The Ultimate Mix Tape…For My Mom

Hey Everyone!  This Guilty Pleasures Friday, we’re doing something a little different.  I’m asking for your help and recommendations for a present for my mom!

Every holiday I give my mom a Phenomenal Woman Mix as one of her Christmas gifts and this year I’m finding lots of tunes, but in really different styles.  So I’ve decided to give her both a “Cafe’ Mix” and a Phenomenal Woman Mix (upbeat music that makes you sing in the car or dance to).

So now, I’m about halfway through both and I need suggestions! 

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite music finds for the two compilations, and would love to hear your ideas for additional songs to go on either cd!


I thought we needed a fun contest!  

I will pick 3 commenters at random who will win their choice of the following:

  • a chance to do a guest post about their guilty pleasure
  • a guest post from me on a topic TBD
  • a mix cd of tunes selected just for you!

Let the jam begin!

Here’s some of the tunes for the Cafe’ Mix so far:

Where’d All the Living Go – Imaginary Cities

Never Quit Loving You – Jill Barber

You and Me – Sara Watkins

Tunes for the Phenomenal Woman Mix:

Let Me Out – Imelda May

Wild Young Hearts – The Noisettes

My Heart – The Ettes

Blue Bird – Lindi Ortega

Did you notice a trend?

All recommendations should be female artists please!  That’s what makes it a phenomenal women mix! 

Thanks everyone for your suggestions!  Did you find some new tunes you like too?

33 responses

  1. Jess! Anything by Ani DiFranco. Google her. Or Breakable by Ingrid Michaelson. Or Crucify by Tori Amos.

    What a cool idea!

    1. OMG you and I need a road trip together! I have all of Tori Amos’ cd’s but like one. And I’ve used both Ani DiFranco and Ingrid Michaelson on previous mixes. You then my dear must check out Serena Ryder. She’s my fave!!!

    2. Don’t tell my dude friends, but yeah, what Renee said. All 3 of those women probably belong on the phenomenal mix. Other suggestions in separate comment below!

      1. A man who loves Tori Amos! I’m charmed by you already, Sir!

  2. The only songs I’d even dream of putting on my mom’s mix tape are Streisand hits. So, I probably wouldn’t be much help… LOL

    1. Don’t knock Barbara! She’ll hear you!

  3. What a sweet idea Jess! Right now I’m loving Stubborn Love by the Lumineers. 🙂

    1. Yah the Lumineers are great!

  4. Well, I was going to recommend Serena Ryder’s “Weak in the Knees”, but I see you already probably considered this one. How about “If Love is a Red Dress” by Maria McKee or Schuyler Fisk’s “Hello”? Or maybe an acoustic Alanis (I know, it’s a bit predictable, but her acoustic stuff is great). Or an old Indigo Girls tune like, “Ghost” or “Hey Jesus”? Oh, or you could go waaaaayyy back and put “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” by Carly Simon on the cafe compilation. Such a haunting tune. Phew, can you tell I have a thing for music?? What a great idea for a gift for your mom! (And you have wonderful taste, btw….)

    1. Lol. Thanks for the tuneage approval, Dawn! Yes, several Serena Ryder songs have made their way on the list. But you gave me some new names to check out as well! Thank you!

      P.S. I’ve seen Alanis perform in concert twice, once with the Barenaked Ladies, and she’s awesome.

      1. Oh, yes – I have no doubt an Alanis/Barenaked Ladies concert would be amazing! Here is one more for the cafe edition: “Almost Lover” by A Fine Frenzy. Jess, hope I haven’t overstayed my welcome, but I have enjoyed this post/comments so much!

        1. Are you kidding? The more the merrier! I too am loving the song recommendations!

        2. OMG! You just posted a 100 favorite songs post and you didn’t direct me to your blog! So glad I popped over! SCORE!!!

          1. Yes! I’ll post the next grouping on Monday. It was a very popular post, and I’m so glad you came by! I know you are looking for women artists for your Mom’s cd’s, but you might check out my friend, Carter Hulsey when you get a chance. He’s got a lovely folksy-pop sound that I love. He’s from Joplin and has been playing here since high school, but has been touring nationally for quite some time now. I just love him!

            1. Cool! Will do! Thanks for all the great music ideas, Dawn! So appreciate it!

  5. Fionna Apple put out a new album this year, which might be my favorite album so far this year. Anything off that album is good.

