Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013

It's been a pretty unreal year. I can't recall reflecting on a year and having such a long list of enriching experiences, some of which I never imagined possible.

Here are a few of the highlights of the year 2013:

Solid Sound Music Festival
Three beautiful days in the quiet and rustic town of North Adams, MA. The selection of artists couldn't have been better: Wilco (x2), Low, Neko Case, Dream Syndicate, White Denim and many more. Wilco opened their "covers" set with a blistering take on Thin Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town" followed by Pavement's "Cut Your Hair." Probably the biggest surge of energy I've felt since Clarence joined Bruce onstage many years back in New Jersey. I've been to some great music festivals, but SS is far-and-away the best. From the music to the staff to the food to the pace, this is the perfect music festival.



Friends and Family
Spent a lot of time with friends near and far.



The Replacements
Sure, Bob's gone and Chris didn't join, but this certainly felt like The Replacements. I still can't believe I was able to witness this.


Apple
The job I'd spent 15 years hoping I'd land. It's exceeded my expectations. Amazing to be surrounded by such driven and curious minds.


Rodriguez
What a charming and beautiful performance.


Meeting Peter Jesperson and Jac Holzman
What a thrill to meet two of my heroes. These men played integral roles in some of the greatest rock n' roll ever produced. They both couldn't have been kinder, and I now consider both to be not only role models, but friends.

Big Sur
I will never tire of you.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

2013 in Review : My Ten Favorite Records of the Year

1 Jason Isbell / Northeastern

2 Josh Ritter / The Beast In Its Tracks

3 Low / The Invisible Way

4 Neko Case / The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight...

5 Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis / Cheater's Game

6 Okkervil River / The Silver Gynmasium

7 Arcade Fire / Reflektor

8 Son Volt / Honky Tonk

9 Foxygen / We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

10 Mavis Staples / One True Vine

2013 in Review : Songs for Slim



In early 2012, former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap suffered a massive stroke. This tragic turn resulted in one of the most heartfelt and collective reactions the music industry has seen in some time. Musicians ranging from Jakob Dylan, Steve Earle, Jeff Tweedy, Lucero, Joe Henry, Deer Tick and Patterson Hood, recorded some of  Slim's tracks, while former Replacements manager Peter Jesperson gathered all the material, placed the recordings on 7" singles and put them up for auction. The proceeds helped offset Slim's building medical expenses and may have played a role in Paul and Tommy getting The Replacements back for a few of their first shows in over two decades.

Peter and a host of musicians came to the aid of one of their own. Beautifully done. We all wish Slim the best. 

2013 in Review : Solid Sound Festival

Despite having eight SXSW's under my belt, this weekend in the Berkshires is likely the best music event I've ever been to. Fantastic bands and exhibits, beautiful setting, wonderful staff, perfectly paced. And Wilco, my favorite band going on 20 years, played a full covers set that had me trembling, screaming and dancing for 2+ hours.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My 25 Favorite Songs of 2013

Clarence White : Low
San Francisco : Foxygen
Here Comes the Night : Arcade Fire
Down Down the Deep River : Okkervil River
I'm Not Sayin' : The Replacements
Flying Over Water : Jason Isbell
Cheater's Game : Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis
So Sad : Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Dawn McCarthy
Evil Eye : Josh Ritter
Follow You Down : The New Mendicants
One True Vine : Mavis Staples
How Am I Ever Gonna Be Me : Scott Miller
On a Balcony : Okkervil River
Surrounded : Richard Buckner
Cover Me Up : Jason Isbell
Plastic Cup : Low
City Swan : Neko Case
Livin' On : Son Volt
A Certain Light : Josh Ritter
I'll Be Around : Yo La Tengo
Get Lucky : Daft Punk
New South Wales : Jason Isbell
No Destruction : Foxygen
Portrait : Richard Buckner
The Ballad of the Opening Band : Jeff Tweedy

Sunday, November 10, 2013

40

I've never been one for birthdays, or even holidays, for that matter. I've always found both to be a bit silly. Every day should hold its own set of experiences, regardless of some arbitrary label. Okay, birthdays aren't really arbitrary, but hopefully you get the point.

40 seems different. 40. Wow. When I was in my teens I couldn't even fathom 30, let alone 40. And my teens seem like just a few years ago, notwithstanding the Def Leppard phase. I'm now left with one full day in my 30s. I've spent the morning tending to a work matter, but I'm planning on going for a run, listening to some music and then taking Bennett on a hike. And likely doing a little reflecting. Man, 40.

When I look back on my life, I'm almost baffled by the amazing experiences I've had. I've seen Bruce Springsteen well north of 50 times. Same goes for Wilco. I've seen more incredible rock n' roll, country, soul, singer/songwriter, hip hop, etc. music that I never dreamt I'd see in a lifetime. I've met absolutely wonderful people: friends, family, girlfriends, colleagues and passer-bys. I still feel as though I've barely traveled, but I've stood in awe at places such as Crater Lake, Big Sur, the Berkshires, Cannes, Minnesota, Maine, Austin, Amsterdam, St. Augustine, Joshua Tree, Brooklyn, Italy and Nashville.

I recently said to a friend, "If it all ended now, I couldn't have asked for more." He seemed to think the comment was morose. I didn't. Still don't.