How To Keep A New Year’s Resolution

How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution

The ball is about to drop in a few days, so you’re probably brainstorming ideas for your New Year’s resolution. Maybe you want to exercise more, eat healthier, get organized, save money, get more sleep, or read more. Whatever your goal is, we’re here to help you stick to it and make 2022 your happiest and healthiest year yet!

Make a Plan or Checklist

As the saying goes, a goal without a plan is just a wish, so you better get planning! Whether it be purchasing an agenda, making a spreadsheet, or crafting a cute poster board, you need to figure out what planning strategy works best for you. It’s important to have a physical, or digital, space to return to and mark your progress. Research also shows that crossing, or checking, items off on a list is extremely satisfying and motivating.

Reward Small Steps 

Rather than intimidating yourself with one enormous resolution, break your goal up into smaller, more manageable achievements. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, start by just exercising for just 15 minutes each day and limiting your late-night leftover Christmas cookie intake to just one. 

Or, if your resolution is to “get organized,” you can break that abstract idea into specific tasks that you can focus on each week, such as putting the laundry away as soon as it’s out of the dryer or creating designated drawers for all your knickknacks. Accomplishing these smaller tasks will encourage you to tackle the more difficult ones later down the road.

Develop Habits

Remember, research shows that it takes about 21 days to develop a new habit and a little more than two months to really solidify a habit, so just stick to your goals early on and things will get easier! This is also why it’s better to take small steps in the beginning while you’re still getting used to your new habit of going to bed early or reading one chapter each evening. 

Pause and Relax

Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t get discouraged. You can do it! Whenever you’re feeling down, take a moment to pause, breathe deeply and congratulate yourself for your efforts. It’s no easy feat to grow and change as a person, so good on you for taking up the challenge! 

When you’re down, it’s also always nice to listen to some upbeat music that’ll get you smiling and up off the couch, ready to face your resolution without fear. And since music is our game at Night Is Alive, we put together a few tunes that’ll have you tapping your toes all throughout January! 

Johnny Otis – Happy New Year Baby

Remember, you’re not the only one with a New Year’s resolution—people have been making these, and sticking to them, for years. Blues musician Johnny Otis even released a song in 1948 about his! I made a resolution I’m gonna keep the whole year through.  I’m gonna give up chasin’ women, whiskey drinkin’ too…

Janis Siegel & John Di Martino – Are You Alright?

When doing something difficult, it’s always good to check in with yourself and make sure that you’re alright and that you’re not pushing yourself too hard. This 2021 rendition of the Lucinda Williams song also offers a jazzy, fresh feel that’ll encourage you to imbue your life with change in the form of new, healthy habits. 

Songs to Ring in the New Year – 2022

Songs to Ring in the New Year

With this new COVID variant, your holiday season may not be as lively as you might’ve imagined, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for subpar music. Whether you’re having a small gathering at home to watch the ball drop or braving the crowds at a bar or night club, you’re going to need some glittery, snazzy tunes to ring in the New Year! 

Ella Fitzgerald – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve 

New Year’s isn’t complete without a beautiful ballad from the Queen of Jazz. But did you know that this 1960 song was not intended to be played in December? The songwriter Frank Loesser, who also wrote the music and lyrics for Guys and Dolls, wanted the piece to be about a person who fell madly in love and thus made a rash commitment to meet his or her new beau far into the future. Maybe it’s much too early in the game. Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same—What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve? 

Smokey Hogg – New Year’s Eve Blues

If you’re stuck at home this New Year’s Eve and you don’t have someone to kiss at midnight, it might be comforting to listen to some blues, especially some country blues, which is one of the earliest forms of the genre. This 1948 tune laments a painful love, but ends on a resolute and slightly upbeat note: For twelve months long you kept my heart in pain… I only treat you kind… I’m gonna leave you on New Year. Maybe this is just the song you need to let go of that broken relationship and start fresh in 2022!

And, if, after listening to this song, you’re wondering what exactly the difference between blues and jazz is, don’t worry, we have a blog post all about it! See here. 