    Norah Jones also put out a new album and it is more upbeat and poppy compared to previous material.

    P.J. Harvey is amazing and can rock out or slow it down

    The Firey Furnaces are kind of quirky pop music.

    Wye Oak:

    Tegan and Sara:

    St. Vincent:


    For some slower folky stuff try:

    Sharon Van Etten:


    Cat Power:

    1. Aw man! Why don’t you live closer?! You were always my source for new music.

      I will definitely be checking out your artist picks.

  6. You are THE BEST daughter EVER.

    Some Eva Cassidy songs?

    1. You know it’s such a simple and fun gift to make and it’s become the thing she looks forward to. She loves it. Wants the lyrics to some songs and plays it all year. LOL.

      I’ve used Eva Cassidy’s Songbird before. What other song do you like of hers?

  7. Awesome – I love giving out music suggestions!

    For the Cafe Mix:

    1. Boredom And Joy – Jets Overhead
    2. It’s A Shame, It’s A Pity – The Moondoggies
    3. Bright Whites – Kishi Bashi
    4. Turn Off This Song And Go Outside – Lonely Forest
    5. October – The Helio Sequence
    6. Myth – Beach House
    7. Heaven – The Walkmen
    8. Common Sentiments – Typhoon

    For the Phenomenal Woman Mix (all female):

    1. Whirring – The Joy Formidable
    2. Fineshrine – Purity Ring
    3. Fixed – Stars
    4. Dreaming – Seapony
    5. The Only Place – Best Coast
    6. Grizzly Bear – All Girl Summer Fun Band
    7. Dead Sound – The Raveonettes
    8. Terracur – Social Studies

    I could go on and on and on. Seriously. But I’m limiting myself to 8 apiece. Let me know if you need more!

    1. Suh-weet! Thanks Mark! See, I knew you’d have stellar picks for me!

  8. I picked up on Stephanie Mabey through her funny Zombie Song, but I’m loving Glorious from her album: Just beautiful.

    Kate Earl’s Melody always makes me smile:

    I like throw-back stuff too, like Bette Midler’s fabulous cover of the Stones’ Beast of Burden: I think she’s phenomenal.

    My two cents. Worth what you paid. 😉

    By the way, I and my siblings made a mix tape for my mother one year, and she loved it.

    1. Yah, I’ve been doing this since 2007 and she loves it. I give my sis a copy too because she wants new music also! It’s such a fun project. She’ll even call me throughout the year and say “Hey, I’ve got a great name for the phenomenal women mix.” She’s turned me on to Janelle Monae, Audra Mae, and V.V. Brown.

  9. Jess, I love that you do this! It’s such a thoughtful idea. You’ve already got a great list and awesome suggestions in the comments here. I’ll just throw these into the mix : Diana Krall’s “You Know – I Know Everything’s Made For Love”.
    Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”. Even though it’s an older piece, I keep it on my ‘feelin’ good’ list .

    1. Oooh I haven’t used Diana Krall and I do like her. She’s a great pick! And no one can go wrong with Aretha.

      Do you also like Alison Krauss? I love her music!

      1. Yes to Alison Krauss too! My daughter put me on to her. You young girls rock!

  10. […] don’t forget to leave me a music suggestion for The Ultimate Mix Tape For My Mom!  My blog-swapping, cd making contest is still happening, and YOU COULD […]

  11. For the cafe mix:
    Mountain Goats – “Going to Georgia” –
    Mountain Goats – “International Small Arms Traffic Blues”
    The Drums – “I need fun in my life” –

    And a couple for the rad women mix:
    Rilo Kiley – “Silver Lining” –
    Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents” –

    Great idea =)

    1. I’ve used Rilo Kiley’s tune on a previous mix. I like the new title idea: Rad Women Mix. Could that be like its B side? LOL

      Thanks for the song ideas!!!

      1. Yw! Sounds like you are getting some good suggestions, should be a good mix

  12. […] this weekend too.  I’ll be randomly picking 3 commenters between this post and the previous Mix Tape blog for a chance at one of the following,or heck, ALL OF THE […]

  13. […] this weekend too.  I’ll be randomly picking 3 commenters between this post and the previous Mix Tape blog for a chance at one of the following,or heck, ALL OF THE […]

  14. […] with me in the hopes of finding some swag new tunes!  You can see everyone’s recommendations here!  And believe me, there were gooooood […]

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