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.  

Why is Labor Day celebrated?

We all love that day off from school or work, that long weekend to go to the lake house, have a barbeque and visit with relatives, but let’s face it, most of us don’t really know why Labor Day is celebrated, or the history behind the holiday.

Labor Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday in September, honors and recognizes the American labor movement and the role of laborers in the development and achievements of the country. The holiday originated in the late 1800s, after the Industrial Revolution, when trade unions were growing steadily. Unionists thought that there should be a day to recognize labor, so the first parade was organized in New York City, and it became an official holiday in 1894.

You may be wondering, what kind of music did people listen to back then, in the late 19th century? Well, we’ve compiled a short list of historical tunes that are sure to impress your friends and family at your Labor Day celebration!

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad – 1894

With its lyrics about rising early in the morn to go work on the railroad, this American folk song embodies the spirit and history of Labor Day. Railroading was a career that many young men took up at around age 18 to 20. They began as shop laborers with the possibility of being promoted to the positions of skilled mechanic, brakeman, freight conductor and passenger conductor. And not only did the explosion of railways create jobs, but it also transformed many sectors of the U.S. economy, such as manufacturing, agriculture, and finance. 

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – 1872

This African American spiritual song was originally composed in 1865 by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman, who had probably been inspired by the sight of the Red River, where he worked alongside. The river may have reminded him of the Jordan River and the Prophet Elijah, which are referenced in the song.

A minister at the Choctaw boarding school heard Willis singing the song, so he transcribed the lyrics and melodies, and sent it to the Jubilee Singers of the historically black Fisk University in Nashville, who popularized the song in the early 1900s.

While Strolling Through the Park One Day – 1884

Originally written and published by vaudeville performer Ed Haley, this tune has been featured in many films and was sung by Judy Garland. Interestingly enough, a few bars were also sung by the NASA astronauts when they landed on the moon with the Apollo 17 mission. I was strolling on the moon one day…” 

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

The oldies are neat and everything, but after the novelty wears off, they’re probably not the type of music you want to listen to for hours on end. After the collective ride down American memory lane, maybe it’s time to change the playlist up and play something a bit more modern, like this 2020 jazz rendition of Crystal Gayle’s country hit!

If you’re looking for more jazzy country tunes to play at your Labor Day party, our new album Cryin’ In My Whiskey is available in our store and on all major music platforms now. And if you’d like to book one of our wonderful musicians for your event, please contact us today. 

What are some camping essentials?

Whether you plan on glamping in a pod, or camping in a pop-up tent, bubble tent, Coleman tent, yurt, or RV, there are some things that you just must absolutely pack. Essential camping gear includes some obvious stuff like sleeping bags, sleeping pads, folding chairs, a cooler, and sunscreen, but also don’t forget the less obvious things, like a headlamp, flashlight or lantern and extra batteries. No one wants to be wandering in the dark in the dead of night looking for the bathroom! Also, what about a hammock, clothesline, and a tarp to block your tent from the sun and rain? 

In addition to all these essentials, make sure to bring firewood, newspaper and a lighter because nothing beats telling stories and singing songs around the campfire. Oh, and that reminds me, music is also essential! Charge up that portable, water-resistant speaker because you’ll definitely want to be blasting these tunes while you’re roasting marshmallows, drinking beer and counting stars in the summer sky! 

Tim McGraw – Where The Green Grass Grows

Just like Tim McGraw sings in his 1998 hit, living in the city can be draining—there’s concrete growin’ in the city park, six lanes, taillights and you don’t know who your neighbors are. It’s nice to get a break from the hustle and bustle and go camping—take a deep breath, point your rockin’ chairs towards the West and plant your dreams where the peaceful river flows. 

Nancy Sinatra – Sugar Town

An icon of the Swinging Sixties, Nancy Sinatra became popular for her punchy rock songs like “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” So, with its cute, easy sunshine feel, this 1967 release was a bit of a surprise. But little do many listeners know that “Sugar Town” is a double entendre about LSD. Young people in the sixties used to drop liquid LSD onto sugar cubes, so the simplistic lyrics, like, I just lay back and laugh at the sun pack more of a punch than you would’ve thought!

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Down On The Corner

You’ve probably heard this classic rock and roll song at bars, barbecues, and outdoor parties, but have you ever really listened to the lyrics? The 1969 hit tells the story of a fictional band called Willy and the Poor Boys, who play on street corners in hopes of cheering people up. They may be called the Poor Boys, but this group was rich in music—according to the tune they played the harp, Kalamazoo, washboard, and bass!

Janis Siegel, John Di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico – He Stopped Loving Her Today

At the end of the night, it’s nice to slow down and listen to something more melancholy while you gaze at the moon and contemplate life or a lost love. And this brand-new rendition of the famous 1979 George Jones song has a smooth, jazzy feel to it that’ll be a pleasant change from all the country tunes you’ve probably been listening to while camping. 

If you’re looking for more jazzy versions of classic country songs, check out our newest release, Cryin’ In My Whiskey, which is available in our store and on all major music platforms. And if you’d like to book one of our lovely musicians for your camping trip, contact us today! 

What songs should you play at your wedding reception?

Your Facebook feed is probably brimming with photos of brides glowing in white gowns, bridesmaids in pastels and grooms grinning in their tuxes at the end of the aisle. Yes, you know what that means—wedding season is in full swing! 

With all the “I dos,” bridal showers, wedding cakes, glittery jewelry, decorations, and receptions, you may find yourself thinking about your own wedding plans. Whether you’re engaged, awaiting or planning a proposal, in a committed relationship, or you just simply enjoy daydreaming about your own special day, it’s never too early to start thinking about what songs you might want to play at your wedding! Or maybe you’re serving as a maid-of-honor or best man sometime soon and you need to help the lucky couple make their playlist. Either way, we put together some classic wedding songs that are sure to put hearts in everyone’s eyes.  

Earth, Wind & Fire – September

This song is great for the bridal party to make their grand entrance or to help open the dance floor because everyone instantly recognizes it. Once they hear those first notes on the keyboard and that famous line—Do you remember, 21st night of September?—your guests will be pulling each other onto the dancefloor as fast as they can! Who knows, maybe your crabby, old uncle will even surprise you all with some groovy, disco moves! 

Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling in Love

It’s always difficult choosing a song for the newlyweds first dance. Maybe you have that one, specific tune that played on the radio during your first date, or that one song that you both love belting at the top of your lungs in the car. Or maybe, you’re not a very musically inclined couple and you’re drawing a blank. Well, you can’t go wrong with this 1961 Elvis ballad, the melody of which is actually based on a popular French song composed in 1784—who knew? 

Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight

This 1964 classic is perfect to play for the mother-son or father-daughter dance, which usually happens sometime after the first dance. You know that the parents are cherishing and soaking up every single moment of their children’s big day and that some day when they’re awfully low, when the world is cold, they’ll be thinking of the way that their child looked on their wedding night.  

Ray LaMontagne – You Are the Best Thing

This upbeat folk single, released in 2008, is honestly one of my favorites and it’s very versatile—could be nice for a slow dance or a group bridal party dance. Ray LaMontagne’s gravelly voice, the sweet lyrics and guitar create such a beautiful love song. The way you move me, it’s crazy…

WJ3 All Stars – First Time I Saw Your Face

This lovely instrumental jazz song is excellent for a swaying slow dance, or even to have as a backdrop during the cake cutting festivities. The heartwarming melody will bring you and your guests on a romantic journey through the ages!

If you’re looking for more love songs, I’d check out the new album from the WJ3 All Stars, Lovers and Love Songs! It’s available in our store and on all major music platforms. And if you’d like to book one of our musicians for your wedding reception, please contact us today!  

What music should you listen to while fishing?

Whether you like fly fishing or bait fishing, whether you’re an expert or an amateur, there’s nothing like grabbing your rod and tackle on a cool summer morning and casting your line out into the water. Who knows what you’ll catch? Well actually, according to the expert anglers, the best species to target in summertime are bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish and northern pike. But now you’re probably wondering, what music are you going to listen to while you wait for that first bite, that first nibble, that first yank to pull at your line? Well, we got you covered with some classic tunes that might even get the fish to dance!  

