Friday, December 30, 2016

Earie Friday Morning Shuffle - Live Like a Brahman Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Well, we reached the final shuffle of 2016,  Before we get to it, a few things:

Last night I attended what will likely end up being my final live show of the year, and what a way to got out!  If you don't know, and if I have not made it abundantly clear, David Olney is a national treasure. I count myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to see him perform live several times in 2016, and last night was quite possibly the best performance ever.  In addition to being one of the best living songwriters, he is a consummate performer.  Last night his band - Ward Stout on fiddle, Daniel Seymour on bass, and Justin Amaral on drums were absolutely on point. You may or may not know that David Olney had a very nasty fall down a flight of stairs a couple of months back, and he (and we) are very fortunate that it was not more serious than it was. If there was any doubt about his recovery, he laid that to rest with a two hour set (it would have been a non-stop two hour set but for a broken guitar string) that showcased his power both as a songwriter and a performer.

As if that was not enough, the one and only Derek Hoke opened the night with a solo set that showcased his amazing abilities.  Olney said it was like watching Roy Orbison.

Talk about a quintessential Nashville night of music. To cap it off, I got to hang out with 2015 E2TG Artist of the Year (and my friend) Jon Latham for a few hours that culminated with eating Taco Bell in a parking lot about midnight and hearing some of the mixes from his forthcoming album, Lifers, which I am stating for the record will be one of the best albums of 2017.

I have some outside-the-shuffle "Earies" to distribute:

1.  The "All Rhodes Lead to Somewhere" award goes to Eli Rhodes.  I reviewed his album Ghost Therapy back in June, and then he went a released Deux earlier this month.  Ghost Therapy was confessional and vulnerable with just some flat-out great songwriting.  My December has been so messed up that I haven't had a chance to check out Deux, but I plan to rectify that soon.

2.  The "90 Miles" Award goes to Ben de la Cour. Back in August, I had the distinct pleasure of premiering Ben de la Cour's music video for "(Ain't Going) Down that Road" from his album Midnight in Havana album.  (Cuba is 90 miles from the US, Havana is in Cuba thus the award name).  I was first introduced to de la Cour's music via the Couch by Couchwest on-line music festival (which was another casualty of this awful year).  Since the time, I first heard him, he moved to Nashville, and I finally got to meet him. He is an awesome songwriter who draws on some unique life experiences to make some amazing music.

3.  The "Precipitation Award" goes to Drew Kohl.  I reviewed his latest release New Rain earlier this year.  Kohl is one of my favorite songwriters and favorite people.  Among his many talents is being able to sustain a note vocally for an insanely long time - plus he does a really awesome cover of the Ramones' song "I Wanna Be Sedated".  Requested next time you see him live.

4.  The "Impatience and Growth" Award goes to Josh Morris.  Morris produced Jon Latham's Real Bad News Album and he is producing, Lifers which I mentioned above.  As good as Real Bad News is  (and it is really, really good and you need to own it if you don't) it was amazing to hear how much Josh Morris has grown as a producer in the year or so since that album was made. It is equally astounding to hear how much Josh Morris has grown as a songwriter and performer - which is evident from his latest album Can't Wait 'Til Now which I reviewed back at the beginning of this month.  You may recall that Morris was one half of the band And the Giraffe which was a featured band in the early days of E2TG - through some pretty mind-blowing coincidences, I reconnected with him a couple of years ago, and I have been impressed by all he had accomplished.

Okay - so the deal is after today's post, I will still have a few Earie Awards to hand out. So my current plan is to do a special post Monday to award the final "Earie Awards" and then Tuesday I will reveal my "Artist/Band of the Year" and then we can jump into the new year with both feet on Wednesday. Deal?

The shuffle yields a few more "Earies" - let's do it!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Earie Thursday Morning Shuffle - Stay Silver Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

So, I have come to major decision regarding the Artist/Band of the Year Award for 2016.  Basically, 2016 has been such a bad year that it doesn't deserve to know who will win the Artist/Band of the Year award.  Therefore, I will be revealing the winner(s) on Monday or Tuesday of next week after 2016 has been ceremoniously shown the door.

