If It’s Friday, This Must Be The Equinox

When I first sat down to write about the Fall equinox a few weeks ago, it was 85 degrees in Redding, and I was actually considering the idea of wearing a long sleeved shirt to work. Now, as the deadline to get this to the editor looms over my head like a thundercloud, the thermometer has climbed back up to 100. It almost seems pointless now. But then again, I guess that’s what this whole column was about in the first place…the fact that around here, the autumnal equinox is just a date on the calendar. That date is today: Friday, September 23rd at exactly 2:04am PDT. (It’s also my mother’s 39th birthday, for perhaps the 39th time. Happy Birthday, mom!)

So while it’s officially Fall, Redding still behaves like it’s summer until sometime in late October. But the kids are back in school and the days really are getting shorter even if they’re not getting any cooler. And after ten years in Shasta County, I’ve finally started to fool myself into believing train myself to understand that it’s Fall because the calendar tells me so, not because the thermometer tells me. Heck, I’ve already begun to think about making creamy squash soups for dinner instead of gazpacho and greek salads. I even turned the heat back on to my hot tub last weekend. Although I love Redding’s 114 degree days, I greet the equinox with a big nicetoseeyahowdoyado, and I will welcome Fall with open arms, when it finally gets here, whenever that’s gonna be.

I love the changing of the seasons because it always brings change and new routines. It means you put away your river sandals and you dig around in the back of the closet for your rainboots. You scratch your head and think to yourself, now where did I put my coat? I haven’t seen it since April. Around here, Fall means changing out the summer sheets for flannel. It means one glorious month when you get a nice break on the utility bill because you’re no longer using the air conditioner or swamp cooler, and you’re not quite ready for the heater. It’s that Fall equinox sweet spot, that one moment when you get to take a little breather from summer before the onslaught of winter mayhem.

The equinox (both Autumn and Spring) usually brings a sweet spot to the radio world as well. It’s that brief moment of the year when the radio signal is perfect. It’s not so hot that the fans burn out at our mountaintop transmitters and fry electronic equipment, and the winds of winter storms that knock out electricity haven’t come yet.

Lucky us, there are some great songs dedicated to the changing of the seasons. And while there’s plenty of tunes for Summer, Spring and Winter, there really seems to be a generous bounty of songs specifically for the months of September and October. A plentiful harvest of music for these particular months. A virtual cornucopia of compositions, if you will! (I crack myself up.)

This is probably my most mellow playlist to date (you know, cause it’s time for a change…) with a little classic rock and jazz. But we’ll start off this Autumn playlist with a bang, with my favorite change-of the season tune ever, from the still-spectacular Earth, Wind & Fire! And speaking of fire, if you’re getting a little chilly, feel free to warm your hands by the toasty cracklin’ fire (in Widescreen HD no less!) as you enjoy the music.

Stream this playlist on Grooveshark (or click on the imbedded playlist included above)
Download all or part of the mix on iTunes

  1. EWF– September
  2. The Zombies– The Time of the Season
  3. Terry Jacks– Seasons In The Sun
  4. Hall & Oates– Change of Season
  5. Daughtry– September
  6. Green Day– Wake Me When September Ends
  7. Foo Fighters– Summer’s End
  8. REM– Nightswimming
  9. Yo La Tengo– Autumn Sweater
  10. Sting– Fields of Gold
  11. Neil Young– Harvest Moon
  12. James Taylor– Country Road
  13. Steve Miller Band– Seasons
  14. MinusBlue– Pale September
  15. Edgar Winter– Autumn
  16. Paolo Nutini– Autumn
  17. Bill Evans Trio– Autumn Leaves
  18. Sarah Vaughan– Autumn in New York
  19. Ahmad Jamal– Maybe September
  20. Chet Baker– September Song
  21. Stevie Wonder– Seasons
  22. Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66– So Danco Samba from Equinox

Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She’s the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can’t imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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8 Responses

  1. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    "Autumn Almanac" by the Kinks, "Forever Autumn" by Justin Hayward, " "When Fall Comes to New England" by Cheryl Wheeler, "When October Goes" by Rosemary Clooney, "October Country" by October Country…

  2. Jennifer Jewell Jennifer Jewell says:

    love this list – but also give a big nod to Rosemary Clooney's When October goes.

    Happy Autumnal Equinox!

  3. Avatar Sally says:

    Love your lists, but with regards to the Fall that the weatherman promises should start Sunday, I have theory. Go back to the Spring that never happened. It was filled with horrendous rain and hail together with brief moments of sunshine and then the repeat of rain/hail. Like it frequently is said "If you don't like the weather now, give it 5 minutes and it will change". So I think the powers that be wanted us to remember what HOT is and is delaying Fall, but it will be here!!!

  4. Valerie Ing-Miller Valerie Ing-Miller says:

    Somehow I have never heard that Rosemary Clooney song, and I LOVE Rosemary Clooney! I won't fail to include her in a very cool upcoming Martini Madness playlist column, promise. Thanks for the suggestions, girls!

  5. Avatar Sheila Barnes says:


    You are such a good writer, as well as DJ, as well as amazing chooser of perfect music. Thank you for your column today. I needed it.

  6. Avatar Paul Frye says:

    Somehow, Mr. Tony Bennet's rendition of SEPTEMBER SONG, seems to demand inclusion into any list on the topic.

    I spent this first Friday of Autumn, drifting down the Trinity river, from Big Bar to Del Loma, doing a bit to early Steelhead fishing. It was warm (hot, actually at times) and the riparian landscape said, " Autumn, I think not, Paulie." The riverine grasses are bright green, skunk caggage was shining its dark green faces and sticking out their tongues at me and the boat. We did land 5 very nice early steelhead, released 3 wild fish and kept 2 hatchery reared fish, about 6 pounds and seven pounds, respectively. Mine on the bar-be tomorrow night. Both adult daughter and her wife like to eat steelhead and salmon and all the 6 g'kids like to eat fish. I got a pleasant welcome from 5 y. o. g'son Dominik who was appropriately "wowed" by the fish and carried my duffel bag to the house. The ladies are already planning a fresh steelhead feast.

    Mike Mitchell and Mike Dinius were, as always, excellent companions. A beautiful, late summer day specifically, not at all autumnal, with the exception of the few steelhead and numerous salmon in the system. Cuppla' beers, cuppla' cigars, cuppla' fish, some good friends = an excellent way to bid summer adieu, not fond adieu, simply " see ya' around next summer".

    We had no stereo in the boat, so no Mr. Bennett. Mr. Mitchell played Willie Nelson's new CD of standards on the ride over, which was very tasty. Hope that you all get outside and enjoy part of the weekend outside. Stay well. Blessings..

  7. Paul, thanks for sharing your lovely first day of Autumn! Of course the playlist wasn't complete without September Song, but I have a soft spot for Chet Baker. It was tough to choose, though. Besides your suggestion and my final pick, there's Frank Sinatra, Johnny Hartman, Mel Torme and – Willie Nelson!

  8. Sheila, thank you so much. You're the sweetest!