SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Music in the great outdoors. Snowshoeing with an I-pod

Music can be a very effective means of bringing fond memories back to life. Include the great outdoors in the mix and it’s a guaranteed certainty those memories will become crystal clear. How often have you heard a song while relaxing on vacation, and then heard it again once you’ve returned to the harsher realities of everyday living?

The song takes you straight back to where you first heard it. Now, with smartphones, I-phones and I-pods at our disposal, we can carry thousands of songs about with us in a small, lightweight, convenient package. And there’s no law I’m aware of that forbids a snowshoe hike without the musical accompaniment.

A lane in WinterWhatever your preferences, the two seem a perfect blend of serenade and scenery. Imagine Dvorak’s New World Symphony or Elgar’s Nimrod playing as you arrive at the top of a ridge and see a sprawling snow-covered landscape stretching before you. Wouldn’t they evoke powerful images and memories? Too much like old school? Come more up to date with Genesis’ Afterglow as you watch a winter sunrise. What an inspiring way to kick-start the day before you set off on your snowshoe hike to the strains of You’re the Voice by John Farnham.

On a personal level, irrespective of what Mother Nature’s up to, a regular companion is Pink Floyd’s Pulse and Endless River albums played end to end. They are both very atmospheric and ideal for escaping into your own little space while you’re taking in the scenery. Another strong favourite has to be Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Imagine listening to that classic on a bright winter’s afternoon. Blend in Fool’s Overture by Supertramp and you have a memorable pair on your playlist.

One of the great things about music is it’s universal. It has no borders or boundaries. More or less everyone has ‘their tune’ – a song or melody which conjures up strong memories from an event in their life. This could prove an effective means of building up a personal playlist on your I-pod. Remember, you’re the only one who can hear it, so it shouldn’t matter what genre you prefer. I have a sizeable set of songs which I first heard in Friday Harbor, Washington State, in 1969. Almost half a century later, they still play havoc with the emotions – mainly because it was our first ever visit.

Possibly the strongest on a list of 20-plus is Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James & The Shondells. If ever there was a song which captured the whole essence of our memorable trip, that was it. There are several more from the same period, all equally unforgettable, but they don’t stand out in quite the same way.

And that’s my point. You can have countless great songs on your snowshoe playlist, but it only takes one to rise above all the rest, and you instantly remember where and when you first heard it. Even if it’s many years in the future.

Experiment with your playlist. If classical music does it for you, go for it. What about Schubert with a selection of Vaughan Williams? That could be an interesting combination. If you’re a Kiss, Metallica or Iron Maiden fan, likewise. That’s another great point about music; it’s yours for the taking. Remember there are no boundaries.

Try some Beach Boys tracks with a side plate of Chicago. Could be a good blend. Imagine a clear, sunny winter morning. You set off for your snowshoe hike with Help Me Rhonda, I Can Hear Music and California Girls back to back. Wouldn’t they put you in an upbeat mood?

Add a selection of Chicago. How about You’re The Inspiration or Saturday In The Park? Two songs guaranteed to do likewise. Include a sprinkling of Take That – Could It Be Magic, Relight My Fire, Everything Changes, Rule The World. They should keep the spirits up. So the key to the exercise is variety. If you’re a Sixties fan, focus on songs from that era – there are plenty. Work through the decades. Each has a unique footprint of music. The Eighties’ New Romantics for example. Include Spandau Ballet’s Gold, ABC’s Look of Love. The list of timeless songs goes on and on.

But one thing is certain, as long the songs on your snowshoe playlist make you happy, that’s what counts. And why set out on a snowshoeing hike in a bad mood, with so much great scenery out there and some great songs to listen to?

2 thoughts on “Music in the great outdoors. Snowshoeing with an I-pod

  1. Great article. Fool’s Overture from Roger Hodgson, the voice and co-founder of Supertramp, is one of my all time favorites. I saw him perform this epic live last year and it was amazing. Can’t wait to see him again this year on his Breakfast in America Tour. I saw on his site that he’ll be in Europe this summer/fall and in the US and Canada in Nov/Dec. Check this out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBefDWSMNaQ

  2. Thanks, Nigel, for expressing in a wonderful way exactly how I enjoy the snow-covered woods when by myself: Pink Floyd’s channel on Pandora, along with Elvis’, Allman Brothers along with a recent find, Hans Zimmer for a different take on things. Your line “One of the great things about music is it’s universal. It has no borders or boundaries” receives my vote for a Top-Ten observation of the year.
    Best,
    Phillip Gary Smith

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