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so long 2011

December 30, 2011

I usually shy away from doing any kind of “Best of” end of the year lists. Mostly because I don’t make any claim to being on top of the latest music. But as the year winds to a close I do want to take a look back at what was, and a look forward to what’s on the horizon.

2011 was the year of the Milk Carton Kids for me. After discovering them at a Joe Purdy concert in April I spent a good chunk of my year listening to their music, going to their shows, and writing about them on this site. It’s exciting to find new artists that I feel so passionately about. And even though I’ve played their albums to absolute pieces they still manage to sometimes just stop me in my tracks.

The Milk Carton Kids’ two albums – Prologue and Retrospect would definitely land in any kind of list of favorites for my year. As would Adele’s blistering smash 21, Ryan Adams’ triumphant Ashes & Fire, Paul Simon’s masterful So  Beautiful or So What, The Black Keys’ down and dirty El Camino, and hometown heroes Blitzen Trapper’s American Goldwing. My totally-not-biased-at-all favorite album of the year would be my sister’s, the eponymous Sea Bell (but you don’t have to take just my word for it)

Bob Dylan turned 70 in May, and celebrated with a European tour opened by Mark Knopfler. Martin Scorsese hit another music documentary homerun with George Harrison: Living in the Material World. Rock & Roll triumphed in Rolling Stone’s Choose the Cover contest when grizzled Southern (Canadian) rockers The Sheepdogs took the grand prize. Longtime holdout Bob Seger began a gradual release of his catalog to iTunes for download. The Beach Boys offered up a comprehensive reissue of the great unfinished Smile sessions. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee class included Leon Russell, Darlene Love, Neil Diamond, and Dr. John.

Mega-talent Amy Winehouse joined the tragic pantheon of musicians gone at the age of 27. And the world lost some true musical luminaries with the passing of bluesmen Pinetop Perkins, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, and Hubert Sumlin, soul crooner Dobie Gray, songwriting powerhouse Jerry Lieber, and The Big Man himself, the incomparable Clarence Clemons.

Looking forward, 2012 is shaping up to be an exciting year for music. Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and The Black Keys – some of the best live acts around – will all be hitting the road for U.S. and international tours. Rumors abound about a possible Rolling Stones reunion to mark their 50th Anniversary. If I were the praying type I would certainly be including that in my nightly appeals.

My parting gift of 2011 is this video from the transcendent Joe Purdy/Milk Carton Kids tour. Enjoy!

All of us (me) here at That Mercury Sound thank you for reading and wish you a very Happy New Year! 

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