Song Of The Year | 3rd Quarter Finalist | Ben Howard | Gracious


When I started selecting and posting the “Song Of The Year” starting in 2011 and now picking them quarterly… I wondered what song would hit me hard for a certain pocket of my life.  Doing them quarterly I think reflects my year better than just picking one song.  The song I selected is from Ben Howard and it’s called Gracious.  It’s such a sweet song for so many reasons.

I started listening to this song in 2012 when I downloaded his Every Kingdom Album.


I had it on a mixtape that I discontinued and then added it to the Sunday Morning Series that you can find here and the album cover is above.

I’ve always found the slower songs of Ben so soothing.  Gracious is just like another song called Everything.  But the words of Gracious means more to me now than before.  You take things for granted in life and music is one of them.  You don’t know what impact it has on you till something triggers.

Below is a “live” version from 2012 which is sweet.


How would you know?
When everything around you’s changing like the weather,
A big black storm.
And who would you turn to?
Or hide a ghost, a shadow at the most, would you let me know?
Cause I don’t want to,
To trouble your mind with the childish design of how it all should go.
But I love you so,
But it all comes clear, when the wind is settled, I’ll be here, you know.

Cause you said ours were the lighthouse towers
The sand upon that place
Darling I’ll grow weary, happy still
With just the memory of your face

Gracious goes the ghost of you
And I will never forget the plans and the
Silhouettes you drew here and
Gracious goes the ghost of you
My dear

And how would you know?
When everything around you’s bruised and battered
Like the cold night storm.
And who would you turn to?
Or hide a ghost, a shadow at the most, would you tell me so?
Cause I, I adore you so
When it all comes clear, the wind is settled, I’ll be here, you know.

Cause you said ours were the lighthouse towers
The sand upon that place
Darling I’ll grow weary, happy still
With just the memory of your face

Gracious goes the ghost of you
And I will never forget the plans and the
Silhouettes you drew here and
Gracious goes the ghost of you
My dear

Gracious goes the ghost of you
And I will never forget the plans and the
Silhouettes you drew here and
Gracious goes the ghost of you
My dear

I’ve posted the version of Gracious before with Chris, Ben and the lovely Lady India Bourne.  Sweet song that came on the iPod when listening to the Sunday Morning and the words stood out more and just love it.  It’s my Song Of The Year Finalist for 2015.  Wait to see what September will bring.

I find it really hard to just pick one song.

Previous Selected Songs:

Ben Howard | Gracious | 2015 | Q2

Ben Howard | Time Is Dancing | 2015 | Q1

Vancouver Sleep Clinic feat. Raury | Superfly | 2015 | Bonus Song To Start The Year

We Were Promised Jetpacks | It’s Thunder And Lighting | 2014

Ivan + Alyosha | The Fold | 2013

Ben Howard | The Fear | 2012

Passenger | The Last Unicorn | 2011

Ivan + Alyosha | The Fold


music is so inspiring.  i have a playlist in the ipod for days where i want to post “oceans” and esmerelda from Ben Howard on my tumblr.  This is one song that i just adore.  i posted about it and i was pulling some songs from YouTube for a little Ivan & Alyosha post and i found this version.  absolutely love and had to post again.   i’m a sucker for stripped down songs and this version is pure sweetness.

lots of ups and downs in life.  i know a couple of people who are battling different things.  we gain things and we loose things.

i think the words in this song is perfect for so many people.

Leon Bridges | He Is My New Artist | Opens My Mind


Every now and again… I let iTunes tell me who I should listen to.  I take a little listen and see why they recommended it.  One of those Artists was Leon Bridges and right away… it was a sound that I have not listened to and had in my playlist and collections.  I was so drawn in.  I purchased the 3 songs that he has available.  His album is coming out June 23rd.  He is even in Toronto tonight at the Drake Hotel and I am bummed I can’t go and listen to him.  Next time he comes… I’m there.  About 8 months ago he was washing dishes.

Here is a couple of songs from him.  The first one is “Coming Home” and it just has me in love.  Makes me happy.  Makes me think about her.  I think I need to make a playlist

The next song is “Better Man” and I picked a more raw version with pulling videos that are unplugged.

