If we were back in Kentucky, summer would be upon us already. School would be out, the weather would be warmer, and the pools would be opening. But alas, we are not in our beloved home state, and while we’re happy to escape the influx of pollen and dander that the season brings, there are hallmarks of a bluegrass summer that we miss. The end of school may still be a month away for New Yorkers (and we may be past the days of seasonal breaks anyway), but we are hankering for a thunderstorm. And not those namby-pampy sprinklings that the Northeast calls storms, but the bona fide, crickets humming, wrath of god thundering, earth shaking, scream-your-love-and-frustration-at-Ryan-Gosling, real Dixie deal.
This playlist is an ode to hard rain on hot days, to the crack of the skies opening up and the downpour washing the day clean. It’s a paean to petrichor, a waltz set to your beating footsteps as you dash across the wet pavement to find shelter on a porch. So savor these cool reprieves from an other wise sweltering season — even if they are only musical.
As always, you can listen here or on YouTube.
It’s our favorite time of year y’all. Winter has finally ceded the reins to Spring, flowers are blooming, and it’s time for the most decadent and depraved event in all of the South. Dust off your seersucker and unpack your fancy hat, it’s Derby Time! Now, as we reiterate each year around this time, while many hail Derby as “the fastest two minutes in sports,” we Louisvillians know better. Derby is actually a two-and-a-half-week long festival that contains multitudes of fun, food, fashion…and a healthy amount of depravity.
As we prepare to throw the fourth annual Zelda & Scout Derby Bash, we’re looking to our musical roots to build a playlist that really reflects the feeling of Derby time. We pulled classic country favorites like Patsy Cline, Kentucky favorites like Ben Sollee, the always applicable Dixie Chicks. And this year, we even brought in Zelda’s sister to consult on the current country music landscape to really get us in the mood.
So make a mint julep, place your bets, heed this non-traditional call to the post, and get yourself ready for Derby time. Listen here, on Spotify, or on YouTube.
We’re nearly two months into the new America, and here’s where we start to feel that lull, that loss of hope and will power and the siren’s song urging us to bury our heads back in the sand where it’s safe. The deluge of bad news, injustice, and outrage is constant and overwhelming, each day bringing fresh reasons to set our hair on fire. And so we have to constantly remind ourselves not to let this become the status quo. We have to repeat, over and over, that “This. Is. Not. Normal.” We have to sign petitions, make signs, set up monthly donations, sit through our lunches making phone calls to our representatives, and endeavor to keep the truth present in our lives.
So for this playlist, we wanted to gather the songs that make us feel a renewed sense of purpose. They make us want to wave our banner for truth and justice higher, to march and write and sing out, and to make them hear us, goddamnit.
These are songs to remind us to stand proud and strong. They remind us of what America actually is, what it can be, and what we need to fight for in order to make it that way. We’ve drawn from across genres and decades, from indie to platinum and everything in between. It’s not perfect or complete by any means, but we hope it inspires you to get up and go out into the world to fight for change and freedom and justice, with no regrets. We’re in this together.
As always, you can listen along here, on YouTube, or on Spotify (given certain copyright restrictions/limited availability of some songs, however, this month in particular we recommend you listen here).
A new year has dawned and, for maybe the first time, we both returned from our beloved Bluegrass State after a holiday break with that cozy, fuzzy feeling of going back home. Somehow, without either of us realizing it, this madhouse of a city wormed its way into our Southern hearts. And while our roots will always be in Louisville, and we won’t be calling ourselves New Yorkers any time soon, we do both feel that we have claimed this here city — or at least certain corners of it — as ours.
So we’re starting off this year with songs that highlight our adopted home. New York has provided endless inspiration for artists, writers, and directors alike. But musicians especially continue to pay tribute to New York: From Old Blue Eyes to The Black Keys, people love to sing about this city.
Our criteria were simple: Each track on this playlist had to contain New York or one of its boroughs in the title. Put on a pot of tea, bite into your bagel and schmear, and relax to the rumble of the subway and the whoop of passing sirens. And as always, you can listen here, on Spotify, or on YouTube.
We love a good holiday song here at Z&S. Give us chestnuts roasting over an open fire, dreams of white Christmases, and dreidels made of clay, and we go positively cuckoo for carols. We abstain all year, you see, saving up for that sacred festive season, and then as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Thanksgiving night, the spirit of the season sallies forth from our earbuds and doesn’t stop until Christmas.
But amid all this holly and tinsel, sometimes you just want a little snow. Something non-denominational, holiday neutral, which can carry you past Boxing Day and into the new year. So this year, for our wintriest of playlists, we decided to diverge from our seasonal themes past, and present a playlist for snowy days and chilly nights, regardless of the date on the calendar (if we’re being perfectly honest, this decision may also have had to do in large part with the fact that we’ve done two holiday playlists on here already, and we’re running out of favorite carols to share).
From guitars and bluegrass to Broadway stars and one Nobel Prize winner, these songs are for the bare tree season. Pour yourself a big mug of cocoa, with some marshmallows and perhaps a shot of something stronger thrown in. Sugarplums are swell, but sometimes you just want to watch the snow fall. Listen below or on Spotify.
Autumn has rushed into Brooklyn. The air is crisp and cool. Zelda is unfurling her cavalcade of scarves. Kids are heading back to school. and Scout is heading back below the Mason-Dixon line on a 12-hour road trip to attend yet another wedding (she’s actually quite excited about this one), and Zelda is off on a journey her own this weekend, to our nation’s capital. So we’ve combined the wet October streets of New York in the fall and the open winding roads of the Appalachian mountains to bring your a road-trip playlist for a rainy day.
We’ve combined some of our new summer favorites, like Sarah Jarosz and Brandi Carlile, with old standby’s like Houndmouth, Ingrid Michaelson, and Audra Mae for a playlist that will propel you down the rain-soaked highway, be it in your mind or actually laid out in front of you. Lean your head against the window, and watch the world go by.
As always, you can listen along here, or we’re on YouTube and Spotify.
Summer is coming to a close, and we’re all very sad about it. While we won’t miss the heat or the humidity or the smells of a New York summer, there is a distinctive scent of reality check in the air as we head into fall. So before the last of these long, lazy days fades away, we thought for our first playlist of our third year we’d give you a dose of sunshine and joy! These are songs that make us smile, that make us want to jump and wiggle and dance around our kitchens. Sometimes, that’s all we need.
Spanning several genres, we’ve incorporated some old favorites (The Avett Brothers, Tegan and Sara, Stevie Wonder) and some new ones (Lizzo, Nick Santino, Vulfpeck). We’ve got some of Zelda’s go-to pick-me-ups (see: Pink Martini) and some of Scout’s (see: dat new JT tho). There’s jazz and rap and folk and indie tunes so sweet they’ll make your teeth hurt. Hopefully, there’s something on here to make everyone do their happy dance of choice. And as always, you can listen here on the blog or join us on Spotify or YouTube.