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I guess this is what they call the home stretch.... As we head into the final week of the Earie Awards for 2017 (as well as the final week of shuffles for 2017), I find myself reflecting on the year that is winding down. On many, many levels, it was a difficult year, but I remain bolstered by the incredibly wonderful people I have come to know and the incredible variety of amazing music that has come to my attention just because I started writing this blog.
The highs of this year were high and the lows were low, and I prepare to enter 2018 with much uncertainty as to what it will bring. I have been pondering some tweaks to E2TG for the coming year - something I have done periodically over the six and half years of this site. I'm not sure what those will be. Certainly there are things that don't work like they used to (like my inability to embed my video playlists). I guess, I'll just say - stay tuned.
Let's jump right into the shuffle and the Earies for Monday December 18, 2017....
"Hurricane Eye" by Lesley Kernochan
EARIE ALERT: We start things off with L.A. singer-songwriter Lesley Kernochan with a track from her 2017 album A Calm Sun. This album really caught my ear. Kernochan is backed on the album by a stellar group of session players including Dean Parks - whose credits include Michael Jackson and Steely Dan (among many others). This, her most recent albun, carries a country/folk sensibility throughout and is in contrast to her previous releases which were more eclectic. Reading about her past albums, I keep returning to her 2008 release, The Pickle Jar - about turning life's pickles into beautiful sunsets. So, I am giving her the "Pickle Jar" award for 2017. I am very glad I came to know her music in 2017.
"The Pursuit of Loneliness" by Nick Nace
EARIE ALERT: Nick Nace already won an Earie for his part in making my May residency a spectacular success. Around the time of that show, Nace release Canadiana Americana. I have had the good fortune to see him perform a few times this year, and he has been on the road quite a bit, too. He has become one of my favorite songwriters. His songs combine humor and tenderness in a most original way. As the title of his album suggests, he is originally from Canada, and so I present to Nick Nace, the "Maple Leaf" award for 2017.
"Swimming Through Dreams" by Black Needle Noise with Mimi Page
EARIE ALERT: As I have mentioned before, 2017 has offered me some amazing opportunities to feature albums from some really amazing and legendary artists. I count among those John Fryer - whose current recording project is called Black Needle Noise. Fryer - best known for his role in the band This Mortal Coil - as well as his work with seminal groups like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins, and more. For his latest album, Lost in Reflections, Fryer is joined by several noted vocalist. Inlcuding this track which features Mimi Page - a singer-songwriter from L.A.. One description I read for Black Needle Noise is music for the movies you haven't dreamed of yet. I like that, so I award the "Undreamed Movies" award to Black Needle Noise.
"Headin' North to South Bend" by Danny Sandock
EARIE ALERT: As I have previously stated, the Earie awards are really all about music and artists that made an impact on me in a given year. I (virtually) met Danny Sandock within the last a couple of months, and he has been kind enough to share some of his music with me - including some tracks from his 2014 album Breakin' New Ground as well as some tracks from an as yet unnamed (I think) forthcoming album. This is a track from Breakin' New Ground which references Sandock's hometown. He is currently based in California, but he spent some time in Nashville. In honor of his home state, I am giving him the "Hoosier"award for 2017.
"I Had a Vision" by Blackfoot Gypsies
EARIE ALERT: Ever since I first saw Blackfoot Gypsies live, I have been impressed by the energy and originality they bring to their brand of blues powered rock and roll. I had a blast seeing them at this year's Americana Music Fest. They released To the Top this year on Plowboy Records, and they have most recently been touring Europe (and by all accounts destroying) opening for The Darkness. In honor of this - the first single from To the Top, I give them the "Visionary" award for 2017. Looking forward to seeing them rock some more in 2018.
"She Suffers the Fool" by Renfree Isaacs
EARIE ALERT: After moving around in some of the same circles and even attending some of the same shows, I finally met Dave Isaacs in 2017 - in time to catch hold of the self-titled album of Renfree Isaacs which features Ren and Andrea Renfree and Dave Isaacs. The music is reminiscent of the "Laurel Canyon" sound, and this has been one of my favorite albums of 2017. I'm giving Renfree Isaacs the "Trio" award for 2017.
"Change My Game" by Thorbjørn Risager and The Black Tornado
EARIE ALERT: It has a constant source of joy to get to hear and write about new music from all over the world. In 2017, I was introduced to the this band from Copenhagen, Denmark. This is the title track from their latest album which features rock, soul, rhythm and blues. I will present them with the "Game Changer" award.
"Sanctified" by Low Society
EARIE ALERT: Last but not least (by a long shot), it has been a joy to hear some new music from some long-time E2TG favorites Low Society who are from Memphis. Their sound is heavily blues influenced roots and Americana music powered by the one-two punch of Mandy Lemons powerhouse vocals and Sturgis Nikides' blistering guitar. This is the title track from their most recent album. I'm going to borrow a song title from a previous release of theirs and give them the "Crammed and Jammed" award for 2017.