Listening to this as I type… I wish I could be at the Drake Hotel tonight.  If you download his music and put it on repeat.  You will fall in love with it and it will bring you back to a vintage feel in your mind and the deep south will fill your ears…

Hell… find someone and cook them a dinner with the full album on.


Passenger | Scare Away The Dark | Sweet Song


tumblr_mxumiaKNnr1r7vaewo1_500Photo Above: The talented Jarrad Seng

Love this new song.  It was great to hear it for the first time last summer at his concert in Toronto.  Such a great artist.  He really hits my insides with thought.  Super nice guy.  Super happy for him.  His new album comes out on June 10th.

Turn The Music Up | Fall Of 2012 & 2013


Over this past year… I have expanded the songs I listen to due to finding out what my friends are listening to… discovering music on iTunes… borrowing + ripping CD’s from the library into my laptop… and discovering new songs by listening to downloaded podcasts from iTunes.

#100 of my 101 Things to complete in 1001 days was completed and I wanted to spend some time and share some music that are in some of my playlists.

Here is some of the music that has grown on me when completed #100 on my list of 101 things to do… when I downloaded $100 of music from ITunes from artists I’ve never heard of. When I did this… it was a very quiet time in my life with lots of time alone to myself. Here is some of the artists + songs below:

Passenger – Mike Rosenburg makes folk-inflected indie pop. I have downloaded 30 songs from Passenger from Wide Eyes Blind Love, Divers & Submarines, Flight of the Crow and his new album All the Little Lights. This past summer he toured worldwide and hit Canada + the Untied States with Ed Sheeran. His Facebook Page has hit 50,000 likes in just a couple of months. One thing that I like about Passenger that many times… he will busk in coffee shops and outside on the street during the day and then play inside at night to a room of people. So many cool videos shot of him on YouTube.

Top songs that makes me “think” or “smile” when they come on is:

    • House On a HilliTunes | Soft + reflecting. Added in my Quiet Playlist in ITunes
    • IntactoiTunes | Clever with a good walking pace to it when I was running around.
    • What You’re Thinking (feat. Josh Pyke) | ITunes | YouTube Live Version | Great song. Recommended by me.
    • Shape of Love (feat. Boy & Bear) | ITunes | Great song that just made me smile.
    • Rivers (feat. Lior) | ITunes | YouTube Music Video | Another song that just wanted to lie down and listen + relax. Recommended by me.
    • Traveling Song (feat. Gabrielle Huber & Cameron Potts) | ITunes | Just love the other singers that make this upbeat song flow inside my head. I do have a hidden love for the bluegrass inside this song.
    • The Girl Running (feat. Jess Chalker) | ITunes | Another song that would play me to sleep in my Quiet Playlist.
    • The Last Unicorn |ITunes | YouTube Live Version | A highly recommended song that would make me stop in my tracks. A song that I would lose my train of thought. The real ITunes version is great and more powerful than the YouTube video of Mike playing it outside to a group of people outside markets in Australia.
    • What Will Become of Us | ITunes | YouTube Music Video | Another song that is in my Quiet Playlist. A sad song.
    • I See Love | ITunes | YouTube Live Version | A happy song that pushes me further. ITunes version is pure.
    • Caravan | ITunes | YouTube Music Video | YouTube Live Version | Highly recommended song to download. Powerful + Reflecting.
    • Wide Eyes | ITunes | Love this song. Another song that would listen as I walked + reflected or was awake at 3am. Recommended by me.
    • Blind Love | ITunes | Another great song that is peaceful and inside my Quiet Playlist. Recommended by me.
    • Let Her Go | ITunes | YouTube Music Video | Powerful + makes you push forward. Recommended by me.
    • Feather On The Clyde | ITunes | Love his voice on this song. Quiet + stops me in my tracks + makes my mind wander.


Ben Howard | Growing up in the UK, Ben is growing his acoustic singer/songwriter career and is growing fans worldwide. He loves to surf and this community helped him grow as he played for packed audiences before his music spread around the UK. He developed his style by adding a percussive element (click to watch on YouTube) to his playing by learning to rap his knuckles across the guitar body between strums. He released a small EP called Old Pine and his full length debut album called Every Kingdom that is a must have. Every song on this album has grown on me. I also have a man crush on him and wished I had his hair.


Some of the excellent recommended songs from Ben Howard follows. Keep in mind that all but one of his songs from the Every Kingdom album is listed. It is that good. Please consider and review the following songs:

  • Old Pine | ITunes | A great song to start the day. Love the guitar + how this flows. The song then builds near the end with the energy + pace. Recommended by me.
  • The Wolves (Below) | ITunes | Another song you should download. I did some trail running in the Rouge Valley to this song. It picks you up.


  • Everything | ITunes | Reflective + Mood-setting
  • Only Love | ITunes | YouTube Music Video | Recommended Download. Great song. Happy + Mood-setting.
  • The Fear | ITunes | YouTube | Recommended Download. Another quick paced song that builds and builds. Awesome how the last 40 seconds is uplifting.

  • Keep Your Head Up (Above) | ITunes | YouTube | Recommended Download. A powerful song that has helped me this past year. Ben’s songs are on my best playlists and this song is one of his best.
  • Black Flies | ITunes | YouTube | Reflective song that has grown on me.
  • Gracious | ITunes | Love this song. I missed this song when I downloaded Ben’s songs. Then discovering it on his CD that was downloaded into the laptop. Recommended. Love songs that makes me think. This is one of them.

  • Promise (Above) | ITunes | Recommended. The last song of the album starts at a slow quiet pace and makes you think and wonder.


Tennis | The bands website is a great vintage throwback. They are a great little indie pop duo of a husband and wife team. After college together they bought a sailboat and spent seven months sailing along the Eastern Seaboard. Their songs have a 50’s pop beat and remind me of great summer road trips in the car full of exploring + adventure. Cape Dory was released in 2011 and then Young & Old was written and recorded.

If you plan on traveling and in search of backyard BBQ Patio music, then download these 5 songs from Tennis for your collection:

  • Origins | ITunes | YouTube Live Video | If you watched the home movie I made for my kids… you will have heard this song. Love this song. Summertime. Road-trip. Recommended by me.
  • Vegas | ITunes | Another great song for your adventures. Also used in one of my posted videos for my kids.
  • Deep In The Woods | ITunes | Recommended download.

  • Marathon | ITunes | Recommended song. A must. Another song from my videos. Love the feel + vibe of this one!

  • South Carolina (Above) | ITunes | Recommended song to download. I am honestly excited to share these 5 songs to hopefully inspire you to go on a road trip somewhere.


Lana Del Ray | Vocalist Lana Del Rey is one of those artists you need a special playlist for. She creates orchestral retro 60’s sounding pop that showcases her sensual husky singing style. Not to mention that her creative music videos makes you fall in love with her voice and brings you back to those times. Video Games + Blue Jeans was released in the Fall of 2011. Her album Born to Die is a very good album to have.

Lana is a special treat that haunts me. Enjoy these songs below:

  • Video Games | ITunes | YouTube Music Video | This video and song is a must have. It’s the flagship song that makes you want to go to Vegas for the weekend with just your wallet.

  • Blue Jeans (Above) | ITunes | Another steamy song. Recommended night-time song you should have a special playlist for.

  • National Anthem (Above) | ITunes | Such an interesting video and wanted to share above.
  • Summertime Sadness | ITunes | YouTube Music Video |
  • This Is What Makes Us Girls | ITunes | Love this cool track + reminds me of driving down the DVP on a Friday night. Recommended by me.
  • Diet Mountain Dew | ITunes | Another great weekend grove song + also is good for that summertime playlist. Recommended download.
  • Radio | ITunes | I am hoping my daughter never listens to Lana. 😉

Ride (First Song in the Tease Above) | On her new album coming out soon in November. The tease to the album is above. The Lyrics on the second song in the tease is very interesting. Jesus H. Christ



Emma Louise | When purchasing some Passenger music on ITunes… I clicked on “Listeners Also Bought” tab that I discovered that is better than the Big Mac combo. She is from Australia where she started writing music as a teen. in 2012 she released Full Hearts & Empty Rooms and opens strong with “Bugs”, which is a beautiful blend of fold and alternative sounds that resonate with rich tones from her guitar. “Jungle” appeared in a episode of Grey’s Anatomy which helped push her music around the globe in the cult that latches on to these songs. Looking forward to her releases in the future.
After pulling some videos for this page. I hit her YouTube Page and subscribed. So many songs she records in front of the computer. So cute + honest. Worth exploring. Here is the songs you need to add to your collection below:

Jungle (Above) | ITunes | Another must have from her. This song makes you think. I can remember being on the couch just relaxing + dreaming to this song.

Bugs | ITunes | A catchy song that grew on me and I would smile when it came on my IPod. I would recommend downloading this song. It will pick you up on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.


1000 Sundowns | ITunes | Ok of the 4 songs on the album… I downloaded 3 of them. This one you must also have. Another song that takes you away and wish you could be on the couch cuddling one afternoon.



Ed Sheeran | Again, when downloading music from Passenger on ITunes… I clicked the link “Others Have Also Bought” and discovered Ed before he was on Mix99.9 This Ginger-haired singer/songwriter, beatboxer and guitarist has a blend of acoustic pop + folk. He released his first album when he was still in school and after moving to London to gain more live experience his YouTube channel gained 500,000 followers. He has known Passenger since he was 16 and considers him on of his best friends.

Here is some of the songs that I downloaded that I would like to share with you below:

  • The A Team | ITunes | This was the first song I downloaded and loved. This song made me happy and made me a fan to listen more to him.
  • Give Me Love | ITunes | A great song that is recommended to pick you up. Add it to your playlist.


Luluc | Another discovered artists that had such a cute haunting song that captured me into her web. I only downloaded one song from her and put it into my playlist that I would play when I wanted to “think” + “reflect”. The song I downloaded was “I Found You” and it’s beautiful. It’s a must for your Sunday playlist and it’s from her only album called “Dear Hamlyn”

I Found You | ITunes | A great song that I can remember playing all spring and spending time working through my feelings. I have to make a note to myself to listen to more of her songs to see what else grows on me.


The Paper Kites | Another artist discovered through ITunes and clicking on other things people have bought has led me to discover another Australian band. They have experienced a whirlwind of success since their debut of their “Woodland” EP. Such a great Indie Folk band who is starting to tour after releasing another EP.

I downloaded 5 songs from the Woodland album. Such great gems that I must share with you below:

  • Woodland | ITunes | What a great song to start off. Fun + electric that makes you want to explore the countryside. Recommended download.
  • Bloom (Above) | ITunes | This song was added on my playlist I play when I want to reflect on things. A great song that is perfect for the morning and makes me want to sit and read the paper and walk barefoot across the wooden floor. A song that makes you wish you had someone sitting beside you as you both share sections of the weekend newspaper. Please download this song for your playlist. So beautiful.

  • Featherstone (Above) | ITunes | Ok… when the song “Bloom” above stops… you need “Featherstone” to start to help you carry on with your morning. Fuck they are good. There… I said it and nobody in Canada knows them.
  • Halcyon | ITunes | This would be the 3rd song to play that morning as you make weekend plans together.
  • Willow Tree March | 5th of the 6th songs I downloaded from the Woodland EP.




Andrew Belle | Yes… you guessed it! Another artist I discovered on ITunes as part of my 101 things to do in 1001 days. This pop/song writer from Chicago. His song “Static Waves” hit home to me and I downloaded 5 songs from his EP called “The Ladder”.

Here is the five songs I enjoyed from Andrew:

  • Static Waves (feat. Katie Herzig) (Above) | ITunes | Such a great song that swept me away. Recommended by me and you need to add this to one of your playlists. I think Katie stole the show on this song.

  • The Ladder (Above) | ITunes | Another recommended song to download. Just love his vibe.
  • Don’t Blame Yourself | ITunes |
  • My Oldest Friend | ITunes |
  • Add It Up | ITunes | This one has a Jack Johnson feel to it.



The Barr Brothers | The Montreal quartet are great and interesting + I need to listen to more of them. I only downloaded one song from them when looking for artists that I never heard of. “Beggar In The Morning” is the song I downloaded and loved.

