Until 2012, I was actually the sort of person who stayed in every night, except to go to occasional student organization meetings. I listened to music almost constantly at home, but almost always just the same few albums, over and over and over. This meant, of course, that I knew all the words and instrumental parts for just about every song on all those few albums, but I would pick up new bands or artists only every few years. I had my Josh Groban phase a few years ago, when my sister played one of his albums at her apartment. A few years later I found Celtic Thunder, The High Kings, and Rhydian Roberts all in one week, while looking for music from or about Scotland, on youtube. I’ve slowly added in a bit of Katherine Jenkins, mostly because she sang a duet with Rhydian, and a bit of Angelique Kidjo, because she sang a duet with Josh Groban. I know a lot of people who go about listening to music in just about this fashion, and it works. But, for whatever reasons, it got boring this year, at about the same time as I was starting to write more online anyway.
This year I started out slowly, this summer, going to the free Lagoon Summer Concert Series shows that took place a block from my apartment (baby steps), and also started writing a bit about them on this blog. I hesitated about posting anything in public, but it seemed that so little was being said about all the local bands I was seeing and enjoying, and of course we as music consumers can’t enjoy these bands’ music if we never find out about it anywhere. And now, I have a facebook page, twitter account, tumblr page and pinterest board connected to my steadily evolving identity as a music blogger. I am nowhere near as far along as some of the music bloggers I’ve met this year, and I’m sure next year will have plenty more firsts to offer me, but already my life this year no longer resembles the life I’ve led for the past few decades. And it’s been an amazing year.
I’d listened to some youtube videos of Danielle Ate the Sandwich over the past few years, and I saw Hazel Miller last time she was in Fort Collins for New West Fest. Alison Krauss has been one of my favorite singers for a few years, and I’ve been a Celtic Thunder fan since 2009. Otherwise all these bands were completely new to me, so on the plus side I have a decidedly fresh ear going into blogging about these lovely people. But even the small number of bands I’ve seen now in Fort Collins was enough that I am still digesting all this new music. So, yes, if you’re an artist I’ve met, and you haven’t turned up in a post on here yet, I’ll be getting to you, eventually. There were of course a few bands among all the ones listed below that weren’t exactly my thing, but all of the bands and artists I’ve listed are good, and I enjoyed all their shows.
My favorites? Well, if the above list isn’t enough of an indication, I’ve become a bit of a Mama Lenny & the Remedy groupie this year- they played a lot of shows in the bar down the street from my apartment, which helped when it came to walking home at 2am after their shows. They are also just really really good at what they do, and their local musician friends who hang out at their shows tend to also have kick-ass bands worth seeing live. And, a huge plus, all the members of Mama Lenny & the Remedy are very nice people, folks I can look forward to spending my evenings hanging out with.
Danielle Ate the Sandwich is still a favorite, too. I was a bit of a fan before this year, but now that I’ve met her, and could consider her slightly more of a friend, not just some stranger who makes great music, going to her shows is even more rewarding. I suppose I haven’t changed that much, underneath it all- I still go for a more personal connections with my music, even more so now that I am able to talk with the people who make the music I listen to.
My goals for 2013? I have a growing list of bands and artists I’ve only barely met, or whose music I found on spotify, people who I would love to see performing live, and people I would like to meet. This list will no doubt continue to grow, but hopefully I can start adding to my list of musicians I know, too. Maybe this is a phase reserved somewhat for new music writers, but I hope to continue meeting new bands, finding new great local music, and expanding my scope for as long as I continue writing or working with the music world. There is really too much great music out there to ever just settle in with the few I know best.
Also, this year I pretty much just went with whatever shows were playing free or at festivals I could volunteer for, and thus get in free. I doubt that the festivals bit is likely to change- hand me a weekend of free music, 6-10 bands per stage per day, and of course I’ll be there. But I saw very little country, bluegrass, or rock music, overall this year, considering that those were my preferred genres just a few years ago almost exclusively. Believe it or not, I was never that big on blues and jazz before I started blogging about concerts, and while I’m a bigger fan of it than I used to be, it’s a steep learning curve. I still have no idea if what I am hearing is a cover of an old classic or an ingenious original, for most of the blues and jazz shows I’ve seen. Rather than try to cram decades-worth of music history just to be able to appreciate the local jazz scene better, I am considering shifting more towards folk and bluegrass. Most likely I’ll still be writing about whatever I happen to see, but maybe with some modicum of direction towards genres I know a bit more about.
Last, but not least, Derry City is launching its City of Culture promotional program in 2013, and while it is a very long way from here to Derry, I would love to be blogging about shows in Derry next year. Pipe dream? Yes. But if the stars align in my favor, you never know. In the meantime, since Walled City Records is in Derry and has several fantastic artists now, I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for whatever these folks are doing, and adding to my collection of ‘local’ favorite musicians in Ireland and the UK.
Summer Lagoon Concert series: The Indulgers; RETRO; Funkiphino
Fort Collins 2012 4th of July Celebration: Colorado Swing Band; RETRO; Three Twins Broadband
Fort Collins Jazz Experience: After Midnight; Jababa; Hazel Miller Band
New West Fest 2012:
You Me & Apollo
Fierce Bad Rabbit
Bad Brad & the Fat Cats
Katie Glassman Quintet
John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light
Mama Lenny & the Remedy
Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
Twirling Zucchini Trio
Danielle Ate the Sandwich
Taylor Scott & Another Kind of Magick
The Lionel Young Band
Great American Taxi
Bad Weather California
Nelsen’s Old Town Car Show: Bad Brad & the Fat Cats; Reckless Red; Bonnie & the Clydes; High Gear Daddies; The Lucky Few
Fort Collins Postponed 4th of July Fireworks: Twirling Zucchini Trio; SHEL
Fortoberfest: O-Tones; Lindsey O’Brien Band; Liz Barnez; Bop Skizzum; Reckless Red; Mama Lenny & the Remedy; Constitution; Eldren; Sour Boy Bitter Girl; You Me & Apollo
Everyday Joe’s Coffee House: Patrick Dethlefs; Danielle Ate the Sandwich; Catch Bees; The Query
Road 34 Tavern & Bike Shop: Mama Lenny & the Remedy; Mookie Blaylock; Soup; 12 Cents for Marvin; HWY 287; Kris Lager Band; Bonnie & the Clydes; Sour Boy Bitter Girl; Fierce Bad Rabbit
Rocky Mountain Irish Festival: Vi Wickam; The Indulgers; The Commoners
SpokesBUZZ Bandswap: Whitewater Ramble; Fights; Fierce Bad Rabbit; Constitution; Lindsey O’Brien Band; New Transit
SpokesBUZZ 3rd Annual CD Release Party: Better Than Bacon; Turn 4; The Echo Chamber; Constitution; Lindsey O’Brien Band; Post Paradise; Trichome; Common Anomaly; Musketeer Gripweed
Bizarre Bazarre: Danielle Ate the Sandwich; CSU President’s Address: Blue Grama Bluegrass; CSU Homecoming: Whitewater Ramble; CSU Business School (private event): Soul School; CSU Tailgate Party(private event): Justin Roth; CSU 27th Annual Fall Pow-Wow; CSU World Fest: Latin Roots
Plus, of course, the 2 Celtic Thunder concerts I saw in November.