Every February 2nd, millions await the emergence of the groundhog in superstitious anticipation to discover whether it’s an early Spring a’comin’– or six more bleak weeks of Winter. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that Punxsutawney Phil (the Pride of PA and arguably the most famous of forecasting marmots dating back to 1887), West Virginia’s French Creek Freddie, North Carolina’s Sir Walter Wally (apparently, the most accurate), or the Peach State’s own General Beauregard Lee offer any credible augury of the seasons, but that’s no reason to dismiss tradition, is it?
In honor of the prescient powers of the groundhog and in tribute to the trials of Phil Connors (as snugly & repeatedly inhabited by Bill Murray), if you could wake up tomorrow and hear one song for the very first time again, what would it be?
I asked some of my favorite artists– Adam Hood, Gabe Lee, Margo Cilker, Lasers Lasers Birmingham, and The Kernal– that question. Here’s what they said!
1. “Memphis In The Meantime”, John Hiatt (1987)
That song changed my whole direction as a young musician. It’s so unique and groovy and the lyrics are very individual. I never get sick of it!
2. “Sam Stone”, John Prine (1971)
Prine’s meter and melody have always made him unique among folk singers, and his ability to paint by words is incomparable. With his songs, it’d be like reading your favorite book or watching your favorite movie again for the first time, discovering a deeper meaning that only gets more profound over time.
— Gabe Lee
3. “You’re Sister Cried”, Mary Gauthier (2005)
If I could hear a song for the very first time again, I’d listen to “Your Sister Cried” by Fred Eaglesmith as performed by Mary Gauthier. I love how it sets the listener up to think one thing, and then turns that on its head!
4. “Take Me”, George Jones (1974)
I was first introduced to this song in the Leon Russell documentary A Poem Is A Naked Person. At that time, I knew George was a great singer but I wasn’t obsessed yet! There is a scene where George turns up at the studio and puts down his Budweiser just long enough to do an impromptu solo acoustic version. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard. I immediately went to find other recordings of “Take Me”, but nothing compares to that off-the-cuff version. It’s magic.
5. “Highway 61 Revisited”, Bob Dylan (1965)
The combination of the wacky, the Biblical, plus the mystical mature of “Highway 61” just kinda blew my mind when I first heard it! It’s so playful and apocalyptic but I trusted his viewpoint immediately and it piqued my interest from a historical and spiritual perspective. I love that feeling of a singer as a trusted guide, like Virgil in Dante’s Inferno— walking you through Hell and showing you where to go while pointing out all the weird and subtly devastating scenery along the way. Inspiring!