Sometimes it feels like the Venn diagram of musicians and public media personalities is a circle — which makes sense, since we spend most of our waking lives with headphones on.
Earlier this year, I teamed up with Current to ask public media’s musicians to send us songs so we could compile a playlist. We heard from 40 musicians from across the country, covering a wide variety of genres and inspirations: acoustic ballads, electronic bops, rap, jazz and country. Now in a series of posts, we’re diving deeper with some details about the creators and their inspirations.
For this week’s selections, we’re listening to dreamy tunes. “Dreamy” is inherently subjective. Some folks could conceivably find metal dreamy, but I’m certainly not one of them. These songs are whimsical like a snowfall in Alaska or inspired by white wine on a New York City night.
Annie Bartholomew is a host and PD for KTOO Public Media and KXLL in Juneau, Alaska. She performs as Annie B Good and has been drawing musical inspiration from Alaska’s long nights for years. Her friend and music producer Chad Reynvaan in Anchorage sent her some chords, and Bartholomew remembers driving around in her Subaru until the lyrics came.
“Does everyone in public media drive a Subaru?” she wonders.
Listening to her song “One More Night,” it’s easy to imagine Bartholomew crooning into a mic at an intimate venue as you listen over a cup of something warm.
Eddie Garcia, who makes music under the moniker 1970s Film Stock, works for 88.5 WFDD in North Carolina. He describes his song “Birds” as sounding like “an alien interpretation of a bird, distant, but somehow still warm.”
He fell in love with the layered arpeggios. Once when he played it live, someone shouted “Sounds like birds!”, and voila.
Garcia’s “Birds” and “Soliloquy” by Daniel Gilliam both sound like the ethereal music you would hear in the background of a guided meditation. Gilliam works for Louisville Public Media, whose employees sent us the most music from any station in the system.
Science Friday’s Daniel Peterschmidt submitted a song that needs to be used as the soundtrack to an indie romcom immediately.
“This song was written for the online publication Breadcrumb Mag, where artists submit pieces inspired by other work that’s already on the site,” he wrote. “My song took its breadcrumb from this poem and was intended as a musical companion to that piece,” he wrote.
I don’t remember.
It doesn’t matter,
but we still don’t remember
as we smile afresh
sipping our white wine.
The song ended up in the podcast Undiscovered, which Peterschmidt composes music for. (Not quite the movies, but close enough.)
We also asked musicians if they’d ever written a song about public media. “I haven’t written songs about public media,” Peterschmidt said, “but I did put together a chiptune cover of Science Friday’s theme song.”
Then there’s Will Mitchell’s “Honor Roll,” which has been stuck in my head since we created the playlist — it sounds like a symphony, harpsichord and all. Mitchell, who works for NPR, said the song is about a girl he used to know who had a tendency to self-sabotage. “Which I could relate to,” he said.
Listen to our full playlist of Public Media Rocks songs: