Sounds of the Fall

By Daniel van Voorhis


As we enter October the wind is beginning to swirl and the rain is beginning to wash the falling leaves into the gutters.  Spring-cleaning has given way to the ritual of breaking out boxes of winter clothes. The barbecue is covered and tucked into the shed. Your baseball team has broken your heart and you are left to root either against your team’s nemesis or for your preferred league. Yet, you swear this will be the year for your college football or NFL team.

The sounds of children on bicycles and the ice cream truck have faded and been replaced with the wuusshh of tires driving through puddles and rain on windowpanes.

I suppose.

I wouldn’t know.


I live in Southern California where the weather is somewhere between pleasant and annoying and the changes in the season are reflected in the offerings of flavors for your lattes. Here, scarves are worn as an aesthetic accouterment and our devotion to sports is apathetic (everyone is from somewhere else, and so if the local team isn’t winning, nobody cares).

But, nuts to all of that! We have a readership all over the country and so I will revel in the memories of recent trips to Minneapolis, Ohio, and my time living in the East Neuk of Scotland. And so, just as we are doing on the podcast, I will, from time to time, reflect on the style, music, and holiday decorum of my favorite time of year.

Just as summer can be properly gauged by the music we listen to in our cars with the windows rolled down and our hair blowing in the breeze, so too can we kick off a proper season of morning frost and early sunsets with the proper playlist.  And so, I will offer you a few mini playlists to start the descent into fall.


When I ranked my top summer songs, I heard from some that the aesthetic wasn’t quite theirs, or that they hadn’t heard of the newfangled music us kids are listening to these days. And so, I present four “mini lists” in different genres for you to build off depending on your taste or mood. I might suggest you use this as a kind of “starter kit.” I have these as straight playlists, but you might find a song or two you dig and build off of it yourself.

Modern Pop to Slightly Alternative/Independent

  1. Holocene- Bon Iver
  2. Blue Ridge Mountains- Fleet Foxes
  3. The Moon Song- Karen O and Ezra Koenig
  4. Movie Script Ending- Death Cab For Cutie
  5. Kaputt- Destroyer
  6. Untitled #1- Sigur Ros
  7. Crawl After You- M. Ward
  8. Dress Up in You- Belle and Sebastian
  9. The Blowers Daughter- Damien Rice
  10. Monsters- Band of Horses

boy in new york

Melancholy Pop (That You Might Have Somewhere But Haven’t Given Them a Play for a While)

  1. The Only Living Boy in New York- Simon and Garfunkel
  2. Landslide- Fleetwood Mac
  3. Time- Tom Waits
  4. Slumber My Darling- Allison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma
  5. Comfortably Numb- Pink Floyd
  6. Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
  7. Have A Little Faith In Me- John Hiatt
  8. Brothers in Arms- Dire Straits
  9. Sweet Jane- Cowboy Junkies
  10. Pink Moon- Nick Drake


Vocalists (in which these particular versions get the somewhat melancholy just right)

  1. Someone to Watch Over Me- Sarah Vaughan
  2. But Not For Me- Dinah Washington
  3. Somewhere over the Rainbow- Ella Fitzgerald
  4. The Way You Look Tonight- Tony Bennett
  5. Summer wind- Frank Sinatra
  6. September in the Rain- Doris Day
  7. Autumn in New York- Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
  8. Night and Day- Fred Astaire
  9. I Don’t Stand A Ghost of A Chance with You- Billie Holiday
  10. Blue Moon- Mel Torme

I don’t use Spotify, but I am sure someone could make a playlist and maybe post it in the comments? Maybe you go to youtube and listen to these songs there. Maybe you have a few of these in your collection and you might throw a couple of them on while you’re making dinner, or turning the lights on earlier in the evening. Nevertheless, don’t let the sun going down earlier or the autumn chill get you down. Enjoy something “pumpkin spiced” (if that’s your thing) and remember that the darker it gets, the closer we get to the happiest time of the year.

All the Best,

The Man About Town

Written While Listening to: Ella and Louis For Lovers- Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong