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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.
"Minnie Pearl" by Matt Haeck
"EARIE ALERT": I am going to give Matt Haeck the "Late Bloomer" award - only partially because that is the title of his album released this year. Mostly, it is because I feel like I was late to catch on to how awesome his music is. This track for example - is about Minnie Pearl and Hank Williams, and it is absolutely wonderful.
"Long Run" by Quinn Harley
"EARIE ALERT": The 2016 "BRAVERY" award goes to singer-songwriter Quinn Harley. A alumnus of the Dord Music Group family, Quinn released By the Pines in 2016, and it is a powerful document of recovery and self-acceptance. Although, these are not uncommon themes for singer-songwriters, what is uncommon is way Quinn Harley pulls this off. Fragile, broken, strong, determined. The lyrics and the vocals effectively convey the journey while deftly avoiding cliches which are often common in this kind of songwriting. I highly recommend this album for anyone who has or is or will be dealing with the issues addressed. I count myself among those groups.
"When I'm Gone" by Richard Barone
"EARIE ALERT": The "Living History" award goes to Richard Barone. Baron is best known, perhaps, as a member of the band The Bongos. I have been a fan of his solo work - since "Cool Blue Halo" - which I played a lot of in 2016. Late in the year, he released his loving tribute to the Greenwich Village songwriters of the 1960s. Sorrows and Promises highlights the incredibly fertile scene from which some of the best music of the last half of the 20th Century emerged. The album features some of the original artists as well as an impressive line-up of guest musicians. Today's song is a cover of a Phil Ochs song.
"Run Free" + "Happy Birthday" + "Around Midnight" by Si Cranstoun
"EARIE ALERT" - The "Modern Retro" award goes to UK artist, Si Cranstoun. The shuffle brought up three songs in a row from his impressive 2016 album Old School. The songs on Old School, on first listen, sound as if they could have come from an earlier era (that's the point), however, upon closer listen - they are distinctly modern in their approach and production. One of my favorite "discoveries" of 2016.
"Pushing Off To Oblivion" by Jesse and Noah
Already "Earie" winners - we have one of my favorite songs from Southern Usonia - the latest album from Jesse and Noah Bellamy. I am looking forward to highlighting more of these great album in 2017 and hopefully seeing them live as often as I can.
"Year Three" by And the Echo
"EARIE ALERT" - the "Fresh Mississippi Air" award goes to And the Echo. I was introduced to their music in 2016 via their self-titled release. And the Echo are a synth-pop band from Oxford, Mississippi, and if that juxtaposition surprises you then you have probably not been to Oxford, Mississippi (as I had not until about a month ago). The award title is just a reference to the fact that I do listen to a lot of roots oriented music (it is a result of where I am and some other factors), but I do have a pretty diverse taste in music, so I always love when I hear music that sounds different than what I usually hear. I love it even more when the music is as good as And the Echo's music is. Now, I've talked about Oxford - I really want to spend my afternoon perusing the shelves at Square Books and Off Square Books.