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Jumping back into our 2018 Recap! We are up to April 2018. Today's shuffle comes from a playlist of songs we featured that month. And in the midst of this shuffle, we will hand out a few additional Earie Awards.
"Miss Me" by Bark
E2TG favorites Bark (Tim and Susan Bauer Lee previously of Tim Lee 3) released Year of the Dog - their debut full-length album late in 2017. They earned the coveted "Woof!" Earie in 2017. 2018 actually was a year of the dog on the Chinese calendar. The band release a single for Record Store Day back in April. We got the chance to see them a couple of times in 2018. I am going to miss them this Friday at Betty's, but if you have the chance, you should go. Don't be surprised if there is more Earie love to come for Bark, but for now, I am going give them the E2TG Spirit award for always raising my spirits whenever I see them or hear their music.
"Showtime" by Jing Chi
I continue to be thrilled and amazed by the variety and quality of the music that makes it way to my little corner of the internet. I'll be honest, I didn't know who Jing Chi was when I received the e-mail submission. Luckily, when it comes to E2TG, me not knowing artists is positive. Turns out that Jing Chi is a blue fusion supergroup featuring incredible musicians whose names I do know. Featuring Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip, and Vinnie Colaiuta. The music on Supremo is out of this world.
"Ordinary Times" by Ben Arthur
E2TG first featured Ben Arthur way back in 2014, and he has been a regular E2TG favorite ever since. American Castles came out late last year, and in my quick search, I'm not sure if he got an Earie last year or not. Anyway, among his many accomplishments, one thing that stands out to me about Ben Arthur is his skill and talent as a co-writer. Through his SongCraft Presents project he has won multiple awards around the concept of quickly writing songs with a variety of artists - some of whom he met just prior to the project. Still and all, this may be his most unusual "co-write" of all. American Castles is his second collection made up mostly of "answer song". Most of the songs on the album are responses to literary works (essays, short stories, etc.). "Ordinary Time", however, is different. It is a a song made up of direct quotes from former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. So, I am giving Ben Arthur - the Co-Writer of the Year award.
"Oh Lord (Remix)" by Elouise; Cesar Davilla Irizarry
Speaking of collaborations.... when I first heard about Transmigration - the remix EP featuring California blackgrass group Elouise - remixed by composer Cesar Davilla-Irizarry (best known for his theme song to American Horror Story), I was intrigued. Elouise's music has an otherworldly quality to it, and the theme to American Horror Story - often starting up after a terrifying and shocking first scene is enough to scare me without the rest of the show. When I heard, Transmigration, I was completely blown away. It was everything a collaboration should be. There is a part of me that wants to give this project the "Will you introduce me to Evan Peters" award, but I won't. How about the Darker than Blackgrass award. One of my top picks for the year.
"Groceries" by Bill Eberle
I got hold of Bill Eberle's Soft Light album early in 2018, but it wasn't officially released until the end of September. Groceries was one of the first songs released. It is a powerful statement about life in a era of bombings and mass shootings. It's about trying to do ordinary things like shopping for groceries amid the chaos of a world at war. It is a remarkable song from a remarkable album. Eberle, especially on this new album, moves easily from chilling emotional songs to rocking out, and it all goes together. I am offering him the "Soft Light of Sanity in the Midst of Insanity" Earie for 2018.
"Invitation to the Blues" (LIVE) by Buck n Stuff
Buck n Stuff already won a coveted Earie Award in 2018, and they show up again in the April 2018 recap shuffle. I always feel the need to explain, Buck n Stuff is a serious band. Sure, their album cover shows the band members wearing kitschy souvenirs on their persons and sure they make up funny names for each other like "Drummer Guy" and "Old What's His Name", and yes, you will hear people laughing a lot if you go to a Buck n Stuff show, but don't let all that fool you. Most of the band's songs are covers of songs written and/or performed by Buck Owens. The Stuff gives them the leeway to cover other classic country songs - all in their quest to be the "saviors of country music". This song was written by Roger Miller and most famously performed by Ray Price. Neither of those gentlemen could have imagined what Buck n Stuff did with the song.
"Cinnamon" by Freevolt
Going way back to the beginning of 2018, Freevolt hit my inbox like a bolt from the blue. Their music which incorporates roots, reggae, jam, rock, and pop into a infinitely fun mixture. Open Up Your Door was a surprise favorite for 2018. It is good time music, and in dark times, not enough can be said about the importance of music that makes you feel good. The "Feeling Really Good" Earie goes to Freevolt based out of Massachusetts.
"Desert Road" by Moonshine Booze
Listening to Desert Road by Moonshine Booze is like a mescaline fueled drive through the Italian desert. Now, I don't know if Italy has a desert or if they do, I don't know if they have mescaline in that desert, and to be perfectly honest, I have never used mescaline. But, nonetheless, that is what listening to this album is like. And that is a good thing. Moonshine Booze is a relatively new band made up of veteran musicians from Italy. The clown on the album cover makes me think about American Horror Story - mentioned earlier in the shuffle. Update: I googled and Italy does have at least one desert (I didn't dig too deep). So, I'll give Moonshine Booze the "Italian Mescaline" Award (not making any assumption of mescaline use by any one associated with the band - just my feelings about the feel of the album).
"Winter on the Road" by Bill Bloomer
Bill Bloomer's story is the stuff of legends. I am actually running short on time, so I can't go into details, but part of his story involving wrestling a lion cub at a wild west show when he was nine years old and meeting Hunter S. Thompson. Currently, he is am American expatriate living in France. His album Jubilee is amazing. His voice is rich and ragged - the tenor of his voice seems to have stories beyond the words to the songs. The words and songs are rough-hewn but well-made. I'm going to give Bill Bloomer the "Gonzo Expat" Award for 2018 - because in the time I have I couldn't think of anything else.
"Anthologised by Cherry Red" by Spray
Finally, sometimes I get whole albums which we feature over several months, sometimes even spanning years. And sometimes, I get singles. I don't mind getting singles - it just may take more time to pop up in the shuffle. I especially like fun singles - like this one from the band Spray. Spray is a duo featuring former members of Cuban Boys. This nifty Brit-pop number references the British record label known for their anthologies of mainly U.K. pop artists. A great way to close the shuffle.
I am continuing to work on my Spotify playlists for E2TG. So far, I have completed nine - January - October 2018. These are meant to be a cross-section of music I featured during those months - not necessarily music released in those months. If you are interested, you can check out the playlists (links below) and follow my personal profile to find out when new playlists are created.
JUST ADDED! October 2018 Playlist!
E2TG January 2018
E2TG February 2018
E2TG March 2018
E2TG April 2018
E2TG May 2018
E2TG June 2018
E2TG July 2018
E2TG August 2018
E2TG September 2018
E2TG October 2018 (NEW!)
E2TG November 2018 (Coming Soon!)