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 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.