Also, I have so many Earies left to hand out that I probably won't have time to post those awards tomorrow... but mostly the first reason!

Just for the sake of clarification - the "Earie" Awards are not necessarily a "Best of" for 2016 nor do I choose to do a "Top Ten" or anything like that.  Basically, I decided very early on with this blog that I cannot cover all of the music released or even all of the worthwhile music released or even all of the worthwhile music of a particular style. I made the decision to seek out and work to write about a lot of under-the-radar artists - who my readers may not have heard. I mix it up with classic tracks from my formative years or old music I have recently discovered. Occasionally, I will throw in a recent more well known track, and I will continue to write about my friends even when they achieve whatever level of fame. Basically, I write about what I want to write about as I am able. Trust me, when I say, there was a ton of great music that was released in 2016 that never made it E2TG for whatever reason.  Check out all those "Top Ten" and "Best of" posts especially if they are written by people whose opinion you respect, and do yourself a favor and if a name or title catches your ear, give it a listen and if you like, shell out a few bucks to support the artist. That, in the end, is all I can expect of my readers, too.

In any event, as I look back on 2016 and think about the music that I have posted about in the last 12 months, I am heartened by the incredible artists that I "discovered" in 2016. That is, who made their way into my consciousness, and I am excited to think about the artists who will reach my ears in 2017.

Anyway, we have a bunch of "Earies" to hand out so let's go!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Earie Wednesday Morning Shuffle - The Meridian Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. We are back for the final three shuffles of 2016, and the final "Earie" awards for 2016.  I hit a bit of a panic late last week when I realized how quickly the end of the year was approaching and I kept remembering people who deserved "Earie" awards.  I will go ahead and say (as I did last year), I know I am probably going to fail to give some people "Earies" who really should get one. I blame my lack of organizational skills combined with my muddled mind. Truth is, if I have posted your music in 2016, I really dig your music. Deal?

To help things along, I created an end of year playlist that is heavily weighted with potential "Earie" winners - along with a few who have already won an award. I am going to shuffle from this list for the rest of the week/month/year.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Feliz Navidad Friday Morning Shuffle - Comfort and Joy Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve.  As I muddle through my last day of work for a few, and as the year winds down, I have been reflecting on all that I am grateful for in my life.  I know I may sound like a broken record, but E2TG has been one of my life's great blessings (behind my family and maybe one or two other things), and that is because of the incredible people I have been able to get to know because I decided to start writing this thing about five and half years ago.

Today for my first batch of Earie Awards, my thoughts turn toward people who are not specifically musicians that I have featured on E2TG but people who have been a integral part of this whole thing.

I am calling this one (just because I couldn't think of a better name) the "TYFBAFOE2TG" Award - which stands for "Thank you for being a friend of E2TG".

The award goes to Sue Havlish, Mary Sack, Karen Leipziger, Jill Kettles, Gina Frary Bacon, and Gina Sigillito.  Each of these people in their own ways have helped to make E2TG what is today, and I am very grateful for that. I think they each know what they have done, and I wanted to acknowledge them in these few lines. A ton of good things happened in 2016 (and some bad stuff, too) and I am looking forward to what 2017 has in store.  Good or bad (and there will be bad), I know we will get through it together.

Well, I started today with 39 songs left in my Christmas playlist and since this is the last shuffle before the man in the red suit shows up, I thought I would shuffle a few more.

I will see you next week with the last three shuffles of 2016 and the rest of the "Earie" awards including the Artist of the Year award.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Twas the Night Thursday Morning Shuffle - Later Like Dig Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Here we go.... Only 5 more shuffles (including this one) in 2016.

First up:  A pair of well-deserved "Earies" (there will be one more embedded in the shuffle)

1.  The "Outcast" Award goes to Leland Sundries and comes as we received word that they recently signed a publishing deal with Mother West Records.  This New York band released their latest album Music For Outcasts this year, and I got to attend their Nashville release show at the Family Wash -where they tore it up.

