The Fix List: Rachael Yamagata
With her new record, Tightrope Walker, Rachael Yamagata draws you into her world of deeply drawn songs all wrapped around her central theme of why? For Yamagata though this is a positive collection of songs, in her own words: "If you’re thinking of quitting then this album is for you.”
To mark the record the Woodstock, NY singer has put together a playlist for us of songs that have meaning for her, and her personal reasons for choosing each track. Spotify users head to the bottom to start the playlist.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - 'Right Out of Your Hand'
"A longtime friend and mentor of mine first introduced me to this track and Nick Cave for that matter and I was so moved by this song. I remember sitting in the backseat of his car with his newborn daughter late one night and being in awe of her precious newness in every way. It was the perfect music matched with the perfect moment and reminds me of the power a song can have to inspire deep emotion."
Terence Trent D’Arby - 'Seasons'
"I love the starkness of this track that focuses initially on the vocal and then surprises you way late in the game when the drums come in. It was so unexpected when I heard it and I love how you can really take a listener on a journey with production choices."
Paul Simon - 'Still Crazy After All These Years'
"That bridge gets me every time - what a lift. This song has so many things that I love and am drawn to. It’s a story lyric, simple, but poetic in the universality. It coins a phrase that is so perfect as a recap. The production is epic and cinematic as the song unfolds and basically the whole thing breaks my heart in the best way. P.S. - first kiss ever - during that bridge."
Roberta Flack - 'Ballad of The Sad Young Men'
"Her version of this song blew my mind. It’s effortless and organic and live and long and breaks the rules of anything radio friendly. It reminds me to get lost in the delivery and not worry about traditional pop writing all of the time. The lyrics are a perfect observation of an everyday subject, but through the lens of something bigger. To me, it captures that longing and lostness of a particular age when you are discovering yourself and love."
The Beatles - 'Something'
"There’s no way to zero in on just one song from The Beatles of course, but this one has always meant so much to me. My Dad and stepmother did a cross country drive when I was five and we had two tapes - Abbey Road and The Muppets. We’d play them over and over and ‘Something’ always drew me in."
Barbra Streisand - 'The Way We Were'
"This one was from my mother’s side. I grew up listening to her through my mother and have loved every bit of butter ever since. I love the drama and fullness of her work and the dedication of ‘going there’ fully. This is pure beautiful cinematic honey and I’ll fight you over it. I went to her concert with my mom a few months ago. I’d tried to get tickets 10 years ago, but didn’t have the money. It’s been Mom’s dream to see her for 51 years and I can’t tell you how special that night was. It was a powerful reminder that music can bring people together through generations and that live music is a wonderful thing."
Aerosmith - 'Dream On'
"The vocal performance on this is epic. The phrasing of words, the vocal jumps, rhythm - all of it I love. It makes me want to stretch myself as a singer and is very inspiring. Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and Nina Simone would be tied with Aerosmith for epic delivery, but I went with who I heard first way back when."
Joni Mitchell - 'Blue'
"She is the power of melody."
Carole King - 'So Far Away'
"This taught me what a ‘classic’ sounds like. In every way it just checks all of the boxes."
Stevie Wonder - 'Ribbon In The Sky'
"Stevie Wonder is just pure passion, elegance and freedom. I love the arcs that he creates musically and the word genius can’t not be said. I love the beauty of the phrase ‘ribbon in the sky’ and he captures optimism and hope in his lyrics in such an inspirational way. His art is socially conscious and universal and electrifying."