Taj Mahal – Fishin’ Blues 

This 2004 rendition of the 1928 blues song is an absolute staple in your fishing tackle box! Taj Mahal, a widely influential blues musician, has a rich voice and 50-year career that infuses sounds from the Caribbean, Africa, India, Hawaii and the South Pacific. Plus, he has the experience to back up the lyrics of this tune—he lived in Kauai, Hawaii in the 1980s, where he formed the Hula Blues Band, which was a group of guys that originally got together to fish and have a good time. Caught a seven poun’ catfish on the bottom, yes he got him…

Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby – Gone Fishin’

When two legends like Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby got together to make a duet for Crosby’s radio show in 1951, the result was unsurprisingly marvelous, instantly popular and eventually, timeless. Gone Fishin’ was published the year prior and recorded by other musicians but did not chart the tops until these powerhouses took it up. And now, the tune is still frequently heard on the radio. 

Janis Siegel, John di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico – Always on My Mind

Although this song is not technically about fishing, what is fishing if not a solitary activity? Many people go fishing in order to escape the craziness of life and enjoy the peace and quiet of the glassy pond or the soothing rush of the river rapids. So, why not slow down the pace of your music as well with this classic ballad? Maybe even take some time to reflect on a lost love with this modern jazz version of the iconic Willie Nelson song. It even features a lovely flute solo that will dance around in your clear, uncluttered mind.  

Louis Jordan – Saturday Night Fish Fry

This is a perfect tune to play when the fishing day is nearing its end and you’re getting ready to go home and celebrate all your catches! Arguably the very first rock ‘n roll record ever, this 1949 song features electric guitar, a brisk tempo and bass, all of which later became main components of the genre. Or if you’re not quite ready to go home yet, the pulsing beat of Saturday Night Fish Fry just might make the fish jump right onto your hook—hey, you never know, the bluegill might want to rock and roll too! 

If you’re looking for more country jazz tunes to jam while you fish and patiently wait for that prize-winning catch, Cryin’ In My Whiskey is available now in our store and on all major music platforms. 

What songs should you play at a pool party?

With heatwaves quite literally roasting the western U.S. and with temperatures rising
everywhere, it’s turning out to be one hot summer! So why not grab your pals and throw a pool
party? All you’ll need are some floaties, sunglasses, SPF and beer.

Oh wait, you’re also going to
need some rockin’ tunes to jam while you soak up those rays and dip into the cool water. But
don’t worry, we got you covered with this list of awesome summer songs!


Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues


Embodying the teenage frustration, desire and rebellious nature of the 1950s and 1960s, Eddi
Cochran’s hit song “Summertime Blues” is perfect to jam while playing hooky from work or
while waiting to get off work to go party with your friends! The song is about a teenager who
resents his job because he has no time to take his girlfriend out on a date. Well I’m gonna raise a
fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler about workin’ all summer just to try an’earn a dollar…

The Beach Boys – Surfin’ U.S.A


The Beach Boys, who first began as a garage band, have come to represent summertime
everywhere with their California sound and their lyrics about cars, romance and youth. “Surfin’
U.S.A.” was their first national hit in 1963, which set off a string of top-ten singles.


Dolly Parton – Sweet Summer Lovin’


This lesser-known Dolly song, released in 1979, has a dreamy quality to it that makes it great for
a lazy day lounging by the pool. Relax and sip on a cool beverage or lick up a yummy popsicle
while you let your mind wander into the lovely trance of this tune. By a stream in the country,
running barefoot and feeling free…


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


Let’s face it—pool parties are also about flirting and splashing around with your summer fling.
That’s why every pool party needs at least one sweet, direct and unabashed love song.
Originally co-written and recorded by Vince Gill in 1994, this tune was covered by Willie
Nelson in 2014, and now, in 2021, we’re lucky enough to have a brand new, jazzy rendition
featured on the album, Cryin’ In My Whiskey. This soulful, funky version will be sure to put the
hearts in your eyes while you let yourself get swept away by the whirlwind of your summertime
romance.


