Favorite Roy Rogers Songs

Roy Rogers Songs

With the understanding that this may very well change as my CD collection grows, here is an alphabetical list of my top 25 Roy Rogers songs. Unsurpassed in tone and talent, I’ll listen to anything he recorded, but these 25 are the ones I turn to over and over. I think one of the reasons I love Roy’s music so much is its positive message, fun sound, and exquisite beauty. He is truly one of the greats.

  • Alive and Kickin’ (Roy’s way of saying thanks to his fans, this song sums up a lifetime of happiness in a few verses.)
  • Along the Navajo Trail (Similar in feel to “Blue Shadows” and every bit as beautiful, this song is definitely one of his best.)
  • Blue Shadows on the Trail (From Disney’s Melody Time, this hauntingly beautiful song is one of my very favorites. Probably in my top 3.)
  • Born to the Saddle (To me, this song is Roy Rogers.)
  • Cool Water (I’ve heard 2 versions of this song; 1 with Roy taking lead vocals, the other with Bob Nolan in the lead. Both are awesome.)
  • Don’t Fence Me In (Not many people love Roy’s music and movies the way I do; but my dad does almost as much and this is one of his favorite songs too.)
  • Dust (First recorded in the 1930’s, when the Dust Bowl was devastating the West, this plaintive melody sends shivers down my spine.)
  • Happy Trails (Roy and Dale’s most famous song; my favorite version is the one on his Tribute)
  • Headin’ for Texas and Home (An upbeat celebration of cowboy life, this song is sure to bring a smile.)
  • Here’s Hopin’ (A prayer, a wish, and good advice all rolled into one, this song is a beautiful melody with beautiful lyrics. Duet with Randy Travis.)
  • Hi Ho Silver (After Trigger, Silver is probably the most famous cowboy horse, and this fun song is all about him.)
  • Hold On Partner (I could listen to this song over and over again – the music video is loads of fun too. Duet with Clint Black.)
  • Hold That Critter Down (Another one of my dad’s favorites, this song is a toe-tapping sing-along.)
  • It’s Home Sweet Home to Me (From Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers early days, this track is both sweet and fun.)
  • King of the Cowboys (Actually a Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr. song, this one is about who Roy was, how he became the King of the Cowboys, and a tribute to his life.)
  • Lovenworth (A fun song promoting faithfulness and the beauty of family, this song is one of my very favorites.)
  • My Chickashay Gal (This song is on the very first Roy Rogers CD I ever owned and was my first favorite.)
  • Rodeo Road (Seldom do 2 voices fit as well together as Roy’s and Willie Nelson’s do on this great song.)
  • Roll On Texas Moon (A catchy tune and fun lyrics make this one a joy to listen to.)
  • San Fernando Valley (Ditto.)
  • Tennessee Stud (Guaranteed to get both my dad and my little brother singing along, this ballad fits Roy’s heavenly voice like no other.)
  • (There’ll Never Be Another) Pecos Bill (Another Melody Time song, this one is a hit with everyone – even those who aren’t fans of his other songs.)
  • When Payday Rolls Around (It’s hard to sit still listening to this song; I like to play it when I’m exercising.)
  • When the Golden Train Comes Down (With solo parts by several of the Sons of the Pioneers, I can’t help smiling when I listen to this song – especially since you can hear them smiling as they sing.)
  • Yellow Rose of Texas (Roy’s awesome voice does ample justice to this well-known classic.)
Roy Rogers Songs

Are there any other Roy and Sons of the Pioneers fans out there? If so, what are your favorite Roy Rogers songs?

Newsboys Exercise Playlist

The Newsboys are probably my most favoritest Christian band ever. They are certainly my favorite band to play when I’m exercising. If I were to describe their music in 3 words, I’d say it’s happy, fun, and infectious. Their pop-rock rhythm doesn’t hurt either. (Let me clarify one thing: when I say “Newsboys,” I am referring to the pre-Michael Tait years. Nothing against Michael Tait, I love this new line-up almost as much as the original, but, to me, it’s not really the Newsboys anymore. It’s a new band with a new sound – and I grew up on Peter Furler and John James.)

