An Exercise In Nostalgia (And A Giveaway, Too)

Last weekend I was working on something that made me think of Moonlighting, which in turn made me think of the Moonlighting theme song. Which made me think of Al Jarreau. Which made me think of this song (I’d embed it if I could, but I can’t). I hadn’t heard it in YEARS, but as soon as I remembered it, I immediately bought it from iTunes and have listened to it over and over and over. For some reason it makes me so happy.

Anyway, thinking about old Al Jarreau songs reminded me of the artist that I listened to more than any other in the 80s and 90s: James Taylor. I can’t even tell you how much I adored (and currently, presently, at-this-very-moment adore) his music. There’s something about listening to him that makes me stare off into space all dreamy-eyed, only pausing occasionally to wonder if it would be possible to hire someone to come to our house every afternoon and play acoustic guitar (accompanied by soothing vocals, of course) for 6-7 hours.

I know. That’s sort of unrealistic. But considering that I would be willing to pay upwards of $25-$40 American dollars PER MONTH for such a service, I imagine that I’m going to wake up in the morning to an inbox that’s full-to-overflowing with hopeful participants. FINGERS CROSSED.

So all that to say: tonight I’ve pretty much been sitting in a chair and watching James Taylor sing on YouTube and sighing with great contentment.

I mean, there’s this.

And there’s this.

And my all-time favorite – this.

So. Who’s your favorite go-to artist when you just want to hang out and relax and listen to some music that makes you smile? Tell me in the comments, and since it’s Friday and I’ve had a crazy week and there was a slight hint of fall in the morning air for two whole days and IT’S ALMOST FOOTBALL SEASON, I’ll draw from the comments early Monday morning and give away (3) $20 iTunes gift cards. Just for fun and for kicks. And also because I want you to encourage you to heed Al Jarreau’s advice and get your boogie down.

Happy Friday, everybody!

This giveaway is now closed – I’ll send the winners an email later today (Monday)!

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  1. Damian Marley or Anthony Hamilton
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  2. I am really liking One Republic these days!

  3. In all honesty, I was going to comment on the JT love before I even saw that there was a giveaway just for commenting. :)

    I spend the better part of my childhood listening to Sweet Baby James as we traveled across the country. My mom LOVES him– and passed her love on to me. I know them all– didn’t even have to click to play the songs you embedded because the titles alone INSTANTLY brought his smooth voice to mind. “The water is wide…. I can’t cross over. But neither have…. I wings to fly.” OH. *Love*

    When my oldest daughter was an infant, we used to put her to bed every night with JT’s Greatest Hits album playing in her room. No lullabies for her, Thank goodness she was usually sound asleep before the rowdy “Steamroller” came on.

    I think I need to dig through my old CDs and give them a spin again. :)
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  4. Allison B says:

    Norah Jones….listening to her music reminds me of when we sold our house (I would always put it on before the Realtor came through with a client). The house sold very quickly, so I believe it was all Norah….and I love her for that!

  5. I love the early Point of Grace cds with their awesome harmonies and great music (not that all of their work isn’t amazing, but their 90s sound is exceptional.) Always makes me feel like smiling and singing along. Also some 80s and 90s Reba is a sure thing for toe tapping and good times :)

  6. U2 always. A few Beatles songs in particular (“Blackbird” “Let It Be”) and the Once soundtrack. Love.

  7. Natalie Steadman says:

    It’s not really ONE artist, but I have an 80’s playlist that makes my day perfect. There will never be any better music. (:

  8. Am I allowed to enter even if James Taylor makes me want to cry, I can’t stand his music so much? Except for “Mockingbird,” with Carly Simon. That makes me want to put on a newsboy cap, some rainbow suspenders with a plaid shirt underneath (sleeves rolled up), jeans rolled up to under the knee, striped knee socks, and brown roller skates. I have a very specific fantasy about doing a roller skating performance to that song in that outfit.