B.B. King – Bringing in A Brand New Year

Alright, now that you released those more negative emotions with the blues song from Smokey Hogg, it’s time for something a bit more upbeat! This swinging tune comes from B.B. King’s 39th studio album, titled A Christmas Celebration of Hope, which seems very appropriate for this year. The lyrics are all about embracing the excitement of the New Year, particularly when it comes to flirting with someone new, so grab your dancing shoes and get out there! Gonna be a great big parade… sailin’ down a rainbow, I’ll flirt with lady moon…

Lorca Hart Trio – MoJoe

There’s no better way to finish off the countdown and celebrate the fireworks, kazoos, and confetti than with an exciting drum solo! After you’ve hugged all your loved ones close and wished them a happy new year, turn this tune on to keep the party going and remind everyone that you’ll be keeping your mojo in 2022!

If you’re looking for more jazz tunes to play this New Year’s, check out our many albums, such as Lorca Hart Trio’s Colors of Jazz and WJ3 All-Stars’ Lovers and Love Songs, both of which are available online now, in our store and on all major music platforms. And if you’re interested in booking one of our lovely musicians for your New Year’s party, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What are some heartfelt Christmas gift ideas?

With all these global shipping delays, and with Christmas right around the corner, you might be struggling to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. To prevent you from seeming like the Grinch, or from having to put coal in the stockings of all your friends, relatives, and coworkers, we’ve come up with some unique gift ideas that won’t require any shipping at all! Don’t believe me, read for yourself:

Mason Jar Alcohol Infusion Kit 

You’ve probably seen these cute jars, filled with dried fruits, spices on Etsy, but did it ever occur to you that you could make one yourself? After all, it is just a mason jar full of herbs and dried fruit—you can buy all those items at your local health food store. All you need is a recipe and some creativity! 

Put dried cranberries, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and brown sugar into a mason jar and ta da, you just made a hot toddy spirit infusion kit! You might want to add that special touch with a red ribbon around the top, and maybe even a handwritten label that reads, Just add whiskey!

Digital Jazz Album 

No one really uses CDs anymore, so why not gift those music lovers in your life a new digital Christmas album that is sure to knock their socks off? Not to mention, you certainly won’t have to worry about any shipping fees or delays. Just print off a picture of the album and put it in an envelope, or if you really want to be cheeky, wrap it in inside a box with a bunch of tissue paper! And maybe if you’re giving this gift to a significant other, you could invite he or she to slow dance with you to one of the songs—what’s more romantic than that?

You’re in luck because we have quite a few digital albums available in our store right now. Christmas Ain’t Like It Used To Be offers fresh, new and heartwarming holiday songs, along with the stellar vocals of Andromeda Turre; Lorca Hart Trio’s Colors of Jazz takes you on a whirlwind adventure through the rainbow, exploring the vibrancy of contemporary jazz; WJ3 All-Stars’ Lovers and Love Songs sweeps you away on a romantic journey through the ages; and Cryin’ In My Whiskey, featuring Janis Siegel and John Di Martino, is the perfect mix of jazz standards and country classics! You really can’t go wrong with any of these choices.

Personalized Coupons

Grab some card stock, markers, and stickers and make some adorable, personalized coupons that show your loved ones that you really care. Some ideas for coupons: Good for one free hug, one free cuddle, back massage, ice cream date… The options are endless! Just get creative. Oh, and if you really want to have some fun with it, you could even put expiration dates on the coupons—just be ready to redeem them all when the time comes!

Concert Tickets 

Experiences can be more valuable than any tangible object, so, this holiday season, gift your friends, family, and coworkers with an early Christmas gift: tickets to the album concert for Christmas Ain’t Like It Used To Be

On Friday, December 17th at 8pm, Akron will be hosting some of the best musicians in New York City on the Knight Stage at the Civic Center. You and your loved ones won’t want to miss this joyful celebration of Christmas, Hannukah and jazz! To purchase tickets, please see the link below:

https://www.akroncivic.com/shows/370

What are some new Christmas albums?

The classic Christmas tunes are popular for a reason—they evoke family memories, you know the lyrics by heart, and they’ve withstood the test of time—but sometimes the classics can dare I say it, become a bit repetitive, especially if the same station or soundtrack is on loop all day at your work! Sometimes, it’s nice to spice things up and open the genre to new albums. Because remember, all classic songs were at one time, new releases! It’s time to make some room around the open fire for new friends. 

Dolly Parton – Holly Dolly Christmas

Her first Christmas album in thirty years, Holly Dolly Christmas does not disappoint. With a majority of new, original tracks, and some traditional favorites mixed in as well, this album is as charming and optimistic as the country star we all know and love. Including duets with Michael Bublé, Jimmy Fallon, Willie Nelson, and featuring Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Randy Parton, Holly Dolly Christmas keeps things exciting!

