houston wanted to get their hands on Zac Brown tickets. And let me tell you…they did not disappoint. These guys sound EXACTLY like they do on their albums. And Zac Brown actually wears a beenie on his head even when it’s hot outside. I don’t get it. Trademarks are weird. Look at that contestent on American Idol trying to make “tails” happen. DUDE. THEY AREN’T GOING TO HAPPEN.

Not only do these guys sound great, but they are gifted musicians. And they play patriotic music and anyone who knows me understands my affection for our great country and anything that has to do with honoring the good ole’ USA through music. I think I cried twice. God bless AMERICA! I think there is a live version on iTunes. It will give you chills if you have any sort of American bone in your body.

Even though I hate meat on the bone…
– Chicken Fried
– Whatever It Is
– Free
– Toes
– Highway 20 Ride
– Colder Weather


Be still my crooner loving heart. I loved him the minute he told me it had to be me during When Harry Met Sally. And I’ve been a fan since. His Christmas albums are amazing. His portrayal of Justin Matisse in Hope Floats is one of my favorite male leads in a romance movie. Anyone who can wear a cowboy hat like that, fish like that, build a house like that, push a girl around a dance floor like that, speak in a southern drawl like that…is certainly worthy of being my fake boyfriend and sole reason I own both the movie and the soundtrack in CD, VHS and DVD formats.

I digress.

After hearing Harry perform live here in Houston a few weeks ago, I was taken back to a different era. His latest album covers cocktail jazz songs made famous by the Rat Pack, Beatles and Elvis. And when he tapped into his New Orleans roots, a truly talented musician commanded the stage with lively piano licks, fierce brass and a toe-tapping beat. Above all else, he is an entertainer. Loved it. Loved him. Would have killed for a pair of teeny binoculars.

– And I Love Her
– You Don’t Know Me
– It Had To Be You
– Wink and a Smile
– Entire NOLA album

I’m excited to report that I will be seeing two more live performances in June. No, no, it’s not Justin Bieber…but close. JOEY MCINTYRE! That’s right! I’m headed to the NKYTBSB concert this summer. But before, I’m going to continue my jazz, crooner, soul concert addiction and have scored tickets to Michael Buble in Austin.

You have my permission to be jealous.

I would love to hear your 2011 obsessions and any recommendations for artists you feel it is your duty to introduce me to. I embrace the expanded musical knowledge and my iPod thanks you. Let me hear from you in the comments section and I’ll give each one a 30 second try-out on iTunes. Thanks!

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April 6, 2011 11:59 pm

*sigh* Free by Zac and the boys is one of my all-time faves. Do you have an iTunes channel? Is that what it’s called when people can make playlists, and people can buy them and ping them (whatever the crap that means)? I don’t even know. But I’d love to check out some of your God-given CD assembly skillz.

Natty from Oz
Natty from Oz
April 7, 2011 12:56 am

Gotta love Harry…my sister had Wink and a Smile as her wedding first dance song… cute!

courtney c
April 7, 2011 7:14 am

Looove that Billy Currington, looove Zac, loooove Harry, gonna give a listen to Amos Lee. I think I’ll be turning up my country i-tunes today:) yum.

April 7, 2011 7:50 am

Whew, Harry Connick, Jr. is amazing. I’m with you on the Justin Matisse obsession. You should listen to the Avett Brothers. They have a folkish (folkie?) kind of sound, but their latest album a little less so. I personally enjoy the banjo, but either way, give them a listen.

April 7, 2011 8:33 am

Michael Buble – I heart him. He’s a little like your Harry – sings Rat Pack, Sinatra, and a little of his own stuff – and easy on the eyes, too! I get to see him in concert this summer. I recommend “Haven’t Met You Yet,” “I’m Your Man” “Home” and “Song For You”

April 7, 2011 8:54 am

I will be at the NKOTBSB concert as well. I went to the 2 last year and I can’t wait for this one. I’m taking my sister for her b-day and she doesn’t know yet. I can’t wait to surprise. We both grew up loving NKOTB and she has never seen them in concert. 🙂

April 7, 2011 9:09 am

Oh, here in Georgia we have been following Zac Brown forever!! They are amazing! So glad they made your list! Have you ever heard of the Randy Rogers Band? You should try them out…they are TX boys that haven’t quite hit the big time yet, but I think they will, they are good!

April 7, 2011 9:46 am

Thank you Grey’s Anatomy for introducing me to the beautiful voice/music of Brandi Carlile….Lincee, I think you will love her….youtube her song “The Story”…

April 7, 2011 9:57 am

You will really enjoy Buble. A friend dragged me to his concert here in London (Ontario, Canada) and not only is he a good singer..doing a lot of Rat Pack stuff and putting a crooner twist to some more modern things and his own stuff…but the man is a comedian! And he is hot! Nothing like a talented, hot man who can make you laugh!!! I wonder if he cooks too?

April 7, 2011 10:12 am

I’ve fallen in love with Amos Lee. Thanks, Lincee! Also, i played his song Southern Girl. I’m surprised you didn’t list that one – great song! His voice is one that makes you feel like it is a hit you should know the words to.

April 7, 2011 10:36 am

Marc Broussard and Ray Lamontagne – you’re welcome.

April 7, 2011 11:49 am

I’ve seen Zac Brown Band and Amos Lee recently here in Dallas – Love them both!! Also love getting new music ideas – gracias!

April 7, 2011 12:11 pm

Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca C.
Rebecca C.
April 7, 2011 12:21 pm

I saw Harry Connick, Jr in concert over a decade ago, when I was a teenager. I love that his appeal and his music endures. I’ve seen Michael Buble in concert twice and it was so fun! I’m certain you will not be disappointed. I love Amos Lee (Arms of a Woman…sigh) but have never seen him live… sounds like it was fantastic.

I second the recommendation above for Ray LaMontagne (try Hold You in My Arms, Let it Be Me and Trouble). Joshua Radin is great music to play when you need mellow (try Star Mile, Paperwieght, or Brand New Day). Also, have you listened to Adele? Her new album is so amazing! Listen to Rolling in the Deep or Rumor Has It and see for yourself. My last suggestion is my secret shame — John Mayer. Never before have I been so attracted to a d—–bag. All his songs are great, but a few of my favorites are Great Indoors, Edge of Desire, and In Your Atmosphere. (His concert was one of the best I’ve ever been to). Happy listening!

April 7, 2011 12:33 pm

I second (or third) the recommendations for Ray Lamontagne and Avett Brothers. Was also going to suggest Joshua Radin (Rebecca C. we have exactly the same tastes in music : )) Check out the Garden State and Last Kiss soundtracks if you haven’t already (compiled by Zach Braff – yum.) He uses a lot of these artists and both CDs are ready-made mellow mix tapes : )

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