Music from The Swamp – the ‘top 10 most played songs’ edition


Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows how much I love music. It is the salve that soothes my soul, it feeds me and keeps me sane all at the same time. So, dear readers, I present to you my top 10 list of songs:

10. Crash Hard by Dustin Bentall played 164 times.

9. Someone Like You by Adele played 164 times.

8. Torn Screen Door by David Francey played 169 times.

7. What Will Become of Us by Passenger played 180 times.

6. Rest Your Head by Ben Caplan played 198 times.

5. I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons played 212 times.

4. Weighty Ghost by Wintersleep played 220 times

3. Same Love by Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis played 250 times.

2. Lover’s Eyes by Mumford and Sons played 298 times.

1. Ghosts that We Knew by Mumford and Sons played 412 times.

Clearly I have a thing for Mumford and Sons! I am not sure this list is completely reflective of my listening habits over time. I reset my iTunes play counts about 2 years ago so this reflects my obsession with Mumford and Sons late last year. Perhaps I will do another list of 11-20.

Music my balm for life

When I was blogging daily in 2011, WordPress encouraged bloggers by sending out topics of the day. I found most of the topics to be banal or lacking in substance so I rarely used them.[1] I have stayed on the mailing list and the topics have improved. Today’s topic: discuss the role that music plays in your life, is very relevant to me. I have blogged many times about artists I love through the category: Music from The Swamp. Music plays a huge role in my life.

Since I can remember, I have always listened to music. As a young child my mother listened to Jim Croce, Three Dog Night and the Lettermen. The first pop song I remember engaging with was ‘Seasons in the Sun’ by Terry Jack.[2] I would sit with my radio waiting with anticipation for them to play it again. My older brother taught me how to call into the request line. I was probably 6 or 7 at the time. The next music that I can remember resonating with me was Queen’s ‘We will rock you’ and ‘We are the Champions.’ I would stay up late so I could hear those songs on the Top 10 countdown every night.

As I moved into my teenage years, my tastes became a little darker. I listened to Supertramp’s Crime of the Century constantly. The lyrics really resonated with me. The songs ‘School’ and ‘Hide in your Shell’ were my go to songs as an angst ridden teenager living in an abusive home. I would lie in my bed and cover my head as I listened to these songs over and over again. I also related to my parents’ music. Really, just about any music worked for me.

Music soothes and calms me. I pour all of my anxiety and frustration into singing along. I tend to like my music loud. As a teenager I used to think that by the time I was 40 I would no longer listen to loud music. In actuality, what happened was that at 40 I could afford a better sound system so now my loud music sounds good. Now I am pretty sure I am going to be the one in the retirement facility who gets noise complaints.

Music speaks to my soul in a deep and profound way. I always wanted to be a back up singer in a band. I don’t sing well enough to carry the tune myself but I sing harmony very well. And, if I couldn’t be in the band, I wanted to be a groupie. I still have these desires but I have come to the realization that I am a music consumer and as along as I can sing in my house or in my car, I am happy.

I think part of the reason I am feeling so much better is because I started listening to music at home in early 2012. When I started listening to music again, I did it for another reason.[3] I quickly realized what I had been missing. I have no idea why I stopped listening to music at home but the tunes were back on now! I had continued to listen to music in my car but that was not enough. Now if I plan to be in my office for more than a few minutes the dock gets fired up and the music comes on.

I really believe that had I not discovered the healing properties of music at a young age, I may well not be here. So much of who I am and how I have coped with life has been shaped by music. There is so much music out there that just reaches in and soothes my soul; it calms me down and it energizes me. I sometimes wonder if music is my way to connect with my emotions as I am a pretty linear person in my day-to-day life.

I have also been told I am a musical imperialist so this post will not be complete without a musical interlude.

I discovered Passenger after watching an episode of Elementary. Now, Passenger used to be a band but the band broke up and now it is just one guy: Mike Rosenberg. Most of his stuff is quiet and introspective with acoustic guitar. He does not have a perfect voice. His lyrics are brilliant. One of my favourite lines from a song called ‘A Month of Sundays’ is: “Black kettles and black pots seem to fight an awful lot, and make the kitchen the most uncomfortable of rooms. Empty words don’t mean an awful lot and for me that’s all you’ve got.”

Feather on the Clyde was the first Passenger song I heard:

Month of Sundays:

Now, I would love to hear from all 12 of my readers: What music gets you going? What role does it play in your life? I am also totally up for some recommendations!