My Newsboys exercise playlist includes 21 of their best tracks – set to shuffle, it’s almost 80 minutes of pure fun and energy. Crank it up!

  • Beautiful Sound (The title says it all.)
  • Belly of the Whale (Listen carefully to this one – the wordplay is clever and fast.)
  • Breakfast (Another clever song, this fun tune is about my favorite meal of the day.)
  • Entertaining Angels (A bit slower than most of the songs on this list and featuring a vocal solo by guitarist Phil Joel, this one is achingly beautiful.)
  • Good Stuff (The only song on this list that’s not on the Newsboys Ultimate Collection set.)
  • He Reigns (Catchy and fun to sing along to; Newsboys at their finest.)
  • I Fought the La. . . (Hilarious and goofy – but with real meaning behind the crazy lyrics.)
  • I’m Not Ashamed (Every Christian should listen to this song, believe it, and live it.)
  • It Is You (Another slow one, but still an awesome song.)
  • Joy (Absolutely my favoritest Newsboys song ever!)
  • Love Liberty Disco (A celebration of the freedom and love found in being part of the family of God.)
  • Million Pieces (Little kids love to sing along to this one.)
  • Shine (Quintessential Newsboys; possibly their most famous song.)
  • Something Beautiful (The rhythm hooks you, the lyrics hold you.)
  • Spirit Thing (Masters of wordplay, this is another example of the Newsboys’ unsurpassed cleverness.)
  • Step Up to the Microphone (Boldly proclaims what we believe.)
  • Take Me to Your Leader (Perhaps their cleverest and definitely their fastest-sung song of all – listen close.)
  • Wherever We Go (Party song to end all party songs.)
  • Who? (A definitive statement of faith set to an unbeatable rock track.)
  • Woohoo (You have to sing along to this one.)
  • You Are My King (A slower-tempo love song to the One who loved us first.)

P.S. This is also a great soundtrack for cleaning day. Enjoy!

Koss Pro4S Headphones – A Review

Let me preface this review by saying that, prior to this purchase, I had never spent more than $20 on a pair of headphones. I am not any sort of expert on audio equipment – I consider myself an “aspiring audiophile.” Also, I bought the Koss Pro4S for casual listening, not for any kind of professional use.

First, the backstory. For several years, I’ve been using the Koss UR23iK headphones. They were my favorites for a number of reasons – a comfortable over-ear design, excellent sound quality (for the price), a relatively sleek profile, and an easily affordable price point. I wear glasses and finding comfortable headphones was a struggle until I discovered Koss and their unique over-ear D profile design. The only thing I didn’t like about the UR23iK was the lack of portability. I really wanted a good pair of headphones with a protective carrying case. My search led me to the Koss Pro4S. Here’s six awesome reasons why they are my new favorite headphones.

  • The same D profile as the UR23iK only with softer cushions and a padded headband. The comfort level is unbelievable.
  • With a combination of metal and plastic parts, this is one sturdy pair of headphones. The metal components add a bit more weight than I’m used to, but it is more than worth it for the durability. I have gone through half a dozen pairs of all-plastic headphones in the past 15 years.
  • I love the coiled cable (no tangles!) and the dual choice entry. The pass-through feature is pretty cool too. The cable is thick and sturdy, not flimsy like some. And, if I want, I can use a different cable – longer, shorter, straight, whatever I need.
  • They look good too – sleek and clean, classic yet edgy and modern. The black and silver is very sharp.
  • The sturdy padded case is awesome. I can toss them in a bag or backpack and take them with me when I’m traveling or on the go.
  • Most importantly, the sound quality is phenomenal. Music is crisp, clear, and beautiful. I feel like I’m sitting in the middle of a live performance. The headphones don’t get in the way of the music – they just carry it. Being studio headphones, they are designed to give the most accurate sound, not to enhance the bass or anything else. I know some people don’t like that feature but it was a major selling point for me.

In conclusion, the Koss Pro4S is hands-down the best pair of headphones I have ever used. Worth every penny and more. My search for the perfect pair of headphones has ended for good.

Music Genres for My Brother

music genres

My brother and I were talking the other day about music – our favorite singers and genres and more specifically, how to distinguish between genres. When our dad was my age, musical styles were both fewer and more distinct. Every artist stayed strictly in their lane. Today there seem to be more and more music genres with more and more overlap. For instance, most modern country songs resemble rock and roll as much as or more than traditional country. And Southern rock, while it has “rock” in its name, is about equal parts country and classic rock. And modern pop draws heavily on rap and hip-hop. This annoys my brother to no end – he is the type of personality that needs to know where each piece fits in the grand design. So, my big little brother, this one is for you.

If we disregard classical and instrumental pieces, music genres can be grouped into 5 broad categories. First, let’s talk about the easiest and most difficult category to define: Christian Music. Lyrically, these songs are all similar in that they deal with Christian ideas and themes. But musically, they range from old-fashioned hymns to pop tunes to rock and rap styles. So if you want to listen to Christian music, you then have to choose between a wide range of musical styles that fit underneath that umbrella.

Our next category is defined by an era and I call it Retro Music. This includes any type of music popular after the invention of recorded music that is no longer a big deal. There may still be artists producing these genres but they are not mainstream. Swing, big band, easy listening, boogie-woogie, jazz, ragtime, etc. Think of big-name singers from days gone by: Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, the Andrews Sisters, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and other famous singers of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Personally, I am not nearly as familiar with these great artists or music genres as I would like to be.

The third sector of musical styles is the very broadly-defined Pop Music. Subheadings under this category would include dance, electronic, and bubblegum pop. This is probably the easiest genre of all – any song that is popular and doesn’t fit anywhere else belongs here. Restrictions are loose, with no particular sound or style. Pop Music draws inspiration from whichever genre happens to currently be most popular.

Category number four is the one I listen to the least and which I have dubbed Urban Music. I suppose it’s my country-girl bias, but I ascribe the genres in this category to city-dwellers. It may not be an entirely accurate way of viewing music and a musician would probably cringe at my definition, but it helps me keep things straight in my mind. Hip-hop, rap, modern R&B, reggae, disco, heavy metal (particularly what’s termed thrash metal), and punk rock are some of the genres I list under the Urban heading. I don’t know much about this category, but unlike Retro Music, I have no desire to become better acquainted with the music of the Urban category.

As opposed to our previous genre group, our final entry tends to be the territory of country folks. I call it Americana Music: folk, Western, country, outlaw, bluegrass, Cajun and zydeco, blues, soul, Southern rock, and rock and roll. This is my musical world and my brother’s as well; the music we both love best is all included in these music genres. Each genre overlaps the next, making it difficult to ascribe most songs to any one heading. It’s not a stack of boxes, each one neatly holding its assigned artists and songs. It is a meandering pathway, each song a stepping stone to the next. And it is one gloriously beautiful journey.

Vinyl Records, My Someday Dream

When I was a kid, we had an old-fashioned record player. Even then, vinyl records were obsolete. Cassettes ruled the music industry, but would very soon be surpassed by CD’s. I remember when stores stopped selling cassette tapes. My dad remembers when cassettes replaced 8-tracks and when 8-tracks replaced vinyl records. Today, digital downloads and streaming services are taking over. I still buy CD’s. The quality is the best offered on today’s market. But I almost never listen to them. I rip them onto my computer and load the songs to my MP3 player. It’s easy and portable – I carry dozens of albums in one device that’s smaller than a deck of cards. The CD’s themselves sit on a shelf and get dusted once a month.

