My Love Affair with Music: Bruce’s Top 60 Music Groups

i love music

I love music. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t listen to some sort of music. Being the geek that I am, in the living room I have a bad ass AV receiver, complete with big speakers and a sub woofer. I use an Apple AirPort Express to wirelessly stream music to the AV receiver.  In the office I have a set of AudioEngine A2 powered speakers hooked up to my desktop computer and in the bedroom I have an Apple AirPort Express hooked up to a set of AudioEngine A5 powered speakers and a sub woofer.

I use Airfoil on the desktop computer to stream the same music to the office, bedroom, and living room. I also use my iPad Air (thanks Sis for the Christmas gift) to stream music to the Apple AirPort Express in either the bedroom or the living room. I also have a set of inexpensive powered speakers I use out in the shop when I am working. I can also listen to music on my iPad air with a set of wireless Bluetooth headphones.

Rdio is the primary music streaming service I use. I have a paid account. The one feature I love is that I can download music to my iPad Air and Polly can download music to her iPad or iPod. This way we can still listen to music even if we don’t have internet access. For 9.99 a month, Rdio gives me access to millions of songs and allows me to also play artist stations similar to what Pandora offers. I also use Spotify, iTunes Radio, and iHeart Radio. Needless to say, I haven’t popped a CD into a CD player in years.

What music I listen to depends on my mood. I am quite eclectic when it comes to music, so what I listen to can vary dramatically throughout the day. Here’s my favorite bands/musicians:

When I am feeling old, I listen to classic rock music:

  1. Journey
  2. Foreigner
  3. Rod Stewart
  4. U2
  5. Aerosmith
  6. Queen

When I am feeling old  and sentimental, I listen to:

  1. The Carpenters
  2. Simon and Garfunkel
  3. Captain and Tenille
  4. Ann Murray
  5. Over the Rhine

When I am in a pop/rock music mood, I listen to:

  1. Staind
  2. Matt Nathanson
  3. Shinedown
  4. Breaking Benjamin
  5. Collective Soul
  6. Seether
  7. Theory of a Deadman
  8. Better Than Ezra
  9. Toad the Wet Sprocket
  10. Third Eye Blind
  11. Linkin Park
  12. Paramore
  13. Matchbox 20
  14. Hinder
  15. Live
  16. Hoobastank
  17. Lifehouse
  18. James Blunt
  19. Natasha Bedingfield
  20. Kelly Clarkson
  21. 3 Doors Down
  22. Dido
  23. Three Days Grace
  24. Christina Perri
  25. Green Day
  26. Cage the Elephant
  27. Goo Goo Dolls
  28. Puddle of Mudd
  29. Sick Puppies
  30. Adele
  31. Ellie Goulding
  32. Avril Lavigne
  33. Sheryl Crow
  34. Alanis Morrisette
  35. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

When I am in a folk/country mood, I listen to:

  1. Alison Krauss
  2. Eliza Gilkyson
  3. Kenny Chesney
  4. Darius Rucker
  5. Dirks Bentley
  6. Sugarland
  7. Dixie Chicks
  8. Florida Georgia Line
  9. Love and Theft
  10. Lady Antebellum
  11. Keith Urban
  12. The Band Perry
  13. Drive By Truckers

From time to time, I also listen to Southern Gospel music. The Bishops are the runaway favorite in this category.

Music wise, my favorite day of the week is Tuesday. On Tuesday new albums are released, so I go to the new music tab in Rdio and check out who has released a new album. Every week I find a couple of artists I have never heard of and they get added to Bruce’s latest greatest music groups list.

I fall in and out of love with certain groups and artists or I might love one of their albums but not the others. My music love and hate changes like my mood does. I am a finicky connoisseur of music and my tastes continue to change as I get older. (and the volume continues to get turned higher as I age)

How about you? Are you a music lover? Do you have eclectic tastes or do you tend to listen to a specific genre of music? Please share your thoughts about music in the comment section.

Comments (35)

  1. Lydia

    I would have never guessed that you’re a fan of Avril Lavigne! That’s awesome.

