While chocolates, flowers and jewelry are high on the list for Valentine’s Day, one can’t forget the importance of love songs .
Four singer/songwriters in the Foothills reflected on their favourite love songs for the Western Wheel in honour of Valentine’s Day.
“That’s all I listen to,” said country singer Maddison Krebs. “Love songs are like a fairy tale, but a musical form.”
Krebs began writing songs at the age of seven and has been inspired by love songs for years.
“Any love songs that are old school, but have a nostalgic feeling to them, I love,” she said.
A favourite is Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love.
“It’s such a romantic song,” she said. “Whenever you listen to it, it gives you that warm feeling inside, very comforting, that you could find somebody that loves you that much one day.”
Although she hasn’t had much experience with romantic love, it hasn’t stopped the 20-year-old songbird from writing about it.
“The thing with me is I think I’ve written love songs in terms of imagining what it would be like in a romantic relationship,” she said. “I’m still single and I’m still hopeful.”
Krebs’ favourite self-written love song is Live for Love.
“It’s an overall theme of self-acceptance and loving yourself for who you are,” she explained. “It’s more vulnerability and self love. I feel like that’s a relatable song in terms of loving yourself and loving others.”
From her latest EP, Krebs’ title song Midnight Slow Dancing is a love song about slowing down and appreciating people you love.
“It’s a very slow burner song,” she said. “I know 50 years down the road it will still resonate with me.”
Award-winning country singer Tanya Ryan is also a sucker for love songs.
Unforgettable by Nat King Cole is one of her favourites.
“I find that everything he sang, he sang with such purpose and intention and conviction so when you sing a love song with purpose and intention and conviction it means something,” she said.
As for her own music, Ryan said she enjoys performing I Want You.
“It’s about wanting someone rather than needing them,” she said. “I felt that was a more powerful place to stand is choosing someone than needing someone. I guess the content of the song really lands with me, that really powerful love.”
Ryan admits she’s always been drawn to love songs.
“I write a lot of love songs – that’s my favourite content,” she said. “You go through different phases as a writer where you write different content that’s more relevant to you.”
Ryan recently became engaged so it is no wonder she is love-struck.
As for all the hype around Valentine’s Day, Ryan isn’t so easily bought.
“I believe you should love someone every day so I tend to rebel a bit because I don’t want marketing to tell me when to love someone,” she said.
On the other hand, love is not as big an inspiration for Okotoks singer Michela Sheedy.
“I haven’t really been inspired enough by a relationship like that to write something along those lines, but I’m sure that one day someone will come along that will inspire me to do so,” she said.
With so much of the music on the radio focusing on relationships and love, Sheedy can’t help but have her favourite ¬– Keith Whitley’s When You Say Nothing At All. However, Sheedy prefers the version by Amercian bluegrass-country singer Alison Krauss.
Sheedy said she remembers her mom playing the song and singing along when she was four years old.
“There’s something really timeless about it and it makes me think,” she said. “It really stands across all versions of love. That’s what I really enjoy about it.”
Longview acoustic musician Jim McLennan and his wife Lynda sing a variety love songs, with a preference for songs from Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind and Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia.
Those that resonate most with McLennan tend to be the sad or regretful love songs.
“You have to feel the message or the mood of the story of the songwriter performing it,” he said.
McLennan said his favourite is Canadian folk musician Stan Rogers’ song 45 Years, which he said is significant because he and Lynda have shared the same number of years together.
“He was a great songwriter who died in an airplane that burned in Cincinnati in 1983,” he said. “By then he was regarded as one of Canada’s great upcoming songwriters.”