Writers’ Playlists: Music to Cure Whiplash

I’m working on a book about Irish vampires who live in the South…so if you can recommend some southern/celtic emo music, I’m building a playlist.

Lots of writers keep music blasting while they write–mostly to shut out kids/pets/distracting ambient noise. I find it distracting when I’m writing but helpful when I’m proofing or editing. Go figure.

But I definitely have playlists for my books–mood music, in a sense. And boy has it come in handy this week as I was unexpectedly flung from deep inside my WIP (a dark urban fantasy about my Irish vampires) to a final round of revisions on Royal Street as it makes its way through the process at Tor. It’s also urban fantasy, but a full 180 from the WIP–lots of humor, sharp and snappy, and very much a part of its setting in New Orleans. Talk about whiplash! I needed my playlist!

So I’ve dragged out my iTunes folder called “DJ’s Playlist,” which has shepherded me through two books in the series so far. Click on the link to watch the YouTube videos. If you can’t watch ’em all, at least check out Aaron Neville’s “Louisiana 1927” from the Katrina Relief concert. I remember just weeping through that whole thing. (WARNING: And if you’re a staunch Republican or are easily offended by language, you might want to NOT watch “George Bush Don’t Like Black People.”)

Ain’t Got No Home – Clarence “Frogman” Henry
Backwater Blues ― Irma Thomas
Build a Levee ― Natalie Merchant
C’est La Vie ― Queen Ida & the Zydeco Cha-Chas
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans ― Louis Armstrong
George Bush Don’t Like Black People ― Legendary K.O.
Happytown ― Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer
Houston ― Mary Chapin Carpenter
If Ever I Cease to Love ― Charmaine Neville
Iko Iko ― Dr. John
In the Sun ― Coldplay with Michael Stipe
Jean Batailleur – Zachary Richard
Kingfish ― Randy Newman
L’air de la Louisiane ― Jesse Winchester
L’Ouragon ― Beausoleil
La Fille de Quatorze Ans ― Beausoleil
Lake Charles ― Lucinda Williams
Louisiana 1927 ― Aaron Neville
Louisiana Man ― Doug Kershaw
The Man in the Long Black Coat ― Bob Dylan
Mardi Gras Mambo ― The Hawketts
My Home Louisiana ― Jep Epstein
Pontchartrain Prayer Flags ― Noelle Price
Refugee ― Tom Petty
Ruins ― Cat Stevens
Take Your Drunken Ass Home ― Big Al Carson
Temporarily Ain’t Dere No More ― Benny Grunch & the Bunch
Theogene Creole — Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet
Walking to New Orleans ― Fats Domino
Zydeco Gris-Gris ― Beausoleil

Do you have a playlist? Hope you enjoy mine!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

3 thoughts on “Writers’ Playlists: Music to Cure Whiplash

  1. Hi Susanne:
    I mostly listen to ALW’s Phantom of the Opera when writing love scences. Otherwise, I play Mozart for high conflict scenes, and Gregorian chant the rest of the time. From a creativity perspective and as a creativity trainer, different music stimulates different parts of the cerebral cortex, so your topic is right on! Thanks for addressing it.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Mary! I love the idea of matching the music to the mood. Most of this playlist really evoked the sense of place for me.

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