Don't Forget The Music: A Well-Seasoned Thanksgiving Soundtrack
You've gathered your bird, stuffing, sides, pies, a tablecloth, candles, flowers and extra chairs. You've washed the platters, dusted the mantelpiece, polished the silverware and sharpened your carving knife. But do you know what music you're going to play Thursday?
Never fear: We've got a roundup of great suggestions, culled from all over the musical map of America, that will take you from cooking to dining to getting through cleanup duty. Take a listen and let us know in the comments what you spin while you're giving thanks.
Cleaning Up: Antibalas, "Dirty Money"
Sure, maybe all you want to do is have a second piece of pumpkin pie/put your feet up/curl up into a little ball, but as Sam Sifton says, "You do not want to clean up in the morning, filled with a hangover, a food hangover, the vague regret that you did not clean up the night before." So you've got to pick something that will get you moving — and dancing off all that Thanksgiving excess. Perfect: the new Antibalas album. (AT)
Hors D'Oeuvres: Fats Waller, "All That Meat And No Potatoes"
When guests arrive, it's important to set a bubbly mood: Keep them busy with munchies and perhaps a glass of prosecco. The music should be light, fun and frothy, too. Fats Waller's effervescent jazz tunes (quite a few are about food) and his humorous delivery — both on vocals and piano — fit the bill perfectly. (TH)
The Meal: Randall Thompson, Symphony No. 2
Soundtracking a big, noisy dinner can be tricky. You want music of substance, yet something that can function in the background — and nothing with Mahler-sized swings in dynamics that could trigger indigestion. Ella Fitzgerald singing Gershwin is always a safe bet, but vocals sometimes distract. If you want to step in a classical direction, why not Randall Thompson's vintage 1933 Symphony No. 2? With its heartland themes and whiffs of jazz, it's 30 minutes of solid Americana that goes down easy. (TH)
Cooking: Anonymous 4, "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need"
In the hectic race against the clock that is preparing the Thanksgiving feast, I really like to choose calming, grounding music that tempers stress and creates the right kind of mindset for cook and helpers alike. An album of old American folk hymns, sung by the glorious vocal quartet called Anonymous 4, is just the ticket. (AT)
Post-Feast: Gershwin, 'Lullaby'
After a giant meal, there's nothing more satisfying than kicking back with a good cup of coffee, or perhaps a glass of tawny port. Whichever, the important thing is to relax — perhaps even letting the eyelids droop a little. George Gershwin's Lullaby, a work originally for string quartet from 1919, rocks gently, caresses and just might help you drift off pleasantly before the late football game. (TH)