Whose voice do you enjoy hearing?
April 9, 2004 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Whenever I hear Garrison Keillor tell a story, I get this warm fuzzy feeling. And there are a few other people whose voice seem to have a subduing effect. Whose voice affects you, in a positve, warm-fuzzy way? Is this anyway related to the brainwave/sub-auditory post?
posted by grefo to Writing & Language (47 answers total)
James Earl Jones
Phil Hartman (oddly enough)

I've noticed that for me it has just as much to do with speaking patterns, specifically pace, as it has to do with pitch and "scratchiness".
posted by yangwar at 7:41 AM on April 9, 2004

"Simba, you must avenge my death."
"Luke, I am your father."
"Verizon wireless."


or, who yangwar mentioned. my friends debate whether joey lauren adams in chasing amy had a cute or annoying voice...i find extremes are memorable, often in a good way (especially deep voices, mm). there've been studies done, a german guy, i want to say scherner (?)...finding the perceived influence people had was correlated with pitch variation (...expressiveness) and loudness, but that it was culturally specific (he studied germans and americans as separate groups and found great difference between the two, so two different trends).

i'm fascinated by chan marshall (cat power)'s ("bad") singing voice, still after all these years.
posted by ifjuly at 7:48 AM on April 9, 2004

Stuart McLean is the Canadian equivalent of Garrison Keillor.
posted by teg at 7:49 AM on April 9, 2004

Chris Morris. Although the content is usually too disturbing for the lulling effect to really penetrate.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:51 AM on April 9, 2004

When I was in fifth grade there was a classmate of mine, a girl, who had such a voice. She was really good at math, so I'd always ask her to help me out. Because it was during class she'd have to whisper, so I'd have this hypnotic voice whispering in my ear about negative numbers. Put me in a trance.

I've also got a thing for the tentacled alien on the "To Serve Man" Simpsons Halloween episode, the one with the smacking-lips voice. I'm not sure who does that one.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:56 AM on April 9, 2004

One of my favorite things about my husband is the sound of his voice.
posted by whatnot at 7:56 AM on April 9, 2004

Keith Jackson and Jon Miller. They are the anti- Tim McCarver and Sean McDonough.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:22 AM on April 9, 2004

You know, as weird as this sounds, because I disagree with him frequently...but I love to listen to William F. Buckley.

And James Earl Jones. oooooh...and Barry White...now that's a voice, by god.
posted by dejah420 at 8:33 AM on April 9, 2004

Paul Ford. Here's a sample.
posted by Hegemonic at 8:41 AM on April 9, 2004

For a female voice, I'd have to nominate Ani Difranco when she's doing the whole spoken word thing.
posted by yangwar at 8:54 AM on April 9, 2004

Response by poster: Oh, there is a narrator for Frontline on PBS. I can't find his name but, he's been on the program for many years.
posted by grefo at 9:15 AM on April 9, 2004

Talking outta my ass, but I guess that speech where the words end in a subtle glide, has that soothing quality. I'm assuming you mean type of speech, as opposed to the raw effect of the timbre itself.

[even more clueless]Probably something do with the timing of the superimposition of the formants.[/clueless]

Hopefully, this is a (technical) start.
posted by Gyan at 9:31 AM on April 9, 2004

Peter Coyote.
posted by bradth27 at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2004

Patrick Stewart.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:40 AM on April 9, 2004

George Guidall is a brilliant voice actor. He narrated American Gods by Gaimen; I can't recommend it enough. Not only does he have a soothing voice, he also narrates dialogue in character, even for female characters, and does an incredible job. I think his theatre background helps...

Of course Ian McKellan has a great voice, too.

People (literally dozens of people, especially when I've worked phone jobs) have told me I have such a voice. I've had two girlfriends (not at the same time) who would ask me to talk or tell stories to soothe them when they were stressed. I'm not bragging, it's just frustrating, because I can't afford to go to a communications school or somesuch and deejaying doesn't pay anything anyway. Then again, I have a soft voice with no training, so maybe I'd lose it after talking for hours.
posted by Shane at 9:59 AM on April 9, 2004

George Carlin in his "I Used to be Irish Catholic" era.
posted by headspace at 10:06 AM on April 9, 2004

Mr. Rogers, and Walter Cronkite.
posted by amberglow at 10:08 AM on April 9, 2004

The guy who narrates Frontline (Richard Rhodes?)
posted by anastasiav at 10:10 AM on April 9, 2004

I think something about those voices is that the speaker must be very relaxed to sound like that. One of the quirks of being a social species is that we take emotional cues from each other. Did you ever notice how much lower your voice is when you are relaxed and breathing deeply and slowly?
posted by callmejay at 10:13 AM on April 9, 2004

Oh, I thought of one. Andrew Weil. I just listened to his Breathing.
posted by callmejay at 10:15 AM on April 9, 2004

There are two engineers working in our California office whose voices can lull me into a trance. This is usually a bad thing since they typically only call when they need me to fix something they've broken, which means I have to make them repeat their requests several times until I can clear my head enough to understand exactly what it is they want, but by repeating it over again they put me back into a trance and...

What was the question again?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:52 AM on April 9, 2004

Ken Nordine, perhaps?
posted by kindall at 11:01 AM on April 9, 2004

Stuart McLean does it for me too. So does Peter Falk. There's nothing better than being lulled into a Sunday afternoon nap by a Colombo matinee.
posted by btwillig at 12:12 PM on April 9, 2004

Lee Major on Winnipeg's jazz station - basically the only voice I can listen to that doesn't annoy or distract me while I'm trying to work. The page also has an applet for listening in, if you want to catch his Dinner Jazz or Cool Evenings.
posted by Monster_Zero at 12:45 PM on April 9, 2004

On the other end of the spectrum, one syllable from Diane Rehm is enough to cause me real discomfort.

