“Cheerful Chants Against the Dark”

It’s the day after the solstice and the beginning of the holiday week, which means it’s time to take a break from assertions about work, life, and culture.

Instead, I’ll round up some of my favorite resources and reflections from the past year — starting with some of the music that’s carried me along through 2019. Consider these “cheerful chants against the dark,” as Brian Doyle wrote.

[Each artist is followed by a favorite lyrical snippet.]


Josh Ritter — Hello blackbird, hello starling / winter’s over, be my darling

John Prine — And when the angel on the treetop requested a song / we sang Silent Night all day long

Jason Isbell — I heard enough of the white man’s blues / I sang enough about myself / so if you’re looking for some bad news / you can find it somewhere else

Mark Erelli — All the others who tried fell by the wayside / I wanna walk all the way with you

Lake Street Dive — If you’re gonna tell them everything / don’t leave out the good part

Tedeschi Trucks Band — No more mysteries, baby / no more secrets, no more clues / the stars are out there / you can almost see the moon