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Well, it's Monday, the world is screw-up, life is hard, and hope is fleeting. But, it's December, and time for the 3rd Annual E2TG "Earie" Awards. "The Earies, they sound strange but they're really not".
For the uninitiated, the "Earie" awards are my annual chance to give kudos to the musicians and others who made my year better. Unlike, the Brand X awards, at the Earies, we don't mess around with nominees, our categories are... um... non-standard, and the eligibility period is liquid and determined solely by me.
As we did last year, we are going to embed many of the awards into the shuffles. The awards will continue throughout December and culminate in the awarding of the "Golden Earie" awards for band(s) and artist(s) of the year.
Let's get to it...
"Walls Fall Down" by John Dennis
EARIE ALERT: The first award for 2017 goes John Dennis, and it is the "Go for the Opener" Award. There is a tempting thing in Nashville (especially) where there is so much going on - to plan your schedule to see the act you are going to see and to miss the other acts on the bill. I get it, and I've done it. But, I don't know how often I "discover" great music either before or after the act I intended to see. In this case, the first time I saw John Dennis perform, I was going to see someone else perform (and they were awesome and just may have an "Earie" coming to, but I was also much impressed by all of the acts on the bill. I later got hold of Dennis' album Second Wind.
"Dirt on Your Hands" by Jared Tyler
EARIE ALERT: The "Hard Work Pays" award goes to Jared Tyler. This is the title track of Jared Tyler's most recent album Dirt On Your Hands - which extols the virtues of hard work. Tyler is a hard working musician - perhaps best known as the long-time sideman of Malcolm Holcomb - who has supported many outstanding artists. For his latest album, Tyler gets assistance from Nashvillians like Kenny Vaughn and Dave Roe and fellow Oklahoma artists like John Fulbright and much more. The album is one of my favorites of 2017 and worthy of an Earie award.
"The Water Fountain/Birds and Milk" by Discount Ravioli
EARIE ALERT: I would be remiss if I did not award an Earie Award to the good folks at Discount Ravioli. So, I offer up the "Cheap Pasta Award" to this, um, band? from Connecticut. To be honest, before the Baby Arm Sessions, I knew Discount Ravioli has just another Dord Music Group associated act. But, with this 50 something song epic - recorded mostly in a tent on July 4th Eve (and the early morning hours of July 4, 2016) - which I was late to discover, their offbeat improvisational humor and wackiness captured my attention. They are are now the sixth most tagged band in E2TG history (just ahead of Batkhi Dahn and The Foresters). Still no videos, so I found and eight year old clip of the Nork brothers.
"You're Not Here Now" by John Hufford
Next up, we have our second listen to Pennsylvania singer-songwriter John Hufford from his latest EP - Sleep. I am really digging this album.
"Trying Not to Lose My Mind" by Jefferson Ross
EARIE ALERT: "The Storyteller Award" goes to Jefferson Ross. For sure Jefferson Ross tells stories in his songs, but on his latest release, Live at Hillbilly Haiku, we get to hear some of the stories about the songs, and he does this very well. I am very grateful for having the chance to hear and feature this album, as it introduced me to a great artist that I by all rights should have been aware of long before now.
"Nobody Knows" by My Favourite Things
I know I can sound like a broken record, but I need to constantly remind myself how fortunate I am. In the six and half years of E2TG, I have steadfastly resisted any tendency or pressure to focus solely on one or a few types of music. I have tried to actively offers as wide variety as possible. I'm not sure if that makes sense from a SEO or whatever point-of-view, but honestly, it's the main reason I have not yet gotten tired of doing that. All that to say, I am happy, that I received Fly I Will, Because I Can by this band from Brooklyn. Their music does not fit neatly in one or two categories which makes them perfect for E2TG.
"Universe" by Sounding Arrow
We close things out today with another artist that defies conventional genre classification. Sounding Arrow is the solo project of Scott Kinnebrew of Truth and Salvage Company, and the music is described as Indie AM Gold. It is laid back and mellow in the best possible ways. The album is called Loving is Breathing. I am really digging it.