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Welcome to Songs for Listening, a curated site for daily playlists from musicians, agents, managers, writers, scholars, and programmers.

03-20-19 | Songs for Listening | Margaret Sartor

03-20-19 | Songs for Listening | Margaret Sartor

Photographer and writer, Margaret Sartor, chose the tunes for Wednesday, March 20 at Songs for Listening . Throughout her career, Margaret has examined the unique power of photography to explore and illuminate questions of personal identity and belonging. Her books include Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum (co-editor Alex Harris); Gertrude Blom: Bearing Witness (co-editor Alex Harris); What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney (co-editor Geoff Dyer), and the critically acclaimed memoir Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets & Growing Up in the 1970s. Her own photographs have been published and exhibited widely. They are represented in private and permanent collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Ogden Museum of Southern Art and North Carolina Museum of Art. They have appeared in books and periodicals, among them Black: A Celebration of Culture (edited by Deborah Willis), Aperture, Esquire, The New Yorker, and The Oxford American. As a photography curator, Margaret has worked with the Center for Documentary Studies, the International Center for Photography, the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery in Mumbai, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Margaret’s annotation to her playlist:
”As I thought about my criteria for this challengingly short list, the image / emotion that came to mind, was (and this is one I think you’ll understand very well) songs that evoked the kind of feeling you have when you hold your child’s body in your arms. Or to put it another way, the kind of connection that feels extremely particular and intimate, and at the same time elemental and universal — songs / voices / music that feels near sacred, that evokes the power and powerlessness of finding yourself in someone else.

This is my (as Mary Gauthier sings) “We Could Use Some Mercy Now” playlist. Like two musicians on this list (Gauthier and Neville), I’m from Louisiana and my relationship to music begins and ends with my connection to the Delta and the gut punch power of blues and gospel. So I reached for songs that I not only love, but songs I need, songs that reach inside as a salve amid the daily disasters of the heart and of our planet with which we are all colliding, songs that communicate (to me at least) what it means to be undeniably fragile and irresistibly human. “Mercy now!” as Mavis sings it, these songs take me there.”

‘Mercy Now’ by Mary Gauthier from ‘Mercy Now’
’Louisiana 1927’ by Randy Newman, performed by Aaron Neville from ‘Warm Your Heart’
'Give Me One Reason’ by Tracy Chapman from 'New Beginning'⁣
'In Color’ by Jamey Johnson from 'That Lonesome Song'⁣
'I’ll Take You There’ by The Staples Singers from ‘Be Altitude: Respect Yourself’⁣
Coda: Mary Oliver reading ‘Wild Geese’


03-21-19 | Songs for Listening | Mark Anthony Neal

03-21-19 | Songs for Listening | Mark Anthony Neal

03-19-19 | Songs for Listening | Eric Tullis

03-19-19 | Songs for Listening | Eric Tullis