Sunday, December 31, 2023

At the year's turning: 5 songs for new year's reflection

At the turning of the year, it is a time of looking forward and looking back. As ever here at Music Road, the stories found in music are company along the way, and guides to help think about the challenges, acceprt the sorrows, and share the celebrations of the turn of seasons.

Carrie Newcomer’s song Singing in the Dark works for this point in the seasons and beyond.

The idea for the song sparked for Newcomer when she spent a bit of time at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. A respected writer, artist, and thinker on matters of the spirit, she’d been invited to experience the place where spiritual teacher and writer Thomas Merton had lived.

While there, she attended several of the services through which the monks keep hours of the day -- matins, lauds, vespers, compline, for example -- some of which occur in the dark of night and the dark of very early hours of the morning.

On new year’s eve and other times, someone is always singing in the dark...

You will find Singing in the Dark on Carrie Newcomer’s album A Great Wild Mercy.

Waitin’ on Mary is a Christmas song, yes. It also works really well with the atmosphere and events going in in the world just now: finding reasons to hope amidst despair, for one thing. Gretchen Peters wrote it. You will find it on her album Northern Lights.

Rani Arbo has set words of Alfred Lord Tennyson to music in Ring Out Wild Bells. Each of the verses she’s chosen speaks to today as much as they did to Tennyson’s time.

You will find it recorded on the Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem album Wintersong.

In Scotland, the celebration of midnight as one year turns to another is marked by and is called the bells. Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem’s song is a nod to that, and so is this...

Auld Lang Syne, as well known as it is, really does belong as a part on one year turning into another. Here’s a fine version of it by Hannah Rarity and Blazin’ Fiddles. You will want to listen, yes, but then perhaps second time round go ahead and sing along.

Bittersweet as the turning of a year may seem at times, it is also a time which invites celebration, connection and hope. Cajun musicians Canray Fontenot and Michael Doucet caught that ideas well in their song Bonne Annee. So did Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem in their performance of it, on their album Wintersong.

Wishing you all the best at the turning of this year, and as the new year unfolds.

You may also wish to see
Three more songs for the new year, from Kris Drever, Fara, and Olivia Newton-John
Ireland, Scotland, and story
December: msuic for a time of hope and reflection at Wandering Educators
Music for peace, undersatnign, and connection at Wandering Educators

-->Your support for Music Road is welcome and needed. If you are able to chip in, here is a way to do that, through PayPal. Note that you do not have to have a PayPal account to do this. Thank you.

or you could

Buy Me a Coffee at

and thank you

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Kerry Dexter at


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home