    I generally stick with R&B and pop/rock, although I do like listening to classical music when I meditate.

    The last music I purchased came from Beyonce’s new album a few months ago. Most of it was the usual fluffy pop stuff, but I really loved the lyrics to “Flawless.”

    Here’s a snippet from it:

    “We raise girls to each other as competitors
    Not for jobs or for accomplishments
    Which I think can be a good thing
    But for the attention of men
    We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
    In the way that boys are.”

  2. Justin

    Bruce, Bruce, Bruce. Hoobastank?

    Seriously, cool list. Here are some of my faves, in no particular order or genre:
    Johnny Cash
    Van Halen
    Reverend Horton Heath
    Butthole Surfers
    O’ Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack
    Jars of Clay 8-O
    John Denver

    I tend to go the mp3 route, online radio, and XM. Although I do have several Johnny Cash records on vinyl, handed down from my dad.

    A good white noise app with waves and rainstorms is always nice.

  3. Steve

    Rock music is of the devil!! Don’t you KNOW that??!!

  4. Erin

    Who ARE you, Bruce? I thought I was eclectic, but you put me to shame!

  5. Paula

    I can’t imagine my life without music. My husband and I joke that when we married, our two record collections married and multiplied. We literally have shelves and shelves of LP’s and CD’s. Tapes too, but they are shoved to the rear and don’t get as much use, unless we need them for a long drive.

    I like most genres at least a little, except for rap and the opera vocals. I like rock and roll oldies, some country–especially Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Don Williams, and Charlie Rich—quite a bit of classical–especially “New World Symphony” by Dvorak, and anything by J.S. Bach. Jazz version “Amazing Grace” by Bob Snyder. Other hymns played Dixieland style.

    If I tried to list it all, it would be way too long. I get on jags when I discover someone new and become obsessed with learning all about their music.

    Jazz and blues are my all time favorite, especially fairly old stuff from the fifties and sixties, but some new stuff, too. Coleman Hawkins, Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis, Charlie Parker, Diana Krall, Lightnin’ Hopkins, BB King, Diane Schuur, Charles Brown, David Sanborn, Kenny G, Etta James, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Hirt, Lena Horne, etc., etc. ………..

    There’s “Naked Keys” by Margie Adam, which we discovered in the eighties on vacation in Eureka Springs. It is hauntingly beautiful. That’s also where we discovered the music of Liz Storey and Leo Thomas.

    I love Leon Russell, Levon Helm (whose family we knew growing up), Bob Dylan, Elton John, Allan Toussaint, and sometimes Ellis Costello, the Eagles.

    I recently accidentally discovered that there is a genre of music known as “swamp pop”, which is totally different than Cajun or Zydeco. The songs are most all really lovelorn ballads. The single best song I’ve found while exploring this type of music is “Nothing Takes the Place of You” by Toussaint McCall. You can hear it on youtube, which is a great place to monkey around checking out things to see if you want to order them or learn more about them.

    Sometimes I love maybe just one song by a person, such as ” Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman. And of course, there was that great song, “Hey Paula” by Paul and Paula. :)

    We love all the American Songbook albums by Rod Stewart, as well as other of his works. The deluxe version of his “Time” album has the most unusual and best version of “Corina, Corina” I’ve ever heard.

    I’ve had the soundtrack to “The Eddie Duchin Story” since I was eight years old and still love it. When I was that age, I was also fascinated by roaring twenties music and kept an album of it almost perpetually checked out of the library.

    Eclectic? Oh, yeah. Good thing I didn’t grow up IFB. They would have failed in their attempts to separate me from my music.

    1. Paula

      And how could I not mention Paul Desmond, Dave Brubeck, Billie Holiday, Ron Carter, Wes Montgomery, Nancy Wilson, and Peter, Paul & Mary?

      And, believe it or not, Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys. For “political” reasons, I had to become familiar with their music back in the seventies when my husband worked at a radio station owned by two of the Playboys. A few of the songs are pretty catchy.

  6. Aram McLean

    So you’re the guy buying Anne Murrey’s records! ;)

  7. 1415dr

    Over the Rhine! Sw them in concert at Christmas. Wonderful band.

  8. vjack

    Another Audioengine fan here. I run a pair of A5s and a small subwoofer from my iMac through a DAC, and I practically always have music playing while I write. I mostly listen to classic hard rock and metal, but my tastes are fairly diverse. The only genres I avoid are pop and most country.

  9. carmen

    Nice to see a few Canadian crooners on your list, Bruce! Although Anne Murray is too wholesome for me (ha, ha!) – I prefer Jann Arden or k.d. lang. I think my tastes run eclectic, too as I like Hank Williams and ACDC – life with four teenagers left its mark! (no rap, though – even the kids didn’t listen to that. . . if it hasn’t got a discernible tune, can’t do it. . . )

    As usual, my cultural deprivation is highlighted as I haven’t heard of half the above-mentioned artists. . sigh. . but I can do alliteration! :)

  10. davewarnock

    many similar favorites. check out a few others if you haven’t: Grace Potter, Brandi Carlile (saw in concert last year with full orchestra- AWESOME), Kings of Leon, Gavin Degraw, Anna Nalick, Amos Lee

  11. Kat

    I have pretty eclectic tastes, too, but my listening preferences are, weirdly enough, influenced by the seasons: In late spring and summer I mostly listen to pop and rock. In the autumn I go to classical, until November, when I switch to almost exclusively medieval, mostly chant. In December I listen to nothing but Christmas music, though that’s mostly medieval, too, or at least old/traditional (no jingle bells — the only “modern” I listen to is the soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and one Bing Crosby album). January is mostly classical again, though I’ll also mix in ambient. By February and March I might be adding some alternative pop to the mix, like Fleet Foxes, Imogen Heap, or Shearwater, but mostly still classical. I add more and more pop/rock until it’s time again for Blue Oyster Cult, Talking Heads, k.d. lang, Alannis Morrisette, and the like.

    I like most types of music, other than rap/hip-hop, most current fluffy pop, and opera vocals. I listen to jazz on Rhapsody, but don’t own many albums. Here’s a quick, by no means exhaustive, list of stuff I love:

    The Talking Heads
    Igor Stravinsky
    Claude Debussy
    Anonymous 4
    The Christmas Revels
    My Brightest Diamond
    Antony and the Johnsons
    Harold Budd
    Simon and Garfunkel
    “Weird Al” Yankovic
    Erik Satie
    J.S. Bach
    The Beatles
    David Bowie (early stuff)
    Brian Setzer Orchestra
    Lee Press-On and the Nails
    Cat Stevens
    Jonathan Coulton
    CSN (and sometimes Y)
    David Byrne
    Alannis Morrisette
    Emma Kirkby
    Imogen Heap
    Tom Petty
    50′s and 60′s “Oldies”
    Indigo Girls (early)
    The Monkees
    Maurice Ravel
    Pink Martini

    Okay, gotta stop somewhere, so I’ll stop there. ^_^

    1. Paula

      Your eclectic to the max persona reminds me of myself! Choosing by the seasons is a new twist! And how could I have forgotten k.d. lang or the Beatles!? The Beatles’ “In My Life” is hauntingly beautiful to me, and probably gets the least air time of any of their songs. Simon and Garfunkle’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and old Paul Simon songs, too! (“Something So Right” and “Still Crazy After All These Years” are pure poetry to me. I remember where I was in the high school when I first heard “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and it nearly took my breath away.)

      All of you remind me of things I forgot and make me want to go listen right now.

      I think Bruce started this discussion so we would entertain him while he is resting!

  12. tlethbridge

    I mentioned on another post that I am a metal head, and that would be the primary label that would fit me. I like everything from the classic Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ronnie James Dio, Savatage era through current bands like Iced Earth, Kamelot, Amorphis, Nightwish, Delain, Amon Amarth, Symphony X, Sonic Syndicate, Mortemia, Circle II Circle, and In Flames.

    I also like classic rock: Rush, Kansas, Boston, etc.
    I like classical music and find a lot of crossover between classical and metal. Pachelbel’s Canon in D is a particular favorite and I love string quartets in general. Wagner, Motzart, Beethoven are all good. If you want a great album that shows the intersection of metal and classical check out Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Beethoven’s Last Night.

    Where I get eclectic is the varieties of folk influenced music I like. Americamanta plays Andes mountains folk music, heavy on pan flute and other wood flutes. I like the Dropkick Murphys, who play a fusion of punk and celtic music with a decidedly blue collar outlook. Leahy, Natalie McMaster, and Eileen Ivers all play a celtic derived folk style called Cape Breton Fiddle, which sounds similar to Appalachian folk music. The latest band someone turned me onto is Trampled by Turtles; I have found I am really digging their faster paced stuff, so now I have added bluegrass to my eclectic repertoire. Eluveitie is a great folk metal band, featuring bagpipes, fiddle, hurdy-gurdy, numerous flutes, as well as traditional metal instruments in an eight piece band.

    I am not a big fan of country, though Charlie Daniels is a notable exception (I am seeing a pattern with fiddles here). I don’t do rap at all and I really do not like light rock/pop music.

    1. Paula

      You mention wood flutes. When I worked for a chiropractor, one of the main discs we played in the therapy room to relax the patients was by native American artists, very heavy on the wood flutes. People were enchanted.

  13. NeverAgainV

    Crosby Stills Nash and Young
    Joni Mitchell
    Carole King
    Donald Fagen/ Steely Dan
    Pink Floyd
    George Clinton/ Parliment
    New Order
    The B-52′s
    Chicago…of course! :)
    The Cure
    Jim Croce
    James Taylor
    Michael Jackson
    John Denver
    I love music from musicals and movies that I have on my iPod
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix soundtrack/ Nicholas Hopper
    West Side Story
    Les Miserables
    The Sound of Music
    The Book of Mormon …awesome stuff

    When I’m real melancholy
    England Dan and John Ford Coley
    The Carpenters

    Oh there’s more. Lots of great music out there…and not so great too. Lol

    1. Paula

      Carol King, absolutely. And the Carpenters…..we used “We’ve Only Just Begun” at our wedding.

      1. NeverAgainV

        Karen Carpenter had such a smooth haunting awesome alto voice. I listened as a child during the 70′s and I think that’s how I learned to harmonize. I love their harmonies.

  14. NeverAgainV

    My dad liked folk type music. I grew up on the Kingston Trio….Sons of the Pioneers and The Christy Minstrals. (The New CM…I’m not sure which one?)

    Lots of different types of music in our house. My mom used to play The Fifth Dimension, I listened and memorized every song.

    …when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars…then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars -
    This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius….

    good memories

    1. Paula

      Wonderful lyrics. I miss the good parts of the sixties. And it was NEW CM. :)

      1. NeverAgainV

        Thanks Paula I wasn’t sure about the New Christy Minstrals. Lol. The 60′s and 70′s were decades that artists produced some awesome music.

  15. ElectroMagneticJosh

    Bruce; reading your choices I am surprised you don’t have Pearl Jam on there. Try the albums “10″ and “Vs” and see what you think. Faith No More might also be up your alley – both these songs reflect very different sides to their music:

    There is a group (not that well known) called Turin Brakes that you might like. At least try this song (the closest they had to a hit I believe):

    Please note I am not basing these recomendations on my favourite music (although I do like them) but basing them on what you said you enjoy. Anyway I’ll stop there.

    1. Ben

      Josh, do you listen to any of Mike Patton’s other projects, like Tomahawk, Mr. Bungle, or Fantomas?

  16. Jason Bowes

    Based on your coutry-ish tastes, I bet you’d like Lydia Loveless a lot – she’s from Columbus, and has got something of a buzz going lately… My own band opened for her last month up in Auburn Hills, I think she’s going to be a big deal.

    1. Paula

      I did some online listening and reading and definitely learned something today. Natalie is awesome.

  17. carmen

    Wow Jason! Yup, she’s good – and only 23!! Learn something new on this Blog everyday! Thanks!

