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Music for Thanksgiving: Arlo Guthrie and George Winston Play Songs of Thanks

Although Thanksgiving is often overlooked in the rush in to get to Christmas, there is a fair share of music celebrating the holiday. There are a variety of musical tastes included in these suggestions.

Windham Hill Collections

The Windham Hill Label has its share of holiday music, and the Thanksgiving celebration is not overlooked. On Thanksgiving, A Windham Hill Collection, listeners can choose from many including:

  • “The Gathering” by William Ackerman
  • “Silver Salmon Bear” by R. Carlos Nakai’
  • “Blessings” by Liz Story

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

George Winston has the collection Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi where he covers many favorites from Charlie Brown cartoon specials among other Guaraldi compositions. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is a upbeat piece that may be familiar to many.

Native American Music

Playing Native American music is a way to honor those who began the Thanksgiving tradition with the early settlers. These are a couple tracks to consider:

  • “Thanksgiving Song” by the Kanenhi:io Singers from Akwekon Skennen. This is a vocal piece accompanied only by a drum beat.
  • “Prayer: Thanksgiving Song Number 2,” by Calvin Standing Bear, from Wakan Olowan-Lakota Pipe Ceremonial and Spiritual Songs.

For Kids

For the children at the table, give the following a try:

  • “Thanksgiving Day” by Tom Chapin from Mother Earth. Its message reminds us all of the hard work from the farmers that makes the holiday possible.
  • “Thanksgiving Song” by The Uncle Brothers from Mooseltoe. It is a humorous song that addresses the many complications that the holiday brings.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Over the River

A Thanksgiving collection would not be complete without these traditional songs:

  • “We Gather Together” and “Over the River and Through the Woods by the Quincy Choral Society from Come, Ye Thankful People Come.
  • “Pilgrim’s Chorus from ‘Tannhauser'” by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir from The Great Thanksgiving: Hymns and Songs of Thanks and Brotherhood. The world-renowned choir devotes a whole CD to the songs of Thanksgiving.

Contemporary Songs from Ray Davies and Luther Vandross

  • “Thanksgiving Day” by Ray Davies from Other People’s Lives. The founding member of The Kinks penned this sentimental tune.
  • “The Thanksgiving Song” by The Ridler Brothers from Sunglasses All Day. It conjures up childhood memories of the holiday.
  • “A House is Not a Home” by Luther Vandross from The Ultimate Luther Vandross. A reminder of how it can be melancholy holidays can be.
  • “Thanksgiving Song” by Mary Chapin Carpenter from the collection Come Darkness Come Light. She expresses her thoughts on the holiday.
  • “The Thanksgiving Song” by Fred Holstein from Tribute to Steve Goodman. This tune gives listeners another example of Goodman’s fine songwriting.

Alice’s Restaurant

The consummate contemporary Thanksgiving song for many is “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie. Of course the song goes on a bit, but it would be a great way to finish out a collection of songs for the holiday.

Here’s to a harmonious and joyful Thanksgiving.

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