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Well it is 2017, but here at E2TG we still have some unfinished business to complete for 2016. So, I'm taking advantage of a couple of days off to award my final group of Earie Awards. Tomorrow, I may or may not have a few more, but I will definitely be awarding Band/Artist of the Year. Remember, unlike last year, the Artist/Band of the Year may or may not have already received an Earie this year, so you will have to stay tuned. Betting lines are open... void where prohibited.
I do want to take a second to once again thank every one who reads, reposts, shares, comments, "likes", and otherwise supports me in making E2TG happen. I am encouraged by the fact that December, November, and October 2016 were the 1. 2. and 3. best months for page views in the entire 5 1/2 year history of this blog. In fact, December 2016 blew every previous month out of the water. I am humbled and filled with gratitude, and I am looking for a new year of opportunities and great music.
First, a couple of non-shuffle "Earies" to give out:
1. The "After I Died" award goes to Bashful Hips. This often enigmatic and unique artists released the awesome "After I Died, I've Never Felt So Alive", I was fortunate to be able to make it to the CD release show earlier this year. Bashful Hips also had the opportunity to play shows and tour with some of his favorite artist. For my part, I am grateful to have his cool and original sounds in my shuffle.
2. The "Treeline is Not a Limit" award goes to Tim McNary. McNary is another of those artists (like Ben de le Cour and Josh Morris) who I wrote about back in the early days of the blog and then reconnected with in a very coincidental way. His album, Above the Trees was one of my favorites of the year, and I always love seeing McNary live. He has a wonderful, rich voice that brings his song to life.
Now to the shuffle - since I didn't commute anywhere this morning, I listened to tunes while I tried to do some organizing around here....
(Note: For the sake of expediency, I am grouping the songs shuffled by artist rather than in the order they were heard).
Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers - "Drunken Sailor" + "Haul Away Joe" + "Bully in the Alley" + "Morrison's Jig/ Lilting Banshee"
The "Aaargh" Award goes to Nashville's resident pirate band. As I wrote before, any "music city" worth its salt needs a pirate band, and since this is THE Music City, it stands to reason that we have the best pirate band. Tom Mason and his merry band of Blue Buccaneers put on a hell of a show, and they made a hell of a good record - Pirate Party which was released in 2016. The first time I saw them live, I have to admit, I was skeptical. I mean, a pirate band? But, based upon the quality of people who were telling me to go, I had to take a chance. What I witnessed was nothing sort of amazing. First of all, understand that Tom Mason is a first class songwriter and his band are first class musicians. This is not a novelty (or if it is, it is a novel novelty). Also, you should know that Tom Mason is a consummate entertainer. So, when you go see them live (and you really must), batten down your hatches and brace yourself for a good time!
Robyn Hitchcock and Emma Swift - "Love is a Drag"
The "What a Time and What a Place" award goes to Robyn Hitchcock and Emma Swift. This East Nashville twosome released a really awesome single in 2016. Both sides are great songs. I have to say, that I have been a fan of Robyn Hitchcock for a very long time, and one of the most bizarre aspects of 2016 is that is is no longer strange to run into Robyn and Emma around East Nashville, and to see one or both of them perform on stages big or small whenever they are in town.
Tim Easton - "Elmore James" + "Right Before Your Own Eyes" + "Killing Time"
The "Put a Fork in It" award goes to Tim Easton. Tim Easton is a long-time East Nashville resident, and a long-time supporter of his fellow artists. In 2016, he released his amazing album American Fork and he toured all over the world. Fortunately, he is here long enough to put on one of the funnest CD Release Shows of 2016. His show at Fond Object was a family friendly affair with great food and great music. "Elmore James" has been a favorite since I first heard Easton play it live, and it was good to have it on record.
Austin Lucas (with Kelly Smith) - "Kristie Rae"
The "Warrior" Award goes to Austin Lucas. He released possibly his best album ever in 2016 - Between the Moon and the Midwest. The album features some really cool guests like Lydia Loveless and as on this track Kelly Smith of Glossary. Lucas also toured extensively. But, as for many of us, 2016 was not without it's challenges. I arrived at this award title after witnessing (from afar) the way that Lucas has dealt with the challenges and the strength he has demonstrated. I know 2017 is going to be rough, but one thing that encourages me if seeing the determination of many of my musician friends to rise to the challenges ahead, and I predict that Austin Lucas will be leading the pack.
Clint Morgan - "Thief in the Night"
The "So Bad He's Good" Award goes to Clint Morgan. I don't mean his music is bad or even that he is a bad person, but on his 2016 release, Scofflaw, Morgan writes and sings about some bad characters, and he tells their stories very well indeed. Clint Morgan is another of those artists who had somehow eluded my ears before 2016, and as with the others, I am very glad to be a fan now.
Conrad y Skordalia - "Richard Hugo's Car Still Runs" + "Walk With Me"
The "Poetic Silo" Award goes to Conrad y Skordalia. Even though, I kept messing up the name of their album when I played them on Double Shot, A Silo Filled With Birds was one of favorite albums of 2016. I also am grateful for 2016 for allowing me the chance to meet David Conrad and Rebecca Weiner Tompkins and have the chance to hang out with them some. Both members of this band have poetic backgrounds, and it really shows in the powerful images that the lyrics evoke. The album was co-produced by the great J.D. Foster and features the amazing guitar work of Marc Ribot among the other musicians who appear on the album. I look forward to more music and more hangs with these two in 2017.
Jason P. Krug - "Push Play"
The "Great Northern Doppelganger" award goes to Jason P. Krug. Long time readers know Krug from his time in E2TG favorites The Grimm Generation. Krug released his debut solo effort in 2016 and The Zen of Losing may just be the perfect soundtrack and the perfect antidote for the year that many of us were glad to see end. Loss is part of life, but sometimes the magnitude and the volume of loss can be overwhelming. Jason P. Krug faced his personal losses and found his artistic voice in the most amazing way. From the first time, I interviewed The Grimm Generation, I felt more so than any other musician past or present, as if I was talking to someone who was really like me. The Zen of Losing only served to cement that feeling - as I experienced my own set of loss during the same time period. If you have not heard this album, get it now, and "Push Play".