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Here we are! The final regularly scheduled shuffle of 2015. (I'm not ruling out a shuffle tomorrow but no promises). But first, we have one final bit of business to wrap up the debut edition of the "Earie" Awards. Remember: The "Earies" it sounds strange, but it's not really. The final award is the Golden "Earie" Award (aka the E2TG Artist of the Year).
Since we have a bunch of new readers, I thought I would indulge in a brief history of the award.
I began writing the blog in May 2011. That year, I named a "Band of the Week" every week. As the end of the year approached, I thought it would be fun to have a Readers Poll to select a "Band of the Year". So, I created an on-line poll that included all of the Bands of the Week. Being new to on-line polls, the poll was wide open meaning you could vote as many times as you wanted. The polling was spirited and fun with several artists really getting into it. At the end of the poll, The Mobbs (a UK band) flooded the ballot box and were named Band of the Year. Howard Rabach's band Ubiquity Machine finished second and Don Ryan from New Jersey finished third.
Because the poll was so much fun (and brought a lot of page views to the blog), for 2012 I decided to have a Band of the Month poll - which I did. At the end of 2012, all of the Bands of the Month plus some "Wildcards" competed for Band of Year. The now defunct but totally awesome Skeletons in the Piano from upstate New York were the second Band of the Year.
By 2013, I had kind of grown tired of the polls. It seemed like some artists were more into it than others plus I kind of decided it was a distraction from what was really important - being the music. When 2013 year end came up, to me there was one obvious choice for Band of the Year. The End Men, of Brooklyn, remain to this day the most tagged artist on #E2TG. Beyond that they are really wonderful people. They had a big 2013 and (as I expected) they had an even bigger 2014.
In 2014, once again the choice was obvious. Darrin Bradbury emerged from a Wal-Mart parking lot and began to conquer Nashville. He dominated Ear to the Ground - at one point I think there was at least one DB song in the shuffle everyday for almost a month. In 2014, I probably saw Darrin play life on average 2 or 3 times a week. Also, as expected, in the year that followed (2015), he continued to excel and made me very proud to have him as my Artist of the Year (I had to rename it because he wasn't a band).
Which brings us to the 2015:
The choice this year became pretty clear to me early in the year. my anticipation of Jon Latham's debut album was so high. But, anticipation does not equal awards. Real Bad News managed to exceed my very high expectations. My review can be read HERE. And the album alone is almost enough to make Jon a lock for Artist of the Year. But, there were several great albums released in the past 12 months. But wait, there is more! Jon is one of the kindest people I know. Some people may say that has nothing to do with music, but I would disagree. Grant it, there is long list of really amazing artists who happened to be assholes, however, in the case of Jon Latham, his kindness comes through in just about every song. Beyond that, Jon's knowledge and interest in a wide variety of music is almost encyclopedic. Again, at least in the case of Jon Latham, that depth of knowledge is, I think, crucial to his craft as a songwriter.
As 2015 rolled along, people began to take notice of Jon Latham. The Sin City vs. Guitar Town Eastside Throwdown was a turning point. Jon Latham backed Aaron Lee Tasjan in one of the most electrifying sets I have seen all year. Playing acoustic guitar and singing bgv, people took notice. Since then, Jon has opened shows for Aaron Lee and for the legendary Malcolm Holcombe. Real Bad News has garnered international acclaim and made some best of 2015.
You have one more chance to see the 2015 Artist of the Year in 2015. Jon will once again be joining the incredible Aaron Lee Tasjan in an opening slot for Christ Knight at the Exit/In on New Year's Eve. On Monday, you can catch 2014 Artist of the Year Darrin Bradbury as he kicks of his residency at The Basement East. 2015 Artist of the Year Jon Latham is on the bill for that night. I, for one, am excited!
Basically, those who get it, will understand right away why Jon Latham is my Artist of the Year. If you don't get it, check out the video playlist below and you probably will. Some of Jon's best moments (plus if you look closely in one video you will see the jean shorts clad leg of 2014 winner Darrin Bradbury). A couple of bonus clips that I came across: one is a clip I had heard about but not seen, Jon doing a song that does not often make it to his playlist these days. The touching and tender, "Put It in Your Butt" plus so that we didn't end on that note, a rare clip of the Latham Family Band doing a Dawes cover.
Congratulations Jon! Terry Rickards take note: 2013 Band of the Year, The End Men played the 2014 Post-Americana all-day marathon show at The Basement, 2014 Artist of the Year, Darrin Bradbury, played the 2015 Post-Americana all-day marathon show at The Basement East. I'm just sayin' American Fest will be here before we know it.
Now the last shuffle of the year.... a short commute and walk, and some longish songs means only 5 songs in the shuffle
"Forgive All His Sins" by Jean Synodinos
Jean Synodinos is an Austin-based singer-songwriter. This is our first listen. The song is very moving. Her album is called Love and Blood. Expect to hear more of this one as 2016 gears up.
"45" by Silverbird
Another track from Pureland, the debut album by this New York City based rock band.
"Pound of Grain" by Tymon Dogg
A vegan anthem from the one-time Clash/Joe Strummer collaborator Tymon Dogg from his album Made of Light.
"Dorothy" by Jon Latham
The shuffle gods do right, and throw a Jon Latham song into this final shuffle of the year. "Dorothy" is one of the first songs I heard Jon sing.
"Mistreated" by Delta Deep
Given the spirit of #E2TG, it seems appropriate to close out the year with a band that I am hearing for the first time. Delta Deep is a band that features Phil Collen of Def Leppard and a real deal Delta blues singer named Debbi Blackwell-Cook plus Stone Temple Pilot bassist Robert DeLeo. I'll be honest, I was not the biggest Def Leppard fan (although some of their songs were pretty damned catchy). But this! This is really cool. Blistering blues based rock back by an authentic blues voice. From what I have read, I believe Joe Elliot even appears on this track. I really like this. Expect more as 2016 rolls on. This song is a Deep Purple cover by the way.