Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Music; The Year In Review

 The Year in Music

It was a fertile year for music as aging sixties icons resurrected themselves, recorded new music and toured. The list includes the Beach Boys triumphant yet acrimonious tour that included their resident tortured genius Brian Wilson and singer/guitarist Al Jardine. The Rolling Stones rolled out several concerts in preparation for 50th anniversary tour. The concert for Sandy raised millions for the Robin Hood Relief Fund to help those ravaged areas from the Jersey shore to New York and Connecticut. Paul McCartney, The Who, Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Roger Walters performed in a top heavy assemblage of artists from British Invasion era. Mick Jagger joked, “This has got to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden.” Perhaps it’s a last gasp of our fading heroes but it feels good that they are all still performing. If they are still relevant maybe we are too.

Cher Lloyd’s Want You Back, Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe and Katy Perry’s Firework are my guilty pleasures. The energy and spunk in these golden chestnuts just blows me away. I saw Jepson perform on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show and it really got me to sit up and take notice. It was an unplugged performance with nice syncopated percussion from several black artists standing behind Jepson and Fallon who were seated in front, trading off vocals. This girl had talent and a sly tongue-in-cheek humor, almost self-deprecating yet decidedly confident. It was an epiphany; goodtime music with a crooked smile.

Box sets are all the rage and several are available for the Christmas season including pricey career spanning discs by the Beatles (a gorgeous vinyl collection; a steal @ $349 for Beatles completest), Blue Oyster Cult, Roxy Music, Judas Priest, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and Heart. The Kinks released a glorious 6 disc set from their live BBC recordings – a must for any serious anglophile.

 I’m more interested in our local music. There is a rich store of releases in the past year including American Underdog, the Tosspints, Brother Smokes, Whaler, Brody & the Busch Rd Trio, Zig Zeitler, Jeff Schrems, Mode , Gutbucket, Lavel Jackson, the 25 Cent Beer Band, Keef Courage and Chase Engel. Buy Local! Shop at Records and Tapes Galore at 1303 Court Street. Bill & Judy Wegner have thousands of vinyl LPs and CDs and if they don’t have it in stock, they’ll find it for you. They are knowledgeable about music and support the local musicians in the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond. You can call them @ 989-793-1777.

It’s been quite a roller coaster ride for live music in the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan. The mighty Maybe August hung it up, Sprout went on hiatus and Thick As Thieves released a spectacular CD, had a party and vanished in thin air. Months later they resurfaced as a UFO sighting. Truth be told Kyle and the crew were just laying back diggin’ the California sunshine and losing momentum. We also lost the Honky Tonk Zeros, Rustbucket, The Bearinger Boys and Sinister Footwear.  We lost a lot of great music, brother. But here’s the rub, despite the loss of population, venues and bands we still had a ton of great music from Jazz and rock to blues and country. Mike Brush is still on his game. Eric Johnson and his daughter Shannon are making a name for themselves with their great singing and rootsy music. Mel sings You Don’t Own Me to Jekel and he just nods and says “merica”, whatever that means. Tom Dolson and Duane Miller have been resurrected by Andrew Kitzman’s spark. He’s a force to be reckoned like a thoroughbred race horse with a fine lineage. You better bet on him. Jim Perkins is a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Eastside Mike and Zig Zeitler remind me why I love music some much. Dave Asher is a true believer and a spiritual force that has touched the lives of both fans and fellow musicians. I cannot imagine our music scene without his benign presence.  I’m a fan of metal because it reminds me of Iggy & the Stooges, a band I grew up with in the late sixties but never really appreciated…until now. I love Tension Head, Hokori, Spork, All For the Cause, 2nd System, Failed Society, and all the other true believers. Keep on keeping on.

 There are several clubs providing stages to our bands. Here’s a shout out to the Hamilton Street Pub, Bemos, Grand Central, Tiz-its, Old City Hall, Prime Event Center, Jamestown Hall, Gabby’s Pub & Grill, Coty’s Landing, Baywood Lounge The Log Cabin, Castaways and White’s Bar. It’s a tough line of work and it doesn’t always pay due to over-regulation, taxes, insurances and punitive fees from ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.  Let’s join together and support each other. It’s about time!

Andy Reed continues to astound me with his baroque pop masterpieces and with his ability as a producer to get the most out the artists he produces. Listen to his seemingly effortless craft with such great new bands as Brody & the Busch Rd Trio, Mode and Big Brother Smokes as well as local icons like Verve Pipe, Bryan Rombalski, Banana Convention, Laurie Middlebrook, The Tosspints, Scott Baker and Lavel Jackson. Reed is the gold standard for keeping music alive. There is richness and diversity in our music scene even as our society crumbles around us and our government becomes more ruthless in savaging our rights. We need music, poetry and the arts to comfort each other, to learn the truth and to survive.

Music is the food of love. Join me in the feast

Andy Reed is my pick as artist of the Year. He has been selfless in his promotion of excellence and the search for beauty and truth in the music he creates.

There once was a note pure & easy                                                                                Playing so free like a breath rippling by

-         Pete Townsend

No comments:

Post a Comment