2014 Year End Rant: Resolutions, Thankfulness, and Realizations

It comes the time every year where I like to look back and see what happened this year, what was good, what was bad, what do I hope to do over the course of the next year to make things better. Sometimes I do some of those things, most times I do not, but writing it out makes it at least a bit more tangible and holds me accountable to act on some things, if not all or the majority. So anyway…

2014 was a wonderful year for Folk music in Boston. Dan Blakeslee’s latest and much anticipated release very justly took home the Big Red favorite record of 2014 and the man also took home a Boston Music Award…perhaps a decade late, but I am so happy to see him honored in such a way. Dan is perhaps one of the most deserving people to be recognized. It warms my heart that this record is getting the exposure that it deserves. Another wonderful thing hat happened was the strengthening of the bridge between folks here in Boston/Camber-ville and our brothers and sisters in Providence and Connecticut. 2014 opened my eyes (and my heart) in a big way to acts like Haunt the House, Smith&Weeden, Wise Old Moon, M.R. Poulopoulos, The Meadows Brothers, Steve Allain and Tracie Potochnik, Allysen Callery and the list goes on and on. My relationship with Eric Lichter, James Maple, Steve Wytas and the family around Dirt Floor studio also blossomed this year with a new EP recorded there as well as playing shows in studio and just feeling the love more while realizing 2 hours isn’t that far and these guys are a big part of what is going on up here to. I hope that as we move into 2015 those bonds grow stronger and we see a whole lot more blurring of state lines. The world needs to know what a powerhouse the Northeast is for amazing music.

Speaking of BMAs…I am thankful that we live in a town where even if some of us disagree with something, we can still find the good in it (most of us). Jed Gottlieb said it best of the much debated Boston Music Awards “Please feel free to hate the Boston Music Awards, but never hate the bands”. I don’t think Jed meant he hates the awards-in fact I think its the opposite, just that even if you don’t agree with a process or voting or awards period, a night of celebrating Boston music can NEVER be viewed as a bad thing. Even if I didn’t attend this years show (my partying, boozing and whatever else hard til early in the morning days are over) I am happy we live in a town where most of us can see past it and see the night for what it truly is. A night where people come together and celebrate one another regardless of awards. That is a beautiful thing and the people that are making that happen are wonderful…plus Jed is the man as well.

I have also realized that I have some of the most wonderful friends in the world…that are also the most talented folks on earth. I will never take for granted that I am constantly surrounded by incredibly talented people who actually care about me and my music as well. Ian Fitzgerald has become a wonderful friend and sounding board for my last project (as well as the best songwriter I have ever met). How he subtly was able to guide me a bit and add his own personality into my songs without overpowering them on “canyon” is something I don’t think I will ever properly be able to thank him for. Eric, James, Zach, Steve and Ian all have become good friends and I think that shines through in the songs they helped my breath life into. Aside from that, there are handfuls of musicians around town I confide in and even if we don’t see each other all the time, I know they are there. The fact that people as talented as Mark Whitaker and Eva Walsh agree to play with me, and actually enjoy it, I cannot say enough how good that makes me feel. As for the rest, I don’t need to list you, because if you are in that small group of folks, you know who you are already. I only hope that this circle expands in 2015 and we can continue to support one another in this crazy musical escapade we are cycloning inside.

2015 will be the year of the songwriter for me personally…thanks Dom Flemons for that idea. Reinventing my live show to be more engaging, playing more, recording not one, but two more EPs before the first half of the year is over, and just making music and crafting songs as often and well as I am able to do. 2015 is the year I give back to myself as an artist and try and share it with anyone who will openly listen to what I have to sing about.

Lastly, in the new year I will be better at this thing. That is my promise to you all. Rather than do a lot half assed, I want to go back to the basics of writing regular reviews and trying my best to be a conduit for newer, lesser known acts. The RLR presents shows and CD projects are great and fun and wonderful, but they are a time suck and can be a logistical storm that is tough to wrangle in. We WILL do them still, just maybe spaced out a bit more.

I am surrounded by beauty, day in and day out. The day job may suck the life out of me most of the time, but knowing I can hit Lizard on Monday night and Tom Bianchi will toss me an open mic slot if it is available, or I can head over to Passim and Matt Smith will have booked a wonderful show and the staff is doing their best to make the best experience possible for an audience, or Randi Millman will be cooking up great local and national acts at Atwoods, or I can view and review amazing performances on Jenn Harrington’s Youtube channel. Any night of the week, one of my friends will be performing at some club in town or in close proximity to this city. Music is the gift that keeps on giving. I hope that I can continue to give you my own music, but also help you in promoting your own or turning you onto new music you may not have other wise see. That is my promise to you in 2015. I will do my damnest to keep doing this thing.

So, 2015:

1) More reviews, more writing, more supporting folks who need it

2) More shows, record two more solo EPs

3) Complete Volumes 2 and 3 of Locals Covering Locals…then start 4,5,6,7…and so on

4) Just plain make a difference for a least a handful of artists

Thank you guys for being there. It means the world that even one person is reading this ridiculous shit that I spew out of my pie hole.