wholehearted living

A Self-Care Playlist: Mellow Music for Your Mellow Soul

Most of my evenings involve some variation of the following: a good book,ย my comfy bed, a candle, and some mellow music.

It’s the only way I know how to recover from 14+ hours of parenting and trying to be a decent human. ๐Ÿ™‚

When we moved into our new home, sound systems were immediately on my husband’s mind. My mind… not so much. He bought a couple of great speakers (this one, in case you’re curious), one of which resides in our bedroom. I’m surprised at how much I enjoyย having some rich, quiet, relaxing music as the background for ourย evenings.

If you could use a soundtrack for your own self-care, I thought I’d pass on ten of my favorite artists. I’m drawn to music with any of the following: a stellar male voice,ย male/female duets, acoustic guitar, and just a hint of folk.

These ten artists fall into the category of easy listening, so I think they’ll make the perfect background music for the nights when you’re putting yourself back together after a long day.

A Self-Care Playlist: Mellow Musicย for Your Mellow Soul

1. Alexi Murdoch

2. Benjamin Francis Leftwich

3. Bon Iver

4. The Wind & the Waves

5. Jose Gonzalez

6. Iron & Wine

7. Vance Joy

8. The Paper Kites

9. The Lumineers

10. The Head and the Heart

While we’re talking about mellow music and evening routines… I think the last hour before bed is a pocket of time most of us are hugely under-utilizing.

If you’re interested in re-vamping the last hour of your day and finally getting the self-care you’ve been needing, please check out our 7-day challenge:

Design a Soul-Filling Bedtime Routine

You won’t regret it!

A Self-Care Playlist | The perfect background music for the nights when you're putting yourself back together after a long day.
  • Kari
    June 7, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Love your list, those are definitely some of my faves. More would be…
    Gregory Alan Isakov
    Bears Den
    Joshua Radin
    Josh Garrels
    M. Ward
    Lord Huron
    I could go on and on and on…

    • Ash
      December 8, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      The XX are great as well- so is M83. ๐Ÿค—

  • Kari
    June 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    I can’t even believe I forgot to mention…Joe Purdy and Brandi Carlile!!

    • Erica Layne
      June 7, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      Thank you, Kari! I recognize some and can tell I like your style! ๐Ÿ™‚ I will seriously look up every one of these. Thanks again!

  • Sasha
    June 7, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    So great… I have made myself a playlist! I listen to podcasts so much that I sometimes forget how much a love mellow music. I want to give you something in return – its not mellow, but it you can’t help but want to happy dance to it. Don’t judge it by its title: Hoes in Mexico by The Royal Streets. I just checked and its not on spotify, but it comes up on youtube if you google it.

  • Brittany
    June 28, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    You should checkout Storyhill. Great duo.

    • Erica Layne
      June 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      Just turned them on! Thanks so much, Brittany!

  • joanna
    June 29, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Love Jose Gonzalez and the head and the heart! Paper kites are a fav too.
    New fan from your post on becoming minimalist!
    Always on the prowl for good acoustic folk music as I’m a huge fan if it.

    • Erica Layne
      June 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Ha! You named it for me! THANK YOU! That shows how little I really know about music, the fact that I didn’t know the genre name. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I do, so thank you!

      And thanks so much for coming over from Becoming Minimalist. I’m so happy to have you, Joanna!

  • Jamie
    July 1, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Wailin Jennys is my go to. Folk, acoustic strings, and amazing harmonies. Enjoying your articles emensely.

  • Troy
    July 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I also have a list of acoustic songs to mellow out to Erica, which include a third of your top 10.
    Angus & Julia Stone’s, “Big Jet Plane” and “Paper Aeroplane” are two of my favourites, “Landslide” (originally Fleetwood Mac) and “Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness” are two songs by The Smashing Pumpkins I also enjoy along with The Lumineers, Bon Iver and many others.

  • Kristina
    July 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    I second Angus and Julia Stone ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Erica Layne
      July 6, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      With two votes for them, I am officially on it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Molly
    July 6, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    You would LOVE Penny and Sparrow ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Erica Layne
      July 6, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Ooh, I love the enthusiasm! Will definitely check them out. Thanks, Molly!

  • Pam Killebrew
    July 9, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I am a fan of instrumental guitar. Chet Atkins is typical of my taste, but I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know a lovely musician named Larry Mitchell. He does a lot of rock-type stuff, but his acoustic slower album “Escape: Acoustic Passages” is my go-to for a morning drinking coffee on the patio. My iPhone alarm in the mornings is a lovely piece from that album called “River Run Deep”. Worth a listen ๐Ÿ˜Š.

