Monday, December 9, 2013

Why 2013 Kicked Ass

This is not a "best of" list by any means.  You're tired of those.  I'm tired of those.  Trust me, writing them is just as boring as reading them.  No, my friends, this is simply a recap of why 2013 totally kicked ass.  And believe me, it did.  

I started out 2013 by seeing Matchbox Twenty at the Palace Theater in Louisville.  While this wasn't exactly a mind blowing show for me like the ones that would follow later in the year, it was very cool to finally see the MB20 guys live.  I've been a fan since they released their first album, Yourself or Someone Like You, in 1996 and it's always cool when you're finally in a room with people you've been a fan of for that long.

Then came a couple new releases from one of my all-time faves, Ryan Schmidt.  So far we just have two singles from his up coming album, but I'm super excited about the new direction he's taking.  In looking back, I've just realized that I've only told you about "Another Friend" but there is also "Next Mistake" (I'll have to rave about that one later...I can't believe I haven't already!)  As much as I completely adore my birthday present that was White Horse (and believe me, I do), I know that the work Ryan is doing now is going to make him a megastar one day and that's so exciting.  I just can't wait to see what happens for him next. 

Later in August, Matt Nathanson released Last of the Great Pretenders which is an absolute stroke of genius. Of course he toured to support this record (and because I'm pretty sure he'd shrivel up and blow away if he didn't do at least a little touring every year) and, of course, we went to see him.  This time we got to see him right here in Louisville at Headliner's Music Hall and it was fucking amazing because, well, it was a Matt show and I got to watch Aaron Tap play guitar for 2 hours - what's not to love?  Then, by some weird twist of fate, Matt actually read that blog post, which lead to my all time favorite moment of the year, which was this tweet: 
This was amazing because he actually read it, he got was I was saying, and it meant enough that he actually took a minute to say something about it.  It's been like 2 1/2 months ago and I still get a big stupid grin every time I read that tweet.  :-D

After that amazingness, we went to see Carbon Leaf for the first time ever at The High Watt in Nashville, TN while they were out supporting Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle and Constellation Prize (both really great records that have added to the fantastic soundtrack of 2013).  It was a great show and we even got to meet Barry and Terry after the show and got our copy of Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle signed.  The Carbon Leaf show was truly wonderful and we'll go see them again as soon and as often as possible.  While we were in Nashville we made time to stop at Grimey's, possibly the best record store east of the Mississippi, and I picked up a copy of Nevermind on vinyl while we were there.

We also got to see Dr. Dog again this year, this time at Headliner's in Louisville.  This tour was in support of their amazing newest release B-Room.  As usual, they completely blew my mind.  Any year that contains a Dr. Dog concert is a good year.  If you're not familiar with them, you really need to get that way, then you need to go see them live because they are the absolute epitome of what live music is supposed to be.

The last record that has made this year awesome for me was Jason Isbell's Southeastern. I'm still playing the shit out this thing, I just can't get enough of it.  His voice is perfect, the lyrics are perfect, the guitar parts are to die for.  The whole this is a complete work of art.  I've been directed to some other examples of his work and I plan to check them out as soon as I can tear myself away from this one.  And finally, the last thing that has made this year rock has been the community of Matt Nathanson fans on twitter.  I've found some awesome new people over the years through music, but have just recently met several cool folks just because of him and that's been fun.

Apparently a few amazing shows, a handful of mind blowing records and a small group of cool people are all it takes to make for a great year.  So, now that we know the formula, making 2014 even better should be a snap!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Love Him? You Don't Know Him!!

**Excessive Ranting and Raving Alert**

I realize that every one of my posts is basically just me rambling about whatever happens to be on my mind at any given time.  Generally (in this blog at least) I try to keep these rambles contained to music related topics and I like to keep them positive, mostly because I don't listen to music I don't like and also because I generally try not to waste a lot of time or effort on negative things.  I have found that plenty of negativity will come into our lives without us making an effort at it.  That being said, I'm not all zen all the time and crap gets on my nerves quite frequently.  Most of the time I let it go, but this one thing has been kind of irking me for like a week now, so I figured I'd spew about it here a bit, then let it go.  Pass it along, like an earworm, as it were.

So, a few days ago (a week, maybe more?  I'm not sure) a male musician of the not unattractive variety posted on twitter that a bear had actually broken into the cabin he was staying in and had basically eaten the kitchen.  He then took a screen shot of said tweet and posted it on Instagram and Tumblr, as you do.  My first thought was, "Huh, I didn't know bears were gluten free." but some other people of the female persuasion felt it was appropriate to post "I love you" or the even more over-the-top "I'm in love with you" as a response to this.

Nothing more than that, just "I'm in love with you".  Now, I'm not blind and I don't live under a rock, I see these kinds of comments all over the place in response to all manner of celebrity posts, but this time it was just so completely out of place and so totally unrelated to the original post that it just bugged the shit out of me.  I mean, what was the point?  Why do these girls feel inclined to constantly post that kind of thing?  What outcome are they hoping for?  And are they even thinking about what they're saying and how ridiculous it sounds?  I guess my biggest problem with this is that it isn't always very young girls that don't realize what they're saying, sometimes it's grown ass women that really should know better.  Do people not realize that to say that you're in love with someone and to say that you love someone's music are two entirely different things?

Let's be realistic for just a second (yes, I know, I don't like it either), we all love the music of many different artists.  We love the lyrics, the sounds, we're incredibly grateful for what some of these songs have done for us.  And, in turn, what the artists themselves have done to enrich our lives with this incredible gift they've given us.  I suppose the same is true with any kind of art or celebrity, but I think especially with music for fans, it is extremely personal, so sometimes it's tough to remember that while we might have these intense, deeply personal relationships with songs and albums, that relationship doesn't translate through to the artist.  Yes, he wrote that song that speaks to your very soul, that makes you cry or that heals wounds you didn't even realize you had and you think that for him to have put those lyrics together with that music and to have created that magic, you surely must be kindred spirits.  Believe me, I get that, but the reality of the situation is that we don't actually know these artists.  Not really.  Not on a day-to-day human basis.

Something tells me that the kind of girls that post these type of comments couldn't exist on a bare ration of attention.  I'm thinking that the reality of being the significant other of a touring musician might not be all it's cracked up to be for someone who needs that kind of ego stroking.  Playing second fiddle to the muse and being left at home for months on end is not going to be everyone's cup of tea.  So please, just stop for a second and think about what you're saying.  If you want to compliment someone, compliment his or her work, say something meaningful.  Because just like you, these artists are actual people and if you have a genuine compliment, if their work has had a real impact on you, they want to hear it.  Who wouldn't want to hear that? 

Okay, thanks for reading, I feel much better now.