Live Music Now
Houston musicians rock out a list of the best tunes to play at home
Days have gone by since the live music scene shuttered its collective doors and it feels like the last concert we attended was years ago. So what to do to get us through these tough times? Listen to music, of course.
We asked local acts for their top five songs to listen to while practicing self quarantine, asking them to include one of their own tunes.
CultureMap compiled a playlist of selections from some of Houston's finest musicians, in alphabetical order, and delivered them to you. These are songs to relax to, to dance to, to party to via FaceTime with your best friends and family.
If you're feeling down about COVID-19 or the passing of the great, Houston-raised Kenny Rogers, this playlist will get you going.
Wash your hands before you listen. Or better yet, wash them while listening.
When all this is over, we encourage you to seek out these talented performers on live stages across the city at venues that will desperately need our help when they re-open to appreciative and enthusiastic audiences.
Anthony Obi aka Fat Tony
R.A.P. Ferreira: "Laundry" - This song is family man raps done well. One of my favorite artists out today, FKA Milo aka Scallops Hotel. Best lyric: “Another dad with a hamper/I wonder if Chance the Rapper do his own laundry?/Who cares.”
Prince: "Don’t Play Me" - This song is from The Truth, the best Prince album of the '90s. This is as great as the output from his genius late-'70s-late-'80s period. And it doesn’t have drums. I love a good song with no drums. I highly recommend this album.
Merle Haggard: "Jimmy the Broom" - A very jazzy, country tune from the great Merle. This storytelling jam is a big inspiration for my forthcoming album, Exotica. This one brings a tear to my eye damn near every time I hear it. The sadness of burying a friend you barely knew.
Quelle Chris: "I Asked God" - Quelle Chris might be my favorite rapper of the last five years, although he’s been making music way longer than that. With all the chaos in the world today, we can all put ourselves in Quelle’s man-yells-at-clouds’ shoes.
Sade: "It’s Only Love That Gets You Through" - Sade, the angel. A tender little ballad about persevering through the tough times. This is my anthem until my postponed shows get rescheduled. I can’t wait to get back to work.
Lastest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: My latest album is Wake Up, produced by Taydex. It’s out now on Carpark Records.
Coline Creuzot: "You Tried It" - Classic R&B sound, an anthem for women who are finding the "good" in goodbye and leaving unhealthy relationships.
Doja Cat: "Say So" - Feel good, fun, flirty song. Also love the viral dance to it on TikTok.
Teyana Taylor: "We Got Love" ft. Mrs Lauryn Hill - A catchy, empowering song all about love: loving yourself, being in love, and spreading love.
Jay Electronica: "Flux Capacitor" ft. Jay-Z - I love the New Orleans feel and the verses. You can't go wrong with Jay Electronica and Jay-Z on a track.
PARTYNEXTDOOR ft Drake, "Loyal" - Instant mood booster. I love the lyrics and the beat.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: My latest single "You Tried It" is out now (available everywhere) with an EP coming this summer!
Gwen Stefani: "Cool" - Absolute classic! I love the movement of the song. It takes me to a place each time I listen without a fail.
Model/Actriz: "Suntan" - This song is filled with so much energy. The singer's voice is so seductive to me, and I love the drums in the second chorus. These guys blow me away every time!
Thundercat: "Dragonball Durag" - Thundercat released this to save us I think? This song is so fun and it’s Thundercat, so you know it’s groovy.
Tame Impala: "Breathe Deeper" - So fun! I love the melody, lyrics, groove, and production of this track so much. Kevin Parker rocks at keeping his sound fresh.
The Beach Boys: "Let’s Go Away For A While" - This song is perfect to me in every way. I could stare out the window to this song all day.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: I have two singles coming out: "Lover Boy #1"and "Lover Boy #2" that should be out by summer.
Nathan Quick, Nathan Quick Band
The Allman Brothers: "Blue Sky" - It's an uplifting tune.
The Mighty Orq: "Houston Blues" - [I love the] personal connection to our city.
Lukas Nelson: "Set Me Down On A Cloud" - It's an inspiring song with a spirit of overcoming struggle.
Stevie Ray Vaughan: "Lenny" - It puts me in a calming mood.
Nathan Quick: "Keep Moving" - This one is about overcoming hardship
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: Tentative date is May 15 at re:Hab Bar on the Bayou
Sarah Grace, Sarah Grace and The Soul
Adam Melchor: “Joyride” - This uplifting and freeing song is exactly what you need right now to take you on a journey out of your house! Adam Melchor’s voice transcends the melody, and his self-harmonies give the song a rich texture.
