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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:
"Way Up" by Paul Zografi
"Earie" winner Paul Zografi is up first with a track from his latest album, Rack.
"I Knew Him As Sam" by Darrin Bradbury
WXNA asked their DJs to post some year-end picks. It could be a list or a review or whatever. I decided to write a review of Darrin Bradbury's album Elmwood Park: A Slightly Melodic Audio Book. You can find all of the year end pick's on WXNA's website. Suffice it to say, to my way of thinking, Elmwood Park was one of the best albums of 2016. This is one of Darrin's newer(ish) songs, and it is one of my favorites. The first time I heard it, I teared up a little. A simple story told from the POV of Mark Twain's childhood best friend.
"Standing At the Crossroads Too Long" by David Newbould
Another great record that came out this year was The Devil is His Name. An EP by David Newbould. Newbould is an excellent Nashville songwriter. His music has been heard on countless television shows and movies, and it no wonder. He first caught my ear when I saw him perform at The Building (RIP) a little over a year ago.
"Night and Day" by The Slang
I first wrote about The Slang - who are from Columbus, Ohio - a couple of years ago. Their most recent release is called Night and Day, and this is the title track. I highly recommend this band and album for fans of alternative/power pop music.
"Zanzibar" by Taj Mahal
Next up, another track from the recently released Taj Mahal album, Labor of Love. This is a lovely instrumental.
"Just That Little Thing" by Mike Cullison
"Earie" winner Mike Cullison is up next with another one from Front Porch Philosophy. Some times, it is just that little thing.
"The Almost Great Lakes" by Darrin Bradbury
Elmwood Park was a great combination of newer songs and long-time crowd favorites. This is one of the latter. Like Darrin, I don't know much about being "great" but "almost great"? I can understand that a little better.
"Wake Up" by Joanna Barbera
And we close down this shuffle with another from Imago by "Earie" award winner Joanna Barbera. I love this song!