This post is a guest post from Jane Roman Pitt, who writes some amazing lullabies for little ones.
I realized early on that, as much as I loved singing songs of all kinds, I could pull off some styles better than others. Somehow it just wasn’t believable doing the rocker thing (as much as I wanted to dress like Stevie Nicks) or the seriously sad blues thing, so I stuck to singing what suited my nature best—folk, indie, soft jazz… and lullabies.
Lullabies have been a part of bedtime routines since parents have been trying to put babies to sleep. Science shows that lullabies calm the mind and soothe the nervous system, and who doesn’t need that?
When my kids were born I gathered up all the bedtime songs that my mother had sung to me. Then I began to collect traditional lullabies–after all, some of them had been around for hundreds of years, so there must be something of lasting value there.
But when it came time to record an album of lullabies, in honor of my new granddaughter Annalise, I wasn’t inspired to include any of those classics because there were already lots of beautiful lullaby albums out there. Besides, I had written her one song already:
You’ve only just arrived, the answer to a prayer
But I feel like I’ve known you forever
I gaze into your eyes and see my heart reflected there
I’m so glad we’ll live this life together
Welcome to the world, welcome home
That’s the sky, there’s the moon, those are stars shining above
I’ll show you all I know, my child, my own
Welcome home to love
This was a new concept for me—it was a real lullaby with my own feelings expressed in my own words. Were there others like that out there?
I started to hunt, and found incredible lullabies written by the best songwriters of our times–from Bob Dylan to the Dixie Chicks, from Tom Waits to Wilco—top musicians who were using their skills to personally convey how deeply they felt about the new arrivals.
I also found that love songs worked as lullabies—for what is a lullaby but a love song anyway? One Grammy-winning Nashville songwriter, Hugh Prestwood, gave me a song that had never been recorded before, saying that although he’d written it as a love song, the mood said “lullaby.”
Lullabies and Wine?
What does this have to do with Merlot? Well, the first review my lullaby album, “Midnight Lullaby”, got from the Huffington Post said that this album was “not just soothing for the kiddies, but a fireplace essential for the Cabernet crowd.”
OK, I know that Merlot and Cabernet are meant for different foods and different moods but the concept is the same.
We grown-ups deserve relaxing and enjoyable music too, and if you can get a head start on relaxing during the bedtime routine, while cuddling with your baby and listening to songs that you actually like, that glass of wine will taste all the better once you’re free to sip.
Parents often sit and listen to the same music with their babies, night after night, over and over again. Which is more appealing for repeated hearings—“Rock-a-Bye Baby” or a smooth jazz version of “Summertime”? “Twinkle Twinkle” or Neil Young’s “Barefoot Floors”?
So pour the glass, cuddle the kids, and listen to any soothing music that you love. It will create the “lullaby mood” of comfort, calm, and nurture—for both you and your baby.
Jane Roman Pitt is an award winning singer, songwriter and composer. Her latest album, Road to Dreamland: Unexpected Lullabies for All Ages, is available through her website: ladylullaby.com, iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby.
*Cheers to sweet dreams for baby, and sweet wine for mommy*