But, somehow, I still have a soft spot for vinyl records. I don’t really know why. Nostalgia probably. Good memories of listening to them as a little kid. But it’s something more than that. I don’t know how to describe it. A record is something tangible, a work of art that you can hold in your hands. Listening to a record is a purposeful thing, a conscious act. Choosing a record, setting the needle, and getting lost in another world. Putting an actual CD in a boombox offers a similar experience, but it’s still not quite the same. Others say I’m crazy. That digital is the only way to go. Vinyl is too expensive and cumbersome. But is convenience really the only consideration? Sometimes the experience is the point.

That old record player is long since gone. It’s no great loss – its only value was sentimental. It was never a real high-quality player. Someday I will replace it with a better one. And some first-rate speakers. Someday when I have my own permanent place. I’m already carting boxes of books around, I don’t need crates of records too. Until then, I will hold my dreams in a special place in my heart. I can see it now. The husband and kids gathered around in the evening. One reading a book, a couple playing with toys on the floor, that one coloring pictures, this one doing homework. My other half playing with the kids or helping one with homework or reading a book. I’m in the next room washing the supper dishes or maybe a couple of the kids are. Maybe I have time to do something I like – knitting or reading a book. And a record from my extensive collection playing in the background. Someday.

Drift Away – The Magic of a Great Song

Music is something magical. The universal language, we call it. An apt description. Whether the lyrics are in our language or not, music has the power to move us like nothing else can. Joy, sadness, triumph, despair, love – the right melody can make us feel any one of these emotions or countless others. It’s an astonishing thing. The great ones will live on long after their singers and writers are gone. It’s the closest we humans can come to immortality. One such song that touches me and that I feel will stand as a classic for many more years is Dobie Gray’s Drift Away.

A bluesy soft rock track with a hint of country, I fell in love with Drift Away the first time I heard it and I only love it more each time. I like to call it my “happy song” because it never fails to make me smile. Drift Away is everything I love about music. A simple melody, catchy beat, excellent vocals, and the blues/rock/country sound is my absolute favorite. And just listen to the lyrics. Lines like “You know a melody can move me;” “When I’m feeling blue, the guitar’s coming through to soothe me;” “Give me the beat boys;” and “I wanna get lost in your rock and roll.” I mean, come on, this song could’ve been written specifically for me. It’s my musical creed, summed up in one awesome song.

I still remember the first time my kid sister heard Drift Away. With our age gap, it’s no wonder we have vastly different tastes in music. At the time, she was into tween bubblegum pop almost exclusively and I was the cool hipster wannabe with my classic rock and my obsession with vinyl records. (I still love rock and vinyl, mind you, but I long ago gave up on trying to be cool.) Anyway, I had my music playing and she was poking fun at it. Pretty par for the course. Not that I didn’t return the favor every chance I got.

Then Drift Away came on. About halfway through I noticed she was quiet. She was smiling and kinda swaying to the music. She stopped when she caught me looking at her. “What? So that one’s not as bad as the rest,” she says somewhat sheepishly. I just grinned and didn’t say anything. I didn’t need to. She had felt the magic of a great song – the kind that you can get lost in and forget about reality for a few minutes. And that, I believe, was the beginning of the end of tween pop’s dominance in my sister’s world. Because once you’ve found the real magic of music, you can’t go back to the knock-offs.

Drift Away

10 Songs of Comfort in Grief

My second-to-last act of love for my incomparable Mama was to prepare the music for her funeral service and visiting hours. With input from the rest of the family of course (Daddy in particular), I put together a CD to play in the background during viewing hours. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most beautiful. And although it is difficult even to write this, I do so with the hope that these songs may bring comfort to another who may be in a time of grief and loss.

