In DJ-ing weddings in and around New York City for years, often we perform for couples who are very knowledgeable about music, and therefore don’t pick the usual classic (or sometimes cheesy) first dance songs seen on those generic, one-size-fits-all first dance lists on wedding websites. Often couples, especially in New York City, prefer a first dance song which is, of course, slow and romantic, but is a bit more subtle or less polished than the usual first dance staples – either in the music, the message, or both. These couples also tend to not want a first dance song that is overly-familiar, which we love – it’s great to be reminded that there’s people out there who would rather have NO first dance song than have a first dance song by Celine Dion!
You may be one of those more discerning couples, so we’ve created a list on iTunes located here of some great first dance songs of the alt-country variety that we’ve played for brides and grooms over the years as well as some other songs in this style that we haven’t played yet but we think would appeal to anyone who’s looking for a first dance song that’s pretty and sentimental but also completely shlock-free.
Pictured above is the cover of the self-titled album by Easmountainsouth, which includes one of my favorites songs on the list, "So You Are to Me." Its melody and vocal have that kind of inarguable prettiness that commands your attention, and the lyrics and spare production make it seem like a song written hundreds of years ago, born out of some long-ago lovers’ impending separation, like a soldier going off to war, or a traveler leaving for a long sea voyage. (Forgive me, I was an English major.) Another one of the songs in the list, "I Want You to be My Love" by Over the Rhine, I wrote about in a separate blog entry which you can check out here. And finally, another song on the list worth highlighting is "Fields of Gold" by Eva Cassidy, who makes the already pretty Sting song a hundred times prettier. By stripping down the production sheen of the original, Cassidy lets her absolutely lovely voice take center stage and makes the feeling of the song so much more powerful.