It’s a Doozy: The Spring 2017 Mix

Well, so much for my goal of writing weekly. But, I’m still doing better than last year!

Spring arrived on Monday, and just in time, I’ve finished up my 2017 Spring Mix. Gotta tell ya guys, there’s a SLEW of good music coming out right now. I forced myself to keep this to 30 songs…It was tough.

The notes are lengthy, so if you’ve got a couple of minutes, download them and try to make sense of my rambling.

Happy listening…and happy spring!

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The Year of 100

IMG_5210Since 2004, I’ve been keeping track of all the concerts I’ve attended. To be honest, those early years, there are probably some gaps, because I wasn’t so serious about it. But in the last 5 years or so, I’ve been mildly obsessed with tracking who I’ve seen and where I’ve seen them, and what my “show count” is for the year. The number has always landed somewhere between 50 and 80 – not too shabby for someone who holds down a full-time job that has nothing to do with music.

In August or so of last year, I was doing my monthly update and realized that there was a distinct possibility that I could set a record for myself if I stepped up my concert game a little. The number? 100 live shows. Could I do it? I was pretty sure I could.

Now, there are rules to my madness. For example, festivals only count as one show, no matter how many sets I see during the event. If I did that, I’d be halfway to 100 by the time the Rock Boat was over in January! Plus, at festivals, you end up moving around too much, seeing only part of a set, etc. I only count something as a show if I specifically went there with the purpose of seeing the artist play – so, if I’m hanging out at a bar and there’s a band playing, that doesn’t get counted. You get the idea. Hey, we all have our rules. NPR’s Bob Boilen keeps count, of his shows, too. But he counts every band he sees as a show. So if a show has 3 acts, that’s 3 shows. (For the record, he saw “506 shows” in 2015.)

What this new “goal” did for me was it forced me to broaden my horizons: go see new artists, acts that I didn’t know at all, and others that aren’t typically the type of music that’s up my “power alley.” Some of those new acts I enjoyed, others I didn’t love quite so much, but I listened with an open mind.

And I did hit 100 shows. 101, officially. (You can see my full list here.)  I’m kind of proud of that number. I realize there are people that go to a lot more than I do, but for someone who doesn’t work in the music industry, I think 101 is pretty solid.

There are definitely highlights worth noting. Like that time I flew to Indianapolis to see the OPENING band because it was the only chance I had to see Mighty Oaks on a short U.S. tour (they’re from Berlin). Or that time I forced Rodric to drive to Atlanta and back with me on a weeknight so I could see Alpha Rev. Or going to see The Brothers Landreth on a whim because Stu Larsen had talked about them, not knowing a single note…and falling weak-in-the-knees in love with them. Or driving to Jacksonville to spend a day at the CleanWater Music Festival, put on by Flagship Romance, and being blown away by Israel Nash. The Dirty Guv’nahs farewell shows. There are literally dozens more that I could talk about.

Who did I see the most in 2015? SUSTO takes that title. Saw Justin and his band of compadres 8 times this year. Watching them come into their own and start to get recognized for their incredible talent has been one of the highlights of my year. Furthest traveled? The Rock Boat wins that contest almost every year. But that Mighty Oaks show in Indianapolis was a close second. Most visited venue? The Evening Muse, hands down.

But the most common question I’ve gotten is… What was your favorite? Normally, I have a pretty cut and dry answer to that, but this year, I have a hard time choosing. I mean, any Quiet Hounds show always sits at the top of the list. But that first Brothers Landreth show was pretty phenomenal. Then there was Rainbow Kitten Surprise, who shattered my expectations and made me feel so alive. That Butch Walker show was pretty darn powerful. Then there was the Counting Crows concert…and we all know what they mean to me. My biggest victory was getting Christopher Jak to play a show this year, and my…that man singing could never be short of breathtaking for me. Oh, and Great Peacock…who I barely knew, but went to see to support a friend…completely rocked my world. I think, though, if I had to choose, it would be a tie between The Mighty Oaks at The Deluxe in Indianapolis and be Noah Gundersen at The Visulite Theater in Charlotte. Both of these artists’ music has come to mean so very much to me personally…and seeing both of them was really emotional for very different reasons.

Of course, because I’m an overachiever, I am ready to do it all again in 2016. In fact, I’m going to try to exceed it. So, 2016 is the year of 125. Who wants to join me on my crazy adventure? Keep up and keep me accountable…

Here’s to more live music in 2016!

 

 

From little acorns grow: Mighty Oaks release mini-documentary

In February, Mighty Oaks, an acoustic folk rock trio out of Berlin that I’ve written about here often, released their album Howl in Europe. Luckily, I have music friends across the pond who procured a digital copy for me. I have literally not stopped playing it for the last three + months. The music is pure, beautiful in its simplicity – songs of friendship, love, loss, grief, and embracing life. Listening to the record feels like looking through a well-loved photo album, and it puts me at peace. I am utterly smitten with it.

Although lead singer Ian Hooper is American, the band is based in Berlin, and is multi-national:  guitar/mandolin/everything player Claudio Donzelli is Italian, and bassist Craig Saunders is British.  Hooper moved to Germany after finishing college, and until March, had never played as a band in his home country.  But, interest from labels brought them to the States earlier this spring, and saw them play in Los Angeles, at SXSW, and in New York City.  While on their trek, they were accompanied by a friend who shot a mini-documentary on their journey.  The band released “A Place That I Know” in three five-minute segments over the last few weeks.  I’m not sure how anyone could watch this and not be cheering for these guys to make it… The way they talk about the music they make together, the obvious admiration and love they have for each other, and their smiles and laughter are enough to win my heart over (and the toast to Ian’s mom in part 3 makes me tear up every time; his mom passed away in 2012 and several of the band’s songs reference her or tell her story).

So…here, in all three parts… ” A Place That I Know.”  Good luck with not falling in love with them!

More Mighty Oaks: Web | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Just One Day EP

 

New Music from Mighty Oaks

Hi.  Happy 2014.  I’ve been a total blogging slacker.  I’ll get better, I promise.

Although the year has gotten off to a slow start, there have been a bunch-a good music things a brewing this week, a ridiculous concert calendar shaping up through March, and The Rock Boat is only five weeks away.

But today…today brought the best thing of 2014 so far.  A new (and unexpected, which makes it that much sweeter!) song and video from Mighty Oaks – the American-Italian-British trio living in Germany.  AND, even better… news that they have a new album, Howl, coming out on February 28th!

The band describes “Brother” as “a story of friendship, youth, and adventure.” The video is darling. My loyal-to-the-core heart loves the story, adores the idea of friendships so strong that time can’t weather them. I’m telling you kids, this band…this band is going to win hearts in a big way.  2014 is their year.

I am already hopelessly obsessed with this song.  Give it until 1:30, I bet you will be, too.

If you’re lucky enough to live in Germany, you can pre-order the new album on iTunes or Amazon. (I’m hoping that it will be available in the States soon, too… but if it’s not, I may have to find a German friend willing to buy it for me on release day!)

More Mighty Oaks: Web | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Just One Day EP

New Mighty Oaks Videos

That’s it. I am moving to Germany. To follow a band.

(Seriously, if I could, I would.)

The Cardinal Sessions released two new Mighty Oaks videos today. Just the guys in a field making music.

So pure. So perfect.

I am in love with these songs.

More Mighty Oaks: Web | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Just One Day EP