#AtoZChallenge: The Grace of Great Grooves

The original title of this post was “Groove More, Gripe Less.”  I’m reminded of my daughter telling me, “Mama, I like how your mood gets better when you listen to music.” [I mentioned this in a previous post.]  I remember her words often, because she uttered them with such innocence, but they ring unequivocally true.  Music can complement, elevate, validate, amplify, evoke, or pacify my feelings; sometimes it does all of these things at once.

It started with Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, and Olivia Newton-John.  Their songs may have been the first I heard of English—my parents left Taiwan and landed in Mississippi in 1971.   Come to think of it, country music lyrics are much easier to understand than other genres of songs in English…  Anyway, from there my tastes migrated to include Sonny& Cher, John Denver, Michael Jackson, Def Leppard, Yanni, Sting, George Winston, Brad Paisley, Dixie Chicks, Barenaked Ladies, and now Bruno Mars and Rachel Platten.

We humans are so fortunate to have evolved the great frontal lobe, where reason and intellect reside.  But even better, this protuberance behind the forehead retains intricate connections to the more primal, hindbrain parts, where emotion and memory live.  So through music and art, we can integrate our experiences in as many unique ways as there are individuals.  Thankfully also, music conveys the universal experiences that comprise our shared humanity.  Music can move us at depths we normally take for granted, or don’t even know exist.  There are happy songs, sad songs, angry songs, romantic songs, irreverent songs, and holy songs.  There is space in the human journey for all of them and more.

I have anticipated this post all week, because I wanted to include a selection of my favorite pieces.  I looked forward to sifting through them, knowing they would bring back sacred memories.  Scrolling through Facebook during my A to Z writing breaks, I came across a post by friend and writer Wendy Toliver.  She had what I interpret as a divine music moment and, luckily for us, she shared it:

“…Today, I am grateful for music. It touches our former selves as well as our current selves, and it helps us remember what is truly important, so that our futures can be all they should be. I am so grateful for the musicians who so eloquently weave notes and words together, who pluck our heartstrings, and make us want to better ourselves. I am so honored to have musicians in my family and friends so close they might as well be family. Thank you. I thank God for you.”  How cosmic, that we both felt the keenness of music in coincidence.  That’s the magic of it, after all.


Feeling all this Glory of Music, I decided writing about Griping would just be a downer.  So let us get busy building our lyrical libraries—the bigger, broader, and more genres the better!  I present the list below in no particular order.  I thought of categorizing them—songs to move your body, songs to cook to, songs to write with—but I bet they speak to you very differently from how they speak to me, so I invite you to hear them in your own context.  And please share your own favorites, too—what music moves you?


Get Your Groove On!


Days Like This, Van Morrison

Stand By You, Rachel Platten

Beer For My Horses, Toby Keith and Willie Nelson

Mom and the Radio, Bill Harley

Because We Can, Bon  Jovi

The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, Gang Chen and Zhanhao He

Footloose, Kenny Loggins

Goodbye Montana, George Winston

New World Symphony, Antonin Dvorak

I Can See Clearly Now, Johnny Nash

Runaway Baby, Bruno Mars

Who I Was Born To Be, Susan Boyle

Ode To Joy, Ludwid von Beethoeven

Rocky Mountain High, John Denver

Roar, Katy Perry

Ticks, Brad Paisley

No Place Like You, Maddie & Tae

Hallelujah Chorus, George Frideric Handel

Ming Tien Hue Gen Hao (Tomorrow will be even better)—The Chinese version of Band Aid and USA for Africa… and what the heck, let’s include those original recordings:

Do They Know It’s Christmas

We Are The World


PS I have shared the best recordings I could find of the songs—they’re all on YouTube.  Please excuse any link glitches!







9 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: The Grace of Great Grooves

  1. I LOVE “Days like this” and “We are the world”. A few I would add for me personally are “Let’s get it together” and “Break the shell” by India Arie and “Brave” by Sara Bareilles 😌💖. Soooo many more but those are some I always go back to ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list – some songs I need to check out! My tastes run more to alternative & singer-songwriter. All of these uplifting tunes can be accessed via Spotify:
    “Better Than” – John Butler Trio
    “Good Mother” – Jann Arden
    “Metal Skin” – Sam Roberts Band
    “One Big Love” – Patty Griffin
    “These Are Days” – 10,000 Maniacs
    “Wondering Where The Lions Are” – Bruce Cockburn
    “You Are the Best Thing” – Ray LaMontagne
    “You Are a Tourist” – Death Cab for Cutie
    8 songs for the 8th 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Playlist | Healing Through Connection

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