  • Beggar In The Morning (Above) | ITunes | This is such a great song and I recommend you to add it to one of your playlists that best matches the mood of this one.

I need to listen to them more and get to know them. From what I can see is that they would be pretty cool to take in live somewhere in Toronto when they come. Who wants to come with me? Above is a 35 minute set that was on KEXP in Seattle. I posted it above so I can watch it sometime and get to know them better.




Michou | What a gem of a little band from Windsor who started in 2007. They played bars for free drinks and thought they should tour. They researched places to play and planned a tour while chipping in and buying a van for $1200 and hit the road with little gas money. They budgeted $5 per day for food and lived on canned goods each day. The lead singer reminds me of Benjamin Gibbard. I downloaded two songs from them and I really enjoy the mood of them.


  • Growing Younger (Above) | ITunes | Such a great song that you need to download. This one wakes me up and wants me to have a great day. Love this song.

  • Windsor (Above) | ITunes | Reminds me of Benjamin Gibbard singing that makes me want to hear more of them. This is the 2nd song that is a must to add to your collection. How come you don’t hear this on the radio? Makes you sick to hear all the same songs over and over.



Patrick Watson | This Canadian singer was raised outside of Montreal. I discovered him from a free single on iTunes and found the single to be so relaxing + I thought it would be great in a soundtrack to a movie. I could swear his music is in the Movie Somewhere which I loved.

  • The Great Escape (Above) | iTunes | This is a soundtrack song to me and I have this in my “Lost In Transition” playlist that I use when I want to unwind or simply think alone.

  • Lighthouse (Above) | iTunes | Another song in my “Lost In Transition” playlist.

  • Blackwind | iTunes | This was the song I used in my second home movie of my kids. This was the free iTunes song of the week that got me connected with Patrick Watson.



First Aid Kit | This cute Swedish duo comprised of sisters whose vocal harmonies and woodsy, folk-influenced songwriting help me to slow down and unwind. Their album Lion’s Roar that was released in 2012 is helping them gain followers from all over the world. I discovered them when looking for songs to purchase as part of my 101 Things.

  • Emmylou | iTunes | This is the one song I downloaded. I do have some other songs ready to download that are in my iTunes wishlist. You can download a free podcast from KEXP of a live performance of them from here.


The Decemberists | Led by Colin Meloy, the Decemberists craft theatrical, hyper-literate pop songs that draw from late 60’s British Folk acts. Great Indie band that is a must to see “live”. The song “This Is Why We Fight” was the one I downloaded. Loved his voice and this one was played many times. Down By The Water, January Hymn and June Hymn are 3 other songs with a whack of playtime.

  • This Is Why We Fight (Above) | iTunes | Great song to understand the great voice of Colin Meloy.

  • Rise To Me (Above – From Colin Meloy) | I thought I would share a song from Colin since he does stuff just for himself. He is a great singer/songwriter. Here is a performance from a KEXP show. Hit him up on YouTube to watch more of his work.



Caracol | When I discovered the group Tennis… I fell in love with the summertime road-trip feel of the music. Through iTunes it made me jump over to this group and I downloaded one song called Shiver, which is below. These three ladies from Montreal have a mix of English + French songs.

  • Shiver | iTunes | This song was used in my video with my kids + now I just love this song. It screams summer and adventures.


So that wraps up a look at some of the songs and inspiration of what I purchased with my $100 from iTunes. I did purchase other songs that were mixed + matched from music that I didn’t own and admired. I hope you have discovered a neat little gem that latches onto you and you can then download it and enjoy it like I did over this past year.



Coming Soon: Selected Songs From My Playlists: I want to lists some playlists and feature some great music that I think you would enjoy + would like to explore. So many great artists… I have to share.

Some of the artists that I’ve grown fond of and discovered is: City And Colour | The Stars | Phoenix | Of Monsters And Men | Japandroids | Silversun Pickups | Michou | Polica | Metric | Mumford & Sons | Jeremy Fisher | Kathleen Edwards | Tegan & Sara | Toyko Police Club | and the artists highlighted above and a couple of others.