Having just released new album The Party – an intricate yet accessible concept album about a party and the characters they attracts – Andy Shauf has made us a playlist of "songs for (or to kill) a party". Grab a canapé and listen in!
Tony Rice – Church Street Blues "Sometimes I get into songs really randomly. I was looking up nickel-wound acoustic guitar strings and read that Tony Rice swears by them, or at least did at one point, then I found this song of his. It has an amazing fast turn-around that you don’t expect and I can’t get enough of it."
Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind "This is one of the most heartbreaking, beautiful songs ever written. Gordon Lightfoot is one of the best songwriters out there. Once, I was in a sushi restaurant with my brother and a really strange instrumental version of this song came on and despite the corniness, it was still incredibly beautiful."
Randy Newman – Think It's Going To Rain Today "I think this is my favourite song ever written; Randy Newman is my favourite songwriter. There’s a lyric in this song: "tin can at my feet, think I’ll kick it down the street, that’s the way to treat a friend" which blows my mind and totally sets off the whole song. Randy Newman is the king."
Chris Cohen – Heart Beat "This is a pretty recent song, I love the way it slowly progresses with the long, drawn-out chords. This certainly won’t kill a party, but it won’t get everyone up on their feet dancing. Beautiful melody, awesome drumming."
Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now "I’ve been on a bit of a Joni spree lately and I think this might be one of the first songs of hers that I'd ever heard. Or maybe just one of the first songs that I ever listened to the lyrics to. It’s so well-crafted, and her melodies are always complex and amazing."
Simon & Garfunkel – America "I opened some shows for First Aid Kit last year and at the end of the show they would cover this song. I’ve listened to this song for a long time, but always in passing. When I heard them sing it, I realized how brilliant the lyrics are. It puts you in a bus, travelling down a highway."
Wilco – Wishful Thinking "Jeff Tweedy is one of my favourite songwriters, and I think the album A Ghost is Born is their best. I love all the textures in this song and the softness of it. The drums sound so small; Jeff’s voice so whispery. This is one of those songs whose rhythm I tried to cop because I thought it was just so beautiful."
Elliott Smith – I Didn’t Understand (live) "I love the album version of this song, but I think this piano version is super special. The piano part is so nice and watching him play it just made me realize how much of a genius Elliott Smith really was. These are some lyrics you don’t want to hear at a party."
Timber Timbre – Demon Host "Taylor’s voice is so distinct, such a good song. So familiar, but so original. I’d probably put this on at a party and people would complain."
Karen Dalton – Katie Cruel "Is that an electric violin? I mean, why that wouldn't get a party started beats the hell out of me. A good traditional banjo tune with a dark story: Party Time."
For more head to Andyshauf.com.