Scott Mulvahill: “Begin Againers” - Originally hailing from Houston, we can call [Nashville based, Houston raised Scott Mulvahill] our own! This beautiful song about fresh starts is perfect for our current situation because I know many of us are going to be "begin againers" after this craziness is over - but that’s okay!
Josh Ritter: “Best for the Best” - Josh Ritter is my favorite songwriter - his lyrics always paint a rich story, even when they don’t carry a life altering meaning. This song questions the meaning of the phrase “the best is for the best,” and Ritter’s bright spirit can be felt throughout it.
Norah Jones: “It Was You” - Her unique rhythms and surprising melodies combined with her clever dynamics make this song riveting to listen to. Not to mention Norah Jones’ perfect voice, a sweet, soft organ sound floats above the rest of the song several times throughout this song, and a trumpet solo later makes its way to the forefront.
Lake Street Dive: “Good Kisser” - Rachael Price, the lead singer for Lake Street Dive, is one of my greatest influences as a singer. This song is upbeat and full of attitude, and it’s definitely helped bail me out of my COVID-19 slump.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: I just signed with Ruf Records, a top-tier roots label, and while I originally planned to put my album out in early summer, my recording sessions were cancelled due to COVID-19, but keep your eye out for new music from me soon!
Suad Ihsan and Brigette Yawn, Say Girl Say
Megan Thee Stallion: "Savage" - This woman unapologetically embodies authenticity. Besides the catchy, twerk worthy melody, her song celebrates women's multifaceted personalities and talents.
Solange: "Binz" - This short and sweet track exudes a carefree energy while repping her hometown. Binz is a street in Houston near the museum district. Set this one on repeat.
Lizzo: "Truth Hurts" - Queen of self-love, positivity, and keeping it real, Lizzo inspires you to rise above the BS and move on to a higher vibration. This timeless track is already a classic.
Tiwa Savage & Mr Eazi: "Keys to the Kingdom" - Produced by Beyoncé, this track is from her The Lion King: The Gift album. This song expresses light and love, while empowering you to tap into your greatness.
Say Girl Say: "Always Trippin" - This track is our second single from our upcoming sophomore album, Let My Hair Down. Inspired by daily struggles and social expectations that are put on all of us, this song is a friendly reminder that you are enough, everything is going to be okay, and love is the answer.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: We finished our second full length album, Let My Hair Down, and hope to release it soon. Given the current circumstance, all of our plans have been put on hold until we have a better understanding of the situation we are all facing together. Our next show is scheduled for Mother's Day, May 10, at Discovery Green for the Unplugged at the Park acoustic concert series.
Ricky J., Camera Cult
Haim: "The Steps" - Haim is an amazing band and this song never fails to put me in a good mood.
Vampire Weekend: "Big Blue" - The whole world is in a strange time right now and the line “Am I learning my lesson or am I back on my own?” is too accurate of a feeling.
Foster the People: "I Would Do Anything For You" - I’ve always loved this song and it sets such a sweet vibe while using this time in isolation to relax.
The Police: "Driven to Tears" - I recently got into The Police and they’re so good. This virus really has driven me to tears. Can’t wait for things to get back to normal!
Camera Cult, "Days" - When we wrote this song it was inspired by new love. And I’ve felt this more than ever since my daughter was born in February. So it just means a little more to me now.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: Our new single “Chivalry & Courtly Love” will drop April 24 on all digital platforms. Next show is tentatively scheduled April 30 at White Oak Music Hall with Nite and Moonlight Hotel.
Ned Gayle (bass): Pharoah Sanders, "Love Is Everywhere" - I chose this specific song because despite all the anxiety and terror that might be flooding our brains at the moment, I've been reminded constantly that we are all in this together and we are all ready to help each other out. Plus that opening bass line is UNNNF!
Jack Gordon (drums): Wipers, "Let’s Go Away" - To me, it seems as though while we are being responsible and spirits remain high, most of us aren’t really accustomed to such a shut-in lifestyle. Just looking forward to getting on the other side of this situation where we can get up and go away.
Matt Graham (vocals): Daft Punk, "Doin' It Right" (feat. Panda Bear) - Someday we'll get to start hanging out in crowds again. Right now the way to do it right, is to distance ourselves from one another, but someday, there will be concerts again. There will be dance parties. I anticipate a shared feeling of intense joy and gratitude when we get to dance in a crowded club or see a band from the pit. It's probably going to take my breath away and make me cry some happy tears.
Jeremy Grisbee (keys): Waxahatchee, "Fire" - It's the right balance of sad, reflective, hopeful, earnest, and grounded. It's a song that makes me think of better times in the past, but still present in the moment and hopeful about future good times.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: Our show at Continental Club on April 25 with Calliope Musicals and Space Kiddettes is still happening as of now.