1. The Grateful Dead, “Terrapin Station, Part I”
Besides being the title track of one of my favorite GD albums, this song has my favorite lyric as a researcher of culture and psychology: “The storyteller makes no choice. Soon you will not hear his voice. His job is to shed light, not to master. “
2. Trampled by Turtles, “Burn for Free”
Trampled by Turtles is a great bluegrass band from Duluth, Minn. If you like bluegrass, dancing or just great live music, you should probably try to see them.
3. My Morning Jacket, “Highly Suspicious”
Currently one of my favorite bands to listen to, MMJ has a varied style that’s difficult to put a label on, and that’s one of the things I like about the band. At one show, the band brought along a conductor and life-sized animal puppet orchestra that danced and “played” along in sync with the band.
4. Liam Finn, “Second Chance”
I first heard Liam Finn on a music sampler from an independent music and culture magazine I used to get. I recently saw him live, and I enjoy watching bands more when it seems like they’re also having a good time. This guy dances and thrashes around the stage more than anyone I’ve seen.
5. Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, “Eh Hee”
I’ve been a longtime fan of Dave Matthews Band, and Tim is an all-around amazing musician. I also like the story Dave tells about this song, which was inspired by his questions about the lyrical meanings of traditional songs from an indigenous South African tribe. The answer: they have no meaning, because the songs have been sung since before they had language.
6. Baghdad Scuba Review, “Scuba Snacks”
BSR is a local “jam band” from Madison, Wisc., and one of the best live bands I’ve seen. Unfortunately, the band members also have full-time jobs and families, so I don’t think they’re together anymore. If you did go to a show, chances are you’d hear this song.
7. Pearl Jam, “Jeremy”
This song wouldn’t have been on my iPod before this summer. I haven’t listened to it regularly since this album first came out while I was in high school. I saw PJ’s 20th anniversary shows this summer, though, and of course the song with my name made it back on the playlist — and yes, I usually do speak in class every day.
8. Keller Williams, “Ninja”
Keller Williams (not the realtor) must be one of the greatest one-man bands out there. When he performs on his own, he craftily plays, hums, beatboxes, records and loops tracks on top of each other… like a musical ninja, maybe?
9. Bon Iver, “Re: Stacks”
A good friend of mine went to high school with Justin Vernon in Eau Claire, Wisc., and I understand that a former LU student has played with the band. In addition to being a fan of the music, it’s cool to have a near-brush with an exploding home-grown celebrity.
10. Phish, “Loving Cup”
I’ve been a fan of Phish for many years, have been to more live shows than I’ll probably admit, and have several recordings on my iPod, so it was difficult to pick a particular song for this list. I compromised and picked this great version of their frequently-played cover of the Rolling Stones classic.