Kenny Chesney – Summertime


There really is nothing like summertime. If you’re like me and you live in the north, you spend
all winter waiting around excitedly for that first warm evening when you can kick off your shoes
just like when you were a kid and listen for the sound of the ice cream truck. Kenny Chesney’s

2006 song captures this simple, yet precise sentiment. Temperature says ninety-three… but that
swimmin’ hole, it’s nice and cold…
If you’re looking for more summer songs to play at your pool party, check out the country jazz
album, Cryin’ In My Whiskey, which is available in our store and on all major music platforms.
And if you’d like one of our musicians to play at your event, please give us a call today.

What songs were popular during World War II?

In honor of D-Day—the decisive Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 that led to the liberation of France and western Europe from Nazi control—we’re going to take a look at the type of music and the songs that were popular during WWII. 

With the advent of the radio in the 20s and 30s, American music was very accessible to everyone, so when the United States went to war in 1941, swing and jazz music provided comfort to families at home and soldiers abroad. Unlike the militaristic and patriotic songs of World War I, popular music during WWII centered around romance and strength. Now, let’s listen to some of the songs that boosted the morale of our veterans!

Glenn Miller – Chattanooga Choo Choo

Written by Mack Gordon and composed by Harry Warren in 1941, this song was originally recorded as a big band/swing tune and was featured in the movie Sun Valley Serenade. The tune opens with the trumpets and trombones imitating a train whistle and the whole band sounding like a train rolling out of a station. 

Next, we get a dialogue between a shoeshine boy and a passenger. The passenger describes the route from New York through Baltimore and North Carolina until finally reaching Chattanooga, where he plans to settle down for good with a woman he knew from earlier in life. With the fun instrumental imitations of a train’s “choo choo,” it’s no wonder that this became the first song to receive a gold record for selling 1.2 million copies!

Johnny Mercer – G.I. Jive

Johnny Mercer wrote and performed this song in 1944 with the intention of making something that the soldiers would like, and boy did it hit it on the head! This tune became the biggest hit of all the songs that revolved around soldier life during World War II. Roodley-toot, jump in your suit, make a salute! 

When the Lights Go On Again – Vaughn Monroe

This hopeful and calming song, which reached number one on the charts in 1943, looked forward to the time when the boys are home again all over the world and rain or snow is all that may fall from the skies above. A time when a kiss won’t mean “Goodbye” but “Hello to love.” This song really shows the power of music to raise one’s spirits and to unite people from all around the world. 

King Cole Trio – Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good to You

This love song was originally written in 1929 but became popular in 1944 with the recoding from the King Cole Trio. IT reached #1 on the Harlem Hite Parade, which charted the top songs in the Harlem district of New York City. And now, the classic tune has been reimagined by the legendary WJ3 All-Stars! 

If you’re looking for some more modern renditions of classics from the 20s, 30s and 40s, look no further than Lovers and Love Songs, WJ3 All-Star’s most recent release. The album is available inn our store and on all major music platforms!

Are there any female jazz producers?

Although there are many famous female singers and performers, there are very few women behind the mixing console. According to BBC, more than 95% of record producers and sound engineers are men. This may be because the industry has a “boys club” atmosphere and many women are not inclined to pursue such a demanding career while also trying to raise a family. Yet, there are still some women who have risen to the challenge and succeed as jazz producers. Today we’re here to recognize these badass women who are making moves in today’s day and age!

Amy Denio – Seattle, WA 

Amy Denio is an award-winning composer and producer who was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in March 2015. Not only has she produced over 50 releases, but she is also able to play the guitar, bass, alto sax, clarinet, accordion, and she can sing four octaves! In 1986, Denio founded her own record label and publishing company, Spoot Music, and has since collaborated with musicians from all over the world—Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina just to name a few. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Denio has been working on her “Corona Sonora” series, which consists of a wide variety of compositions that musically interpret the death and infection tolls in cities where Denio has previously resided.  

Yoshie Nakayama – Los Angeles, CA

A graduate of the Kunitachi College of Music and the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Yoshie Nakayma is a producer, trombonist, arranger, composer, singer and educator who specializes in jazzy a-cappella productions. Her creative vision is wide-ranging, including traditional Japanese songs, jazz big band, orchestra, Motown and more. She has contributed to over 400 recordings, worked with great mentors like Billy Bob Thorton and Alejandro Sanz, and she is the official arranger of the UNIVOZ Vocal Ensemble. Currently, Nakayama is working as one of the founders of the global initiative, Songs for World Peace, which promotes peace through the power of music. 