[1] I may have even written a post mocking the topics…

[2] Currently it is on the list of CBC’s On the Coast worst song ever contenders.

[3] We had an extremely annoying, demanding and manipulative person who lived with us from September 2011 until January 2012. Loud music was a cue to her not to bug me. It worked. I am not proud of this childish behavior.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘things for which I am grateful’ edition

I have been a little moody/bitchy since Sunday. This is not normally me. I realize that a great deal of why I am feeling so crappy is that I have not had any time off since June that did not involve my mother. I tried to get a couple of weeks leave without pay in September but the powers that be said no. I still have some vacation days left so I have asked for next week off. If I don’t get it, I am going to be very upset.

So, in the meantime, I have decided that if I focus on some positive things my outlook may be different. Here is the list:

  1. I am grateful for my wife. I am a fortunate woman because I get to share my life with someone who loves me fiercely. We support each other and laugh so much.
  2. I am grateful for our dogs. Without dogs, I would just merely exist rather than live. They make me smile and laugh every single day.
  3. Music and the amazing dock in my office. I also have really good speakers in my car.
  4. The NHL Lockout
  5. CBC Radio One
  6. The end of the US campaign!

Music from the Swamp – the ‘Mumford and Sons’ edition

NaBloPoMo update – Woo hoo! This is day 2 and so far so good. I would also like to note that Beth over at Not to be trusted with knives is also joining in on the daily posting in November!!! Go Beth!

If you haven’t heard Mumford and Sons yet you are missing out on an amazing new band. The group is named for Marcus Mumford who is all of 25 years old! I am astounded at the level of sophistication in their music. Their lyrics mine deep emotional territory that artists twice their age are not able to access. Check out this live performance on Q:

Tech Review: Beolit 12

Beolit 12

What is it?

The simple explanation is that the Beolit 12, by Bang and Olufsen is a dock for your iDevices. It allows you to play music via Airplay or USB. About the size of an old-fashioned lunchbox, the Beolit 12 delivers incredible sound.

How does it work?

It works via Airplay or USB. Music can be streamed via Airplay from a computer or iDevice or you can plug in your device’s USB cable directly to the Beolit 12. It also sports a rechargeable battery that is good for 8 hours which makes the Beolit 12 highly portable. The Beolit 12 has a substantial heft to it but it is easy to pick up by the leather strap that goes across it diagonally. If you plug in your iDevice it will charge it, even on battery power.

The Macworld review cited difficulties with plugging in the power cable and looping it over a peg in the rear compartment. I did not have any issues with this – perhaps it just needs smaller hands.

Why should I care?

The sound!!! The sound is why you should care. If you are an audiophile you will absolutely love the crystal-clear sound delivered by the Beolit 12. You can turn it all the way up and it does not distort or lose clarity. To quote Macworld: “The Beolit 12 can get hilariously loud – as in, ”I need to go into a second room before I turn the volume all the way up” loud.”

I first read a review for the Beolit 12 in January. I lusted after it until close to my birthday. Deb found one and I got it 2 weeks early. I absolutely adore it.

That’s all great but how much does it cost?

The Beolit 12 is not for the faint of heart. You are looking at $1000 CDN for this fabulous piece of speaker hardware. It is worth every penny. In addition to its fabulous sound it has a great visual aesthetic. Clearly this is something you buy because you have to have a fabulous dock. As music is my sanity it is a great investment in my self-care.

Music from the Swamp – the ‘Eagles’ edition

A couple of months ago, I heard someone describe the Eagles as boring. I was shocked to say the least. There are many adjectives[1] that could be used to describe the Eagles but boring is not one of them. The Eagles paved the way for country-rock. The Eagles sold more albums in the 1970s than any other group.[2] One of my favourite albums was the Eagles Live record released in 1980. The song ‘Life’s been Good’ became the unofficial party song of my youth. Here are my top 5 Eagles songs:

Hotel California – Seriously who has not heard this song? watch?v=NUbTW928sMU

Peaceful Easy Feeling – this song really spoke to the young lesbian in me. It transported me to a place where everything would be fine. I would dream about being with the woman and it was the secret I kept just for me. watch?v=44A9iDQNrss

Seven Bridges Road – The opening acapella sequence is out of this world. The harmonies in this song are some of the best ever performed. watch?v=c-q7Mih69KE

The Last Resort – the lyrics to this song are as relevant today as they were in the 1970s. watch?v=ekytTpFy96o

Desperado – again, another hymn of the 1970s. I wonder how many weddings, dances and events closed with this song? watch?v=0BwOXlGbW6Q

More in the Music from the Swamp Series: The David Francey EditionThe Decemberists EditionThe Warren Zevon EditionThe Playlist Edition, The Matthew Barber Edition, The Richard Shindell Edition

[1] Revolutionary, ridiculously talented and amazing come to mind!

