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!

Coming Back to Life: The 2016 Spring Mix

unnamedIt’s closing in on the best night of the year…Daylight Saving Time begins in an hour. Tomorrow, it won’t be dark outside until 7 PM, and my internal clock will once again be back on track. While most of my friends are out getting an early start on St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to stay in and tackle finishing up the Spring Mix.

Spring is definitely in the air here in the Queen City. After a pretty emotionally tough few months – winter is always rough for me – I feel myself finally starting to perk up. The 2016 Spring Krissie Mix is definitely a reflection of what’s been going on in my life as I was building it…it is ALL OVER the place. Some new artists, some old loves. Some happy tunes, some sad. Anyway, there’s a little something for everyone to love.

If you want to read about why I was listening to these songs, or how I found out about the artists, or just get a sort of creepy look inside the way my brain works, download the liner notes here. I didn’t do a label this time around…if anyone really wants one, send me a note and I’ll make one for you. But I figure no one is really burning CDs anymore, right?

Happy almost Spring, everyone!

 

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!

 

 

New Year, New Mix

Hello, friends.

I know it’s been months since I’ve written. No excuses. I just haven’t felt like writing much lately. Work is kicking my butt and the last thing I want to do at night is come home and fire up the old computer. My company – where I have been for nearly 18 years – got sold and the merging of the two new companies isn’t the smoothest transition ever. It’s been stressful. And my Mom had to have some more treatment – cancer sucks, by the way – so I made a quick trip home to Jersey to be with her for awhile. (She’s doing okay…strongest person I know, my Mom.)

Honestly, you guys, I’ve been pretty blue. And tired.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing. I closed out 2015 with a big milestone…seeing more than 100 live shows in a year (101, to be precise). Kind of a big deal for me – I’ve never done it before, and I’ve been keeping track of all the shows I’ve gone to since 2004. It was such a big deal that one of my sweet friends made me a trophy. I’m really proud of myself…I got outside of my box and saw a LOT of new music this year. Artists and bands I didn’t know. I found new loves. Oh, and Christopher Jak is BACK. Played a show in Charlotte. And is making a new record. So there’s that.

And of course, the Panthers are making history here in Charlotte. So that’s super exciting, especially for those of us who have cheered them on through a couple of really tough seasons.

In between all of this, I made the Winter Mix. But the notes, which are usually my favorite part, just weren’t coming easy to me. I guess the whole not feeling like writing thing has been sort of infecting all of my life. So I’ve been sitting on it for awhile. But it’s a new year, and I’m trying to get re-inspired about writing.

So here it is. The Winter Mix. Winter’s definitely not my favorite season, but I like this mix a lot. Hope you will, too.

Grab the notes and the label here.

Lots of love,

Krissie

Looking for the Light with David McMillin on Daytrotter

Quote

“I can still hear your voice echo beneath the Alabama night, like a firecracker whistle on the Fourth of July / You said, ‘Don’t fear the distance dear, don’t fear the dark, you don’t need to set the world on fire, you just need to catch a spark.'”
– David McMillin, “Looking for the Light”

David McMillin

A new Daytrotter session from the musician who loves the craft of songwriting more than any artist I know, David McMillin. Artwork by Johnnie Cluney, copyright Daytrotter

A long time ago, I went to see a show of a local musician I tried to support. It was at The Evening Muse, my absolute favorite place to see music in Charlotte, a tiny, intimate venue that might hold 125 people when it’s busting at the seams. The opener clambered onto the stage, a kid of maybe 21 or 22 that might have weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. He had just an acoustic guitar and he looked so small, even on the miniscule Muse stage. Then he opened his mouth and started singing. Huge voice came out of that little body. He was probably about a song in when I turned to look at Annie and we both had the same expression on our face… WOW.  And that is how my friendship with David McMillin began.

If I could say one thing about David, just one, it would be that among the musicians I know, he is the one who loves songwriting the most.  I mean he absolutely LOVES it.  And he excels at it. He’s prolific, but I’ve never heard him put out a mediocre song. He and his band, Fort Frances, make amazing music together, and in the down times in between, when his band mates are tending to their personal lives, David writes more and pursues his solo work. It’s pretty inspiring to watch as a fan.

In the eight or nine years since that first show at The Muse, I’ve gotten to know David well…and he remains the only rock star ever to hail me a cab. I’ve watched him grow tremendously as a songwriter (and grow a tremendous beard) and been heartened by the fact that no matter what successes come his way, he remains humble and genuine. And so today, when Daytrotter released a solo David McMillin session, my heart skipped a beat. Even better?  NEW SONGS. Gorgeous, lovely new songs like “Looking for the Light.”

I’d recommend going to take a listen (if you are a Daytrotter member, you can download it…and if you aren’t a Daytrotter member, you should be). Let yourself be won over. Because if you love music, you can’t help but appreciate an artist who loves it even more than you do.

LISTEN TO THE DAVID MCMILLIN DAYTROTTER SESSION

More David McMillin:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Buy Heartsteady on iTunes