Team Rave On is once again running the XPN 5K in memory of Andy Katz, and this is their soundtrack - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Team Rave On | photo courtesy of Debbie Blum

This fall, WXPN will hold our sixth annual 5K Run to raise awareness and funds for the Musicians On Call program.

Once again, the run has big supporters in Team Rave On, who banded together in memory of XPN supporter Andy Katz, who passed away on October 14, 2016. His wife Debbie Blum, along with his sons Aaron (20) and Daniel (18), began Team Rave On with family and friends to celebrate Andy’s life. Last year, I asked Debbie to put together a list of songs that celebrate Andy, an XPN member, lover of music and a believer in the healing power of music. This year, she did it again — another playlist for Team Rave On, and all of the 5K participants, to warm up to.

My Leicht Lunch today will feature some of the songs from Debbie’s list of suggestions. Enjoy today’s Leicht Lunch, check out the full playlist below, get to know Andy Katz in Debby’s comments, and go to our website to sign up for this year’s XPN 5K. I hope to see you Sunday morning October 6th at Penn Park.

Andy was all about the music – the sound, the lyrics, the musicians, the art, the vibe, the emotion, the power, the community. Everything. He created a space in our home called The Listening Room, which houses his album collection and turntable. The boys and I can go in there any time and conjure him up in a heartbeat. In that way, his love for music — and for us — keeps on giving.

Now, Helen, you are giving us a chance (again!) to share his passion for music, and we are so proud and grateful to do so as part of our efforts in support of Musicians On Call. But while we are floored by your generous offer to suggest songs for the amazing Leicht Lunch, it is quite a tall order. How to pick only a dozen songs from the thousands that meant something to Andy or that mean even more to us now in his absence?

Last year’s list knocked out only 13 possibilities, leaving an untold number of songs and artists (and just as many reasons and stories) for us to consider. So to put some guardrails around our wide-ranging thoughts, we decided to create a kind of Team Rave On Playlist Part 2, taking each of last year’s songs and giving a second look to the artist or the idea behind the choice. It makes us feel a little bit better to be able to now pick, let’s say, a second Wilco song after agonizing over having to pick just one before.

But even with that, the caveats in my intro to last year’s list still stand: We are not even scratching the surface of what was Andy’s ever-evolving soundtrack. Perhaps, though, we can think of that less as a shortcoming and more as a call to consider these playlists part of an ongoing conversation about music — a conversation that can bring us together, help us remember, and inspire us all to keep sharing our passions and our love. Because therein just might lie the healing.

Rave On, M. Ward (with Zoey Deschanel)

Still perfect. Our team’s message to Andy, each other, and the world; and Andy’s message right back to each and every one of us.

Simple Twist of Fate, Jeff Tweedy

Even though Andy bought himself a harmonica just so he could try to play along to Dylan, he loved, loved this cover by Jeff Tweedy that subbed in a fiddle. In any case, or with regard to any version, I’m sure he’d also love, love to talk about what Dylan might have been saying here about fate or agency or what can be — or not be — in an instant.

Loving Cup, The Rolling Stones

Because sometimes it still feels like Andy is bringing us roses when we “ain’t got none.”

In a Future Age, Wilco

I mentioned this one last year as a close contender for the Wilco spot on the list because the cantor, Andy’s cousin Jen, quoted it at his funeral: “Let’s turn our prayers into outrageous dares, and mark our page in a future age.” So now it gets its turn.

This Must be The Place (Naïve Melody), Iron & Wine

This Talking Head cover shares the warmth and expression of California Stars, along with its good-vibe feeling of “standing here beside me.” Aaron also recommends (because, you know, that acorn-not-falling-far-from-the-tree thing) a listen to String Cheese Incident’s live version of the same.

Mind Mischief, Tame Impala

Andy kept his listening fresh with new music and he treasured sharing the love of new bands with the boys. Aaron picked this off of one of the Tame Impala albums his Dad gave him.

Book of Love, Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields

This is another from “69 Love Songs,” which is a three-volume concept album that’s tender and nutty and dense and clever. (Did I need to say more than “concept album” to have you believe Andy was fascinated by it?)

City of New Orleans, Arlo Guthrie

While Superman was a lullaby Andy sang to the boys, the boys sang this one from their car seats as it was on one of Andy’s popular-for-parents mixes of tunes that were kid-friendly, but not made for kids. Barney the Dinosaur who?!

No Particular Place to Go, Chuck Berry

Andy would be proud to know that Aaron pushed for Chuck Berry last year and again this year. Because, rock and roll.

First Day of My Life, Conor Oberst

Let’s quietly skip over the troubled R.A. and pivot to another singer-songwriter who was an Andy fave: Conor Oberst (a.k.a. Bright Eyes). Andy loved the sincerity of this song, and the music video cinched it: People, snuggled up close, sharing music. Check it out and see if you don’t smile a little:

My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue), Neil Young

It took Daniel a half a second to make this his top pick for the list – because Andy took him to a Neil Young concert and, well, because “rock and roll is here to stay.”

All You Need Is Love, The Beatles

We picked Man on Fire to close out last year’s list because of the sentiment, “I want the whole damn world to dance with me.”  Besides knowing that we couldn’t go two years without including The Beatles, I knew (thanks for the inspiration, Hol) that this was the perfect sentiment — as simple as it is profound — to end this year’s list: “Love is all you need.”

Mr. Charlie, Grateful Dead

One time when Andy had VIP seats to a Dead (related) show for himself and one of his dearest friends, Steve, he insisted they cut off their access wristbands so they could switch places with other friends at the show. Steve says he was not on board with the plan, but “if Andy had something great, he wanted others to share it.” This is a song that Steve remembers from that concert, even if he saw it from the cheap seats.

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