In this weekly TimeOut series, we invite music lovers to share the songs that have soundtracked their lives. This week, we speak to singer Julia Stone.

After Midnight - JJ Cale (1972)

I put this song in because it reminds me so much of Angus. We love doing cover songs – our Dad is in a covers band, so we grew up listening to so much great music, but sung by Dad. Angus one day turned up to soundcheck and said, 'I want do this song Magnolia,' and I hadn't heard of JJ Cale, and we learnt the song and we played it probably for a couple of years. That was my introduction into his music, and After Midnight became a favourite. It's reminiscent of a really lovely time for us, when we were first starting out and driving round, hanging out a bunch, listening to music.

Hurt - Johnny Cash (2002)

Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails originally recorded and released this song, which is also great, but the combination of somebody like Johnny Cash having lived the life that he lived, and being so passionate about making music – it was this thing of watching somebody sing about how "everyone I know is going to leave" – and he was at the end of his life as well. The whole combination of all of those elements made that song the most touching song, and I'm a sucker for sad songs.

I'll Be Here In The Morning - Townes Van Zandt (1968)

To tie it into the first story about After Midnight, the opening verse talks about this feeling of freedom when you're moving through the world and travelling and playing shows. I really related to the feeling of leaving towns, and looking back, and it's the most exciting feeling not knowing where you're going to end up. But then the song takes a turn and it's like, "actually, I'm going to still be here in the morning for you", because you can find a love with somebody that is stronger than the feeling to keep moving. Once you find somebody you want to make roots with, it really means so much, maybe because of what you're giving away to have it. It becomes everything.

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Jolene - Ray Lamontagne (2004)

When I first fell in love, Jolene was the song that was playing, and that was sort of the soundtrack of our falling in love section. Falling in love like that is such a humbling experience, and often devastating, and I think it always ends up being devastating at the end – but in a very good way. I think we become better people because of it. I've seen Ray live a couple of times, and he seems like somebody who's gone into the depths of love and lived it, and that comes out in his music. It makes us all feel like it's okay to be a bit blown apart by being human and falling in love.

LA Freeway - Guy Clarke (1975)

I moved to Melbourne about five years ago. I met this older guy at the Galleon cafe in St Kilda, near where my home is, and he's this amazing guy, about 60, a bit of a naughty ratbag from back in the day. He's an amazing carpenter, and I was doing renovations on my home and we got chatting, and he said he could help me out, and he ended up being an extraordinary craftsman, and spent days around at my house building me a kitchen and a bathroom and the most incredible furniture. He became a big part of my life and one of my best friends in Melbourne; we had this very unlikely friendship. Guy Clarke is his favourite of all songwriters, and he's also somebody who's never left Australia, and he always talks about LA Freeway and what that song means to him, so I recorded it for him for his birthday, just me on the piano singing. That song represents a very beautiful friendship – he became a bit of my home in Melbourne.

Between The Bars - Elliot Smith (1997)

Elliot Smith's such an incredible lyricist. That song in particular, the melodies are so beautiful, but then the lyrics are just so sad – it's about being trapped behind lost potential. "People that you've been before/that you don't want around anymore" – it's this thing where you can't escape what you've been. We love people from our past, but quite often the thing that is so difficult or tragic about it is that you get stuck in who you used to be.

Songbird - Fleetwood Mac (1977)

I put in a Fleetwood Mac song because not only did we grow up listening to Rumours, but about three years ago they came out to Australia, and we begged our manager to get in touch and see if we could be the support, and we also supported them in New Zealand. I just remember feeling like I had ticked a life goal. I love Songbird, because I think Christine McVie is such an incredible performer and singer and writer, and she's not always in the forefront of everything, but watching her perform that song is such a striking moment. It's so pure, and I just love the simplicity of; "and I love you, I love you, I love you". It's so obvious to say that, but how often do you hear that done well in a song? It's just so pretty, and makes you feel all of the things that she's saying.


- As told to George Fenwick
Angus & Julia Stone headline the Harvest Moon concert series at Nelson's Trafalgar Centre (March 29), New Plymouth's Bowl of Brooklands (March 31) and Napier's Church Road Winery (October 26).