Music for Winter Reflection

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Jan 21, 2019 / 0 comments

Winter. It is a time, at the turning of the year, for looking back, and looking forward. It is a time for silence and solitude, for gathering in community and sharing with friends, as well.  

Harsh weather sometimes comes along; at this writing, harsh political and social situations abound. Yet there is, there can be, hope. That may be found in the solitude and in the community the turning of the year invites. 

 Music for Winter Reflection

Music to help you explore these ideas:

Al Petteway and Amy White play a lively tune whose title offers a a good idea on a way to begin a new year -- it is called Banish Misfortune. Celtic, Appalachian, and jazz are the wellsprings from which the couple most often draw for their work. Together and separately, they've won a number of awards, and even if you don't immediately recognize their names, you will likely have heard their work on Ken Burns films, including Baseball, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, and Mark Twain. They live in the mountains of western North Carolina. You may find Banish Misfortune recorded on their album High in the Blue Ridge.

Making a home, travel from home, finding one's way in new places: these are often parts of the reflection the turning of the year brings. Glenties makes a fine song to suggest thought about these things. In geography, Glenties is near the Blue Stack mountains in County Donegal in the far northwest of Ireland, though the song works wherever you may travel. Kate Purcell is the guest singer for this version, supported by the members of Cherish the Ladies, who have included the song on their album Heart of the Home.

Emily Smith comes from Scotland, so she's had considerable experience with cold weather. Being snowed in one winter in her home area in the southwest of Scotland sparked her idea for what became Winter Song. Listen out for the continuing story in the song. You may find it recorded on her albums Too Long Away and Songs for Christmas.

Whether you enjoy winter or not, hope and celebration and looking forward are good things to have -- good in any season, in fact. So, to send you on your way to winter contemplation, consider the song Wonderful, from Eddi Reader. Reader is also a Scot, from Glasgow, and you may find the song recorded on her album Cavalier

It is January as I write this, a time when the life and music of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, is celebrated. You may like to know that Emily Smith and Eddi Reader have both recorded albums featuring the music of Robert Burns: Emily Smith (with her partner Jamie McClennan) Adoon Winding Nith and Eddi Reader Sings the Songs of Robert Burns.


Read more: This is part of a larger series, 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.