barista steaming coffee while a coffee shop playlist plays in the background

Mix Tape #2: Coffee Shop Tunes

Ever so often, I walk into a coffee shop and think, “Man! Wouldn’t it be cool to work here?” And sometimes, all I mean is wouldn’t it be cool to trade my fluorescent-lit office for the warm, naturally lit, indie-music-playing buzz of my favorite coffee shop? To sit in a little wooden booth wearing whatever I’m feeling at the time—perhaps jeans and a black-and-white flannel button-down like the girl I saw this morning—and tap my fingers on my laptop while coffee grinds and milk steams in the background?

And other times, what I really mean is wouldn’t it be cool to work here? To be the girl behind the counter pouring people coffee and warming muffins and oatmeal and seeing people’s eyes brighten at little things like maple lattes and pumpkin bread? To spend my whole day treating people and chirping, “Have a wonderful day!”

And I could, theoretically, quit my salaried job with good benefits to do this, but either I’m not brave enough, or deep down I know that spending day after day in a coffee shop wouldn’t be as grand as I imagine it would be. But still—I dream about it all the time.

Really, though, I think my ache is more about freedom. Freedom to work any time, anywhere, and to have the luxury of doing so in places I find inspiring, whether that’s a coffee shop in the morning or a park on a crisp autumn day or a beer garden in the afternoon or my porch at sunset. Wouldn’t that be so grand?

Until then, I guess I’ll have to make do with listening to my “coffee shop playlist” and pretending that’s where I am. Without further ado, the second installment of our mix tape series, a mix of indie pop/folk tunes that remind me of coffee shops everywhere.

Listen to this coffee shop playlist on Spotify.

Coffee Shop Tunes Track List
  1. “Big Black Car,” Gregory Alan Isakov
  2. “Where Happiness Lives,” Magnet
  3. “Nicest Thing,” Kate Nash
  4. “Snowship,” Benjamin Francis Leftwich
  5. “The Reckless and the Brave,” All Time Low
  6. “Be Okay,” Oh Honey
  7. “Stubborn Love,” The Lumineers
  8. “Even the Darkness Has Arms,” The Barr Brothers
  9. “Alabama Pines,” Jason Isbell
  10. “A Sky Full of Stars,” Coldplay
  11. “What Would I Do Without You,” Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
  12. “Michigan,” The Milk Carton Kids
  13. “Renegades,” X Ambassadors
  14. “Thunder Clatter,” Wild Cub
  15. “All My Tears,” Ane Brun
  16. “Take Me Back,” Sarah Jarosz
  17. “Heart’s Content,” Brandi Carlile

What music reminds you of places that inspire you?

woman driving in vintage car with the windows rolled down

Mix Tape #1: 70s Summer Playlist

I know that podcasts are the hip new thing, but I have to admit: I just can’t seem to get into them.

I know, I know: I probably haven’t found the right one or I’m simply not giving them a fair shot. But every instance that someone talks about listening to a podcast—while doing housework or on a long drive—I choose music every time. My choice probably stems from my days pretending to be a radio DJ and making mix tapes with my younger brother, but I also think that music is just different. Podcasts feed my head; music feeds my soul.

Enter our Mix Tape series. Whether you need a break from podcasts or whether you want to be inspired by a new mix of soul-quenching tunes, follow along. I can’t promise the abrupt and screechy transitions that would have accompanied the songs on my original mix tapes, but I can promise songs that, at some point, will be exactly what your heart and soul are looking for.

Up first is a peppy but chill 70s playlist. It’s perfect for summer road trips or simply driving with the windows rolled down. Good thing we have a month of summer left to do just that.

Listen to this 70s playlist on Spotify.

70s Summer Playlist Track List

  1. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?,” Creedence Clearwater Revival
  2. “Bennie and the Jets,” Elton John
  3. “Straight On,” Heart
  4. “Piano Man,” Billy Joel
  5. “Dreams,” Fleetwood Mac
  6. “The Chain,” Fleetwood Mac
  7. “December, 1963 [Oh What a Night!],” Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
  8. “The Passenger,” Iggy Pop
  9. “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl),” Looking Glass
  10. “Rich Girl,” Daryl Hill & John Oates
  11. “Best of My Love,” The Emotions
  12. “Stayin’ Alive,” Bee Gees
  13. “Midnight Train to Georgia,” Gladys Knight & The Pips
  14. “Me and Bobby McGee,” Janis Joplin
  15. “Grease,” Frankie Valli
  16. “American Pie,” Don McLean
  17. “Sultans of Swing,” Dire Straits
  18. “Let It Be,” The Beatles

70s playlist summer road trips spotify


What music are you listening to this summer?

The Bright Light Social Hour

Band Interview: The Bright Light Social Hour

I first learned about The Bright Light Social Hour a few weeks ago when the Austin-based band was featured on The Huffington Post. Intrigued by their music’s focus on millennials, the South, and social justice, I jumped at the chance to interview them. Despite busy schedules and 700 miles between us, band member Jack O’Brien and I spent an afternoon discussing, over the phone, the band’s recent tour of North America and what came out of it—a powerful sophomore album about struggle, but also dreams and looking ahead. I hope you enjoy, and continue, the conversation.

…read the rest at Literally, Darling.