Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!
Well, it's time for week two of the 2017 Earie Awards. I handed out about 25 awards in week 1. Two weeks to go. If all goes as planned that we have 10 more shuffles in 2017 and then I will be taking some time off work. Expect the Golden Earies to post during that break period.
First up a very special "Earie" award to Mary Sack for her tireless work all year round to promote great music, and especially for her dedication to the annual Get Behind The Mule: Tribute to Tom Waits and Benefit for Second Harvest Food bank which happened this past Saturday at The 5 Spot. Judging by the crowd and the talent (musical and visual artists), it was a huge success. I'm proud to present Mary with the "Force of Nature"award!
Onto the shuffle:
"Enough for Me" by Ali Handal
EARIE ALERT: Ali Handal released That's What She Said in 2017. This LA singer-songwriter packs a ton of attitude into a fine collection of songs. This has been one of my favorite albums of the year, and so I am happy to award the "Listen to Her" award to Ali Handal.
"Into Blue" by Andrea Stray
EARIE ALERT: the "Meta data is Not Always My Friend" Award goes to Andrea Stray for her album Into Blue (we have the title track in the shuffle today). For some reason, the meta data of her lovely album that combines folk rock with a bit of lounge pop, got mixed up with the data for a metal album. I usually catch it when these things happen, but I missed this one - fortunately the song I misnamed was not one of the worst on that metal album. Anyway, happily I got that fixed. Stray divides time between Nashville and San Francisco. My award name is silly, but in all seriousness, I really dig this album, and I hope you check it out.
"Mississippi" by Rising Appalachia
EARIE ALERT: the "Rise Up" award.... Alive is the name of the live album from Rising Appalachia who are originally from Atlanta (Rise up is the motto of Atlanta's NFL team). Anyway, I was really happy to get the chance to feature this album which includes some wonderful high energy World Soul and some stunning vocal acrobatics. It's great stuff.
"Solilokey" by Ugggy
Ugggy is back in the shuffle with a track from his May 2017 release STŒND ALŒN (uncollected thots). I guess it is fair to say that Ugggy has been a dominating force on E2TG this year, and not just for the impressive volume of music he has released but especially for his incredible and offbeat creative spirit.
"An Evening with Steve" by Discount Ravioli
An interview with a bird, cut short due to budgetary concerns. Really.
"Young Dead" by Ben Arthur
From American Castles. This is the only track that is not an "answer" to a bit of literature. It was co-written by Arthur with the author George Saunders. As always, Ben Arthur's vocals provide a great vehicle for the words.
"Diggin' a Hole" by Lazarus
Lazarus is back in the shuffle with another track from his Rock N Roll Heart album. Another artist that came into my consciousness this year, and I am very happy about that. Lazarus is based out of Austin, Texas.
"King Henry" by Discount Ravioli
I really don't know exactly what is going on in this brief track, but I do know that I got to meet the famous Henry (who was the subject of a Batkhi Dahn song) over the summer. I think I heard Good King Wenceslas at the end of this track.
"Northern Judgement" by SuperCrashingStar
Two time "Earie" winners SuperCrashingStar are back into the shuffle with maybe my favorite track on Digital Hi-Fi (or at least one of my favorites). Dark and disturbing... in all the best ways.
"Sleep" by John Hufford
EARIE ALERT: the "Don't Sleep on This" award for 2017 goes to John Hufford. This is the title track from his EP Sleep which is set for release on Friday! Hufford began writing songs in 2012 while recovering from Lyme Disease. 2017 has definitely been a year where I have struggled to keep up with all the music coming my way, but I am really glad I heard this and have had the chance to feature it. Hufford is from Pennsylvania - Bethlehem to be more specific.
"Jump Ship" by The End Men
EARIE ALERT: the "Legends of the Seas and of E2TG" award goes to Broooklyn band, The End Men. The End Men were my 2013 Band of the Year - the first not picked by popular vote. I first came to know their music around the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. They lead a wave of (mostly) New York and New Jersey bands and artists that really gave this fledgling music blog a lift and a direction. When I first heard their music, my initial thought was, more and more people need to know about this. They are fresh off a European tour that looked like a blast. Just before they left, they released a new EP called Heavy Seas. The core of the band consists of Matthew Hendershot and Livia Ranalli, and they have both been kicking ass both in music and non-music pursuits.