Music for Early Autumn's Changes

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Sep 19, 2022 / 0 comments

Late summer into early autumn is often a gentle season of change. There can be storms and other drastic events as well, of course.

At this writing, there seems to be a full slate of unsettling events on the political and social fronts, as well as atmospheric ones.

Take a step, maybe a few steps back, if you can, and find time to reflect.

Whether you are able to do that just now or not, remember, too that it is possible to look for stillness, to find goodness, to look for and to be kind in the midst of upheaval.

May the creative work of these musicians help you find all that.

Music for Early Autumn's Changes

With poetic and economical words, Gretchen Peters reminds of all sorts of love and ways love is expressed in her song Love That Makes a Cup of Tea.

You will still have heard music that Gretchen Peters has written. Chill of an Early Fall recorded by George Strait,  Independence Day by Martina McBride, and When You Are Old, also recorded by McBride, are but three.

Peters is a fine performer in her own right, as well.

This track is from her double album The Show: Live from the UK, which was recorded across three recent concerts. In addition to her usual ensemble of Barry Walsh on piano and vocals, Colm McClean on electric guitar and vocals, and Conor McCreanor on electric and upright bass and vocals, and herself with lead voice and acoustic guitar, Peters included strings for this tour, with violin from Seonaid Aitken (you’ve met her music in this series before), Amira Bedrush-McDonald also on violin, Sarah Leonard on viola, and Alice Allen on cello.

Catrin Fich comes from Wales. Seckou Keita is from Senegal, resident in the UK for a number of years now. Her instrument is the classical harp; his is the kora.

At this writing, it’s a time of year when classical music is especially celebrated. This collaboration may offer you  fresh way to consider that.

Both artists are interested in taking their instruments to new places, which is what they do in their three recordings together.

This piece, Bach to Baisso, begins with a portion of Bach's Goldberg Variations and moves into a piece from the classic folk music of Senegal. The pair knows how to fit them together well, respecting their instruments and the music while walking new paths. You will find this recorded on their duo album Soar.

You have met Seckou’s music at other places in this series, too, in his work with the Spell Songs ensemble.

It is also a time, in the US anyway, when Hispanic heritage is celebrated.

Joan Baez, who is of Mexican-American heritage, offers the song Gracias a la Vida/Thanks to life, from Chilean musician Violetta Parra. It gives thanks to light, to sound, to many things one may take for granted.

Early in her career, Baez recorded an all-Spanish album with this as the title track. A good place to find it now is on the album Greatest Hits: Remastered. She recorded this video, however, from her home during the lockdown, as she says in her introduction, to lift our spirits in difficult times.

A gentle, reflective song from Olivia Newton-John that was not a greatest hit, but is well worth the listening, is called Just a Lot of Folk. It is on her early album Clearly Love. You might also like to know that Newton-John’s first album, If Not for You, has just been re-released in a remastered version with additional tracks.

Jeana Leslie, Catriona Price, Rory Matheson, and Kristan Harvey, who make up the Scotland based band Fara, start off their Wind Dancers set with a reflective tune of that same name composed by Jeana, and then go into the more lively (as you may expect from the title) Turbine Down by Kristan to close the set. You’ve met Kristan’s work before in this series, as she’s also a member of Blazin’ Fiddles. She, Jeana, and Catriona are all fiddle players from Orkney. Rory, who plays keyboards, comes from the northwest Highlands in Assynt. You’ve met Rory before in this series too, with music from his album We Have Won the Land. You will find Wind Dancers on Fara’s latest release, Energy Islands.

For a reflective song to send you on your way, consider Karen Matheson's Chi Mi Bhuam/I See Afar. It is from the perspective of someone recalling a well-loved landscape far away.

You will find it on Karen’s album Downriver, and you may also like to explore her work with the band Capercaillie on the album At the Heart of It All and her solo album Still Time.

Side note: if you were watching the Service of Thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth in Edinburgh, Karen was the one who sang an excerpt from Psalm 118 in Gaelic, accompanied by Caitriona McKay on harp.

May the creative work of these musicians help you find stillness and space for reflection in these ever-changing times.



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 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.