Tunes for the Soul

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Little known fact, because I rarely talk about it on here, is I am pretty darn passionate about music. I am pretty sure we all are, actually. For various reasons. So I definitely am not a guru, or in the know about undiscovered artists and stuff. But I just have a few go to’s lately that just are helping out. You know, making me feel like super woman, a little closer to Hawaii, relaxed, inspired, or like dancing a lot more than usual. Which is always a beneficial thing.

So, I thought I’d pass them along…

My soul food – Otis redding. Every time I listen to his amazingly raspy soul-filled voice, I swear my eardrums write me a thank you note. Otis just gets me. He makes my heart fill up, makes me want to know every lyric to every song he sang, and I could listen to his tunes until my ears got so tired they shut off. Which I don’t see happening. The end of These arms of mine …oh man, don’t get me started. Or The Happy Song…it’s auditory blissJust TRY not to feel something listening to those two. I dare ya. 

So, I say, crank up some Otis, pour a good glass of wine, and dance around your kitchen with your eyes closed. It’s bliss. Just don’t trip and fall.


My feel like a bad ass jams – Led Zeppelin. I Love, and I mean LOVE classic rock. I grew up listening to it with my dad, and man, the classics rule. And guess who my favorite group is? Yup. Led Zeppelin. Something about Robert Plant’s voice brings out my inner bad ass. I am known to sing Hey Hey What Can I Do at the top on my lungs while driving my husband’s truck with all the windows down. Boom. Same with D’yer Mak’er. Pretty sure listening to them while lifting flips on the beast mode switch when working out too. 

I say, crank up some Led Zeppelin, roll the windows down, feel the wind in your hair, and just feel invincible for a bit. 


My cure for I-miss-Hawaii-itus jams – John Cruz. Yup. When I am missing Hawaii, which happens a lot. Sorry, it’s the truth. I crank up Mr. Cruz. He has quite possibly one of the most soothing voices ever, and some seriously beautiful songs to jam to anytime of day. If I close my eyes and put on my big soundproof headphones for a song or two, it takes me back. Even for a minute. Which is like an audible happy pill. 

So if you are missing Hawaii too, crank up Mr Cruz: Shine on, Hi’ilawe, Island Style, and Mama’s Lil’ Baby. There you go, instant happy place little playlist.

My ultimate relaxing music – Slack key Guitar. Yup. Hawaiian music again. Anyone suprised? Didn’t think so. Feeling stressed, anxious, or need to unwind a bit? I highly suggest starting a Slack Key guitar station on Pandora. Its calming effects are amazing, and it’s just down right beautiful music. Ok it’s also GREAT to help anyone, newborn to however old you are, fall asleep. Which is a priceless perk. 

So if you need to know who to crank up to unwind, I say look up slack key guitarists Sonny Lim, Keola Beamer, Charles Michael Brotman, or Jim “kimo” west. 


My Painting music – Buena Vista Social Club. Whenever I hear one of their songs, it reminds me of when I studied abroad in the South of France. I’d walk to our little art studio that was kind of in the hills in Provence, unpack my backpack, set up my easel, put their CD in my Discman (yes this was that long ago), zone out, and just…paint for hours. Pinch me. That was real life for a bit. So yup, a certain chemical reaction comes on when track #1 comes on, (Chan Chan) and I get über creative. Ok, time to go paint something.

So, if you need some creative mojo, crank up some BVSC


My Keep your head up jam – Oceans, by Hillsong. Ok, anything by Hillsong is pure magic. These folks are seriously blessed in the inspirational music department. If you’ve ever listened to Oceans, your sentiments are probably the same. I listen to it on repeat….way too much, or maybe not enough, however you look at it. Fact: The first time I ever heard it I was running at night in Seattle…in the rain. Oh yeah. Serious goosebumps just thinking of it. 

So if you need an instant warm fuzzy, I can take that leap of faith, God is so good, jam, crank up some Hillsong (Oceans in particular). 


Ok there you go. And the more I write or think about it, the more I realize there is. But it’s pretty interesting how certain music just appeals to you during different seasons of life (I have the old mix tapes and CDs to prove it), and well, these are just what’s really giving me a little more rhythm, pep, and soul in my step these days. And maybe one tune will do the same for someone out there as well.

So I say, put that bluetooth speaker to use, and crank up some tunes for your soul. It’s pretty amazing how the right one, at just the right time, can make you feel. 


And, if I had to make a playlist right now from the above recs, this would be it:

The Happy Song – Otis Redding 

Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club 

Hey Hey What Can I do – Led Zeppelin 

Shine On – John Cruz 

Hawaii Aloha – Moses Kahumoko 

Oceans – Hillsong 

These Arms of Mine – Otis Redding 

D’yer Maker – Led Zeppelin 

Mammas Little Baby – John Cruz 

Pua Lililehua  – Keola Beamer 

I’ve Been Loving You Too Long – Otis Redding

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