Soul-Fed Mama: Music For Soulful Mamas

Music For Soulful Mamas, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on Putting on an album I love is one of the ways I use to shift my mood or settle myself down when I'm spinning out. I love to listen to music in the car, when I can really hear the lyrics, while I cook, and when I'm working on my computer (as long as I'm not writing!).Here are five albums that I'm loving right now. Two are old friends, another is becoming so, and two are recent finds that I'm sure are going to be sticking around. You should know that my taste in music runs toward melancholy songwriters. I love songs about heartbreak and relationships, when they are well-written and lyrical. These all fit that bill. You won't find much danceable pop in my collection, so if that's your thing you may not like these. But I hope you do! The Civil Wars - The Civil WarsThe iTunes Editor’s Notes describes this album as “run through with riveting tension, enigmatic beauty, and smoldering emotion.” It is a recent release, the second from this duo. The songs are about complex relationships and heartbreak. They are what my Bean would describe as “A little bit sad.” This album has been my soundtrack while cooking dinner since I bought it a couple of weeks ago.LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs - God Willin' & The Creek Don't RiseThis is the fourth album from Ray LaMontagne, and he’s joined this time by the alt-country band The Pariah Dogs, which give a few of these cuts more of a rocking edge than his earlier albums (“Repo Man,” in particular, is great at high volume!). Although you can hear the twang of LaMontagne’s country roots in songs like “New York City’s Killing Me” and “Old Before Your Time,” it is the husky, 70’s soul of his voice that really makes me love his music. Gossip In The Grain is another great album, especially if you are looking for something a bit more mellow.Sarah Sample - Someday, SomedayI found Sarah Sample over the summer, as a recommendation from my friend Sarah at Bluegrass Redhead. This is probably the most uplifting and upbeat album in this collection. It kicks off with the delightfully bouncy “I’m Ready” and winds sweetly to end with a love song to Texas in the summertime. Her voice is described as “sunshine” and “light and bright.” Her songs sound sweet, but listen carefully, because the lyrics have more depth than you might first expect.Deb Talan - A Bird Flies OutYou may recognize Talan’s voice - she’s now half of The Weepies. This solo album is one of two she released before joining that band. I want to love The Weepies, but I actually really prefer Talan’s solo work. Her lyrics are sweet-sounding but there’s an underlying melancholy that I love. This CD lives in my car’s 6-CD changer and has been there for probably a year. My partner loves this one, too - every time he drives my car this is the CD he switches to. I especially like the song Big Strong Girl, which is a loving anthem for supermoms everywhere.Chris Pureka - DrylandI went to see Chris Pureka perform at a local venue a few years ago. It was just her on the stage with a guitar and a bass box that she used to tap out a heartbeat. We were rapt. She’s soft-spoken, intellectual, and sings thoughtful songs about love, longing, and the dark of long New England winters. iTunes compares her to Neil Young, but her songwriting style reminds me more of Greg Brown. Dryland is her second album, released in 2006. This CD has also been living in my car with Deb Talan. My favorite tracks are “These Pages” and “Compass Rose,” but every song on this album bears a close listen.What are you listening to this week? Can you help me find some music outside of my well-worn rut?

This post is part of the 31-day Soul-Fed Mama series. Find the rest of this series here.

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