My Real Actual Influences

January 21, 2011 at 6:11 am | Posted in Just for fun, Music | 6 Comments
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So I made a list once upon a time of my musical/artistic influences, and wrote them down and touted them proudly.  But my parents saw that list and called baloney.  So with their help I’ve drawn up a more accurate list of childhood influences, as well as the roster of the top 10 most influential albums I’ve loved and listened to in becoming a musical self.  Here ya go, world, more honesty.  In no particular order, stuff I listened to a gazillion times at some point in my youth, with a few I’ve spun enough times to make the list even though I came to them in college or after:

  1. Yes – 90125, Fragile
  2. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James, Never Die Young, & New Moonshine
  3. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
  4. Quincy Jones – Back on the Block
  5. Beatles – Sgt. Pepper
  6. Paul Simon – Graceland
  7. Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends, Bridge Over Troubled Water
  8. Weird Al Yankovic – everything
  9. They Might Be Giants – everything thru 2005
  10. The Aquabats – everything thru 2004
  11. Menotti – Amahl and the Night Visitors
  12. Beethoven – Symphonies No. 3, 6 & 7
  13. J.S. Bach – Goldberg Variations, Cello Suites
  14. Gilbert & Sullivan – Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado
  15. Lyle Lovett – Joshua Judges Ruth, I Love Everybody
  16. Ragtime
  17. Les Misérables
  18. Miss Saigon
  19. Cats
  20. Kasey Chambers – Barricades & Brick Walls
  21. Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
  22. Jason Mraz – Waiting for My Rocket to Come
  23. Harry Connick, Jr.
  24. Ella Fitzgerald
  25. Oscar Peterson
  26. The King’s Singers
  27. Diana Krall – All for You
  28. Carole King – Tapestry
  29. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  30. Jewel – Pieces of You
  31. Jars of Clay – Flood, Much Afraid, If I Left the Zoo
  32. Sting – Mercury Falling, Soul Cages
  33. Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table & Dreaming, Crash
  34. Earth, Wind, & Fire
  35. Tower of Power
  36. The Temptations
  37. Holst – The Planets
  38. Stravinsky – Rite of Spring, Firebird
  39. Copland – Billy the Kid Suite, Rodeo, lots more
  40. Leonard Bernstein – complete works
  41. Brand New Heavies – Brother Sister
  42. Joni Mitchell – Clouds, Blue, For the Roses, Court & Spark, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter
  43. The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith
  44. Marc Cohn – Marc Cohn, Burning the Haze
  45. Carly Simon – Have You Seen Me Lately
  46. Julia Fordham – Porcelain
  47. Bruce Hornsby – Harbor Lights, Hot House, Spirit Trail
  48. Bonnie Raitt – Luck of the Draw
  49. 100 Carols for Choirs (Oxford hymn book)
  50. Christmas with Julie Andrews
  51. Pink Martini – Sympathique, Hang on Little Tomato
  52. Moulin Rouge soundtrack
  53. Romeo + Juliet soundtrack
  54. Peter Mulvey
  55. Stephen Fearing
  56. Kris Delmhorst – Songs for a Hurricane, Five Stories
  57. Five Iron Frenzy
  58. Brent Bourgeois
  59. The Newsboys
  60. Audio Adrenaline
  61. Into the Grey
  62. Susan Ashton
  63. Regina Spektor
  64. Sarah Harmer – You Were Here, All of Our Names
  65. Postal Service – Give Up
  66. Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days
  67. Iron & Wine / Calexico – In the Reins
  68. Baltimore Consort – Bright Day Star, The Mad Buckgoat, The Ladyes Delight
  69. Polyphony (choral ensemble) – O Magnum Misterium
  70. Carbonleaf – Echo Echo

And my top 10 Most Spun Albums, right up until I produced Vanilla (some are still spun constantly):

  • Milk-Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom
  • Blue by Joni Mitchell
  • Songs for a Hurricane by Kris Delmhorst
  • Marry Me by Saint Vincent
  • Le Fil by Camille
  • Sixpence None the Richer by Sixpence None the Richer
  • Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens
  • You Were Here by Sarah Harmer
  • The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
  • Begin to Hope by Regina Spektor

There.  Now I don’t have to keep repeating this list for people.  Lots of awesome folks have been left off of it, but I believe it’s truest to what I listened to growing up, rather than what I listen to now and wish I had listened to growing up.  Then again I was never all that cool.

Mission accomplished!  This is now written down.  I’ma go do real work with this out of my head.



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  1. I share 7 of your top twenty. And 14 overall;)
    I think the album I played the most was Fragile from Yes. I learned to play every note of it, on bass, guitar, and keyboards. That was mostly just warmup for later though.

  2. Joni Mitchell’s Blue is probably the best album ever made.

  3. Out of the Grey’s Recollection has a often played space on my iPod. I still love their musicianship, songcraft and Christine Dente’s wonder voice. Very cool to see them on your list. They seems to have almost no notoriety outside CCM circles.

  4. So glad to see you acknowledge Carly Simon’s 1990 HAVE YOU SEEN ME LATELY album. What a magnificent collection of songs!

  5. Nice to see Sarah Harmer on both of those lists. We’re going to see her perform this evening – thanks to your recommendation.

  6. Reading this list crystallizes why I love your music so much. Thank you for sharing. Now I must buy more music!

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