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MIXTAPE: Nate Sabat’s Quiet, Poignant & Powerful Playlist

Dec 31, 2018

MIXTAPE: Nate Sabat's Quiet, Poignant & Powerful Playlist

Something completely magical happens when musicians find the perfect blend of darkness, quietness, and intensity. It almost feels like the bottom drops out of the music, guiding the listener’s ears into the void of beautiful nothingness below. I still can’t pin it, how such a soft sound can feel so immeasurably huge, like it somehow contains the entire universe within itself. It’s something I’ve grown to love over the past few years, and I hope these songs will touch you as they’ve touched me.

P.S: The tracks on this list have been responsible for the majority of my tears over the past few years, so get your tissues ready. — Nate Sabat

“Humble Me” – Norah Jones

The raw story mixed with the incredibly honest delivery of the lyric always gets me with this one. Norah at her absolute best. I also particularly love the line “it never rains when you want it to.” I feel like it sticks out in a really, really good way.

“Pink Champagne” – Kathleen Edwards

The combination of Kathleen Edwards’ brilliant songwriting and Justin Vernon’s production approach are in full force on this track. Since hearing this song I’ve made it one of my life goals to not feel like this on my wedding day.

“Unless” – Hawktail

I love the winding, lush melody of this tune, paired with the beautifully shot video at Nashville’s Downtown Presbyterian Church. And also, I like, TOTALLY geek out at Paul’s bass shredding. Ya know, as a fellow bass player and all.

“Louise” – Daniel Romano

I first heard Daniel Romano on WUMB, Boston’s premier folk music radio station, with his song “Time Forgot (To Change My Heart).” Since then I’ve dug into a ton of his stuff, and particularly love his record Modern Pressure, an ode to the psychedelic sounds of yesteryear.

“Dreams of Nectar” – Abigail Washburn

This track is so cool and collage-like. I’m such a sucker for horns, so was instantly pulled in from the start the first time I heard it.

“Turning Away” – Crooked Still

I love how exposed Greg Liszt’s banjo part is on this track. The track is so short, but also the exact right length.

“Bonden & fan / Leffes polska” – Hazelius Hedin

This pair of tunes from Swedish duo Hazelius Hedin are so dark, so expansive, and so, so rich. I always picture a dark Swedish forest after an intense rainfall when I listen to this one.

“Your Long Journey” – Sam Amidon

This song, written by Rosa Lee and Doc Watson, has been beautifully reimagined by the great Sam Amidon. In my opinion he’s one of the greatest interpreters of folk and traditional music on the scene today, so definitely check out more of his stuff if you haven’t already.

“Harbour Hawk” – Becca Stevens

Becca Stevens’ music is some of the most interesting stuff I’ve heard to date. Constant texture and groove changes are tied together with impeccably crafted lyrical content. I love the opening riff of this song, and how it re-enters throughout in such a smooth way.

“00000 Million” – Bon Iver

One day last summer I was in a dark place, so naturally I listened to Bon Iver, specifically the entirety of 22, A Million. This song, the final one of the record, was so comforting. I remember being amazed at how powerful music can be, that it could somehow reach into my mind and make me feel better.

“Closer” – Joe Walsh

Man, Joe wrote an absolute gem. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a melody so simple and profound. I told him how much I loved this tune, and that I always thought of the name as meaning “closer to someone or something,” but he told me that it’s actually “the closer of the album,” as it is actually the closer of his latest album, Borderland. Go figure.

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MIXTAPE: Nate Sabat's Quiet, Poignant & Powerful Playlist
MIXTAPE: Nate Sabat's Quiet, Poignant & Powerful Playlist