And I second Ken Nordine.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:50 PM on April 9, 2004

Low, soft, even masculine voices really do it for me, whether singing or talking. Barzin, Josh Haden and Hawksley Workman are three of my faves.

I've caused havoc on my phone bill just calling to Hawksley's answering machine to listen to the messages he leaves for his fans, which are usually just quietly introspective rambles about things like riding a bike or walking alone at night and various other inspirations.

Also, I heart Garrison Keillor. My daughter loves his Bertha's Kitty Boutique bit.
posted by precocious at 1:23 PM on April 9, 2004

ira glass

sarah vowell... sometimes.
posted by clockwork at 1:37 PM on April 9, 2004

When I was in college, I shared a room for a couple of months with a Japanese grad student who talked in his sleep. Unbelievably soothing.
posted by Guy Smiley at 1:43 PM on April 9, 2004

Peter Jennings, scarily enough.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:58 PM on April 9, 2004

Since the beginning of 2002, whenever I hear Bill Clinton speak, I'm practically moved to tears. The intelligence and insight I hear in his voice remind me of what it felt like to have a steady hand on the nation's rudder. His voice sounds like my father waking me up from a bad dream.

Garrison Keillor's voice simultaneously gives me nostolgia and the urge to punch him in the back of the head.

I love hearing Ira Glass speak; David Sedaris, too, but I OD quick on him. Sarah Vowell is like nails on a chalkboard.

And I love to hear Tom Waits speak.
posted by squirrel at 2:00 PM on April 9, 2004

Oh my god, dude. Garrison Keillor is such a sedative. It's like the runner's high, or coming out of hypnosis or meditation. "Crackling fire" type deal. I haven't listened to the others, but I doubt anyone can beat him. It's uncanny. I've seen him in person, too.
posted by abcde at 5:01 PM on April 9, 2004

I like playing UT to the News from Lake Wobegon, how's that for dissonant ;)
posted by abcde at 5:13 PM on April 9, 2004

Paul Harvey.
posted by gd779 at 5:19 PM on April 9, 2004

Oh, and David Brown from NPR's Marketplace. I developed an interest in him when I learned he has a ponytail. Weird, that. I don't normally like ponytails, but there's something about the dissonance I like.

Anyway, voice personas shouldn't be taken seriously. I had a flatmate once who was the night DJ at a popular rock radio station. I had never heard his show before he moved in, but after that I would listen to his shows now and then. The difference between the projection and the real man cannot be overstated.

Makes me wonder what a lot of radio people are really like. Terry Gross has had the same voice demeanor for 20 years, but Terry Gross the person has probably gone through several revolutions of identity.
posted by squirrel at 5:26 PM on April 9, 2004

Kelsey Grammer.
posted by rushmc at 6:54 PM on April 9, 2004

Great thread! Try another radio man, Joe Frank. His voice isn't necessarily warm and fuzzy -- it can soothe or chill, depending on what story he's telling -- but it is always gripping.

On preview, that link is down, and I can't say how long it's been down. Unfortunately, all the fan sites that used to stream his shows stopped at his request when he made the authorized site. I hope the glitch is temporary. Bookmark that page... you won't regret it!
posted by aws17576 at 8:02 PM on April 9, 2004

Ron Perlman.
posted by xyzzy at 8:32 PM on April 9, 2004

Jeremy Irons, the Voice of the Millennium
posted by hsoltz at 8:54 PM on April 9, 2004

Heh, Hugo Weaving just occured to me.
posted by abcde at 9:19 PM on April 9, 2004

When I was a teenager, Christian Slater featured big on the Heavenly Voice matrix. Also, on the female side of things, give me any ADA from any of the versions of Law & Order. Elisabeth Rohm comes to mind.
posted by chronic sublime at 1:15 AM on April 10, 2004

Sam Neill
posted by vers at 8:43 AM on April 10, 2004


Joe Frank
Ken Nordine
Garrison Keillor (sometimes)
Sedaris (sometimes)


Ira Glass
Sarah Vowell
Michael Feldman

I actually don't mind Diane Rehm's voice. It also depends on her treatment schedule. I think she is a great interviewer regardless.
posted by anathema at 8:45 AM on April 10, 2004

Following on Stuart Maclean, other CBC Radio golden-voiced stalwarts include Brent Bambury (ex-Brave New Waves, now CBC Ottawa afternoon programming), Patti Schmidt (current Brave New Waves) and Ross Porter (now with Global, so I hear). Plus the late greats Peter Gzowski (Morningside) and Alan Maitland (As It Happens).
posted by myopicman at 12:22 PM on April 10, 2004

What whatnot said. Mmmm, my hubby's voice, like honey on a warm rock.
posted by Lynsey at 1:15 PM on April 10, 2004

There's this ubiquitous program on Christian radio across the country, its impossible for people who habitually listen to/flip through the radio late at night to not come across it, they play this all-night music show from like 1 in the morning to 4 or whatever. Anyway the host who says "inspirational" things between the tracks is an utter sedative. His voice isn't even a voice, its just this low soothing noise. After a Google search I think this is him, and unfortunately now I can only be scared because he looks like the demon guy from Poltergeist 2.
posted by dgaicun at 10:35 PM on April 10, 2004

If its some insomniatic hour where you live you can click here to hear his voice, which will calm your nerves . . .

. . . or maybe not.
posted by dgaicun at 11:05 PM on April 10, 2004

David Brown sounds eerily like David Brancaccio, Marketplace's previous host. Even Brown himself mentioned that on the show once. Their voices did a lot in making me a fan of the show.
posted by of strange foe at 9:13 AM on April 11, 2004

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