    I’ve been in skates exactly once in twenty years.

    My relaxing artist is Norah Jones, by the way.

    • Katherine says:

      I don’t mean to be a buzz kill, but so glad to find out I’m not the only one! JT has never done it for me. Sandy – love your mental picture LOLOL!

      • Woohoo! High five on the anti-TJ camp!

        • Add me to the anti-JT camp! Can’t stand him. There’s not even one song I actually like. I can tolerate him, but like him, nope. Drives my husband nuts because he LOVES James Taylor.

  9. Tough one! It’s hard to choose just one artist. Twila Paris is probably my favorite for old school worship pop songs. Also love some old Amy Grant, Wayne Watson, Sandy Patti tunes. If I’m in the mood for a more folksy sound I go to James Taylor. Instrumental I hit George Winston, and if current worship music, then anything Third Day will do!

  10. Oh!.James Taylor FOR SURE. he’s been my go-to favorite smooth mellow singer since I was in high school, and that was a long time ago.

  11. Jessie C. says:

    Charles Aznavour
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  12. Well I’ve never even heard of that person. (showing my age here. oops.) :)

    Soulful? Midnight Train to Georgia
    Need a good smile? (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life
    More current? Fix You by Coldplay

  13. Julie Piatt says:

    Listening to Selah is relaxing, soothing, and good for the soul.

  14. John Denver or James Taylor. What can I say? I’m a child of the 70’s.

  15. Sophie,
    James is my fave, too. My friend Kathy and I say his music is like a warm blanket. He is awesome in concert if you have the chance to go. Have a great Friday, sister!

  16. I had forgotten about that song, too. Al’s rocking the scarf in that video.
    (I hadn’t thought of Moonlighting in years and then put it on my list for Annie’s Five for Friday – series I’d watch over and over again.)
    I love John Denver’s music. It takes me to a quiet place. So does Johnny Mathis and JT. BUT when I want to get up and dance I have to say I love to listen to beach music especially Chairmen of the Board.

    Well, didn’t I break the rules!

  17. Listening to Jack Johnson always makes me happy and relaxed and I love Norah Jones too.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Elton John always …

  19. Jack Johnson!

  20. Favorite feel good artist is Barry White. Which always brings images of Ally McBeal to mind. And I just want to dance…

  21. Person to person and friend to friend…..James Taylor hands down!

  22. I’m an oldies girl, so if I’m going to stray from my southern gospel preference of Legacy Five and The Booth Brothers, then it’s Beach Boys all the way. :-)

  23. For the moment it is Keith Urban

  24. Love, love, love me some James!!! The comfort to my soul! (Well you know, him and Jesus! But you understand don’t you?)

  25. Katherine says:

    My happy place would be old U2 or The Police. Not really relaxing, but it takes me back to the days of zero body fat and a metabolism on overdrive! Dance, baby, Dance!!!

  26. Stevie Ray Vaughn. I had to listen to him every day on my way home from work when I was pregnant with my first baby to retain my sanity. We wonder why that child is so mellow and laid back :)

  27. I like James too, but I just like music in general-I’ll listen to anything from U2 to Dolly!

  28. Susan Dobbs says:

    We love some Jimmy Buffett at our house!

  29. I don’t have a particular artist who makes me smile, but I have a playlist on my iPod called “Random Songs that I Love” that makes me smile. It is so varied! I’ve got some Toby Mac (Funky Jesus Music!), a few Needtobreathe songs, and some songs from the musical “Wicked”. There are also a few songs from the Lemonade Mouth soundtrack (cheezy Disney Channel movie, thankyouverymuch!) and even the theme song to “Pair of Kings”! Add in “Grace Kelly” by Mika, “Smile” by Uncle Kracker, “Tonight Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae and “Hey Soul Sister” by Train and I’ve got my perfect playlist!

