While at UMass Amherst - my friend Robbie introduced me to the theory of seasonal music tastes. Essentially: there are certain musicians and albums that you prefer listening to depending on the season. Now that we've officially entered Fall (a New Englander's natural element) - here is what I will be listening to this season. (I'll keep adding...)
  1. Mama Cass
    She's always there to help get you through seasonal affective disorder with a positive outlook.
  2. Ben Folds Five: The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
    Storytelling at its finest with a haunting quality behind even the most playful songs.
  3. Ella Fitzgerald
    Particularly her Gershwin Songbooks . Every song just sounds great drinking warm coffee and walking down leaf-strewn sidewalks.
  4. Ben Folds: Rockin' the Suburbs
    This album is seared in my memory as what I listened to obsessively in the weeks after 9/11. I don't listen to it with that day in mind anymore - but it always feels like it should be playing when the leaves start to change.
  5. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
    My parents love Fleetwood Mac, they love going to concerts, and when we were kids - they took my brother and me whenever FM played in New England. Usually outdoors and usually in the Fall. That sound just wants to be heard when wearing a sweater and knitted cap.
  6. Beatles: Rubber Soul
    The first time I ever seriously listened to the album was when babysitting in the Fall of 8th grade. The kids' parents had the CD already loaded in the player when I turned it on, and when it began to auto-play - it picked up where they had left off listening: right at the top of Nowhere Man. I was hooked by the lyrics and listened to the album all night until they came home.
  7. Queen: Rock Montreal
    Freddie Mercury uses more energy in this one live performance than most do in their entire discography. Watching the video - the crowd is bundled up for late October weather while Mercury strips down further and further throughout the night. This album is a good "keep warm" listen when waiting for the bus.
  8. Etta James: At Last
    Another album that feels right when driving down a New England country road on a Fall Sunday afternoon.
  9. Gnarls Barkley: St. Elsewhere
    I do a lot of walking in the Fall. You can keep up a brisk pace without breaking a sweat. This is an awesome album to heel-toe to in a pair of leather boots.
  10. Joni Mitchell: Blue
    It's literally the only time of year I can listen to this album. Winter is too depressing for its material and Spring/Summer is too perky. But Fall knows just how to treat this lady right.
  11. Aaron Copland
    In particular Rodeo, Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid and Fanfare for the Common Man. Simple, American and Majestic. In wind ensemble we always played one of these in our Fall concert.
  12. Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
    I started dating my husband in the Fall - and this was the first album he ever gave me. It's always a favorite this time of year or when we are road tripping.