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Well, I guess you could say we are in the home stretch of the 2017 Earie Award and actually for 2017 for E2TG overall. In so many ways, 2017 has been a very difficult year for myself and many others. I guess when I look back, I am trying to focus on the good moments, the new friendships, the accomplishments (my own and others), and hope despite the fear.
Anyway, after today, we have five more shuffles and five more days of Earies. The Golden Earies (Artist(s) and/or Band(s) of the Year) will be posted between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Let's jump to it!
"I Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down" by The Mark Robinson Band
EARIE ALERT: Well, Mark Robinson and his band already won a special Earie for kicking off my May Residency at The 5 Spot. Mark also released a live album recorded during his own residency at The 5 Spot in 2016. The album was recorded at the board and it sounds fantastic. It really captures the Mark's band as the settle into some jamming grooves. I have repeatedly said that they are one of the best live bands in Nashville, and I will stand quietly in a corner and say that to whoever wants to listen (cause I'm not really the standing on coffee table kind of guy). This is a cover of an Eddie Clearwater song. So, to Mark Robinson and the Mark Robinson Band, I award the "Fix it in the Mix" Award (inside joke).
"Crazy" by Pylon Reenactment Society
EARIE ALERT: Any discussion of Athens Georgia music that leaves out Pylon isn't really worth having. Pylon formed in 1978 and broke up in 1983, but their influence and reputation continued to grow. The would eventually reform a few times over the years, but the death of guitarist Randall Bewley in 2009 marked the official end of the band. Interest in the band and their music continued and in 2014 original Pylon vocalist Vanessa Briscoe Hay formed Pylon Reenactment Society to continue in the spirit of the original band and to bring the band's music to new generations. Pylon Reenactment Society released their first records - Part Time Punks in 2017 and words cannot express how excited I was to have the chance to hear and write about it. Pylon Reenactment Society will be in Nashville in March, and I cannot wait. I am giving them, the "In The Spirit Of " Award. By the way, trivia, R.E.M. covered this song (it was a b-side to one of my favorite songs, "Driver 8", and it was also included on their b-sides and rarities compilation Dead Letter Office.
"I Love Immigration" by This Frontier Needs Heroes
EARIE ALERT: Coincidentally, Real Job - the new album from This Frontier Needs Heroes was recorded in Athens. Brad Lauretti, the primary member of the band, relocated to Nashville at the beginning of the year. Real Job has been one of my favorites of the year, and along with great songs, it has some really important lyrics - that I really need to hear in this time in which we live. The "Spaghetti" award for goes to This Frontier Needs Heroes.
"The Big Old American Dream" by Nathan Bell
EARIE ALERT: The first time I saw Nathan Bell - he was part of a round at The Bluebird Cafe with my friend (and Earie Award Winner from 2016) Karen Leipziger and another E2TG favorite David G. Smith. I remember being impressed, and then I saw him again (maybe early this year???? time is weird) at The Family Wash, and I was blown away. His most recent album Love>Fear: 48 Hours in Traitor Town is a powerful statement and a much needed antidote to the toxic times in which we live. For some reason, this is the track that has stuck with me - it is a great song - with humor and humanness. Joe Strummer said, "People can change anything they want to, and that means everything in the world", and so I give Nathan Bell, the "Change" award (I was going to call it the Joe Strummer award, but I thought that would be kind of presumptuous).
"The Last Forever" by Shadow 15
EARIE ALERT: Making my point at the "EARIE" Awards are not tied to a year in the since that other awards are... This is a track from a 2009 compilation of songs from the Nashville band Shadow 15. I posted a Shadow 15 song (maybe this one) which connected me with Scott Feinstein which helped me to renew and expand my appreciation of this great band from a era of local music that was very important to me and my musical development. In talking to some of the other people who were around during that time, Scott and his late brother Chris (and the rest of Shadow 15) were held in high esteem. To me, this music still sounds fresh and exciting some 30 years on. So, although neither the compilation or the music have anything much to do with 2017, I have not hesitation or qualms about giving Shadow 15 the "Far Away but So Close" Award for 2017.
"Alone" by Langen Neubacher
EARIE ALERT: I have previously written about the St. Louis band The Defeated County. Langen Neubacher from that band released a solo album called Alone in 2017. Musicially, it is a departure from the band's music. Lyrically it is personal and powerful and inspired. For some reason, my shuffle didn't bring these songs up as often as I would like, but they will stay in my playlist and carry forward. But, for me, personally, this album meant a ton, and since it is my blog, I am giving Langen the "Alone but not Apart" award. By the way, in case you are wondering, The Defeated County are still a band, and I hope I can hear more from them in 2018.
"Radio" by Kristen Ford
EARIE ALERT: Okay - another award not particularly tied to 2017 except in connection to me, I guess. I first saw Kristen Ford at The Basement a couple of years ago, and I remember being really impressed. When I saw her again earlier this year, she blew me away, and that night I got a copy of her album Rend and Render. By the way, the first time I saw Ford, she was not a local act, but she is now. This is one of my favorite songs from the album, and inspired by the lyrics, I am giving Kristen Ford, the "Never Gonna Dance to This" Award - because I always want to dance to this song.
"Catcher in the Rye" by Maple and Rye
EARIE ALERT: This one came to me during the later part of the year, and it really won me over. Maple and Rye are from Sweden. Their debut EP is called Nothing Poetic. It is really enjoyable folk-inspired indie pop music that strikes all the right chords with me. So, my last Earie of the week goes to Maple and Rye and it is the , "J.D. Salinger" award - just because this song shares a title with one of my favorite novels.