    Oh, and it’s good some of you know about Natalie MacMaster. Cape Breton fiddling families are very common – and most people love to hear the toe-tapping music; I swear Cape Bretoners are born musical, it’s in their blood. (We are fortunate to have a daughter-in-law with Cape Breton roots) I’ll try to attach a link (I’m a techno dunderhead) so you can see Natalie’s family (she has five children who are home-schooled so they can travel with their parents) performing at a Festival.

    I’m astounded – it WORKED!!! Enjoy – watch to the end. . . smile. . hope you’re all having a sunny Sunday!

  18. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

    Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts about music. Your comments are a reminder to me of how diverse readers of this blog are. I contrast this with my religious upbringing where only certain types of music were permissible. It is so wonderful to….to put it bluntly….listen to whatever the hell I want to. :) no guilt, no worries about lyrics or “beat.” Just good or bad, determined by personal taste.

    1. After the Pulpit

      Ha! That reminds me of the 6 week cross-country trip my parents took our family on when I was a kid. The only permissible tunes were two cassette tapes of happy-clappy Jesus praise–one of which was in german. Agony! A few years later, on a road trip to Florida, I was thrilled to have bought my first Walkman to listen privately to songs like “Billie Jean,” “China Doll,” or “Angel is the Centerfold!” Lol ;)

      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        My wife and I didn’t start listening to “secular” music until we were in our late 40′s. While we certainly heard secular music growing in the late 1960′s and 1970′s, we were far more influenced by hymns and southern gospel music. We didn’t even start listening to CCM until we were in our early 40′s. In many ways, we are living out our teenage years 40 years after the fact. :)

    2. Lydia

      I’ve really enjoyed the comments on this post as well!

  19. Ben

    Yet another nice thing about no longer believing, I no longer have to worry about whether or not god disapproves of who’s screaming in my headphones.

    Music has been an extremely divisive subject for me. I started out listening to children’s gospel records and my wife regularly comments on my lack of knowledge vis-a-vis popular children’s musical artists. From there I was permitted to listen to Christian rock, such as Petra and White Heart.

    Then I discovered Metallica.

    I remember picking up the Black Album and cutting up the lyric sheet to cover the track listing for “The God That Failed” just in case my mom took a look at the CD cover. In hindsight I don’t think she would have cared. My tastes grew and changed and I began to listen to Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, and (gasp) Marilyn Manson. Then at 20 or so I burned all of my objectionable CDs in an oil drum and hung the melted plastic in my room like some sort of sacrifice. I remember my friend’s dad telling me to look at the black smoke rising from the discs and imagine what it was doing to my soul. I thought he was deep at the time, now I just think he was an idiot.

    I went through another purge of mostly black metal music in 2004. That was due to my wife thinking that my taste in music was affecting my mood. No idea if that was the case or it was based on a suggestion from our pastor, who also told me to throw out some action figures that I’d collected on the basis that they were idols. Ugh, just typing this now I wish I could go back and tell him to go fuck himself.

    These days I’m back on the black metal, and almost any other metal, and a pretty eclectic range of other bands, although I generally just listen to podcasts when I have free time. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites right now:

    Pink Floyd
    Skinny Puppy
    Mr. Bungle
    Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats

    1. carmen

      Geez, I know I’m old. .. the only one I have ever heard of on Ben’s list is Pink Floyd (and in my mind’s eye I see the album cover of “The Wall” through a haze of pot smoke. .. )

      1. Ben

        To be fair, a few of the bands on that list play music that can only be loosely described as such. Igorrr has a musical chicken and a vacuum on one track and is more punishing than melodic, Shining is described as suicide metal, and Mr. Bungle is like Looney Tunes music translated for barbarians and the tone deaf.

        I may have been trying too hard to look different and cool here. I listen to a lot of mainstream music as well, but at this point these are the bands that have been scratching my musical itches.

  20. carmen

    . .. sounds like I’d NEED a toke to listen to some of that stuff!! (IF I could smoke. .. which I can’t!)

  21. drawhorn

    MJ is without a doubt the king. When i listen his songs i feel as he is still alive. Surely one of the most significant music stars ever!


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