  • 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) – Matt Redman – Opening the playlist on a positive note, this song is about worshipping the Lord for his goodness. Even when our world may be crumbling.
  • Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) – Chris Tomlin – Mama loved this version of the classic hymn. Incredibly beautiful, it both soothes and comforts.
  • Be Still – Kristene DiMarco – By one of Daddy’s favorite singers, this track reassures that “He who placed the sun, the moon, and stars is here with me.”
  • How You Live (Turn Up The Music) – Point of Grace – Advice on how to live a beautiful life or a tribute to one already lived, this song is perfect.
  • Better Than a Hallelujah – Amy Grant – The idea that God hears a melody in our tears and our brokenness is a great comfort. Like it gives our grief permission to express itself, knowing that we will be okay.
  • Blessings – Laura Storey – Even though we prayed for healing, we can still know that He loves us and sometimes His blessings come through raindrops.
  • In Better Hands – Natalie Grant – Although we miss her dreadfully, we can rejoice knowing that she is in better hands now. And it is “like the sun is shining when the rain is pouring down.”
  • In Christ Alone (Medley) – Phillips, Craig and Dean – A declaration of unshakeable faith, this song defines who my Mama was.
  • In Your Presence O God – Paul Wilbur – One of my earliest memories is of Daddy singing this as a solo in church. It is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. His presence truly is a source of strength in times of grief and sorrow.
  • There Is Nothing Greater Than Grace – Point of Grace – “There is no valley, there is no darkness, there is no sorrow, greater than the grace of Jesus. There is no moment, there is no distance, there is no heartbreak He can’t take you through.”


Bonus Tracks:

  • Even If – Kutless – We almost included this one because of how perfect the lyrics are, but we ended up deciding against it because the musical style didn’t flow with the rest of our selections. I wish we could’ve used it, as this song puts to music everything my Daddy told us on the day Mama died.
  • Be Thou My Vision – 4him – The opening song for the actual service, this was Mama’s all-time favorite hymn. The last verse breaks my heart every time.
  • It Is Well (Radio Mix) – Bethel Music/Kristene DiMarco – The closing of the service. “Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You. And through it all, through it all, it is well. Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You. And it is well with me.”grief like rain

Sandra McCracken Concert

Sandra McCrackenThe only thing that gets me as excited as finding a new favorite author is finding a new favorite artist. And I scored big with this find. Sandra McCracken recently did a concert not far from where I live and a good friend invited me to go with him. I had never heard of her but I am so glad I went. She is absolutely amazing. I could listen to her voice forever and her songs are achingly beautiful. Even had me in tears at one point, partly because the music touched my soul so deeply and partly because I knew that my Mama would’ve loved Sandra. From the moment she stepped on stage, she held me captive, mesmerized by both her voice and her passion.

The Welcome Wagon opened the show. The husband and wife team of Monique and Thomas Aiuto Vito, they were pretty awesome too. Their sound is unique, like nothing I’ve ever heard. And I loved it. Simple yet beautiful melodies with a folksy flair – at times toe-tappin’ fun, at other points quiet and thoughtful. I found their music to be refreshing and sweet.

One thing that I absolutely loved about this concert was the venue – a small Presbyterian church that held maybe 300-400 people. More intimate than an arena or even a bigger church, it was like she had come to sing with old friends. Sandra McCracken obviously loves music, but I got the feeling that she loves her fans just as much. She talked some in between songs and it was so natural and free, like having a conversation with a friend. I didn’t want the concert to end.

She sang a good mix of songs – some from her newest album Psalms, some older ones, and a couple kids’ songs from her Rain for Roots project. Although they all were first-rate, I think the song I loved best was “Thy Mercy, My God.” With words written by John Stocker in 1776 and music supplied by Sandra McCracken herself, “Thy Mercy, My God” is the first track from her 2005 album The Builder and the Architect. Of course “God Makes Everything” (a Rain for Roots tune) was lots of fun; everyone sang along during the chorus. And all the songs from Psalms were home runs: “We Will Feast in the House of Zion,” “My Help, My God,” “Send Out Your Light,” “Have Mercy,” “Flourishing” was particularly good. In short, the entire concert was fabulous and I am so happy to add Sandra McCracken to my list of favorite singers.