Mistress of the Mix: When The Going Gets Tough

Barbara. Paulie. Adrienne. 2Rs. Karen and Katie. Today’s column is all about you. Yep, you, dear readers (and listeners) of this column who not only indulge in my playlists and the musings that go along with them, but have found yourselves motivated enough to give some feedback in the comments section. I love your comments, and I love it when you suggest songs I didn’t think of!

About a year ago I shared a playlist called Hang In There Baby, and discussed the healing powers of music when life’s got you down. I told a story about one of the most dark and sour moments in my own life, and how one song finally helped me pick myself up by the bootstraps, put a smile on my face, and let all the negative crap drain away to make room for some positive energy.

It was one of my most viewed columns ever. The feedback in the comments section was tremendous, especially the song suggestions from readers that I had failed to include in the playlist. The feedback means a lot to me. Lets me know you’re picking up what I’m laying down. Sometimes it’s hard in my line of work to know if the music I’m playing on the radio is getting through to anyone. I’m sitting alone in a room spinning discs and talking into a microphone, and if anyone anywhere in the world is listening, I don’t know it until someone stops me on the street, calls me on the phone or emails to communicate back. Every once in a while I even get a letter from an 85 year old guy in Bandon, Oregon who uses an actual typewriter! In the media world, we’re flying blind, having no idea if there’s anyone out there paying attention until something makes you so happy or so angry that you’re moved to take action.

Cut to a few weeks ago, when someone suggested that I consider jumping on board and creating a playlist for September’s Suicide Prevention Month (A News Cafe has a whole series dedicated to the topic, starting with this). I realized that I’d pretty much done just that last October with Hang In There, Baby. All the songs I would put on a playlist to try to do my part in preventing someone from thinking about taking their own life are exactly the songs I already put onto a playlist. Except, of course, for all the songs that I left off that playlist. The songs that were suggested by readers.

Today, I’m adding those songs onto last year’s playlist, and I invite you to continue offering suggestions in the comments section below if you can think of more tunes that you think should be included. I’ll be happy to add them on as we go forward…ah, the magic of Grooveshark! (That is if I can find them. Grooveshark is an amazing resource, but doesn’t have much in the way of The Beatles or Lenny Kravitz, which I find tragic.)

Please share with us songs that inspire you to move forward, songs that help you suck it up and get yourself back on track. Songs that help you hang on, stand up, hang tough and cowboy up. Songs that help you find faith in yourself. And whenever life is getting you down, stream this playlist, and keep hanging in there. And if you think you can’t do it by yourself, there are people out there ready to help, like Help, Inc. (which is looking for volunteers, by the way).

Stream the playlist on Grooveshark:
  1. Mose Allison – I Don’t Worry About A Thing 
  2. Crescent City Gold – Hang Tough This is the musical Dream Team of New Orleans. Dr. John, Allan Toussaint, all the great musicians together, hanging tough.
  3. Lenny Kravitz – Stand Unfortunately, Grooveshark doesn’t carry this tune. Bummer. Fortunately, YouTube does! Please enjoy this song by watching the video. It’s one of the most meaningful of the bunch.
  4. Destiny’s Child – Survivor
  5. Morcheeba – Good Girl Down
  6. Randy Newman – Can’t Keep A Good Man Down
  7. Andy Grammer – Keep Your Head Up
  8. Stevie Wonder – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing
  9. Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side
  10. Frank Sinatra – On The Sunny Side Of The Street
  11. Ingrid Michaelson – Be OK
  12. Pink Martini – Hang On Little Tomato That little tomato is you!
  13. Ben Folds – Golden Slumbers Maybe what you really need is a nap.
  14. Coldplay – Everything’s Not Lost
  15. Michael Franti & Spearhead – Hey World (Don’t Give Up)
  16. Kate Bush – Don’t Give Up
  17. Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down
  18. Shakira – Waka Waka 
  19. Chris LeDoux – Cowboy Up
  20. Gene Autry – Back In The Saddle Again
  21. Andrews Sisters & Bing Crosby – Ac-cen-tu-ate The Positive
  22. Anita O’Day – Pick Yourself Up
  23. Stevie Wonder – Put On A Happy Face
  24. Michael Franti & Spearhead – Have A Little Faith
  25. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
  26. Helen Reddy – I Am Woman
  27. Playing For Change – One World
  28. Randy Newman – You’ve Got A Friend In Me My apologies… reader Paul suggested a song by Randy Newman that includes the iconic Mark Twain quote, “Sing like nobody’s listening.” Alas, I couldn’t find it. This was the best I could do. If anyone knows the song he speaketh of, let me know!
  29. Brett Dennen – Nothing Lasts Forever Brett Dennen, however, included the line in this sweet song.
  30. Celine Dion – A New Day Has Come
  31. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over The Rainbow
  32. Sarah McLachlan – Arms Of An Angel
  33. Sheryl Crow – Here Comes The Sun
  34. Megan Slankard – Sails This one wasn’t on Grooveshark, but you can listen to it on Megan’s website. You can also hear her live in person from time to time when this talented Bay Area musician performs in Redding, usually at Vintage.

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.

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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32 Responses

  1. Avatar Steve Fischer says:

    How about "You've Made Me So Very Happy" by Blood Sweat & Tears?

    And when I want a real picker-upper, I crank up side one of the first Chase album: "Open Up Wide," "Livin' In Heat," "Hello Groceries," "Handbags & Gladrags," and "Get It On." I can remember driving down the coast to Santa Barbara right after I got out of the Air Force, just blasting that thing in my car.

  2. Avatar Katie says:

    Thanks Valerie! This is a great playlist and I hope people continue to share suggestions (like Rusted Root, On My Way!). The Suicide Prevention Workgroup will be so happy to see this when I share it on their Facebook page!

