Did this month fly by or what? I swear that Christmas was last week, and here we are heading into March.
Like a lot of folks, things in my life are slowly starting to open back up. I went to 6 shows this month. Almost a normal pace, although nothing feels “normal” these days.
Speaking of shows… If you haven’t heard The Heavy Hours yet, do yourself a favor and go check out these Ohio gents. After talking about them for a year and a half, I finally got to see them live this week, and they were better than I expected. Their new album, Gardens, is on heavy rotation (pun expected, right?) around my place … and my car … and in my headphones. “Skinny Heart” is my favorite right now, but “Back Porch” is in the running…
But, I digress. As promised, I’m trying to keep up my “Mix a month” promise. The February Mix starts slow, but it picks up the pace pretty quickly. Hope you dig it! (Find the Apple Music version here.
Yup, it’s been nearly a year since I’ve written anything here. I think about it … often. I probably have a dozen half-written, orphaned blogs sitting in draft. But like a lot of us, I’m suffering from a serious case of pandemic burn-out, malaise, and general blah.
Blog posts aren’t the only things that have suffered. I haven’t put out any mixes, either. Which I’m sure a handful of you have noticed.
From my best recollection, I’ve been making the Krissie Mix in some way, shape, or form since 2004. I’ve put them out mostly quarterly … Close to 1500 songs shared. For every one, I’ve written crazy “liner notes” to offer up information on the artists or stories about how I found the songs or why I love them. Back in the day, when I burned copies, I mailed them to dozens of people around the country, some of whom I didn’t even know who had just heard about the Mix through friends of friends. Sharing music with friends (and new friends) is something that I love doing.
Once I moved everything to Spotify, it should have gotten easier, but it just made it easier to find lots of new music. And the quarterly mixes started to get super-sized. 50 – 60 songs. But not everyone that listened was on Spotify, so started creating a Spotify and Apple Music version. Writing the liner notes took hours.
Besides, streaming has made it easy for people to discover new music on their own. And I love that! But I started to feel like there wasn’t a reason for me to make them anymore.
So last year…I just stopped.
Then I ran into Samantha and Wes last fall. Friends of a friend, I’ve known them for almost as long as I’ve been making the mix. Fifteen years ago, I would see them often when we were all running around seeing our mutual friend play 4 and 5 times a month. But I’d be lying if I said we were anything more than Facebook friends these days. So when I ran into them at a show in another city, it was a surprise that they even remembered me. As we stood talking and caught up, Wes said something to me about listening to my mixes. It genuinely surprised me.
And re-inspired me.
But, I needed to rethink how I was doing it. So … I’m trying something new in 2022. Monthly mixes. Smaller in size. No liner notes. Not obsessing over the order of the songs (because some people listen on shuffle, anyway… Warmack, I’m looking at you). Just music for the sake of sharing it.
Maybe you’ll find something new to love. Maybe you know all the songs already. No matter what, I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Happy January and happy 2022 (I can still officially say that in January, right?).
This year is a weird time warp. In quarantine, time is a construct. April felt like it was 200 days long. July feels like 100 years ago. Yet, wait, it’s February 2021… Anyone else feeling it?
I know Fall is a distant memory and Winter is practically over (let’s hope, anyway). But after much delay, the 2020 Fall & Winter Mix is happening. And boy howdy, is it HAPPENING. Somehow, it mushroomed into 80 songs. 5 hours of music.
There’s SO many really great tracks in this one and I honestly can’t pick favorites, but in case you’re a skim listener and can’t devote 5 hours to this, here are a few highlights. Call it a Top 12, if you will.
HOKO is my favorite 2020 new-to-me artist. I love every single thing the guy does. “I Don’t Know Where We Went Wrong” is the perfect song for this pandemic moment in the U.S. And because I’m breaking all the rules, there’s a second HOKO song on this mix, but you’re going to have to listen all the way through to hear it.
The Heavy Hours definitely grabbed my ear at first listen. They’re young and I am digging everything I’ve heard. Go follow them now before everyone knows this Ohio band.
“Paris” by The Brevet has been an ear worm since January 2020 and I’m so glad it’s out, finally. Good luck getting this one out of your head.
If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I’m freaking out about new music from Wil Seabrook. In an indirect way, Wil is one of the reasons that the Krissie Mix exists.
Caiola, the solo project of Mo Lowda and the Humble front man Jordan Caiola, is worth every listen you can give him. His solo album is one of my favorite releases of 2020 and this song…gut punch good.
“Heavy Load” by Great Peacock is perfect from start to finish. Their new album, Forever Worse Better, is spectacular. Definitely in the running for Top 10 of the year. Emotions for days and days and days.
Bruce Springsteen. No words needed. Listen to Letter To You from start to finish. On a recent Q&A, someone asked him if “Burnin’ Train” was a show opener and he replied with, “You nailed it.” Here’s to hoping for many more Bruce shows in the future. (Also, Bruce was framed. Fight me.)
If you dig the harder rock n’ roll, don’t sleep on the new Golden State album, Blood Finger Prick. “Little Glass Jar” is currently my favorite. James Grundler‘s voice is absurd. He also followed me on Instagram when I posted about the new album and I freaked out a little bit.
Speaking of rockers, can you say Dead Sara? “Hands Up” marks their return. Nice to hear Emily’s voice again.
Enter the Summer Mix to help cure a bit of the blues I’m having about the thought of no concerts, festivals, or even pool time this summer.
Honestly, the Mix is a little bit of happy and a little bit of mellow … and it took forever to come together, but I’m sorta loving it. Where else are you gonna hear Jason Isbell and Harry Styles on the same playlist?
I do have a few “must hears” on this Mix…I usually try to keep quiet about my favorites, but I can’t help myself this time. Don’t skip out on what I think will be the song of the summer by Hoko, the new single from my Foxfire Run fellas, and a major new Brit Pop crush in Sea Girls.