Lori McKenna, “Lorraine”

This album is so special to me. Lori is one of my favorite songwriters ever, mainly because of how real and honest her music is. She is 100% herself in everything she does and it completely shows. This record specifically is filled with simple, touching songs about real life. The words she writes and the voice she sings them in are both so expressive and individual.

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Van Morrison, “At the Movies”

Nothing reminds me of home more than Van Morrison. He’s an artist I’ve grown up on (thanks to my dad) and I’m so inspired by his artistry and originality. He is so connected to his music and his songs have an incredible ability to portray emotions so clearly. If I were to create a soundtrack to my own life, there would be multiple cuts from this record on there.

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Bon Iver, “For Emma, Forever Ago”

Even just the title of this record is beautiful. I remember the first time I heard this music, I had no idea who Bon Iver was, whether that was a person or a band, all I knew was that I wanted these songs in my life. I still can’t exactly put my finger on what makes this album so haunting and achingly beautiful, but those are the best words I can use to describe it. It is honest and hopeful and has so much feeling wrapped up into each song.

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Stevie Wonder, “Songs in the Key of Life”

Being a singer/songwriter, I find myself listening to a lot of quiet, introspective, lyrical, “singer/songwriter-ish” music, which I obviously love…but when I’m in the mood for something different, lately my first pick has been lots and lots and lots of Motown and soul music. So what better record to take along with me on this theoretical desert island trip? I’m struck by Stevie’s voice and its inflections each and every time I hear him sing. This record in particular is filled with so much emotion and joy and I’m convinced it can be the cure to any kind of bad day. It’s a collection of songs that make me want to smile, dance, and enjoy life when I hear them…what more could one want out of an album?

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Jack Johnson, “In Between Dreams”

I’m a huge Jack Johnson fan…but then again, who isn’t? I love him for the same reasons every one else does. He’s fun. His songs are clever, laid back, and free. I remember falling in love with one song after another the first time I heard In Between Dreams. As soon as I get my license (this March!) he’ll be first on my “driving playlist.”

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Hayley Reardon‘s new album, Where the Artists Go, is due out October 23. Visit her website for more information, and hear the title track below:

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