Music for Autumn's Quiet

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Oct 22, 2020 / 0 comments

Autumn: it is a time of turning, a time of change, a time for reflection, a time for preparation. It is also a time for telling and hearing stories. The music here, and the stories told through it, will work in many situations and seasons. They are especially relevant to all the turns and changes and quiet reflection needed to navigate which come with autumn. Each of the pieces has to do with journeys of one sort or another, as well.

Music for Autumn's Quiet

Carrie Newcomer is based in Indiana. While she often draws on image and idea from her home area for her songs, this one, which is called The Season of Mercy, was sparked from another place. Newcomer was on tour in Germany, and as part of that took a train trip. There are images which come from that journey. You will also learn ways Newcomer invites thought on how those images may connect with quiet landscapes and reflection on changes and turning points. You will find The Season of Mercy recorded on Newcomer's album, The Beautiful Not Yet. You may also wish to look for Newcomer's recent album, The Point of Arrival.

The Pioneer is a slow air from Scottish composer Hamish Napier. It is a piece composed to honor the birch trees of his native Highlands. Birch was one of the earliest varieties of tree to begin to reforest the Highlands after the Ice Age. Birch trees leaf out early in spring. In autumn, their leaves brighten landscapes as they turn to gold. On this track, the first one on his album called The Woods, you will find Napier himself playing flute and piano. A number of musical friends add their talents to the track, as well, among them Jarlath Henderson on uillean pipes, Su-a Lee on cello, and some subtle guest vocals from woodpeckers, swifts, and chaffinches.

Óró mo bháidín is a song from the Irish tradition. It is sometimes sung as a lullabye; it is reflective in idea, however you may use it. The words speak of sailing and rowing in a small boat, quietly across the bay. It is sung here by Cathie Ryan, whose music you will have met before in this series. You will find the song recorded on her self-titled album, Cathie Ryan. It shows up also on a number of various artists' collections of Irish music. You might also wish to look for Ryan's album, Through Wind and Rain.


Just a Journey was written by Steve Cooney, an Australian who has lived long in Ireland. Mary Black sings the song here, with Steve on guitar and backing vocals. If you are a regular reader of this series, you will have encountered this song once before. It seems a right time to call it forth again just now. The whole song is well worth your listening and  reflection. The last lines speak of a life as

just a journey of a Spirit through a lifetime's changing,
Re-arranging your own self,
In accordance with the Light
And with your own true Spirit,
And may Peace be your tonight

You may find the song recorded on The Best of Mary Black volume 2. You may also wish to look for Mary Black's recent album, No Frontiers Orchestrated, and Steve Cooney's recent recording, Ceol Ársa Cláirsí: Tunes of the Irish Harpers for solo guitar.

As the changes of autumn shift and turn, may the journeys these artists offer guide and help you to reflect on what is now and what is to come.


Thank you for staying with us through this journey. Below, you'll find a link that will take you to an article which has a bit more backstory on the series. It also has links to a number of the stories, including ones called Listening for Community, Music for Winter's Changes, and The Geography of Hope.

Music for Shifting Times

Music for Shifting Times




Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.