’Toban tracks — fall vibes

An hour-plus of folk and indie to soundtrack all yr fave fall festivities

Fall is perhaps the season with the most distinct, unified vibe. Summer has vibes to be sure, but a multitude of vibes too numerous to encapsulate. Winter in Winnipeg is too long to have a single vibe, especially once the holiday season passes and we are left in a dark limbo. And in my view, spring gets its vibe mostly from its proximity to summer — it’s all in the anticipation.

Fall is just short enough that it can stay unified, but long enough to feel distinct. There are unique worldly characteristics — the falling coloured leaves, brisk temperatures, death and rebirth swirling in one. We start to reflect on the fast-moving summer now firmly behind us, begin a school year anew and start our gradual slowdown to the forced hibernation of winter. 

It’s transitional, but static.

As such, fall vibes are all about comfiness and warmth, with a slight hint of haunting spookiness or bittersweet nostalgia. Most of this playlist is made up of folk-adjacent music, a palette that I associate pretty heavily with fall. Acoustic guitars just sound like autumn, the crisp strumming with the warm timbral body is like stepping on the crunchy top layer of leaves on a forest trail.

The purest folk songs on here come courtesy of a few Canadian legends — Buffy Sainte-Marie’s gorgeous “The Dream Tree” from her revelatory, hypnotizing psychedelic-folk detour, Illuminations, Gordon Lightfoot’s light and lovely “Approaching Lavender” and Willie Dunn’s starry-eyed “The Dreamer.”

In other places the definition is stretched a bit more. Fog Lake and Alex G’s respective Elliott Smith-indebted indie pop styles still carry a lot of the warmth and sincerity of good folk music. Artists like Dear Nora and meadows take that warmth and apply it to their own fragile, lo-fi recordings.

Beyond the acoustic stuff, there are some other genres that I think have distinct fall vibes, including jangle-pop, soul, dream-pop and alt-country — all very autumnal.

So, take a walk around a forest, jump in a big pile of leaves, go on a wagon ride, explore a corn maze, go bird watching, visit an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch and listen to this playlist while you’re out there. It’s good music! 

Hold Me in Your Mind – Living Hour, Someday Is Today

On to September – Dear Nora, The New Year

Sheets of Grey – Ducks Ltd. 

Heart Like a Wheel – Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Kate & Anna McGarrigle

Partner – Ada Lea, one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden

Cards – Alex G, Boring Ecstasy

Cooking – Duster, Contemporary Movement

New Partner – Palace Music, Viva Last Blues

Any Other Way – Jackie Shane

honeytea – meadows

Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow – Felt, The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories

The Dream Tree – Buffy Sainte-Marie, Illuminations

Dakota – Fog Lake, Tragedy Reel

Here’s Where The Story Ends – The Sundays, Reading, Writing & Arithmetic

Houses – Elyse Weinberg, Elyse

Beneath the Leaves – Julie Doiron, So Many Days

The Dreamer – Willie Dunn, The Pacific

Approaching Lavender – Gordon Lightfoot, If You Could Read My Mind

Cherry Coke OMBIIGIZI, Sewn Back Together

Dust You’ll Never Get to Heaven, Wave Your Moonlight Hat For The Snowfall Train

September Song Amos the Kid, No More New Ideas

Ugly Little Victory Friendship, Love the Stranger

Listen to ’Toban Tracks – Fall Vibes on Spotify here