  30. Right now I’m loving me some David Crowder Band. :)

  31. Michael W Smith . . . he wrote the soundtrack to my life. . . .

  32. I think Chris Rice. It’s hard to remember what I like since we have 3 preschoolers and all I ever listen to any more are kids songs. Did you know the Veggie Tales people have even made worship cds with current Chris Tomlin type songs and they also have albums for the 70s 80s and I think 90s. So they have it covered.

  33. Our family’s theme music for this summer has most definitely been anything by Zac Brown Band. Just can’t go wrong with any of their songs!

  34. adrienne says:

    So hard to choose. Some of my fave songs are from Dirty Dancing and Footloose. That music makes me happy.

  35. I don’t have a “go to” artist but I have to say…this accoutant is getting her boogie down in her desk chair while eating her biscuit breakfast. Thanks for waking up my Friday!!!!

  36. Carrie Underwood is who I normally put on when cleaning the house or just hanging out. She’s so talented and I just adore her. Although once Scottie and Lauren come out with albums that might give her a run for her money…haha :))

  37. I heart James Taylor too, and you can never go wrong with some Eagles tunes :)

  38. The Guess Who

  39. Rich Mullins, maybe. I love his The World as Best as I Can Remember It cds.

  40. I, too, love Al Jarreau!!!! I have one of his CD’s in my office at work and (I work on a church staff :-). Every once in a while, I put it in my little “stereo” and crank the sound up and close my door!!

  41. James Taylor and Frank Sinatra

  42. Louise in NE OK says:

    Neil Diamond……he’s the best!

  43. Jennifer says:

    Pearl Jam, Bob Marley, The Avett Brothers

  44. Ny husband plays a mellow acoustic guitar that soothes my soul. While in the car, I crank it up a notch with various oldies like Jackson Browne’s Rock Me on The Water

  45. Really – time to stare and listen is folklore in this house…but thinking of nostalgia, I would have to say CHICAGO! Takes me right back to that ninth grade era (yes, I wore cardigans, too, still do!).

    We would be just thrilled to win – thank you!

  46. PLEASE tell me you’ve seen the PBS special of James & Carol King. It will make you comatose with joy.

    Thanks for the Al Jarreau reminder & your stream of consciousness connect-the-dots for how you landed on Boogie Down. They both have made today lovely by 9am. You are a joy-flinger. :)

  47. love Carly Simon and JT! I love to listen to an 80’s playlist!

  48. the weepies make me smile any time, love them!

  49. I would have to say Colbie Caillat. Every time I hear her music I imagine myself sitting on a beach underneath a big palm tree staring out at the water!

  50. Mine changes frequently. Last week it was Elton John, this week it’s Harry Connick, Jr. But James Taylor always works!

  51. I L-O-V-E James Taylor!!!! I grew up as a kid listening to James Taylor and Carly Simon in the back seat while my parents jammed so it’s a sweet bit of nostalgia for me. Thanks for making my Friday!! Happy Football season, my favorite season of the year!!

  52. Eagles! Journey! Queen!! :)

  53. Oh Sophie, I love James Taylor’s music so much! Do you have the James Taylor/Carole King Live at the Troubadour CD and DVD set? If not, you really must get it! (I ordered it from his Website.) James’ voice is truly better than ever and the recording quality of this CD is so fantastic that it makes his guitar (as well as the other instrumentation) sound as if it is right next to you! I have worn a groove in the CD by listening to it in the car so much!

  54. This will certainly date me, but I love The Carpenters1 Karen had a set of pipes that is still unmatched. Such a tragedy to loose her so young.

    I also enjoy Jim Brickman’s piano music. Very soothing.

  55. Steven Curtis Chapman.

  56. Judy in MI says:

    Sweet baby James all the way! My hubs and I LOVE his music here in our casa. Back in the day we’d go see him every year in concert. Does that man have some awesome bone structure or what? I like looking at him too. Bald is beautiful. Love. James.

