Tuesday February 15th 2011, 3:50 am
Mixin’ With Susan James
Filed under: Mixin' With Series,Mixtapes | Posted by:

Susan James has given us her “Top 10 Songs for a Sunny Country Picnic” featuring tunes by Paul Simon, Incredible String Band, The Dillards and more. James will be celebrating the release of her new record, Highways, Ghosts, Hearts & Home tonight, Tuesday, February 15th at the Echo in Los Angeles and it’s fixin’ to be quite the affair with guest sets from I See Hawks in LA, Old Californio, Tony Gilkyson and more.  Check out the mix and more info about the show after the jump.

Songs for a Sunny Country Picnic:

People always think of the beaches in SoCal when they think of California. We have some beautiful places with rolling oak covered hills and pine tree mountains as well as the mysterious desert. It’s a beautiful sunny day, pack that picnic basket, gather your friends, hop in the car, head out of L.A. Maybe up to Santa Ynez, Wrightwood or ?? Enjoy the sun & nature, share a laugh, throw a Frisbee, have a good time. Here’s a good soundtrack to enjoy it by.

1. Jackson Browne- The Road and The Sky
From the album Late For The Sky, which gave us an amazing collection of heart-achingly lovely songs, “Late For The Sky,” “Fountain Of Sorrow,” “For A Dancer,” and “Before The Deluge,” I chose this Eagle-esque rocker that was the only lighter moment on that album. Backed by an amazing cast of friends: David Lindley, Don Henley, J.D. Souther, and other stellar folks, it’s also a testament to a circle of musician friends who cared for and supported each other. Something that a lot of you know is important to me and how I operate.

2. Leo Kottke- The Driving of the Year Nail
From the 6 And 12 String Guitar album. Man, talk about an instrumental that sounds like perfect road trip (or picnic!) soundtrack. Leo Kottke has been a huge influence on me and the way I look at guitar. Yes, that’s all I want to do when I hear/see him perform, is just LOOK at it, because there’s no way to pick it up and play it like him. You can try, but no one plays like Leo.

3. Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton- The Last Thing on my Mind
Were they the perfect duet partners or what?! Sweet. ’nuff said.

4. The Dillards- Sunny Day
Thanks to Bryan for turning me on to this song. It’s been on constant rotation ever since. My daughter LOVES this song also, and asks for it every time we hop in the car. The slightly psychedelic vibe in this excellent folky tune makes it irresistible to me.

5. Velvet Underground- Who Loves The Sun
From the Loaded album. Well, it’s a heartbreak song, but they mentioned the sun so it came to mind. Could this be one of the most commercial sounding songs that the V.U. did? Perhaps… until that wacky little bridge comes in! Love it.

6. Mungo Jerry- In the Summertime
Loved this song when I was a kid. Love it now.

7. Paul Simon- Was A Sunny Day
Every summer as I was growing up, my family would stay in the sleepy beachtown San Clemente for the summer. There was this great hippie health food store called the Sunshine Health Bar in Laguna Beach, and I have fond memories of this song in heavy rotation there. It seems it was always on, while I bought a peanut butter shake ( sounds weird but it was GREAT), or a ‘Monkey Flip’- (some sort of shake with chocolate, peanut butter, banana, who knows what else!).

8. Richard Buckner- Gauzy Dress In The Sun
Such a beautiful song. Richard and I have toured together, and among the memories of those times was a crazy debauchery driven night in Juarez, Mexico ( a NO GO zone these days), but I digress, that’s another story! This is from his Bloomed record. Richard is truly a fantastic one-of-a-kind writer, and a great guy.

9. Incredible String Band- Log Cabin Home In The Sky
From the Wee Tam And The Big Huge record. The Incredible String Band always put a smile on my face. It sounds like the past, but it reminds me of the future…

10. Jamie Hartford and Pat McLaughlin- Back In The Good Old Days
This is one of many great songs written by Jamie Hartford’s dad, John Hartford. I love this one. I couldn’t find a recording of John Hartford doing it, but I think Jamie and Pat’s version is great also.

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