Music for Troubled Times

April 3rd, 2020

We’re pleased to have Tom Schnabel, the legendary music consultant and former Music Director for KCRW, share two articles he has recently written for his Rhythm Planet blog with us here this week.

Tom’s extensive knowledge of music from many genres, and his expertise in curating music by artists outside the mainstream of pop culture have always helped those of us in Los Angeles and beyond  to enjoy the good and endure the difficult times. He has compiled a series of playlists in the two blogs we are sharing with you to try to soothe your nerves as well as to inject a small dose of humor into the mix


We’re living in strange and uncertain times. I’ve compiled two playlists this week to try to soothe your nerves as well as to inject a small dose of humor into the mix.

First, a 4+ hour-long playlist of calming, meditative, and beautiful music to listen to while working from home or just relaxing. Music can offer a spiritual balm and help to assuage our worries. I am very happy with this playlist, for which I’ve mined songs that I often featured on air throughout the decades of my career.

The second (and shorter) Optimist Playlist focuses on being positive in times like ours. I’ve selected some reassuring and fun songs by Chet Baker, Mose Allison, Slim Gaillard, and more.

I sincerely hope you enjoy these playlists, whichever one you might be in the mood for. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.


Tom Schnabel is an internationally recognized radio producer, pioneer, and innovator in world music. He helped introduce world music to American audiences as KCRW’s first music director and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic (1979-1991). Tom is the author of two books (Stolen Moments: Conversations with Contemporary Musicians and Rhythm Planet: The Great World Music Makers), and numerous articles about music. He has produced a number of recordings (Trance Planet, vols. 1–5), and provides music supervision for advertising and movies. He has also served as Program Advisor for the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall, and continues to host weekly music shows for KCRW online.  His KCRW Rhythm Planet blog is approaching 500 entries covering all aspects of music. In 1998 Tom was honored by the French government with the French Medal of Arts, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Des Lettres.

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1 Comment

Filed under Human Interest, Music

One response to “Music for Troubled Times

  1. Kathleen

    How I miss KCRW and hearing your show. Thank you for bringing these much needed playlists to us for healing and fun.

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