2.  The "Key Chain" award goes to Amelia White.  Not only was the "motel key chain" among the best merch of the year, her latest album Home Sweet Hotel was one of the best albums released in 2016. This is one that seems like it has been out for some long that it almost slipped by me, but I do remember attending the CD release show (also at the Family Wash) earlier this year.  Amelia White is one of those performers that I never get tired of seeing live. Her fluid backing band, The Blue Souvenirs, are always on point and always feature some of this town's best musicians.

Well, this is our penultimate shuffle before we break for Christmas, so here is a holiday mix - chex cereal optional.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Good King Wenceslas Wednesday Morning Shuffle - Close Your Eyes Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

So, as of about 4:44 this morning, the days have officially started getting longer (see I can be glass half full kind of person... now fill my glass!)  It is officially Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. Which in Tennessee somehow means the temperatures are going to rise a bit over the next few days. The way it looks now, I may be laying out by the pool on Christmas Day in Georgia... well not really but it is supposed to be close to 70.  Did I mention, E2TG is now a weather blog?

Okay let's move on...

Back in May, this blog turned 5 years old, and we celebrated by throwing a big old party down at The 5 Spot. I am forever grateful to the artists who performed. So, I thought I would give them each an "Earie" which I can calling the "Extravaganza Award".  

By the way, although it would have been understandable if these five acts had decided to just call it year - knowing they could never top playing the E2TG Anniversary Spectacular - they nonetheless soldiered on and did other amazing things...

1. The Foresters came all the way from Connecticut just to play the E2TG show. Okay, fine, they were here for a conference but I am very grateful for the fortuitous timing.  Later in 2016, they played Athens Pop Fest where they got to meet some of their musical inspirations from the Elephant 6 collective. They also put out some early recordings of Robert Scheider of Apples in Stereo on their own Dord Music Group label. Plus Dord got a cool new logo designed by Will Cullen Hart who designed the Elephant 6 logo.

2. Stone Cupid (trio - Julie Christensen, Sergio Webb, and Chris Tench) - I was so honored to have Julie, Sergio, and Chris play the show. Look for some new Stone Cupid music in the coming year,

3 Patrick Kinsley and a Fistful of Dollars - Kinsley and company rocked the house, and I hoping to hear some more new music from them in 2017.

4. BARK - okay Tim Lee 3 already won an "Earie" but this award goes to Tim and Susan's side project which will become their main music project with TL3 going on hiatus. I was happy that so many of my friends and fans got to hear BARK for the first time, and I know that they all became fans.

5.  Adrian + Meredith  - What a great way to close out the show.  A + M certainly did not rest on the laurels that come with playing an E2TG Anniversary Show... They released More Than a Little earlier this year to widespread acclaim.  The album features some of Nashville's finest musicians (which includes Adrian and Meredith themselves),

Speaking of The 5 Spot (way back I was speaking about The 5 Spot)... I took in the final $2 Tuesday of 2016.  As it is every time I go it was a blast.  (It's probably a blast even when I do not go, but I cannot personally attest to that).  Hank Erwin opened up, and his first song was a cover of a Chris Porter song. Porter, you may recall, was killed (along with a band mate) in a tragic auto accident while on tour a few months back... It was my first time hearing Erwin, but I really loved his music.

After that Derek Hoke lead cool band through some classic Christmas tunes with guest singers.

The music for the night ended with Jerry Pentecost leading a song by song tribute to Elvis Costello's second album, This Year's Model,  Oh man, that was fun.

I think I will just post Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal songs for the rest of this week...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle - The Whole Picture Stank Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Running a little behind today.

How about some outside the shuffle "Earie" Awards

1.  The "Strong Spine"Award goes to Zachariah Red who released his album Backbone back at the beginning of the year.  He won a preemptive "Earie" in 2015 on the basis of "40 Miles" the first single. The album was most excellent and deserving of an "Earie" all it's own.

2. Backbone was mastered by Timothy Ryssemus who released his own album under the Ricca Vita name. Ricca Vita - the album - was one of the freshest and most unique-sounding records of 2016. It is electronic music - but what struck me about it (and I think maybe Ryssemus benefited from working with singer-songwriters like Zach Red in this regard) was the focus. Electronic music can tend to lose me sometimes, but that was not the case with this record.  So, I will give Ricca Vita the "Breath of Fresh Electronic Air" Award.

3.  The "These Days" Award for 2016 goes to Charlie Hager. Yeah, it is the title of one of his songs (of which we premiered the video), but these days, America needs a voice like Charlie Hager.  Plain spoken, honest, songwriting of the highest caliber. If you are looking for bells and whistles - go elsewhere. But, before you go, take a good honest listen to Charlie Hager's songs. His album American Saga is one you may not have heard, but it is one you really need to hear.

4. Our final "Earie" of the day is the "Happenstance Award" (you do know I just make these award names up off the top of my head don't you?). The award goes to Dingzui - a Nashville band who released Analogue in 2016. If not for a chance encounter at a David Olney show at Bobby's Idle Hour, there is a chance, I might would have missed out on hearing this album, and that would have been a shame. You have to hand it any band who titles songs "Graceland" and "The Tennessee Waltz" (neither of these are cover songs) and manages to pull it off which a couple of really excellent songs. The album is great, and since you may not have been at that David Olney show, I'm giving you a chance to not miss out.

To the shuffle:

Monday, December 19, 2016

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - Five Minutes Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

I had a moment of panic last night when I realized that I only have 7 or 8 more shuffles to post in 2016. (I haven't decided if I am working Wednesday of next week so...).  I have handed 32 "Earie" Awards so far in 2017, but there are a bunch of awards still to go...   I am going to start with four more:

1.  "The Dirty Rice" Award (year 2).  Last year, I handed out this award (dedicated to the State of Louisiana where my roots are deep) to D.L. Duncan and Kevin Gordon.  The award this year goes to two more gentlemen whose music I have come to know this past year.  1st: Brian Langlinais.  Brian has been in Nashville almost as long as I have, but his Louisiana roots are strong. His latest album Right Hand Road was at least partially recorded in Lafayette, Louisiana and produced by D.L. Duncan himself.  The album includes many Nashville and Louisiana musicians. 2nd:  Chris Watts. Watts is a native of Pineville, Louisiana and makes Nashville his home now. His album, The God's Own Truth was released earlier this year.

2.  The "This will Make Me Look Really Smart Next Year" award goes to Rayvon Pettis. 2014 E2TG Artist of the Year has been telling me about Rayvon Pettis for months and months, but it wasn't until very recently that I finally got to see him live, and I'm a believer. I am not alone. Word is that an album is on the way in 2017. I expect by this time next year a whole lot more people will be buzzing about this guy.

3.  The "Please, Please, Please, Please..." award goes to the one and only Buck 'N' Stuff.  If 2015 Artist of the Year, Jon Latham and I have our way (and why shouldn't we have our way), 2017 will be the Year of Buck 'n' Stuff.  Buck 'n' Stuff are simply put the most exciting musical idea to emerge in the last decade (or maybe ever).  On the surface, they are a Buck Owens tribute band - which is pretty cool on it's own. But, I don't normally hand out "Earies" to tribute bands not matter how good they are.  But, when it comes to Buck 'n' Stuff, "Normal" is not even a real word. I can't explain their awesomeness right now... go look up some videos on You Tube.  They will be playing NYE at The 5 Spot - kicking off the Year of Buck 'n' Stuff.

4.  The "Cheese Chronicler" award goes to Tommy Womack.  Womack was a member of the legendary Government Cheese (and he chronicled their adventures and misadventures in Cheese Chronicles: the True Story of a Rock Band You've Never Heard Of.  Since moving to Nashville, he has been/is a member of The Bisquits and Daddy. He's played with Todd Snider and released several well received solo albums including Namaste which came out in 2016.  He is a fellow DJ on WXNA, and I am happy to have been able to see him perform several times in 2016, and I even got to dance with my daughter to one of his best known songs, "Nice Day".

Now on to the Music City Monday shuffle:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - Blue Valley Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Weird weather coming this weekend - warm, storms, cold, ice... and that is just Saturday...

Just a note about the Earies and the coveted Artist of the Year award.  Last year, I held off awarding an Earie to the ultimate winner, Jon Latham until the Golden Earie (Artist of the Year).  I thought about doing that again, but since I have not decided on an Artist of the Year yet and with several in contention, I have decided to forgo that.  So - what that mean is that just because someone wins an "Earie" does not mean they are out of contention for the Artist of the Year award.  Thanks for playing and stay tuned.  All will be made clear as mud.

By the way, the preceding announcement may or may not have anything today with today's post.

It is Friday.  Shuffling from our "New Music" playlist.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tinsel Thursday Morning Shuffle - Christmas, Daddy-O Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Okay - I am running short on time - so I will defer the Earies until tomorrow.

I decided for the last part of the year to add a bunch of holiday-themed music to my phone, and since I have not created a Throwback Thursday playlist - I created a Christmas/Holiday playlist which I am shuffling from today...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle - Domino Rope Bridge Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Posting late because we had a Holiday Luncheon at work...

Well, my bluetooth worked like a charm this morning and then crashed after that... ug!

EARIE ALERT:  Just one "Earie" today and I'm doing it outside of the shuffle.

I'm calling this one the "XXX Award" - not for the reasons you might think...

So, if you have been reading E2TG over the last few years, this award will not be a surprise.  If you are new to the site, and you don't know about this award winner... well.... step right up.

In 2012, Big Wilson River was a Featured Artist (when I had such a thing). They broke up shortly after that (not because of that - I don't think)... Band leader Darrin Bradbury went solo and hit the road eventually landing in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Nashville - where he met folks like Tim Carroll, Tim Easton, and even Todd Snider.  (Not in the Wal-Mart parking lot, in Nashville - bad sentence sorry)...   I got a heads up that he was coming to Nashville, and I started checking out his solo work, and I was fairly well blown away.  In 2014, there was about a six week run where there was a Darrin Bradbury song in my shuffle about every year. He released several collections of songs/albums.  We finally met in person in May of 2014, and there was a time when I would see Darrin perform his songs at least two or three times every week.

By the end of 2014, it was clear that his star was on the rise, and I named him my Artist of the Year,  (The first solo act to win the award which used to be called Band of the Year - and still may be some day).  2015 saw Darrin live up to the promise, I (and others saw) - plus the release of The Story of Bob (with a familiar looking face on the cover).  2016 was a year of big changes.  Elmwood Park: A Slightly Melodic Audio Book was one of the best of the year, and Darrin toured quite a bit including some dates opening up for Margo Price.  He started the year with an awesome residency at The Basement East.  I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store.  Today is Darrin's birthday, and I am proud and honored to call him a friend.  If by any chance you haven't checked out Darrin Bradbury.... go do it  now!  The "XXX Award" is being presented today to Mr. Darrin Bradbury.

Only six songs in the shuffle because there was a 10 minute song and a couple of 4+ minute songs. It's all good,,,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle - Factory of Fantasies Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Okay... so the bluetooth issue is getting annoying.  Last night, I cleared some cache thing that seemed to help, but no, this morning bluetooth kept shutting down again. Open to suggestions.

Anyway, I did power through for our Trending Tuesday shuffle - on a cold raining morning in Nashville....


Monday, December 12, 2016

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - Put it Back Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

It's Monday again... less than two weeks until Christmas, and less than three weeks left in 2016.

This weekend, the 11th Annual Get Behind the Mule - Tom Waits Tribute and Benefit was Saturday at The 5 Spot.  Great music, great time. I even got to emcee some. Lots of highlights.  Julie Christensen and company, Furious Primates, The Coal Men (who joined forces with Carpetbaggers 615, Tommy Womack, David Olney, Sarah Potenza, and so many more.

Sunday night:  Don Gallardo opened for SHEL. As you may know, Don Gallardo is one of my favorite Nashville artists, and he had a killed band with him.  SHEL - who I seem to see about once a year - brought stellar musicianship and a great stage presence for a really fun set of music.

Let's jump into the Music City Monday shuffle. Still having some technical issues with my bluetooth on my phone, but I powered through as best I could...  A few double shots.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - All the Lonely Boys Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Another long, awesome night at The 5 Spot last night.  Fats Kaplin and Gang were amazing as always.  Guests were Dominic and Rachael Davis.  There was music and magic and magical music.

The late show was the Collins Family Christmas Extravaganza which was a fund raiser for the Standing Rock protesters. Christmas music and good times that ranged from the sacred to the slightly deranged. My kind of night.

Reminder: Saturday is the Get Behind the Mule Benefit and Tom Waits Tribute at The 5  Spot. I probably screwed up the name, but you know... Tons of cool people and a good time will be had by all - I expect.

By the way, SHEL, who I mentioned are headlining Nashville Sunday Night at
3rd and Lindsley (with Don Gallardo opening) were at The 5 Spot last night for Fats Kaplin.

Earie update:

So here is the rundown.  Before this post, I have awarded 20 Earie Awards in 2017.  Some of the winners show up in this shuffle and we have a couple more to award...  Let's do it...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Wild Thursday Morning Shuffle - Complicated Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

I'm befuddled and bewildered... first of all, my bluetooth kept crashing on my phone.  I'm hoping the situation resolves itself because I have already restarted my phone, and that is about the extent of my technical knowledge....

Anyway, I powered through today's shuffle - from all the songs on my phone. The shuffle brought up some gems from the depth of my playlist along with some slightly more recent faves.

I'm going to skip the "Earies" today. I need to regroup and get a running list going so I am don't confuse myself.

Anyway - some upcoming events I wanted to clue you into... as always, this is not comprehensive and just off the top of my head -so sorry for any omissions....

Tonight: Fats Kaplin hosts the early show at The 5 Spot. His shows are always amazing. I had to miss last week, but I will be there tonight.  After that, the incredible Collins Family will be hosting their second annual Christmas Extravaganza also at The 5 Spot. Some pretty awesome guests plus Smoking Flowers all doing holiday tunes.  Benefits for that show are going to Standing Rock.

Friday: As always, Tim Carroll Rock n Roll Happy Hour goes down at The 5 Spot. If you've never been, go! If you've been, well, then I don't need to tell you.  A bit later Nathan Dohse of AGD Entertainment will be at The Country for his first live show in a very long time.  Closing the night will be one of my faves Patrick Kinsley and A Fistful of Dollars.

Saturday: The 11th Annual Get Behind the Mule - Tom Waits tribute and benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank is at The 5 Spot. Some awesome guests this year. Mary Sack puts on a a great show.

Sunday:  Don Gallardo will be opening for SHEL at 3rd and Lindsley for the long running Nashville Sunday Night show and broadcast.  A bit of trivia - SHEL was the band that was playing at The 5 Spot right after I met Darrin Bradbury in person for the very first time.

On to the shuffle:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle - Wild Cat a Pet Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

It's funny, really... (I like starting blog posts in the middle of a thought).  People will say, "It's been a good year." or "It's been a sucky year." or whatever, but for me if I really think about, most years are a little bit of both. Even years that I look upon as my worst, had moments of transcendent joy.

For many people, 2016 is being chalked up on the "bad year" side of the ledger, and it is understandable.  In music, we lost some of the all-time greats in 2016. From Bowie to Cohen and so many more. For many in my closest circle of friends, the election did not know as we would have like, and we are worried about what this will mean in the short and long term for the world.  Personally, the last half of the year has brought on a series of (ultimately) minor health issues that took the wind out of my sails for a time.  And yet, it was also the year, I began doing Double Shot with Sue Havlish on WXNA - which has proven to be one of the great joys of my life. It was also a year of "discovering" lots of new (to me) music and forging some new friendships while building on some older ones. Could it have been better? Could I have done better? Sure. Same with every previous year and likely every future year.

Before we jump into a "Wild Wednesday" shuffle - I have an "EARIE" Award to hand out.  Thinking about "new to me music" and new friendships....

I remember seeing Clark Paterson around East Nashville, and I remember hearing people talk about his music.  To me, he was kind of intimidating. Really tall with a big beard. A few months back, he contacted me and sent me a copy of his latest album, The Final Tradition.  The album features two of my favorite East Nashville musicians - Tim Carroll and Paul Niehaus - so I was intrigued. And when listened, I was impressed.  I jotted down a few words....

