a little old fashioned playlist for you

Tuesday 9 July 2024

Hi there 😉

Recently—as in this March—I perfectly dismantled the means by which I have been sending emails since 2011.

Today, I have re-emerged. With this email. Did it make it to you? Have I been moving pixels around in vain? Is anything real?

Will you please send me a reply if you received this missive?

You can send the reply by carrier pigeon. I love getting those.

You can also hit reply in your email client.

(I know that the only carrier pigeons I’ll receive are the ones that have already lived with me in the future, and will consider my home their home, and will desperately want to come back to it like the white tomcat that my parents tried to rehome a few miles down the road to my childhood friend’s farmhouse, except this was done without the consent of the tomcat, which is very similar I think to the way people use carrier pigeons. Ultimately, a pigeon just wants to get back home?!)

Okay, I have more questions for you.

Have you been here since 2011? Here, as in, an email recipient of emails from me? Oh my gosh, if so, we have some serious catching up to do. Please send me a pigeon asap.

If you signed up within the last week, I have some promises to fulfill, and that’s why I’m writing today.

I’ve buried the lede.

(Behind a bunch of random musings, no less!)

I meant to say that I have a playlist for you, an exceptionally dweeby playlist, do you want to listen to it?

One week ago I was in a delightful place called Greifswald in northern Germany (so northern is touches the sea! you can hear the seagulls call over the main square!) and I made an off-hand promise to send a playlist of my favorite versions of the night’s songs.

So here we are.

I played my own interpretations of these tunes during the set, and here I’ll share some of my favorite versions with you. There are some duplicates here because in some cases I couldn’t choose just one.

Here is the link to the entire playlist—and boy oh boy I hope you have adblockers on your web browser, because it’s a YouTube playlist.


And here’s a little bit of commentary:

There Will Come Soft Rains, Beautiful William:

This is a project I did with my perfect and lovely friend Meredith Wilder, currently living much too far away from me, too far for more beautiful and perfect harmonies (and unisons) to happen. We wrote music to Sara Teasdale’s poetry and made a whole album of it. It’s my favorite project I’ve ever done. Here’s the album: beautifulwilliam.bandcamp.com

If I Had You, Nellie McKay:

I fell in love with Nellie McKay’s version of this song when I came across it on the internet fifteen years ago. Is this tune patient zero for my love of golden era jazz tunes + ukulele? Maybe?! As a bonus here you get her tune “Mother of Pearl,” which contains the inimitable first line: “Feminists don’t have a sense of humor.”

Lovesick Blues, Patsy Cline:

Perfection, what can I say? That yodel, so pristine.

Home, Ukulelezaza:

Ukulelezaza has a special talent for creating delicately beautiful and heartfelt ukulele arrangements, and I have a soft spot for his arrangements of old jazz tunes. There’s an astonishing amount of sensitivity in his playing. Oh and since I moved to Europe we not only met but have a project together! And will be playing a small tour next week?! Amazing!

I Never See Maggie Alone, Kenny Roberts

The second yodeling number of the playlist. What a pretty yodel! What an extremely ridiculous and horny song! I love it and I hate it! Kenny, leave that girl alone, she obviously doesn’t want to bone down! Also, can we stop problematizing young women’s sexuality and give them some space?! I’m conflicted!

Smile, oh look that’s me

I shared myself on this playlist again! I really adore this song and I love this ukulele arrangement that—yes—Ukulelezaza taught me. But so nice to learn it from him in person rather than from his YouTube videos. Pure luxury!

I’ll Be Seeing You, Norah Jones

Norah Jones pointed (probably her laptop) camera at herself during the deep dark lockdown portion of the pandemic and loaded a bunch of different jazz standards into her YouTube channel. How beautiful is that?! I found this recording after we had all resurfaced and started breathing each other’s air again. I love that this famous and extremely talented person used the basic tools that were available to all of us at that time to share this perfect recording.

If I Had You, Cliff Edwards

Yes that’s the voice of Jiminy Cricket here to bring a little bit of swell to your heart and a tear to your eye. I love prioritizing women in these lists of 100 year old songs (which oftentimes means I have to include much more recent recordings). However, Cliff Edwards has such a special soft earnestness in his delivery, that I think it’s worth compromising the marginally better non-men/men ratio I had going on previous to the addition of this number. Plus, listen to that sweet gentle arythmic uke.

Here’s the playlist link one more time:


I’m hoping to send you more emails in the near future. I’m not making any promises, but they probably won’t be as long as this one.

I’m not kidding when I said I want you to write back. Even if it’s just one lil sentence.

Hoping all your pigeons find their way back home.

Talk later—



*this post was originally an email sent to my subscribers. Sign up for emails hot and fresh to your inbox right here:

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