Music to Reset Your Perspective

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Jun 19, 2023 / 0 comments

A bit of rest, a moment for for reflection: in these shifting times, it can be a challenge to find time—even to remember to take time—for such things amidst shifting times in politics, personal life, world news, climate emergencies, and other ongoing events.

Music works well for this, though. Music can be a gateway and a companion to encourage and allow a bit of rest, a moment to step back, to reset one’s perspective.

Depending on circumstance and your taste in music, a lively tune can be just helpful with this as a reflective song.

So, to go along with these ideas and offer you such gateways, here are a lively banjo duet from Nashville, a pair of reflective songs from Scotland that consider sea change in more ways than one, a set of fiddle-led dance tunes (with the sound of dance included) from Quebec, a song about friendship over time from an Indiana-based artist, and, to begin, a song from Scotland from a perspective you may not expect.

Music to Reset Your Perspective

Kris Drever lives in Glasgow these days. He’s originally from Orkney in Scotland’s far north. He brings listeners along on several sorts of journeys on his song I’ll Always Leave the Light On.

Kris says: “For Christmas my wife bought me a set of cards made by the ace song writer Laura Viers. They're for generating ideas or rules to use as guides in songwriting exercises. The first card I turned over said, 'write a song from the point of view of the moon'.”

You will find the song recorded on Kris’s album called Where the World Is Thin.

Alison Brown and Steve Martin collaborated on the writing of the tune Foggy Morning Breaking (in this video, they tell a bit of the story of that after they play the tune).

It appears on Alison’s album called On Banjo. She collaborates with artists from a number of genres on the album. Alison’s playing and writing and work as a founder of Compass Records have brought her into jazz, Celtic, Americana, classical, and other fields (there’s a bit more about that in this story), so it’s good to hear her make the creative choices she does on the recording.

Alison got her start and has won top awards in bluegrass, though, which you will hear in this tune. “I’m a bluegrass lifer,” Alison says. Originally from California, Alison has long been based in Nashville.

Joining Alison and Steve on the track are Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Sierra Hull on mandolin, Chris Eldridge on guitar, and Todd Phillips on bass.

Continuing with the idea that lively tunes work to draw in and invite perspective, here is the set Stéphane Landry et les frères Pigeon. Laura Risk is the fiddle player whose work leads the tunes.

A California native who lives in Montreal, she drew these tunes from accordion dance tunes of her adopted province. Laura is joined by Nicholas Williams on accordion, Rachel Aucoin on piano, and that’s Nic Gareiss you hear adding steps. These tunes were written by Philippe Bruneau. Laura first learned them from accordionist Carmen Guérard. You will find the set recorded on Laura’s album called Traverse.

Julie Fowlis sings lead on two songs that have to do with looking at things in different ways. She begins with Òran an Ròin, a song in Gaelic about a legend of the seal people, followed by Selkie Boy, a song in English about the legend of the selkies, who may for a time take human form but eventually return to the sea.

This video comes from a concert by the Spell Songs Singers. Several of them, like Julie, come from Scotland, while others are based in England. In addition to Julie, they are Karine Polwart, Seckou Keita,  the aforementioned Kris Drever, Rachel Newton, Beth Porter, and Jim Molyneuxx. You will find Selkie Boy on their first album, called Spell Songs (you may want to look for their second album, as well: Spell Songs: Let the Light In; Òran an Ròin is on Julie’s album Alterum.

Carrie Newcomer is a singer and songwriter based in the US state of Indiana—you have met her work here before. Her song On the Brink of Everything draws together several ideas of time, perspective, change, and hope. You will find it on Carrie’s album called The Point of Arrival.

May the creativity of these artists be good companion to you through shifting 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.