    P.S. Moonlighting was a favorite too! Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde was a hilarious episode! “I’m gonna make you eat dirt! I’m gonna make you eat dirt and worms! Maddie–run outside, get me some dirt, get me some worms.” We still say, “The mall has it all” whenever we work up our nerve to head to the local outlet mall (which I despise). ((Bruce Willis before he got too big for his britches)). Rip Charles Rocket. What could have been so bad that you had to do that?

  57. I hope when you thought of Moonlighting, it made you think of ME!! I still remember you saying (when we were seniors in HS), “Don’t worry…next year, we are going to get together every Wednesday (?) night in our dorm room and watch it together!” Little did we know, we would have better things to do : )

  58. I love music so much that I don’t think I have one go-to artist, I have hundreds. But currently, I love slipping on the earphones while I am at work and relax to the soothing sounds of piano player, George Skaroulis. But Harry Connick, Jr’s “We are in Love” from 1990… it always makes me swoon.

  59. Kimberly/OKC says:

    Elton John!!

  60. Corrine Bailey Rae, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Shore, John Mayer…now I’m in a Pandora kinda mood. Especially since the lyrics “You just caaall out myy name…” are stuck in my head lol

  61. All of the above are on our playlist. I love Al Green. Let’s Stay Together is one of my top ten.

  62. Wendy D. says:

    Jack Johnson. I loved the Curious George soundtrack and then I discovered that he has grown-up music too!

  63. Dan Fogelberg, Loggins & Messina or Bruce Hornsby & the Range.

  64. I can’t pick just one, but when I get to choose music of my own, you know, something other than my girls’ choice of Justin Beiber or Taylor Swift, or my boy’s choice of The Wheels on the Bus, I always go with ’80’s stuff!

  65. I love James Taylor, too! He has such a great voice and his song usually stays in my head for a while after hearing it. I’m so indecisive when it comes to music, I love it all! But I would probably have to choose The Eagles/Don Henley.

  66. Right now for me it is Matt Maher, brings me back to where I need to be.

    I do love some JT! Back in high school I went to see him in concert with a couple of friends (I know, we were very cool for our age). It was such a great time, even though our seats were clear at the top of the theater. Love those memories!

    Have you heard James Taylor and Zac Brown Band from the ACM Awards? Love their collaboration.

  67. Kristin B says:

    For me, it’s pretty much any musical – not always relaxing, but it always makes me smile!

  68. Jimmy Buffett makes me smile and makes me want to go the beach!

  69. Billy Joel, Bread, James Taylor

  70. Maroon 5 or Taylor Swift or Colbie Callait or Michael Buble’!

  71. do I have to pick just one? ok – George Winston and all his piano goodness…..just soothes my soul

  72. Chris of the Woodwork says:

    I am TOTALLY down with James Taylor because I am one of those teenagers of the 70’s. I rocked to Elton John, Chicago, etc., but when it came time to mellow out it was James Taylor. Oh, and John Denver. And Seals and Crofts. And Bread. And I liked me some Jim Croce and ELO…..need I go on?

  73. I love James Taylor too! Jimmy Buffet takes me to my happy place…the beach. As for more “current” artists, I love Train and Maroon 5.

  74. Tyler Hilton! Without a doubt, Tyler Hilton. His music is just dreamy!

  75. Carole King
    The female James Taylor!

  76. Love James Taylor too!

  77. I have a playlist on my ipod labeled “songs that make me smile” and it is the weirdest most eclectic group of music in the world! If I need to chill, I listen to some classical (mostly Yiruma) and if I need to smile it’s always random 80’s music.

  78. Like you I absolutely love James Taylor and have since the 70’s. I also love Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr.

  79. I’m a new follower as of this week!

    Your Moonlighting comment cracked me up…my hubby was working on something the other day and it reminded me of Moonlighting, so I googled it, and sure enough, my memory was right:)

    I heart JT–been to see him 3 times in person (he’s still touring) and the concerts were unbelievable. I can always relax to him or some Simon and Garfunkel. I think I was born in the wrong decade (80’s) for my musical taste:)

  80. Charlotte says:

    Love me some James Taylor also….