Music from The Swamp – the ‘Richard Shindell’ edition

Richard Shindell is one of my all-time favourite folk singers.[1] He hails from the United States but has been living in Argentina for many years. The very first song I ever heard Shindell sing was Cold Missouri Waters originally written by James Keelaghan. He partnered with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky[2] forming Cry Cry Cry and they covered mostly each other’s songs. This song compeletly blew me away the first time I heard it over 10 years ago.

It was very difficult to find Shindell’s music in the early part of 2000. Record stores didn’t carry him and the ease of music purchasing online was still in its infancy. Music sharing sites like Napster didn’t have any of his music then. I can remember ordering the original Cry Cry Cry cd from my local record store then. The first cd I was able to purchase was The Courier. This is a live cd and really cemented my love affair with Shindell’s music. There are several standouts for me on this album.


This is one of two songs about the US Civil War on Courier. Shindell really shines when he tells stories. This song is about a young kid who joined the Confederate army. I couldn’t find the album version. Here is a different live version.


This song is about an American immigration agent trying to get information about the ‘campesionos’ from one of their own. He does this by threating his wife. In the song he weaves a very interesting story while the tension continues to build in the song. I couldn’t find the Courier edition of this song either.


In Transit, Shindell tells the story of a nun who leads a choir at a prison. The story is about the difficulties she encounters getting there. This song, like many of his songs, is quietly political; offering commentary about the issues of the day. Interestingly, he will change some of the lyrics when he performs it live. Unfortunately this is not a great recording.

A Summer Wind a Cotton Dress

Another story, this time about a relationship that cannot be consummated because both people are married.

Are you Happy Now?

Are you Happy Now is seriously the best break up song ever!

All of Richard Shindell’s music is available on iTunes.

[1] This will be the first of several posts covering Shindell’s music by album.

[2] Lucy Kaplansky often toured with Shindell providing back up vocals.

Dispatches from The Swamp – ‘the senior dog’ edition

Things at The Swamp have been quite good lately. I had the week before Easter off and I spent it doing self-care. I listened to music and played computer games for a couple of hours a day. This always makes me very happy. I find when I am listening to music and singing my mind completely empties. I am one of those people whose mind never, ever stops. I am always thinking about something or trying to solve a problem. Even at night, if I wake up I have a hard time turning my mind off again.

All of the dogs are doing well. Tru is an amazing dog. We thought she wouldn’t last the week when she first got here. We are not complacent though. She clearly has something wrong with her – likely some kind of cancer. She doesn’t eat much and she is quite thin. Tru has an odd diet. She loves carbs like chocolate and cake. The only meat she will eat right now is ham. We expect that will end eventually. I think Tru is enjoying her life right now and doesn’t want to go anywhere quite yet.

Ruby[1] is doing fabulously. She is slowly coming out of her shell. She is spending much less time in her crate. She really turned a corner last week when she suddenly became more confident. She is still on the periphery of the dogs as she appears to be scared of the pack. Although, Ruby was able to muscle her way in to the group to get some roast beef. She is sleeping on the bed with us at night. She is certainly becoming much more interactive.

Tuber is such a sweetie!

I really wish more people would consider adopting senior dogs. It is such a rewarding experience to take in a dog who has had a less than stellar life and introduce them to all the pleasures of life. Watching a dog have roast beef for the first time is so rewarding. When you have a dog who has been forced to live outside her/his entire life begin to enjoy the comforts of living indoors is amazing. It takes very little to provide for a senior dog. Yes there may be some ongoing medications and things like that but most vets will not be too intrusive with seniors. When you aim for quality of life, feed good quality food, and provide symptom relief, seniors are an amazing addition to any home. Please consider giving a good home to a senior dog. It will change your life. Check out SAINTS for adoptable seniors. You can also check out Boo who is up for adoption through Bully Buddies.

[1] AKA: Tuber, Tater Tot