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Top Five Carolina Fireplace Songs

November 16, 2009

Snow’s falling in the mountains, a rug on the floor of either the velvet plush or bearskin variety, a roaring fire, and the one you love.

What’s missing in this picture is the perfect background music–something to complete your scene. That’s where we come in.

The rules for my list were very simple: keep it Carolina-based, containing a lyric to either a  location or a slightly more vague Carolina reference, and don’t repeat artists. I could’ve easily populated my list with nothing but James Taylor and Ryan Adams, and it was tempting to do so. It was in the interest of variety, as well as a challenge to myself, to come up with five different bands and artists to choose from. This wasn’t easy; however, I believe there’s something here for everyone.

So, create a fire, reach for a glass of beaujolais nouveau for the season or perhaps a nice Cab (red on a winter night, please) and take a look at my top five Carolina fireplace songs.

Top Five Carolina Fireplace Songs

5. Coast of Carolina – Jimmy Buffett: Better known for his beach bum songs, the man who practically invented a lifestyle returned to his country roots in 2004’s “License to Chill.” With a reference to the Carolina coast and a lilting, somewhat seafaring musical quality, it’s probably the only curveball on this list for those reasons. It’s the perfect paradox, a backdrop to looking forward to a warm summer day on a lake or the sea, even though snow is falling outside your window. Don’t think for a second if “Margaritaville” contained a Carolina reference that it wouldn’t have ended up here instead.

4. Oh, Carolina – Vince Gill: This song has all of the ambience needed for a romantic fireside evening, even though it appears to be about the protagonist leaving for a spell and his loved one leaving for good. While lyrically not the greatest mood setter, the lines “I thought the beauty of your hills would hold her here for me,” and “Oh Carolina, I would have never gone” still contain a wistful quality to share with a loved one.  Or enjoy this one alone . . . which might prove to be more appropriate, depending on your frame of reference.

3. Oh My Sweet Carolina – Ryan Adams: It’s difficult keeping several Ryan Adams’ songs off this list. Narrowing it down to a few was hard enough; getting it down to one was close to impossible (if I could get away with honorable mentions, there would be several of his on that list). The loneliness in Adams’ voice underscores his reflective tone, while Emmylou Harris’ gentle harmonies provide a perfect match. Whether or not “Carolina” is a girl, a reference his home state, or both, is irrelevant.”The sweetest winds blow across the south.”

2. Blue Sky – The Allman Brothers: There’s an undercurrent of spiritual, down home serenity evident in every minute of this classic. Dickie Betts’ voice contains a blissfully joyous view of his landscape, his solo being one for the ages. This one is a drifter’s tale, finding Betts walking along a riverside heading towards his Carolina love. “Good old Sunday morning, bells are ringing everywhere. Goin’ to Carolina, it won’t be long and I’ll be there.”

1. Carolina in my Mind – James Taylor:  You had to see this one coming.  And, yes,  it was the obvious choice here. James Taylor’s voice can be compared to a warm blanket and a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night, something soothing and reassuring, a Carolina treasure. And what better addition to that cold Carolina evening than his ode to longing for home.

With a holy host of others standing ’round me/Still I’m on the dark side of the moon/And it seems like it goes on forever/You must forgive me/If I’m up and gone to Carolina in my mind.”

To anyone who has ever suffered bouts of homesickness, or for those who are reflecting about the place they call “home” . . . whether it be for the Carolinas or anywhere else . . . this one’s for you: the top Carolina fireplace song on the list.

–Brian, Entertainment Editor



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