My Real Actual Influences

This blog originally posted at

So I made a list once upon a time of my musical/artistic influences, and wrote them down and touted them proudly.  But my parents saw that list and called baloney.  So with their help I’ve drawn up a more accurate list of childhood influences, as well as the roster of the top 10 most influential albums I’ve loved and listened to in becoming a musical self.  Here ya go, world, more honesty.  In no particular order, stuff I listened to a gazillion times at some point in my youth, with a few I’ve spun enough times to make the list even though I came to them in college or after:

  1. Yes – 90125, Fragile
  2. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James, Never Die Young, & New Moonshine
  3. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
  4. Quincy Jones – Back on the Block
  5. Beatles – Sgt. Pepper
  6. Paul Simon – Graceland
  7. Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends, Bridge Over Troubled Water
  8. Weird Al Yankovic – everything
  9. They Might Be Giants – everything thru 2005
  10. The Aquabats – everything thru 2004
  11. Menotti – Amahl and the Night Visitors
  12. Beethoven – Symphonies No. 3, 6 & 7
  13. J.S. Bach – Goldberg Variations, Cello Suites
  14. Gilbert & Sullivan – Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado
  15. Lyle Lovett – Joshua Judges Ruth, I Love Everybody
  16. Ragtime
  17. Les Misérables
  18. Miss Saigon
  19. Cats
  20. Kasey Chambers – Barricades & Brick Walls
  21. Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
  22. Jason Mraz – Waiting for My Rocket to Come
  23. Harry Connick, Jr.
  24. Ella Fitzgerald
  25. Oscar Peterson
  26. The King’s Singers
  27. Diana Krall – All for You
  28. Carole King – Tapestry
  29. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  30. Jewel – Pieces of You
  31. Jars of Clay – Flood, Much Afraid, If I Left the Zoo
  32. Sting – Mercury Falling, Soul Cages
  33. Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table & Dreaming, Crash
  34. Earth, Wind, & Fire
  35. Tower of Power
  36. The Temptations
  37. Holst – The Planets
  38. Stravinsky – Rite of Spring, Firebird
  39. Copland – Billy the Kid Suite, Rodeo, lots more
  40. Leonard Bernstein – complete works
  41. Brand New Heavies – Brother Sister
  42. Joni Mitchell – Clouds, Blue, For the Roses, Court & Spark, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter
  43. The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith
  44. Marc Cohn – Marc Cohn, Burning the Haze
  45. Carly Simon – Have You Seen Me Lately
  46. Julia Fordham – Porcelain
  47. Bruce Hornsby – Harbor Lights, Hot House, Spirit Trail
  48. Bonnie Raitt – Luck of the Draw
  49. 100 Carols for Choirs (Oxford hymn book)
  50. Christmas with Julie Andrews
  51. Pink Martini – Sympathique, Hang on Little Tomato
  52. Moulin Rouge soundtrack
  53. Romeo + Juliet soundtrack
  54. Peter Mulvey
  55. Stephen Fearing
  56. Kris Delmhorst – Songs for a Hurricane, Five Stories
  57. Five Iron Frenzy
  58. Brent Bourgeois
  59. The Newsboys
  60. Audio Adrenaline
  61. Into the Grey
  62. Susan Ashton
  63. Regina Spektor
  64. Sarah Harmer – You Were Here, All of Our Names
  65. Postal Service – Give Up
  66. Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days
  67. Iron & Wine / Calexico – In the Reins
  68. Baltimore Consort – Bright Day Star, The Mad Buckgoat, The Ladyes Delight
  69. Polyphony (choral ensemble) – O Magnum Misterium
  70. Carbonleaf – Echo Echo

And my top 10 Most Spun Albums, right up until I produced Vanilla (some are still spun constantly):

  • Milk-Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom
  • Blue by Joni Mitchell
  • Songs for a Hurricane by Kris Delmhorst
  • Marry Me by Saint Vincent
  • Le Fil by Camille
  • Sixpence None the Richer by Sixpence None the Richer
  • Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens
  • You Were Here by Sarah Harmer
  • The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
  • Begin to Hope by Regina Spektor

There.  Now I don’t have to keep repeating this list for people.  Lots of awesome folks have been left off of it, but I believe it’s truest to what I listened to growing up, rather than what I listen to now and wish I had listened to growing up.  Then again I was never all that cool.

Mission accomplished!  This is now written down.  I’ma go do real work with this out of my head.