The song “Comin Home for Christmas,” which was released as a single in 2009, is particularly cozy and sweet, and sure to bring the family all together. Mama’s in the kitchen, Christmas on the stove, Daddy’s in the woodshed with ax and overcoat, everybody’s helpin’ to place and trim the tree…

Norah Jones – I Dream of Christmas

The wait for Norah Jones’s first full-length Christmas album was well worth it! Her velvety, crisp, and cool voice seems like it was just made for Christmas songs. These dreamy, elegant, and tranquil tracks offer a relaxed backdrop for family gatherings, dinner parties and cozying up by the fire. And with many originals, like “Christmas Calling” and “Christmas Glow,” you’re bound to discover a new favorite! 

Carrie Underwood – My Gift 

A somber, unadorned album, My Gift showcases Underwood’s voice and focuses on the religious underpinnings of the holiday. The slow, poignant songs create an atmosphere meant for deeper emotions and reflection. One of the tracks, “Little Drummer Boy,” even features the adorable vocals of Underwood’s eldest son, which speaks to the familial and spiritual themes of the album. But perhaps the most passionate and profound is “Let There Be Peace,” which was performed at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

John Di Martino & Andromeda Turre – Christmas Ain’t Like It Used to Be

Last, but certainly not least, this jazz release truly reinvigorates the genre with a complete album of exclusively fresh and vibrant originals from some of the biggest stars in the industry—John Di Martino, Andromeda Turre, Wayne Escoffery, Lonnie Plaxico and Willie Jones III. Offering a lovely mixture of slow, touching songs, like “Star of Wonder;” upbeat, festive tracks like “Make December Stay;” and bluesy tunes like “Christmas Ain’t Like It Used to Be;” this album is extremely versatile and will fit any holiday moment, whether it be baking cookies, trimming the tree, or kissing beneath the mistletoe. 

Christmas Ain’t Like It Used to Be is available now in our store and on all major music platforms. And if you live in the northeast Ohio area, you’re in luck because these musicians will be coming to the Akron Civic Center to perform the album for one night only—December 17th at 8pm. To purchase tickets please see the link below: 

Songs for a Walk in the Fall Leaves

With the autumn leaves beginning to change colors, you’re probably ready to grab a pumpkin spice latte, put your earbuds in and go for a nice long walk in the park. Bask in the rich golds, bronzes, saffron, oranges, yellows, and reds. But before you go, make sure to read this guide to all the fall leaves and trees, complete with some great song recommendations for fall! 

Red – Red Roses For A Blue Lady by Wayne Newton

During your walk, you may be wondering, what trees turn red in the fall? Well, as the weather cools, the wine-colored leaves of the classic red maple and red oak become richer in tone. In addition, flowering dogwood, hornbeam, sourwood, and winged sumac also take on the deep hues of crimson, maroon, and cherry. And what pairs better with red than roses? This easy listening tune from 1965 will help you to unwind, be in the present moment and let all your daily worries fall away, just like the rusty red leaves.  

Purple – Purple Rain (Blues Cover) by Miche Braden

We often forget about the purple foliage, which is less common than the other colors of fall, but no less beautiful, just like this blues rendition of Prince’s famous pop song. Revel in the breathtaking violets, plums and burgundies of sweet gum, smoke trees, eastern ninebark and oakleaf hydrangea while you listen to this heartbreakingly beautiful song. I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain…

Orange – Autumn in New York by Billie Holiday

As your strolling, you may wonder, what exactly causes leaves to change color in the autumn? Well, you may remember learning about chlorophyll in high school or college biology class—the green pigment in a leaf that absorbs sunlight and transforms carbon dioxide and water to sugars and starch, aka foods that allow the tree to grow. But in addition to chlorophyll, there are also yellow and orange pigments, carotenes ad xanthophyll, that are masked by the immense amounts of green in the leaf—that is, at least until fall rolls around. Due to changes in temperature and the length of daylight in autumn, the leaves stop making food, so the chlorophyll breaks down and the green colors disappear, thus giving the yellow and orange pigments space to flourish.   