    • Erica Layne
      July 9, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks so much for the recommendations, Pam! Isn’t instrumental guitar the best? I will definitely look these up!

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  • Shelby
    July 11, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    I would also suggest Cherry Wine and Like Real People Do by Hozier, Boats & Birds by Gregory & the Hawk, Delicate by Damien Rice, Half Acre by Hem, I’m on Fire by Town Mountain, January Wedding by the Avett Brothers, Oceans by Seafret, No Other Love by Chuck Prophet, Stubborn Love by the Lumineers, Sun by Sleeping at Last, and 1957 by Milo Greene.

  • MondiGale
    September 10, 2016 at 3:50 am

    I love The Yearbook Collection album by Sleeping at Last (great band someone else also mentioned) and also any Tom Odell album. Huge fan of the Wind and the Wave so happy to see it included in your list. Thanks for leading me to some new music! Excited to check it out.

    • Erica Layne
      September 10, 2016 at 7:19 am

      Ooh, thank you! It’s been a little while since someone added some names to this list, and I was needing some new ones to try, so your comment was perfectly timed! Off to check those out!!

  • Sharla
    September 10, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Lone Bellow

    • Erica Layne
      September 10, 2016 at 7:18 am

      Thanks, Sharla! I will look these up!

  • Lucie
    September 15, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I really enjoy The Wind and The Wave. I hear this song for the first time and I love it. Thank you for this awesome list. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a nice day
    Lucie http://www.inbluebox.com

  • Laura Brassie
    September 25, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Love all of those! Very acoustic folk. I blog about self care + love music and always want to incorporate music in my blog. I really love this idea!! You’ve got a new fan.

    The new one for me on your list is the Wind and the Wave so I will definitely check them out ๐Ÿ™‚ A few more of my favorites…

    Junip (side project of Jose Gonzalez)
    Gregory Alan Isakov
    The Oh Hellos
    Rogue Valley
    James Vincent McMorrow
    Williams Fitzsimmons
    Fleet Foxes
    City and Colour
    The Native SiblingThe Tallest Man on Earth
    The Middle East
    Great Lake Swimmers (I like their older stuff)
    The National Parks
    Roo Panes
    Matthew and the Atlas

    Hope you enjoy!

    • Erica Layne
      October 3, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      I am suuuper late saying thank you, Laura, but as I’m finally plugging some of these artists into Pandora, I couldn’t help but say thank you! I like your taste. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Carly
    October 23, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Thank you for these suggestions/playlist ๐Ÿ™‚ Some very great music in that list and in the comments! One I must add though (that I didn’t see anyone mention)is Ben Howard. You simply MUST check him out ๐Ÿ™‚
    Live long and prosper โค

  • Lisa
    October 26, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Please make a playlist on Spotify and share it with us! Great picks!

    • Erica Layne
      October 26, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Genius, Lisa! I’ll let you guys know on Facebook if I make one, and I’ll update the post. Might take me a little while to work up the energy to figure out Spotify. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Melissa
    October 26, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Peter Mulvey!

    • Erica Layne
      October 26, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Looking him up now, Melissa! Thanks for the rec!

  • Laurie
    December 23, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Just discovered your blog and have enjoyed poking around. I love all the music recommendations. Jenn Grant makes beautiful music under her own name and also as part of Aqua Alta.

  • charlotte
    January 21, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Beautiful tunes, thanks Erica!! Adding ‘Milk Carton Kids’ to the list ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Erica Layne
      January 22, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Trying Milk Carton Kids out right now, Charlotte! Thank you!

  • Laura
    January 22, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Amos Lee
    David Gray
    Ben Howard
    James vincent mcmorrow

    • Erica Layne
      January 22, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      I always love to have new artists to try! Thanks, Laura!

  • Justin
    February 8, 2017 at 3:50 am

    I love your blog! The theme, the pictures, and this article, it gives a relaxing feeling. It’s my first time listening to those kind of music and I personally love The paper kites and the wind and the waves. Thank you for sharing this article. I love listening to music, specially christian music. Now, I think I’ll be a fan of mellow music because of your post. Do you have a playlist for the paper kites and the wind and the waves?

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  • Stacy Burkhart
    March 2, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    This was awesome, I love Iron and Wine! Thanks for sharing this. Some of these I have never heard of and some I forgot about. <3 Love your blog, it's amazing!

  • Fiona
    April 24, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    It’s a great list. I would add anything from Sophie Hutchings to it.

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