Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye, 2016

Well, 2016 has certainly been one hell of a crappy year. Donald Trump ran a campaign of brazen racism and misogyny, and that campaign allowed the shittiest Americans to have a loud political voice, to have their worst qualities validated. And somehow he won the electoral vote, though not the popular vote. As horrible as that is, it’s not the worst that 2016 had to offer. We lost Leonard Cohen, which is the most difficult cruel turn of the year to accept. We also lost David Bowie, Paul Kantner, Leon Russell, Prince, Merle Haggard, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Rob Wasserman, Dan Hicks, Ralph Stanley, Guy Clark, Maurice White, Buckwheat Zydeco, Signe Anderson, Andy “Thunderclap” Newman, Pete Burns, Glenn Frey, Billy Paul, Bobby Vee, Sharon Jones and George Michael.

And yet, it’s been an excellent year for music. We got new albums from long-time favorites Leonard Cohen, The Monkees, Bob Weir, and Dolly Parton. Plus, there were lots of great albums from other artists, like Yael Naim, Henry Wagons, Tommy Womack, Ronok Sarkar, Pansy Division, Lee Harvey Osmond (though that disc was released in Canada in 2015), Willie Nile, Town Mountain, James Houlahan, Nudie, The Honeycutters, Old Man Kelly, Marley’s Ghost, Elouise, Nina Diaz, Tim Hockenberry, Ted Russell Kamp, Samantha Farrell, Whalebone, Paul Kelly & Charlie Owen, and Lex Grey And The Urban Pioneers. We also got some great expanded re-issues from folks like The Blind Boys Of Alabama and The Muffs, as well as compilations by folks like Loudon Wainwright III, The Bangles and Porter Wagoner.

There were also plenty of live performances to make the year better. Both Bob Weir and Cat Stevens did tours of intimate venues, and those shows were certainly treats. Three of the four members of End Construction reunited for a house concert, which was fantastic. Both Henry Wagons and Yael Naim did some shows here in the U.S., and I’m hoping they’ll tour here more often. And Michael Nesmith joined the other two living Monkees for what might have been his final performance with the group. I also finally got to see The Mekons.

So there was plenty to keep us going, and that’s the stuff I suppose I should focus on. It’s just so difficult with that rat bastard Donald Trump and his hand-picked gang of racists, shitheads and assholes getting ready to tear apart anything that might be remotely useful or good about the country. See, there I go again. Is it going to be like that for four years? One pessimist I met at a recent Holland & Clark show said it will be like this for eight years. Holy hell! And that’s the thing – as screwed up as 2016 was, 2017 is bound to be worse. Happy fucking New Year.

Okay, okay. Before we get too morose and angry, I know for a fact that there are going to be a lot of great CDs released in the coming year. And as I mentioned recently, Holland & Clark will be going into the studio in the early spring. So let’s not give up hope. The music will pull us through.

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