The sugar maple and Japanese maple change into particularly beautiful shades of orange that, as Billie Holiday first sang in 1956, make autumn in New York so inviting. On benches in Central Park, greet autumn in New York, it’s good to live it again…

Yellow – Dayne by the Lorca Hart Trio

There’s no better way to revel in the rich stains of fall than with an album titled, Colors of Jazz. With its fast pace, this vibrant tribute to Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter represents yellow. Imagine speeding down the road in a bright yellow sportscar, with the top down, peering through your sunglasses at the golden yellows of the American elm, black cherry, cucumber magnolia, shagbark hickory and witch hazel.  

If you’re looking for more brilliantly colorful songs for fall, Colors of Jazz is available in our store and on all major music platforms!

What songs should you play at a dinner party?

Cooling temperatures mean fewer barbeques and outdoor gatherings, but it also means more
dinner parties inside, more evening chats over glasses of wine by the wood-burning stove.
Whether you’re hosting a vegetarian dinner party, a formal dinner party or a birthday dinner
party, we’ve hand selected some tunes that are sure to set the perfect mood for your guests.
Billie Holiday – All of Me


There’s no better way to start the night off than with a well-known jazz standard from the iconic
Lady Day. First published in 1931, this tune revolves around the emotional despair of a
heartbreak, yet, with the repetition of high notes, it has an almost jubilant feel to it.
WJ3 All Stars – I’ve Never Been In Love Before

A heartwarming instrumental jazz song like this provides a lowkey and sophisticated background
great for sipping on cocktails and munching on hors d’oeuvres. Bruschetta anyone?


Andy Williams – Moon River


Even if your guests aren’t jazz enthusiasts, they’ll most likely recognize this song, which won an
Academy Award for Best Original Song when it was first performed by Audrey Hepburn in her
1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Then, a year later, Andy Williams covered the song, and it
became the theme to his T.V. show. The Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri was also
named after Williams’s cover of the song!


Jimmy Durante – Make Someone Happy


Enjoying good food with loved ones is bound to make everyone happy, just like this 1965 song!
Durante’s gravelly voice and his Lower East Side accent and style also create a nice ambience to
light up a cigar after dinner and settle into a comfy armchair.


Dean Martin – Ain’t That A Kick In The Head


After everyone has relaxed and digested their food for a bit, it might be a good time to dance to a
swinging big band jazz arrangement like this one. Martin originally performed the song in the
1960 film Ocean’s 11 and surprisingly, it did not end up charting. But no matter, it’s still one of
Martin’s most beloved songs, and it will still get you swirling around and tapping your toes with
a dance partner!


Lorca Hart Trio – Bye Ya


Eventually, to everyone’s’ dismay, the hour gets late, and the night must come to an end. But
first, one last laugh and hug! While guests are putting on their coats and kissing cheeks goodbye,
this upbeat, jovial instrumental, with a slamming drum solo to boot, will keep everyone
marching happily along and remind them of all the fun you had that evening.

If you’re looking for more lovely jazz music to play at your elegant dinner party, we recommend
Lorca Hart Trio’s album, Colors of Jazz, and the WJ3 All Stars’ album Lovers & Love Songs,
both of which are available in our store and on all major music platforms today. And

What songs are good for going down the river?

From the Grumman and Coleman canoes to the Kevlar, Pelican and Sportspal there are so many brands to choose from when purchasing a canoe, not to mention the material and type—outrigger, aluminum, wooden, cedar strip, inflatable, lightweight. And don’t get me started on kayaks, there are just as many options there as well! Sun Dolphin, Costco, Intex Explorer, Ascend, Sevylor. And should you get a pedal or foldable kayak, tandem, inflatable? 

One thing is for sure, the market for canoes, kayaks, tubes, and rafts is saturated this summer, and with good reason—paddling or floating down the river is an excellent outdoor and socially-distanced activity that can be done solo, with friends or as a couple. And since music is our forte at Night Is Alive, we’re here to provide you with some of the best songs for every river adventure that you may embark upon before August ends and temperatures begin to cool! 

Leon Bridges – River

Described by The Wall Street Journal as a “throwback to ‘60s-soul a la Otis Redding and Sam Cooke,” this contemporary singer and songwriter, only 32-years-old, is an up-and-coming force to be reckoned with. Inspired by gospel music’s historical use of rivers as symbols for change and redemption, this slow, soft tune, featuring the guitar and tambourine, is about finding faith in God during difficult times, which makes it perfect for a solo, reflective, early morning kayaking trip. 

Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson

You really can’t go wrong with this cheerful, nostalgic 1993 country song about coming of age in a small town in northern Georgia, along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. The fast tempo of this tune would pair well with a gripping white water rafting trip, or a more relaxed fishing canoe trip. Never knew how much that muddy water meant to me—I learned how to swim and I learned who I was…

Willie Nelson – Whiskey River

Fans usually think of “Whiskey River” as a Willie Nelson staple, a cornerstone of his career, but the lament about the river of booze was actually a cover of country singer Johnny Bush’s 1972 song. The two, both from Texas, were apparently friends, with Nelson playing in Bush’s band, The Cherokee Cowboy. Despite the tragic lyrics, this tune still has an upbeat vibe to it and would be great for a relaxed float down the river with friends and family, perhaps with a cold beer or whiskey-based drink in your hand!

Janis Siegel, John Di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico – Whenever You Come Around

Maybe you’ve been eyeing up some tandem kayaks and want to take your sweetheart on a memorable date in the river or on the lake. Well, this new, jazzed-up version of Vince Gill’s 1994 hit, featured on the 2021 album, Cryin’ In My Whiskey, will provide the perfect romantic backdrop. Hold your lover’s hand, soak up those rays and absorb the simple and direct message of this lovely song. I get weak in the knees and I lose my breath…

If you’re looking for more country songs to listen to while you go down the river, Cryin’ In My Whiskey is available on all major music platforms and in our store today. 

What fruits and vegetables are harvested in September?

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a record number of Americans planting a vegetable garden for the first time. I guess the idea was, if you’re stuck at home and trying to avoid public places, like grocery stores, why not just grow your own food? There’s also nothing more peaceful, energizing, and therapeutic than planting a seed in the dirt, and waiting for new life to take root and literally emerge from the soil. 

So, now, after all your patience and hard work, comes the fun part: harvest time. There are so many delicious fruits and veggies in season for September, you’ll be smiling and singing as you stroll through your garden, or the local farmer’s market, picking out produce for a scrumptious meal with family and friends. And since no meal is truly complete without the perfect ambience, we put together this playlist of songs to match some of our favorite seasonal September produce!   

Carrots – Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise by Abbey Lincoln

With their slightly sweet flavor and rich levels of vitamin A, carrots are a well-loved and versatile root vegetable that can be used in a variety of fan-favorite dishes, like chicken noodle soup, ginger-carrot cake, and Shepherd’s Pie. Similarly, Abbey Lincoln, a singer-songwriter from Chicago with a career spanning from the late 50s to the early 2000s, also has an extremely versatile voice that excels in not only mainstream jazz but also in more alternative, avant-garde music. 

Broccoli – Sister Sadie by Horace Silver

The thick stalks and round green florets of broccoli have a grassy, mildly bitter, and earthy flavor, reminiscent of the hard bop music of Horace Silver, who was hailed by the New York Times as the master of earthy jazz. During the 1950s, when the soft sounds of cool jazz were soaring the airwaves, Silver came out with tunes that brought jazz back to its basics, with a focus on simple rhythms, blues, and gospel. 

So, why not go back to the basics this September with a tasty broccoli dish like garlic parmesan roasted broccoli or a broccoli bacon salad. 

Blueberries – Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Janis Siegel, John Di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico

Contrary to what you may think, blueberries pack a punch—yes, they’re small, juicy, and sweet, but they do also have a bit of a sour, acidic bite to them, especially if they’re not completely ripe. In the same way, this new, jazzed-up rendition of Crystal Gayle’s 1977 slow, crooning tune has a surprising kick at the end that you won’t want to miss.  

Plums – Duke and Billy by Lorca Hart Trio

These juicy and tart stone fruits can be eaten fresh, made into jam, fermented into wine, or even added to desserts and salads. They’re full of vitamin C, which is great for your eyes, and they can have red, purple, green, yellow, or orange skin. The most common color, and probably the most memorable, however, is the deep purple hue of the plum, which reminds me of Lorca Hart Trio’s new song “Duke and Billy.” This tune represents a pleasant conversation between Duke Ellington and Bill Stahan and signifies the rich and royal color purple. 

If you’re looking for more jazz tunes to hum along to while you harvest September produce and cook up some farm fresh meals, check out our albums Cryin’ in My Whiskey and Colors of Jazz, which are both available in our store and on all major music platforms.