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Holiday music comes to Thanksgiving

By Katie McWilliams
On November 15, 2012

It's that time of year when people start unashamedly cranking out the holiday music and getting excited about various December celebrations. Christmas-, Hanukkah- and winter-themed music is everywhere from the dining halls to the Co-op. But what about Thanksgiving music? Because Thanksgiving is not a commercial holiday (that honor belongs to Black Friday), nobody really thinks about producing some quality tunes to play around the house while prepping for the big feast. That said, here are some suggestions for Thanksgiving-themed music that will hopefully make you feel a little bit better about burning all three pumpkin pies you were supposed to bring to Great Aunt Alice's house.
The music from "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" is a great place to start. For starters, it is all performed by a solo piano, so it will not shift the focus from the family fun at the meal table. Good tracks to consider are "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and "The Great Pumpkin Waltz." Another added bonus of this musical selection is that your younger cousins are just as likely to be familiar with it as your great grandmother is!
Equally as important to the turkey on the table and quality of the stuffing is where your dinner is located. For most people, there is no place like home for the most thanks-inducing holiday of the year. With that in mind, a good Thanksgiving playlist should pay homage to your favorite place in the world: home! Notable tracks such as Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero's "Home" and Phillips Phillips's and Jack Johnson's similarly titled tracks are excellent choices. The first two songs are energetic and excellent candidates for a sing-a-long while baking and cooking up a storm. The Jack Johnson track is better suited for dinnertime.
"Thankful" by Caveman, a calm indie rock number, is another perfect track for Turkey Day. It highlights the theme of giving thanks and can be listened to at any point during the day. The same goes for The Shins' "Young Pilgrims," a relaxed song with a Thanksgiving-related theme. This music might not be so easily recognizable to your entire family, but give them something to be thankful for and introduce them to some groovy tunes.
"Ashokan Farewell," a relic of the Civil War, is a haunting violin solo performed by Jay Unger and Molly Mason on the fiddle. While it is not exactly what one might call "Pilgrim" music, it certainly harkens back to the days of yore, and is a perfect track for pensively contemplating what you're thankful for. Similar to "Ashoken Farewell" is George Winston's piano solo track, "Thanksgiving." Although the track comes from his album "December," the piece is evocative of gratitude and the wintry weather we've had of late. To top it off, the softness of the piece makes it perfect to lead off a table-wide discussion of what exactly you are thankful for in 2012.
Van Morrison's track "Glad Tidings" is another great track to add to a Thanksgiving playlist. Spreading cheer and feelings of love is part of any successful Thanksgiving, and this track flawlessly conveys that idea. It's a happy number suitable for singing along to while you stir up the umpteenth batch of cranberry sauce or play board games with the entire family after dinner. The warm fuzzy feelings don't have to stop with Morrison, however. "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer and Ben Harper also adds to the happy and cheerful atmosphere at any dinner.
As the family leaves and you bid farewell to your favorite uncle who you won't see until Easter, play something that demonstrates how much you appreciate family. "In My Life" by The Beatles is a great selection for this, as is "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan. It might be a little sappy, but songs like these perfectly convey the feelings of being together as a family.

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