Playlist: John Craigie Shares His Favorite Live Tracks From John Prine, Arlo Guthrie and More
John Craigie's Spotify playlist offers variety along the musical spectrum and even across generations, but there's one consistent theme throughout its 17 tracks: They're all live recordings. Readers can press play below to listen to some of Craigie's favorite picks.
"The art and craft of a live album is very different than a studio album," Craigie shares about his playlist. "Not only do you want to capture what it’s like to be at your live show, but you also want to take the listener on a journey knowing they will listening in a context that is different than having them live in the same room with you."
Craigie's playlist, which he's dubbed The Art and Craft of the Live Album, features an eclectic mix of singer-songwriters, comedians and folk musicians who engage their audiences in the full context of a live show. It's heavy on the John Prine and Todd Snider, but Craigie includes some Bob Dylan and Robert Earl Keen for good measure.
One of the standout tracks for the singer-songwriter is Arlo Guthrie's "The Motorcycle Song," on which, Craigie says, the legend transforms nonsense into something powerful in the live format: "He begins this obviously silly, almost-throwaway song, and slowly turns the audience around into singing along as if it’s "Let it Be" or "Hotel California" simply by telling the ridiculous backstory behind it," Craigie reflects.
Greg Brown's "Just By Myself" is another track that Craigie says changes tone in a live performance: "I love how he takes this sad and melancholy song from one of his previous studio albums and slowly turns it into a dark, comedic, breakup song that has the audience feeling all emotions," Craigie explains.
Craigie recently released his own live project, Opening for Steinbeck, in March.
Listen to John Craigie's The Art and Craft of the Live Album Playlist