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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!
"Asheville 1784" + "Not That Old (But I'm Not Eighteen)" by The Rosellys
"EARIE ALERT": The "Return Trip" Award goes to The Rosellys. I'll try to explain the twisted logic behind the award name, but basically, the lesson here is if Don Gallardo tells you about a band, you listen. The Rosellys are from Bristol (UK not TN or VA) and their music is American roots based music. And it is excellent. Their latest album is called The Granary Sessions. So, basically, American roots music developed out of a folk music traditions from all over the world - including what is now the United Kingdom. Immigrants brought their music with them - over time it changed and was influenced by music from other parts of the world who also brought their music with them to the "New World". So, when I current UK band is influenced by American roots music - it is like the music is making a return trip (having been changed by the experience). Whatever... check out The Granary Sessions - it is awesome.
"The Safe Notes" by Weapons of Minor Disruption
"EARIE ALERT": The "By Any Other Name" Award goes to Weapons of Minor Disruption and to The Danbury Lie. You may recall that I reviewed The Shoreline Sessions by Weapons of Minor Disruption back at the beginning of 2016. Weapons of Minor Disruption is/was? an off-shoot of long-time E2TG favorites The Danbury Lie - who remained prolific in 2016 - releasing Without Mirrors and Slow Cooker during the year. We have also seen some wonderful video work. Our friend Rob relocated last year from Connecticut to Washington state and has continued to make music that is difficult to pin down, but easy to love.
"Disenchanted Always" by The Vondrukes
"EARIE ALERT": The "Out of the Poorhouse" Award goes to The Vondrukes who released On This Ride Together in 2016. The Vondrukes feature a member or member(s) of The Poorhouse Says - who we caught onto last year. The music is high energy roots flavored rock and roll, and it is a ton of fun.
"Silent Night" by Elouise
"EARIE ALERT": The "Darkness/Light" Award goes to Elouise. Self-described "blackgrass" music - bluegrass noir. Deep Water - their debut album - is definitely one of my favorites of 2016. Yes, this is a Christmas song, but it is also a track from the album, and it is undeniably one of the best/most original versions of the song that I have ever heard. Haunting music and vocals.
"On This Ride Together" by The Vondrukes
And how about the title track from The Vondrukes who won an Earie Award a couple of songs back.
"Whiskey Smells Like Bad Decisions" by Renee Wahl
"EARIE ALERT" - The "Shhhh Award" goes to Renee Wahl. The Sworn Secrets is the name of her band and the name of her most excellent EP which was released in 2016. One of my favorite Nashville songwriters and people. Renee has a incredible voice and writes amazing songs. I always love to see her perform live and it is always fun running into her at shows around town.
"Demon Dream" by Pony Girl
"EARIE ALERT": The "Stay... um... Silver?" Award goes to Pony Girl. I will be honest and tell you that Pony Girl first got my attention because of the similarity of their name to long-time E2TG favorite Pony Boy. I even joked about a Pony Boy/Pony Girl double bill (which I still say would be awesome). But, after that, it was the music of Pony Girl that kept my attention. Their album Foreign Life was actually released late in 2015, but I didn't hear it until 2016 (or at least that is my story). Really original atmospheric/electronic alternative pop music of the highest quality. Pony Girl are from Canada and have some association with some of the other awesome Canadian music I have been fortunate enough to have posted about here.