One of my top five favourite things: heading outdoors, finding a patch of long grass to lie in, and listening to some great music. This is a playlist for being awake early and outside just as the sun rises. For dancing in the woods, finding a shady spot under a tree, paddling in the brook, racing down the hills, and coming back home in the dusk.
These are just my personal favourites, but I’m always looking for new recommendations. What do you like to listen to when you’re out and about?
“Wild Mountain Thyme” – Jon Boden
An old tune that you might already know, but this version is my favourite. Jon Boden (English folk singer, multi-instrumentalist, and frontman of Bellowhead – more of which later) produced this as part of his ‘Folk Song a Day’ project which ran for a year in 2010/2011. The website is worth a look for anyone with an interest in traditional folk songs.
“The Boatman” – Levellers
Formed in the late 80s, the Levellers have strong roots in the travelling and indie music communities, and their songs incorporate elements of punk, folk and rock. This track is one of their more chilled offerings, but perfectly captures a sense of wanderlust and the desire to live a simpler life.
“Gosport Nancy” – Bellowhead
This track is less about the countryside and more about drinking, dancing, and doing the Can-Can. Nevertheless, it’s a great tune for a country dance – or just finding the biggest hill around and skipping down it while singing at the top of your voice. (It’s not just me who does that, right?)
“Rover” – Jethro Tull
Hat tip to Dad here who introduced me to Jethro Tull when I was tiny (awesomeness is in the genes, clearly). Considering that they are named after an 18th century agricultural pioneer it’s probably not surprising that most of their songs have a rural theme, but this is my top pick to keep you going when you’re starting to flag on a long hike through a Welsh bog. DofE flashbacks, anyone?
“Sept With Smith” – Talkdemonic
An instrumental track this time – great for lying back in a meadow on a summer’s day, and just letting everything wash over you.
“Here Comes the Sun” – The Beatles
Let’s face it, a playlist about the countryside wouldn’t be complete without this track. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking in snow, rain and wind as well – but there’s just something great about being out in the sunshine. (Unfortunately Spotify doesn’t have the original Beatles version of this track – so you’ll have to use your initiative. Or listen to the equally lovely Belle and Sebastian version.)
“Glósóli” – Sigur Rós
Loosely translated as ‘Glowing Sun’, the slow build-up in this song is probably a pretty good match for that hill you have to slog up at some point on your walk. This’ll keep your legs going – and at the top it provides a dramatic accompaniment for that stunning view. It’s all worth it in the end!
“Riverside” – Agnes Obel
If you’re lucky enough to have a clear-flowing river on your walk, then this would be a good opportunity to lie back with your feet in the water and let all your cares just float away…
“The Parting Glass” – The Littlest Birds
Possibly my favourite folk song – and this is a beautiful version. Great for a sing-a-long at the end of the post-walk pub session before you all head back home.
“To Build a Home” – The Cinematic Orchestra
The perfect song for sitting up in some high place just as the sun is going down, and taking in the view.