Harvest Moon – one of the great love songs of all time

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As the trees start to change color and the evenings get a little cooler, it’s time for a fall playlist.

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Autumn is Here – Hawksley Workman

Canadian Music Chameleon Hawksley Workman’s Lover / Fighter Album is an absolute must-have for any serious music collection. Every track sparkles and there is no infill to be found. Autumn’s Here is a detailed collection of meaning and memories set on a haunting melody.

With the pines creaking, the cries of the crow.

Just like the story my grandmother tells

About when a bird hits your window

And someone you know is about to die

Autumn is here. It’s okay if you want to cry.

Harvest Moon – Neil Young

Usually defined as the last full moon of summer or the first full moon of fall, the Harvest Moon that Uncle Neil sings is a warm beacon of light that we will dance under. “I see it shining in your eyes… I’m still in love with you…” It’s one of the greatest love songs of all time. For better listening, take a look at the percolating cover art of Poolside (a nu-disco and electronica band).

October – U2

The title track from the band’s 1981 album is a brief piano reflection on a colder time and the idea that our best days may be behind us. It doesn’t look like the rest of U2’s catalog, but stands out for its simplicity.

October Sky – Mumford & Sons

This love song comes from the brilliant 2018 album, Delta. It’s warm and compelling, with light textures and rich vocals.

I’m blinded by the lights of the October sky

These postcard memories escape my eyes.

October Song – Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse sings about a bird that escapes from this world and “flies to paradise”. You can’t help but hear it as a prophetic metaphor for Winehouse’s own life and his tragic end. The funky groove adds a sense of hope and escape.

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November in Ontario – Skydiggers

Granted, one of my all-time favorite bands, the Skydiggers have recorded this song twice. The original version of Desmond’s Hip City (1997) is a squeaky, hoarse warning in the mind of Crazy Horse, while the Northern Shore (2012) version is a milder piano ballad. The song is based on a true story about guitarist / songwriter Josh Finlayson’s great-uncle, who drowned at Sharbot Lake during a hunt in November.

Early Fall – Ella Fitzgerald

Originally recorded as an instrument by Woody Herman and his band, Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song twice (in 1952 and 1964). Both performances deserve your attention.

Fall Leaves – Nat King Cole

Many listeners would rely on the Sinatra recording but I find it a bit slow. Doris Day also recorded a beautiful interpretation, but Nat King Cole delivers her performance with a tender sense of regret that communicates the text perfectly.

Fall in New York – Billie Holiday / Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s performance is a timeless treasure, but Billie Holiday’s interpretation is just as powerful and compelling. There are many other recordings of this jazz standard by such legends as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Bing Crosby and Diana Krall, but these two recordings are the best.


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Grace D. Erickson

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