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 is the National Day of the Cowboy?

Created in 2005, the National Day of the Cowboy celebrates the role and contributions that cowboys and cowgirls have made to America’s history and culture. The NDOC organization even gives out awards to individuals and organizations that promote and preserve pioneer and cowboy history! The day is observed on the fourth Saturday in July, so that means this year, July 24th will be the day to put on your boots and saddle up!

Cowboys began appearing in the heartland and wild west after the Civil War. Working mostly as ranchers and ranch hands, cowboys raised cattle and horses, and herded them across the plains to slaughterhouses. And since the western frontier was still widely unexplored at the time, it was a lawless land that swirled with riches, adventure and violence. Amid this backdrop, the mythical, stoic image of the cowboy became popular. 

Now you may be wondering how you can celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy. Well, you could put on a cowboy hat, go to a rodeo, and then come home and listen to these country western songs that we picked out for you. Find a partner, say howdy and have a hog-killin’ time square-dancing the night away!

Roy Rogers – Don’t Fence Me In

Known in his heyday as the “King of the Cowboys,” Ray Rogers acted and sang in over 100 Western films. This 1944 tune, which he sang with his wife Doris Rogers, became known across the country and for generations to come as the cowboy theme song. Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above…

Marty Robinson – The Streets of Laredo (Cowboys Lament)

Derived from a traditional Irish folk song, titled “The Unfortunate Rake,” this cowboy ballad was named one of Top 100 Western songs of all time and has become a folk music standard. In the song, a dying cowboy tells his story to another cowboy in Laredo, Texas.  

Gene Autry – Back in The Saddle Again

Nicknamed the “Singing Cowboy,” Gene Autry personified the honest, brave and true hero, and he was a significant pioneer in the history of country music. “Back in the Saddle Again” was first released in 1939 and became Autry’s signature song because who wouldn’t want to be transported to the land where the longhorn cattle feed on the lowly gypsum weed?

Janis Siegel, John Di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico – Always On My Mind

This bittersweet, remorseful ballad, made famous by the outlaw country star Willie Nelson, is given a jazz treatment in this brand-new version. Including a lovely flute solo from Aaron Heick, this rendition really pulls at your heartstrings. Tell me that your sweet love hasn’t died…

If you’re looking for more country tunes to celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy, check out our newly released 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 talented musicians to perform at your event, please contact us today! 

4 Country Jazz Tunes to Celebrate National Beer Day

We all know about Oktoberfest in Germany, but did you know that the U.S. celebrates National Beer Day on April 7th? It commemorates the day in 1933 that the prohibition on selling beer was lifted. “I think this would be a good time for a beer,” President Roosevelt famously said upon signing the legislation.

A man in Virginia named Justin Smith first unofficially celebrated Beer Day in 2009 and since then it has gained official recognition by the state of Virginia and is toasted to by brew aficionados all over the country. 

Who wants to miss out on an excuse to drink and be merry? This Wednesday, go to the brewery or beer store nearest to you and pick up a growler of your favorite beer—whether that be an IPA, ale, lager or pilsner—and kick back with some friends in the backyard while listening to these folksy jazz tunes! 

Ray Charles – Oh, Lonesome Me

Partly inspired by his small southern hometown, Charles came out with the album Modern Sounds in Country Music in 1962, which was a groundbreaking fusion of genres. It was so successful that Charles came out with a second volume of country jazz music, from which comes this song, “Oh, Lonesome Me.” 

First written and recorded in 1957, this song is a fun, lighthearted lament of unrequited love that’ll pair well with a fruity, full-bodied amber ale! 

Willie Nelson – Georgia On My Mind

From his 1978 album, Stardust, comes this brilliant reinvention of the popular Ray Charles song, “Georgia On My Mind.” Nelson’s rendition features harmonica solos, which really adds that country flavor. Grab a piney IPA and enjoy that hop flavor while you get lost in Nelson’s weather-beaten voice. 

Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler – There’ll Be Some Changes Made

In 1990, Chet Atkins, also known as “Mr. Guitar” and “The Country Gentleman,” joined forces with Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler to create the Grammy-award-winning album Neck and Neck. From this album comes the song “There’ll Be Some Changes Made,” which is a country version of the jazz standard originally published in 1921. Listen to this friendly tune while drinking a classic long neck lager!

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

Named in several surveys as the greatest country song of all time, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was released in 1980 by George Jones. When vocalist Janis Siegel first heard the song, she was struck—the story simply grabbed her and inspired her to collaborate with John Di Martino and Lonnie Plaxico on this new jazzy rendition, featured in their 2021 album, “Cryin’ In My Whiskey.” The ambiguous lyrics and Siegel’s lovely voice make it a perfect song to pair with a smooth, golden pilsner!

If you’re looking for some more country jazz tunes to create the best beer-drinking ambience, look no further. “Cryin’ In My Whiskey,” the newest release from Night Is Alive, features many country classics, like “Always On My Mind,” “Break it to Me Gently” and “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” all with a funky jazz twist. “There’s nothing out there like this,” said Kathy Salem, the Producer and Managing Director. “I wanted this music to be accessible by all.”

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available in our store right now and on all major music platforms!