Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year Reflections

Well, here we are at the start of a new year. As John Lennon so succinctly said 'Another year over and a new one just begun'. Many are glad that 2011 is finally over, as it has been a very tough year. But will 2012 be any better? Let's certainly hope so. Musically, however, 2011 was actually a very good year, with lots of great albums and songs, many new and emerging artists, and important albums from numerous iconic artists. Oh sure, the pop world was dominated by Adele, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber, but for the rest of us there were major new releases from Radiohead, Wilco, Tom Waits, My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Bon Iver, The Black Keys, Coldplay, Fleet Foxes, and Blitzen Trapper, among many others. My Favorite among these was probably Wilco's The Whole Love, overall one of their very best albums. These fine albums coupled with the popular acceptance of traditional and roots-related artists, such as Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes, lead to one superb year of all kinds of different musical styles. But probably my favorite release of the year, and the one I have been playing the most over the past few couple months, is Ben Folds' 3-CD Retrospective: The Best Imitation of Myself, an excellent look at various aspects of Ben's great career output, featuring a 1-CD 'best of' compilation, 1-CD of previously unreleased live tracks, and 1-CD of (mostly) previously unreleased demos, rarities, and oddities. The single CD 'best of' version is great for people to get a feel for Ben's more mainstream music, but if you are interested in Ben at all, you have to get the 3-CD full-length version, as most of the stuff of interest to fans is located there. The whole thing is just a great listen.

OK, as for the blog, 2011 also was a pretty good year. The primary feature added last year was the exclusive presentation of previously unreleased audience recordings from David M, and it was great to be able to present these on the blog, and to the world. With these shows, the blog focus shifted a bit more towards classic Country-rock, at least temporarily, and it was a great run of shows throughout the year. The most popular of these were, not surprisingly, the Eagles and Neil Young shows, but Gram Parsons, The Souther Hillman Furay Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, JD Souther, and Gene Clark also received very strong support and downloads. In total, all these newly available David M recordings together received nearly 20,000 downloads throughout the year. I certainly hope you checked some of those out, and enjoyed them as much as I did. Alot of other great stuff was also posted in 2011. Overall, the most popular posts were undoubtedly the Steely Dan stuff, particularly the outtakes. The Lost Gaucho Outtakes were downloaded more than anything else ever on this blog, with nearly 4000 downloads in less than a year. Once again, Neil Young, The Kinks, The Band, and Genesis posts, were also very popular, as well as Jackson Browne and America, and surprisingly, The Rutles. It was also great to see some of the lesser known stuff getting substantially more interest and downloads this year, such as The Fabulous Poodles, Deaf School, Steve Goodman, Timbuk3, and the Pousette-Dart Band .

On a personal level, it also became clear that I have only a limited amount of time I can devote to the blog, and although I enjoy it very much, the level of posting seen in 2011 is about all I can handle, at least for now. 2011 was for the first year that I have not increased the number of posts from the previous year, so I have basically hit the wall, I guess. So, although I know that most readers want to see more new posts and content regularly, for this blog, you'll have to accept that this rate, about 5-6 posts per month, is all you are going to get here. However, I will still try to maintain the high level of quality of the posts, and only post stuff that is not readily available elsewhere (and be stuff I really think is worthwhile). So, there you have it, a bit of a look back at the past year, and forward to the new one as well. May you all have a very prosperous and enjoyable new year. Stay tuned (even if you sometimes have to wait between posts).

1 comment:

wardo said...

Any posts are better than none. Best of luck this year!