A Year in the Life: 2017 (and what's next)
(Originally posted December 22, 2017)
Merry nearly-Christmas, happy most-of-the-way through Chanukah, and happy day-after-solstice!
It’s been quite a year, personally, publicly, politically. As a species we’re hurtling forward with change, creation and destruction a thousand miles per second, yet I still press snooze every morning for at least half an hour. It’s something I’m working on, and also something I’m proud of. There’s a lot (on a social and personal scale) that happened in 2017 – a lot of it caused/is causing pain – and some of it warmed my heart in inexplicable ways. Generally I’m an optimist, and I’ve been struggling to remain positive these last few years. This year my newfound pessimism/realism was at an all-time low, until I was reminded (by new friends and old friends) how many people go out of their way to take care of each other and, especially in my expanding music communities, how much there is to look forward to. I’m a firm believer that the little *great* things can outweigh the bad, as long as we keep on keeping on. Looking ahead, I’m going to try my best not to forget that, and to take chances when the right ones unapologetically show up at my doorstep.
ANYWAY – now for some music talk.
I met many new bands this year while on tour, and I picked out my favorite local group. My favorite local band for 2017 is… Eugene-based Girls Punch Bears! Their latest release was 2016, but I really don’t care, because they are so damn good. We played with them at our last Eugene show, and they are both phenomenally talented and genuinely great people. They’ve got a great mash of sounds that mix pop-punk/emo/post-hardcore and *nearly* borderline ska, but that may be a stretch. Check them out!
Three of my top five picks for 2017 albums coincide with bands I saw play for the first time:
- Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Navigator (live at Revolution Hall earlier this year)
- Rascal Miles – Don’t Forget to Remember (I’m biased, Rascal will always be in my top 3 :))
- Anna & Elizabeth – Hop High/Vineyard (live at Pickathon 2017)
- Marika Hackman – I’m Not Your Man (didn’t see live, actually, but recently heard the album for the first time and they are top-notch.)
- Chris T-T (final release!) – Best of Chris T-T (live at The Railway Inn in Winchester, the Courtyard Theatre in London, and The Lexington in London – an obvious favorite/highlight because I’m crazy and flew there to see the shows. It was 200% worth it. To my friends at home, I promise I’ll stop talking about the trip soon…)
As for my own music ventures, here are some highlights of 2017:
- March 17th, 2017: the self-release of my debut EP Fight or Fight!
- 22 full band shows (not including live studio performances)
- 21 duo/solo shows (43 shows in all –> doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you balance music with full-time jobs and the rest of your life, you deserve a pat on the back).
- Debut performances at 3 festivals: FAI 2017 in Kansas City, MO; Fall Folk Festival in Spokane, WA; FAR-West 2017 in Bellevue, WA
- Debut performances in these Oregon cities: Canby, Hood River, Salem, Coos Bay, Manzanita, Grants Pass, Medford, Corvallis, McMinnville, La Grande.
- Debut performance in London, UK! (Pretty decent turn out for a last-minute show with zero promotion – thanks to Vinyl Deptford for having me and to Colin, Mark and the women from Junodef for hooking me up with photos, an audience, and a place to stay! Excited to return there for a full UK tour in spring 2019. More news to come there as plans solidify.)
What does 2018 look like?
The band is in pre-production mode to record a single in January 2018. I won’t say too much more than this, but I am very excited about how the song is coming together, and it’s a bit of a departure from what you hear on Fight or Fight. This will eventually lead us to our debut LP, which I’m currently writing throughout this winter.
The full band’s next show is January 6th, 2018 at the Analogue Theater in Portland! Looking forward to sharing the stage with Craig Bidiman (another musician) and some other fine acts to kick the new year off right. You can buy tickets here.
Wishing you all the warmest of new years. Thanks for reading/following/supporting – I love you all.