  81. Showing my age here but… John Denver.

  82. Tops – John Denver. I had SUCH a THING for him. I still have an old JD t-shirt purchased in 1976 in Aspen, CO. It’s in my box of things never to be disposed of, along with a sleep shirt with Shakespeare as Super Bard I got my senior year in high school. Anyway, back to John Denver – I used to go to sleep every night to “Late Winter, Early Spring”. Just thinking about it relaxes me.

  83. The Civil Wars! I can fall asleep or just be mellow and LOVE their harmonies and the slightly bluegrass feeling they have. Stunningly beautiful music. I also love Norah Jones, Harry Connick, Jr. and Casting Crowns – I have very diverse taste in music!

  84. Enjoy listening to various different instrumental artists. Also like Third Day.

  85. Right now our playlist includes anything by Zac Brown Band — he could sing the dictionary to me and I’d be happy. But we also love us some Bob Marley, and REO Speedwagon always puts a smile on my face.

  86. I’m too much of an 80s girl for much mellow. My favorite just-me-in-the-house-hanging-out music is the Bangles and the Go-Go’s. I think I get enough mellow with Elizabeth Mitchell and Jack Johnson for the kids! Whom I also love. But. Overproduced 80s chick pop is my favorite!

  87. Leslie B. says:

    Jimmy Buffett

  88. There’s so many…I love me some bluesy Elvis Presley. That voice is like butter!

  89. I’ll see your Al Jarreau and raise you…..Al Wilson’s song, “Show and Tell”. I heard it one day on an XM radio station (The Groove) and rushed to put it on my iPod. I had not heard it in years, but I still remembered all the words. Love the 70’s vibe!

  90. I’m loving Sierra Hull right now. Bluegrass-ish in the vein of Alison Krauss — actually AK sort of mentored her as a child fiddler. A sound of innocence.

  91. John Denver…was so sad when he died and still sad.

  92. Right now it’s Adele that does it for me. But I also love some JT!

  93. It is really hard for me to pick just one. Listening to the Saturday morning oldies show on the local country radio station takes me to a happy place. As a kid my Grandpa listened to it every weekend, so it always makes me smile. I love everything from contemporary christian to old country to pretty hard rock. What can I say, I’m easy to please.


  95. Mine changes a lot too. Recently, I have been stuck on Third Day’s new CD. U2 is always a favorite, as well as the occasional Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift…yes, I know, could my musical tastes be more diverse? Thanks for the chance to win!

  96. Michelle H. says:

    My choices change quite often but right now, the artists that make me happiest are Billy Currington, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band… the list could get quite long, there is always music playing in my home.

  97. It all depends on if my husband is in the room or not. If he’s with me it’s going to be Petra and David Crowder. If he’s not I put Pandora on the Simon and Garfunkle station (which makes my husband want to rip out his ears) and bliss out on all manner of folk.

  98. Jack Johnson OR George Straight- I know, I know very different!

  99. Oh, I would’ve commented anyway, but since I am about to go spend upwards of a ton of money on new Mac products, that iTunes card would rock! I love JT. It’s more driving music that my husband and I can agree on. For relaxation I love George Winston, December, or anything else for that matter. Oh, and anything of Eva Cassidy’s. I so wish she was still around to make more music. Her voice was fabulous. Right now, for Christian music I am on a Francesca Batestelli kick, and a few different songs that speak to me, Like Natalie Grant’s “Your Great Name.”

  100. First time commenting, but a long time lurker and lover of your site!
    Something about the Beatles, Rolling Stones, really most classic rock/oldies reminds me of riding around in the car with my dad which makes it just nostalgic and relaxing and so enjoyable. I love how songs can take you back to a certain time…Great post!