Your Official Music-to-Read-By Playlist for A Good Kind of Knowing

I’ve always loved to listen to good music while reading a good novel. And since the love of music, and its universal calling, is a central theme in my latest novel, A Good Kind of Knowing, I wanted to develop a playlist for readers to have on hand while reading the story.

In the book, the artists and songs mentioned range from outlaw country to early jazz, from Ella Fitzgerald to George Strait, from music made in the 1920s to lyrics penned in the 1980s. In the following playlist, I’ve taken liberties to include some current-day music, as well. But mostly, I’ve carefully chosen music for each chapter based on the mood of the characters and the pacing of the plot. In many cases, the songs listed here are ones the characters themselves are listening to in the storyline; others are ones I remember listening to when I wrote these very chapters and scenes.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

PS: If you don’t want to pay for all these tunes by downloading them into a “real” playlist, most can be found on youtube for free.

A Good Kind of KnowingA Novel by Kathy Lynn Harris

The Official Music-to-Read-By Playlist



Chapter 1

Pretty Paper – Willie Nelson

Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin

Amarillo by Morning – George Strait

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights – Texas Tornadoes

Everyone Will Crawl – Charlie Sexton

Speed of the Sound of Loneliness – Nanci Griffith

I Gotta Find Peace of Mind – Lauryn Hill

Sugar Plum Fairy – Duke Ellington

Walkin’ After Midnight – Patsy Cline

Silver Wings – Merle Haggard

A Good-Hearted Woman – Waylon Jennings

Chapter 2

Working Man – Merle Haggard

Faded Love – Bob Wills

Should I Come Home or Should I Go Crazy – Gene Watson

Old Time Rock and Roll – Bob Seger

Resistance is Futile – Steve Coleman

I Won’t Dance – Frank Sinatra

Regalame un Besito – Laura Canales

How Blue Can You Get – B.B. King

Chapter 3

Angel from Montgomery – John Prine and Bonnie Raitt

Lover Man – Charlie Parker

Summer Skin – Amy Cook

Can`t Let Go – Lucinda Williams

Chapter 4

Rainy Days And Mondays – The Carpenters

Someday – Steve Earle

Bruises – Train featuring Ashley Monroe

Chapter 5

(Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding

Black Coffee – Ella Fitzgerald

Blue Moon – Billie Holiday

Chapter 6

Brown Sugar – Rolling Stones

Who’ll Stop The Rain – Credence Clearwater Revival

Kentucky Waltz – Bill Monroe

Chapter 7

Rainy Day Woman – Waylon Jennings

Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino

Fishin’ in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

California – Joni Mitchell

Lost Highway – Hank Williams

Understand You – Lyle Lovett

Chapter 8

Lullaby – Johannes Brahms

Sharp-Dressed Man – ZZ Top

Ain’t No Way – Aretha Franklin

She Thinks I Still Care – George Jones

New Life In Old Mexico – Robert Earl Keen

Chapter 9

Sunday Kind of Love – Etta James

A Love that Will Never Grow Old – Emmylou Harris

Chapter 10

If I Had You – Benny Goodman

That’ll be the Day – Buddy Holly

Runaway Train – Roseanne Cash

Chapter 11

Sunday Morning Coming Down – Johnny Cash

Desde Que Conosco –  Freddie Fender

Down to My Last Cigarette – k.d. lang

A Soft Place to Fall – Allison Moorer

Chapter 12

I Don’t Wanna Fight –  Tina Turner

Members Only – Bobby “Blue” Bland

Blues for Dixie – Asleep at the Wheel featuring Lyle Lovett

Yesterday – Gladys Knight & The Pips

Days Like This – Van Morrison

Wings Upon Your Horns – Loretta Lynn

Chapter 13

Sleepy Cowboy – Yonder Mountain String Band

Whoever’s in New England – Reba McEntire

Linda on My Mind – Conway Twitty

Chapter 14

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Take Me Down – Kelly Willis

Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley

Heaven – Los Lonely Boys

Original Sin – Elton John

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues – Rodney Crowell

Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music) – Vern Gosdin

Mr. Record Man – Willie Nelson

Chapter 15

I Am A Town – Mary Chapin Carpenter

Rose of My Heart – Johnny Cash

Sittin’ Here Drinkin’ (Whiskey Blues) – Muddy Waters

Chapter 16

The Weight (Take a Load off Annie) – The Band

Windows Are Rolled Down – Amos Lee

Chapter 17

Simple Gifts –  Jim Brickman

In The Mirror – Yanni

Before the Next Teardrop Falls – Freddy Fender

Down on the Rio Grande – Johnny Rodriguez

Chapter 18

Bad Moon Rising – Credence Clearwater Revival

Forever Mine – Hank Crawford

You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne

Ball and Chain – Big Mama Thornton

Chapter 19

A Woman Left Lonely – Janis Joplin

Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty

Chapter 20

Meet Me in Montana – Dan Seals & Marie Osmond

Hound Dog – Elvis Presley

Help Me Make it Through the Night – Sammi Smith

Chapter 21

If Wishes Were Horses – Lucinda Williams

Peaceful Easy Feeling – The Eagles

Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man –  Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty

Texas River Song – Lyle Lovett

Chapter 22

Christmas for Cowboys – John Denver

I’m Coming Home – Zydeco Hurricanes

To Make You Feel My Love – Garth Brooks

When I Call Your Name – Vince Gill

November Rain – Guns N Roses

Chapter 23

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain – Willie Nelson

A Picture of Me Without You – George Jones

Chapter 24

Losing You – John Butler Trio

Lovin’ Her Was Easier – Kris Kristofferson

Someone I Used To Know  – Patty Loveless & Jon Randall

Lucky Now – Ryan Adams

Chapter 25

Sweet Dreams – Patsy Cline

Chapter 26

Silver Wings – Merle Haggard

Chapter 27

Blue Guitar – Earl Hooker

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Ella Fitzgerald

These Arms of Mine – Otis Redding

Sitting In Limbo – Jimmy Cliff

Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground  – Willie Nelson

Into the Mystic – Van Morrison


Thanks for reading, and listening. Email me if you’d like a Word doc or PDF of this list – kathy [at] kathylynnharris dot com.

If you want to read more of my writing, I send out the occasional newsletter. Sign up here:

The Things That Can’t Be Replaced

My son and I were staining our deck rails yesterday afternoon, commenting on the fact that it had reached 83 degrees on the top of our mountain—one of the hottest days we’ve ever experienced in my nearly 11 years up here.

That’s when we heard the sirens—three different ones by our count. My five-year-old is one of the smartest kids in the world (I’m sure of it), and he looked at me and said, “Wildfire, Mom.”

Weekend photo of the High Park Fire in northern Colorado

We both had tuned into the news earlier and knew of other fires burning in Colorado. The record heat and low humidity were not doing firefighters any favors. So we knew the conditions were bad all around us. But even though I could’ve really used a triple shot of vodka right then to calm my worry, I reassured my son that everything was fine, and we went back to painting.

Then our neighbor came over … said there actually was a fire, just a few miles down the mountain. The road was closed and volunteers were preparing to go door to door to evacuate folks, if things took a turn. We weren’t in immediate danger, but we should be ready to leave.

Now, we live in the middle of a national forest and near many backcountry recreation areas, where campers and tourists and off-roaders congregate, and where a campfire or cigarette butt could get out of hand at any time—fire ban or not. So we are generally prepared with important documents in one place, ready to grab if needed. So that was the easy part.

I asked my son to pack his 10 favorite toys—mostly just to keep him busy while I decided what else needed to go with us, if the need arose. I thought of all those people in northern Colorado who have lost their homes recently to the High Park Fire, the second largest in the state’s history (still burning and only 45 percent contained). More than 200 homes have been lost so far. I thought of all those folks in Texas last year who suffered when the flurry of wildfires hit in early September. I wondered if they’d had any warning … if they’d had the luxury of the time we had this afternoon to think clearly about what could and couldn’t be replaced. I hoped that they did.

We’d had another wildfire scare in 2002, before our son was born. We’d gotten the “prepare to evacuate” notice. We sprayed our roof down with water. I remember thinking back then that packing a few things wasn’t all that difficult. My husband and I were at a point in our lives when we didn’t have tons of “stuff.” We lived simply in our mountain log cabin. Other than a few family heirlooms and our wedding album, most of what we had could be easily replaced. Basically, I needed my laptop, with all of my current writing files; a pair of jeans and boots; a couple of t-shirts; and my dogs. That was it.

My boys reading on Christmas Eve ... and the kind of photo that it would hurt to lose.

This time, it was completely different. There were the photos and scrapbooks and videos, of course. But also the monster truck and fireman and school bus and tractor drawings. The watercolor paintings, and preschool and kindergarten crafts, and “I love you, Mom” notes. The few baby items I’d saved, like his first cowboy boots, his first Texas A&M t-shirt, the clothes we brought him home from the hospital in, his baby blanket, his first Miami Dolphins’ jersey (my husband’s a huge fan, bless his heart). A favorite rattle. All the portraits on the walls from the baby years to the toddler years to preschool and then kindergarten. There were notes and letters from my son’s birthparents. There was every pine cone and rock he has ever collected on a hike, that he gave to me for “safekeeping.” And my journals of his first years, and my first years of being a mom and trying to balance career and baby and life. His favorite books that we’ve read together a million times … the first ones he could read to us by himself.

The thought of losing any of these things made me ache so deeply that I can’t even begin to explain it. I suppose this is just one more way that being a parent changes everything. Damn kids. They really do worm their way into our very being, don’t they?

The day ended just fine, by the way. The fire was brought under control quickly (thank you, firefighters!!) and we were never asked to leave. But it is going to be a long summer, so I went ahead and packed up as much I could in a few boxes, just in case.

Hank is pretty much a celebrity in our house.

As for the Stinkbug, here’s what was in his box: one big red bouncy ball that cost 75 cents from Walmart, all of his Hank the Cowdog books, four monster trucks, five Hot Wheels cars, a glow-in-the-dark football, his new guitar, two die-cast jet planes, two stuffed animals, a box of colored pencils, a Slinky that no longer slinks, and his Johnny Cash and Jack Johnson CDs.

I love that kid.

And you know, I suppose that when it comes down to it, if all my husband and son and I really had left was each other, we’d still be living pretty high on the hog.

(Note to the Fire Gods … please don’t test this theory. Please? I really really like my comfy bed and my new coffeemaker and my collection of boots and that one really cool necklace I have made of recycled watch parts, and the Adirondack chair my dad built me and that one pair of jeans that fits just right after 100 washings and and and …)

If you want to read more of my writing, I send out the occasional newsletter. Sign up here: