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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.
"Cajun Waltz" by Sonny Landreth
We begin with the great Sonny Landreth and a song from his 1995 album, South of I-10. Landreth was born in Mississippi, but he settled in the heart of Cajun country and still lives there today. This album featured the late great Allen Toussaint (another 2016 loss), Nashvillian R.S. Field, and on a couple of tracks Mark Knopfler. This song is one I know my parents will like.
"Who's Gonna Take the Garbage Out" by John Prine and Iris Dement
John Prine released a new album in 2016, and he got back together with the awesome Iris Dement (with whom he did "In Spite of Ourselves") to record a cover of a song originally recorded by Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn in 1966.
"living creatures (we're only bones)" by Discount Ravioli
Dord Music Group recording artists, Discount Ravioli are back in the shuffle with a seven minute track from their Come Looj With Me release which came out in January. As usual, no video of Discount Ravioli (other than videos of ravioli recipes), so I reposted a video by fellow Dord artists (and for all I know some of the same people) The Urinal Cakes.
"Only One Murder Away" by Reckless Johnny Wales
Another from the new Reckless Johnny Wales CD, 5 Star Meat and Three. Wales effortlessly moves from humorous word play (like Kay, Que Pasa) to more serious topics like this one. It is one indication of his skill as a songwriter. He is an "Earie" award winner in 2016.
"I'm So Lost" by Jon Worthy
Another "Earie" winner! I really love this track which comes from the previous release by Worthy - called Unconventional. His latest is May You Live Happily Ever After.
"Because It's There" by Michael Hedges
I am about 95% sure that the late guitar virtuoso, Michael Hedges, is the only Windham Hill that I have ever seen in concert. I once commented on the entertainment quality of his performance and was taken to task by a guitarist who held that the point wasn't entertainment but the technical proficiency of his playing. Being one of the few non-guitar playing people in Nashville, I had to take his word for it. I still think it was an entertaining show.
"Paul Newman and a Ride Home" by Brian Milligram
EARIE ALERT: Without further explanation, I am giving Brian Milligram the "Wire - No Net" Award. You may have heard one his songs on a recent Double Shot show. Brian has been on my mind this week, and as so often happens, the gods of the shuffle saw fit to bring up a song from his album, Dead Letters. I could Brian both as a "new to me" music discovery and a new friendship forged in 2016.