Pick 5: Take It Easy On Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day! - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Pick 5: Take It Easy On Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day!

As the holiday season approaches, you’ve surely had your nose to the grindstone and have been taking all your endeavors seriously for the past 11 or so months. Do you feel like perhaps you’ve been taking things a little too seriously? If you feel burnout encroaching and your work ethic slipping, you should consider celebrating Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day!

Nathan sitting on the porch, playing guitar with a cup of coffee beside him. He is wearing his pajamas!
Me loosening up and lightening up on the porch!

Celebrated annually on November 14, Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day reminds us that we shouldn’t let the stress of everyday life get us down – in other words, don’t sweat the small stuff! Stress is a killer, and when you take a second look at many of the things that cause you aggravation in your day-to-day life, perhaps you can find some humor and laugh it off. Now that you know about Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day, I hope you’ll do what you need to take care of yourself for the day and better prepare yourself to roll with life’s inevitable difficulties. To get you in the spirit, here are some classic songs about taking it easy!

“Rushing Around,” Roy Acuff

This song should be the official theme song of Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day! While we may think that living life in a hurry is a modern woe, Roy Acuff warned of living life in a hurry in the 1950s. Acuff warns listeners of the hazards of carelessness brought on by being in a hurry and poses the question: “How old will you be at 63, from rushing around today?” It almost seems ironic that a song proclaiming “they didn’t used to rush around back in Grandpa’s day” was written in what is now “back in Grandpa’s day,” but its message of slowing down for your own sake still holds true.

“It’s My Lazy Day,” Bob Wills

Here’s a classic from Bob Wills, the “King of Western Swing,” about the joys of taking it easy. While many would consider going fishing a perfect way to spend a leisurely day, the narrator of this song is taking his day so lightly that he doesn’t even want to make the trip to his favorite fishing spot or do much of anything. Sung by Tommy Duncan, one of Wills’ Texas Playboys, the lilting delivery amplifies the message of the song, and the laid-back performance by this normally red hot band makes you feel like they’re all loosened and lightened up.

“Work Don’t Bother Me,” Kid Smith

Walter “Kid” Smith is a tragically overlooked figure in early country music. Born in Virginia, Smith began working in a cotton mill, but soon became a professional boxer. Upon moving to Spray, North Carolina, he fell in with the clique of musicians who surrounded the legendary Charlie Poole. Perhaps one thing that diminished Smith’s impact on the music was that he did not consistently record under the same name, often using a pseudonym or a band name such as The Carolina Buddies or The Virginia Dandies. Here Smith proclaims just how easy it is to take it easy when you avoid life’s biggest stressor: work!

“Just Can’t Live That Fast Anymore,” Lefty Frizzell

While sometimes we need to loosen up and lighten up because we work too hard, honky tonk hero Lefty Frizzell tells us all about the opposite problem. Reflective of Frizzell’s own rough and rowdy lifestyle, this song warns of what can happen when you loosen up TOO MUCH for TOO LONG. While it’s important to let loose and live a little, don’t let Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day get out of hand!

“I Ain’t Going to Work Tomorrow,” Flatt and Scruggs

Didn’t know about Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day until you read this blog post? Planning on celebrating a day late now that you know about it? Well, here’s a song for you! This classic ballad was originally recorded by The Carter Family, but here’s a rip-roaring bluegrass rendition from the dynamic duo Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, along with all the Foggy Mountain Boys!

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