  3. Avatar teco_mac says:

    One of my favs. is by Bobby Mcferrin – Don't Worry Be Happy

  4. Avatar name says:

    Chubawamba (sp?) I get knocked down (but get back up again)

    • Valerie Ing-Miller Valerie Ing-Miller says:

      What a perfect song to add to this playlist! I can't believe I missed this the first time around, but that's exactly why I ask for your additions! Thank you.

  5. Valerie Ing-Miller Valerie Ing-Miller says:

    Thanks for the speedy feedback, folks! Your songs have been added to the playlist! They're not listed here on the site (it's a bit more involved to go back and edit the printed version of my playlist), but if you reload the Grooveshark player again, you can hear your songs!

  6. Avatar 2r's says:

    Your Welcome Valerie..I Agree and Love your choice in Music.such a powerful medium to express thru..How bout 1 for my Precious.and Sacred Love Goddess? I suggest U2..All i want is you.. In Gratitude Valerie..Peace Love and Blessings to us All…Ron

  7. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    When it gets really bad, I put on the first album by the Pretenders and turn it up all the way.

    • Valerie Ing-Miller Valerie Ing-Miller says:

      Of COURSE!!!!!! I hope you'll forgive me for not putting on the entire album, but my personal favorite 3 from the first LP (which I also had, on cassette, when I was an angst filled punk).

  8. Avatar adrienne jacoby says:

    . . . and a nod to the gospel genre . . . "I'll fly Away" or "Mansion Over the Hilltop."

  9. Avatar adrienne jacoby says:

    Or bluegrass, "Look on the Sunny side."

  10. Avatar Paul Frye says:


    the song tht you are looking for," SING LIKE NOBODY'S LISTENING" is, I'm pretty sure" a Guy Clark song. You Tube has a bunch of his stuff. He's part of that Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson crew. Hope this helps.

  11. don williams don williams says:

    Louis Armstrong "Wonderful World" has always been one of my favorites

    • That's actually already on this week's playlist at #31, but I didn't list it as such because it's the 2nd half of Iz Kamakawiwo'ole singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. However, I'm adding your original classic version too – especially since I'm about to try doing the same thing for my dad in a few minutes!

  12. Avatar Dean Ing says:

    Val, a really wham-bam version of Sunny Side of the Street complete w/ modern harmony vocal was by Tommy Dorsey (I've got it on 78 rpm!) & yes, it picks a feller up & shivers yer timbers just when you need it. (OK, yeah, Sinatra sang for Dorsey, etc etc but "mine" was, I think, a bit later. I think the drums were Buddy Rich; brief, but not a millisec off.) Knockout swing, luv…

    • Well Dad…the Frank Sinatra version was on the original playlist at #10, but I've added a Tommy Dorsey version for you, just for fun. However, as you'll hear from the introduction, I'm pretty sure TD was conducting the band, the voice is Jack Duffy. Best I could do, Pops!

  13. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Those two readers beat me to "Sunny Side of the Street" and "Keep on the Sunny Side." Bob Marley's "One Love" is powerful. and Jason Mraz' "I'm Yours" is a great spirit lifter. Mozart's Serenade No 10 and Bach's Brandenburg concertos work for me.

    Great article. I really appreciated your description of what it feels like to be talking into a microphone in an empty room. No feedback! Just picture the people who responded to your article hanging on every word you speak over the air. I'm one of those and I always feel as though you're talking to me.

  14. Avatar Paul Frye says:


    I found it, here's the addy, if you still have interest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv1d160YJUI. That should take you right there. And, as I'm sure you found, the title is COME FROM THE HEART. Enjoy. Kathy Mattea's version is good, but it's hard to beat old Guy.

    Peace, Love and Music (if there's a difference),


  15. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Valerie, How about Stardust. I like the "oldies". I like KLXR, too. I guess I haven't found your station. Sorry.

    • Stardust, a beautiful song. It's added. If you're in Shasta County, JPR has 3 stations: the Classics & News station at 90.9FM (where I host Siskiyou Music Hall M-F from noon to 4). There's also the Rhythm & News Station at 89.7FM and the News & Information Service at 1330AM. Thanks for trying to tune us in!

  16. Avatar Caroline says:

    I can't wait to hear the tunes on this list — right now I am at 47,000 feet somewhere between Wake & Midway Islands over the Pacific so no streaming for me at the moment. It gives me such a boost just to read the list and see all the enthusiastic contributions. Personally I like "Peace Be Upon Us" by Sheryl Crow. After reading & hearing loads of bad news from all over the planet that song makes me think we might have a chance to work things out one of these days…. Love ya, my dear – keep the tunes comin'!

  17. Avatar Magnolia Neighborhoo says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for a wonderful playlist!

  18. Avatar Dana says:

    Thanks Val! Another touching column… And that's one of the reasons you have an ever-growing group of listeners on and off the airwaves. Here's to cowgirling up!

  19. Avatar Cheryl says:

    Hey Valerie, great list! I especially love 'I Will Survive' and Iz's music. It's a theme that could probably end up with thousands of songs with each and every one being meaningful to someone out there.

    The first song that came to my mind is 'Long Day' by Matchbox Twenty. That song got me through some grieving after losing someone dear to me, when everything seemed hopeless. My favorite line is in the chorus "reach down your hand in my pocket, pull out some hope for me". I would turn it up so loud that I couldn't hear myself singing at the top of my lungs. Maybe that's some kind of scream therapy?

    Take care!

  20. Avatar Romney says:

    Hey Valerie

    "Dear Prudence" never fails to make me happy and just twirl in circles like a happy child…

  21. Avatar Shannon says:

    How about "Touch of Gray" by The Grateful Dead. I am not a Deadhead but when I hear that song it ALWAYS lifts my spirits!