Below is the annotated playlist for a mix constructed from my year in music:
1) Two Man Gentlemen Band – Stuff Your Ballot Box The best banjo picking, bass thumping, kazoo blowing duo I know. Who knew politics could lend itself to such innuendo? Paul and I found out one Tuesday afternoon at Muldoon’s.
2) Neko Case – Set Out Running Alison and I saw her play at Summer Stage in Central Park. She sounds just as big and brassy in person.
3) Great Lake Swimmers – Your Rocky Spine GLS played this beautifully when Winnie and I saw them at Joe’s Pub this spring. Volume’s a little low.
4) Jack Hardy and The Company – Go Tell the Savior I first heard this with Matt, Nick, Kate, and Matt’s dad down in the Village. Matt and I found Jack’s tent at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival where he gave us an excellent encore.
5) Anthony DaCosta – Poor Poor Pluto The only new artist showcase performer at Falcon Ridge to bring his A game. He won a slot for next year.
6) Red Molly – Long Gone Lonesome Blues Matt and I caught an impromptu jam session that included this Hank, Sr. song. Anthony D and others backed.
7) Lucy Kaplansky – Amelia A performer I barely knew before Falcon Ridge.
8) Dar Williams – Iowa Dar had us put away our lighters and phones during this and her husband brought their young son out on stage as we took them out together. “Talk about making the world a magical place for your child,” she said.
9) Eddie from Ohio – Old Dominion First heard on Winters New Years Mix 2007. “Matt, do you think they’ll play Old Dominion?” I said. And then “You think you’ll find some mountains in western Colorado . . .” rang from the stage.
10) Golem – Golem Hora I’m not afraid to say that Matt and I led the meanest Hora the Mercury lounge has ever seen when we saw Golem open for Nous Non Plus with Kelly, Nara, Mike, and Paul.
11) Counting Crows – Rain King Most earnest performance of the year.
12) John Mellencamp – To Washington This reworked Woody Guthrie tune caught my attention at Farm Aid with Mike, Laura, and Matt.
13) Neil Young – Homegrown Heart of Gold it is not, but more Farmy.
14) Das Ben – NYC Terence, Catherine, Brooke, and I saw this NYC acoustic punk debut. Go to his MySpace page for the Drinking Song video.
15) Laura Cantrell – Yonder Comes a Freight Train She really hit her stride with this song when Meg, Brooke, and I saw her at Mercury Lounge. The purest, most peaceful voice I’ve ever heard.
16) Todd Snider – My Generation (Part 2) The highlight of the drunk gentleman miming the entire song had to be “condom sense.” Matt, Rachel and I saw this epic accompaniment at the Highline Ballroom.
17) Hem – He Came to Meet Me Meg, Nina, Chris and I saw this BK act also at the Highline Ballroom. Opener April Smith was an unexpected hit.
18) Tift Merritt – Good Hearted Man So euphonious, so easy on the eyes. Chris and Nina can verify that she called me out for taking notes during the show. I used my mortification as an excuse to say “Hi” after the show.