With The Final Tradition, East Nashville singer-songwriter Clark Paterson has made a gritty and earthy rock and roll record. Backed by some of Nashville’s finest musicians including Tim Carroll and Paul Niehaus, Paterson weaves no holds barred tales of real people living real lives. 

It is not easy to write about the kind of characters that inhabit Paterson’s songs while avoiding slipping into cliche and sterotypes, but Patersons does so. The secret to his ability to walk that fine line can be found in his bio which reveals a complex and diverse set of experiences which have provided the inspiration to write these songs that ring with a authencity that is refreshing.

Standout tracks include “This Dog’s Gonna Hunt”, “Kansas Saturday Night”, and “Hillbilly Shit”. These songs reveal a confident swagger that belies a rough-hewn vulnerability.  It is this honest to god vulnerability presented as strength not weakness that sets The Final Tradition apart from most other roots oriented records being made in recent years. 

Of course, with life being what it is, I never posted this words until now.. but, with out more ado, I am awarding Clark Paterson the "Rough-hewn Vulnerability" Award for 2016.

On to the shuflle...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle - Kay Pasa Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

According to my Facebook memories, the Blogger/Blogspot version of E2TG is 5 years old right about now. (For the first 6-7 months, the blog was hosted on the now defunct site Posterous).  Just thought I would mention that.

Embedding the "Earie" Awards in the shuffles has worked well for the most part. Expect some non-embedded "Earies" as we move forward.  Also, just to address it... sometimes, a "non-winner" may tend to stand out which is not my intention.  I have a very clear (if unstated) concept of the "Earies" and it does not necessarily have anything to do with the quality of the music. Basically, I don't include music that I don't like on E2TG.  That being said, I may be spreading the awards out more thinly going forward so... if your favorite band doesn't win one day, keep tuning in.

It is Tuesday and we have some "trending" music from our "New Music Playlist"...

Monday, December 5, 2016

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - Gardens of Stone Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Here we go.  I have a few more "Earies" to give away embedded below.  Remember, just because I do not award an "Earie" in one post does not necessarily mean the artist/band will not win one. Just saying. 

Also, a note.  For the first time in recent memory, there is some lobbying/interest in the Artist of the Year Award. What I can tell you is that I have not reached a decision about that yet. Some names are being thrown around by myself and others, and for sure, there are several worthy candidates - including some dark horses.  Stay tuned.

Monday brings out Music City Monday shuffle - let's do it!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - Little New York City Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

First things first... some housekeeping.  Yesterday in my haste to kick off the "Earies" and post the shuffle, I failed to talk about the awesome "Songs of Love and Protest Show" hosted by Matt Haeck at The Family Wash on Wednesday.  Featuring incredible performances by Haeck, Amy Speace, Wild Ponies, Jon Latham, Darrin Bradbury, Brian Wright, Zach Schmidt, Rayvon Pettis, and probably others that I am blanking on.  The event was a kickoff for an upcoming compilation album with proceedings going to Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Stay tuned for updates.

Second, if you missed it, I posted a review/debut of Josh Morris' new album Can't Wait 'Til Now earlier today.  Check it out HERE. And check out Josh Morris tomorrow night at The Country.  Also tomorrow, across the river, Mark Robinson will be bringing a full band set to Dee's Country Cocktail Lounge - a relatively new venue in Madison. As always there is a ton of other stuff going on so get out and see some live local music this weekend.

Spontaneously and randomly this morning, I came up with the idea of awarding some "Earie" awards embedded in the shuffle. Truth is, I have so many awards I want to give out this is the best way to cover a bunch and then I can fill in others.  So... let's begin with a Featured Friday Shuffle...

E2TG Review - Josh Morris: Can't Wait 'Til Now

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

I have been following Josh Morris’ music career for several years now. First, as one half of the duo And the Giraffe, and later as a solo artist and producer. His first solo EP, Greenfields, was one of my favorite releases of 2015, and that year, he produced Real Bad News, the debut album by E2TG Artist of the Year Jon Latham.  