Kristina Koller – New York City, NY

Kristina Koller was exposed to a vast array of music and dance during her childhood outside of New York City, which led her to pursue jazz music, solo performance and formal music education at The City College of New York. Using her four-octave vocals, Koller creates powerful songs that project empowerment through self-discovery and awareness. And not only is she a professional vocalist, but Koller is also currently producing a synth pop record. As a producer, she specializes in transforming jazz standards into contemporary arrangements by using elements of R&B, pop and rock. 

Suzana Laşcu – Rotterdam, Netherlands

A graduate of Prins Claus Conservatorium and Codarts University, Suzana Laşcu is a performer, poet and composer who specializes in producing and curating sonic content. Her work aims to address all that permeates culture and is thus very transdisciplinary in nature, weaving across multiple genres—jazz, experimental, acoustic and electronic. Laşcu takes a non-traditional approach to music by incorporating extended techniques, spoken word and non-temperate sound producing effects. Currently, in 2021, she has begun broadcasting her most recent works on Radio WORM in Rotterdam. 

Kathy Salem – Cleveland, Ohio

As the founder and managing director of the jazz booking agency Night is Alive, Kathy Salem produces classical and jazz concerts worldwide with the goal of widening the influence of jazz music. Music has always held a sacred place in Salem’s heart: she played piano as a child, taught herself to read music in church and studied classic music formally for five years. Now, with Night is Alive, Salem represents some of the most talented and distinguished artists in the industry, such as Willie Jones III, Bill Cunliffe, Jeff Rupert and Donald Vega. She also offers academic scholarships to emerging musicians who are still attending college, which will foster a. love for jazz music in the next generation. Most recently, Salem produced the 2021 album, Cryin’ In My Whiskey, which infuses classic country hits with a jazz twist and features the vocals of Janis Siegel and piano of John di Martino. 

Cryin’ In My Whiskey is available in our store now and on all major music platforms. 

Which songs should you play at a graduation party?

Graduation parties can be a challenging terrain when it comes to music and playlists. You want to play tunes that the graduate, usually from a younger generation, can enjoy, but you also want to play music that the guests, usually older relatives, will also enjoy. Basically, you want some classic tunes that’ll put everyone in a good mood and possibly generate conversation. Well, look no further because we got you covered with this list! 

Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich – The Monster

This 1956 song from the jazz drummer duo Krupa and Rich really showcases how lively, fun and upbeat jazz music can be. And the tune is completely instrumental, which is perfect for party conversations. The vibrant drums will fade nicely into the backdrop of the party, energizing everyone without anyone even realizing it! 

Bill Withers – Lovely Day

We all know Bill Withers’s most famous song, Lean on Me, which is usually a staple at graduation parties, but what about mixing it up and playing this 1977 hit Lovely Day? It’s a very lowkey, relaxed song that can help everyone, from all walks of life, wind down and get in a good mood. I know it’s going to be a lovely day! 

The Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe in Magic

Thanks to the 2005 rendition, from Disney stars Ally & AJ, people from all generations are familiar with this classic tune, which peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1965. And no one will be able disagree with the message of the lyrics—that music has the magical power to make you happy and free your soul!

Islands in the Stream – Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers

This lovely 1983 duet from two of country music’s biggest stars has a smooth, mellow soft rock feel to it that everyone can appreciate. And did you know that the title comes from the 1970 Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name? If your graduate majored in English, be sure to quiz them on this fact!

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

Everyone loves a good love song, especially a new rendition of a beloved favorite. In this version, the talented composer, arranger and pianist John di Martino infuses Vince Gill’s 1994 country song with a soulful, funky Booker T. and the M.G.’s feel. This tune will make you want to get a groove on with your sweetheart!
If you need some more ideas for songs to play at a graduation party, be sure to check out the newest release from Night is Alive, Cryin’ In My Whiskey. From this album comes the last track on this playlist, along with many more snazzy, jazzy renditions of country classics, like Willie Nelson’s Always On My Mind and Crystal Gayle’s Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. And if you’d like to book one of our wonderful musicians to perform at your event, please contact us today.