Morris has been busy in 2016: working on Latham’s follow up effort, working on a forthcoming Darrin Bradbury (another E2TG Artist of the Year) album among several other projects. Plus, he went back to school. In between all of that, he found the time to record his first full-length solo album.  Can’t Wait ‘Till Now is being released today (December 2) with a CD release show set for December 3 at The Country.

“Amusing to Me”, the opening track, has the hallmarks of a great Josh Morris song: a hook-laden melody that recalls some of the great pop music of the last half of the most recently completed century and smart, witty lyrics - “I’ve been looking for God, but He don’t drink at the bar.”  From this opening track, however, it is clear that Josh Morris is ready to expand his musical palette.

There is a lot going on musically on this album - like the organ sound at the beginning of the second track, “Waste Your Time”, but the musical acrobatics never distract from songs. It is Josh Morris, the producer, who gets the credit for that, and it is one of the reasons that he is one of the best new producers working in Music City.

The song, “Waste Your Time”, has the feel of a hungover morning filled with a hazy feeling of regret. “Slow Down” has been getting some local radio airplay. The driving insistent melody and the unearthly vocals make this a stand-out track.

Much of the rest of the album are slow songs buoyed by the vibrant musicality and the rich lyrical prowess.

“I Promise I’m Scared Now” is a stunning instrumental with flashes of warm ambient electronic music.

The album closes with “Heart Bleeds” which employees a discordant wall of sound that fades and returns and surrounds the moody introspective vocals and lyrics.

Can’t Wait ‘Til Now is, in the end,  a great pop album that shows off the growth and maturity of Josh Morris as a performer, songwriter, and producer.  On this album, he is backed by Cory Nichols and John Gentile, who both played on Greenfields, Jon Latham who adds guitar to three songs, and Mike Burns who plays slide on two tracks.  Jennifer Pappas provided the artwork, as she has done for virtually all of Morris’ releases.

The album is out now. You can stream it below, and you can buy it from the usual outlets. Now, who wants a doughnut?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Wild Thursday Morning Shuffle - Someone Else Has That Number Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

So it is December. The last month of the year, and that means it is awards season. And that means it is time for the 2nd Annual Earie Awards.  "The Earies" - "They sound odd, but they really aren't".

Continuing a tradition that dates back to... well last year... we present our first "Earie Award" for 2016 on December 1. 

Just to explain for those new to E2TG, The Earie Awards are a completely subjective arbitrary way that I choose to honor some of the great music of the preceding year.  There is no eligibility period, basically, even if an album came out in 2015, if it entered my consciousness in this year, it is eligible. And it is not specifically or exclusively albums that I honor. An artist/band that grabbed my attention with live shows or in other ways... eligible. Basically, it is "Earie" eligible if I say it is...

In 2015, the very first ever "Earie" went to Darrin Bradbury, who happened to have been our Artist of the Year in 2014.  So, I thought I would continue that one year tradition by handing out the first award of 2016.  The "Nice Guys Kick Butt and Then Write Sad Songs About It" Award goes to the one and only Jon Latham!  Jon was our 2015 Artist of the Year.  And in 2016, he continually showed why he was the absolute best choice for that award. In addition to recording his new album, unveiling some incredible new songs, leading bands at some of the best tribute shows in town, making his official Americana Music Fest showcase debut, backing other musicians, and sharing stages with Kevn Kinney, Aaron Lee Tasjan,  and many more; Jon has continued to be one of the nicest and most humble people I have ever met. His new album, Lifers, is due in early 2017, and I predict it will be his breakthrough. I base that upon the bits I have heard and the songs that he has unveiled of late.

Congratulations, Jon!  Jon is or will soon be heading to the Holiday Hangout in Arkansas, so I am accepting this award on his behalf, and I will be hocking it later today to get some scratch.

On to the shuffle. I still don't have a Throwback Thursday playlist, so stop asking me about it, jeez!  I decided, just for the heck of it, to shuffle all the songs on my phone again.  So, it is Wild Thursday. Who cares if the letters don't match...