Some Random Thoughts
Quite awhile ago Frank Sinatra sang a tune whose opening lines were "It was a very good year". Recently I received a album from fairly prominent artist whose liner notes were written by a famous to level New York DJ. In the notes this DJ lamented the lack of really great music that was being released lately. I have to wonder just what or more specifically what this guy had not been listening to. 2009 was indeed a very good year! Looking back over the past year I am thrilled at the amount of great, great music that has passed through my listening sphere. The year started off like gangbusters with the third release from Brooklyn based artist Sarah Lentz and finally after all these years a new album from Dave Perkins. Sarah's album cemented her already rock solid reputation as one of New York City's finest songwriters as well as being a red hot live performer. Dave's album is a collection of gut wrenching kick ass blues rock that doesn't let up from the first note of the album till the last song fades out. The month of January also brought back Brooke Campbell and Boston trio Maeve to the big apple for a dynamite live performance. It was a good way to start off the concert aspect of the year. Jason Harrod also made the move from down south to become a fully fledged New York City resident. I don't know what they are putting into the water in Brooklyn but artists from all over the country are moving here to be part of the ever growing independent music scene.
Some of the names that appear regularly in clubs around the city include: The Gregory Brothers, Sarah & the Stanleys, Kelley McRae, Zach Williams, Dusty Brown, Monica Allison, Steph Shaw & Caleb Hawley. I know every local radio DJ thinks his homegrown artists are awesome, yet I would put any of these acts up against any national band in the country and they would kick butt and take names. Recently having turned 60, I find the older I get the less tolerance I have for what my friend Dr. Love would call sub-standard material. Especially from artists who claim to be in a unique relationship with the Creator of art.
The year also saw outstanding releases from not only Pierce Pettis but his daughter Grace, whose debut album is certainly one of the top five albums of the year. Phil Keaggy released a number of albums through the course of the year as well as and great rock n roll project with Randy Stonehill. It would have been nice if the release was backed up by a full blown band tour but that did not happen. May of 2009 saw a small tour of the states by the Irish songstress, Moya Brennan. To say that this woman has a voice touched by the hand of God is a complete understatement. She, at least in my opinion, has the most perfect voice on the planet. her performance at Joe's Pub in Manhattan was one of the highlights of the musical year
The summer of course brought the festival season into full swing, two of the best being of course Cornerstone and newcomer Revelation Generation. Cornerstone in the cornfields of Illinois of course is the place to be and be seen for some of the best bands and performers in music today. Revelation Generation, on the other hand, is still establishing itself and thus still has the fire in its belly to strive to do better. It is the place to be over labor day weekend. Chattanooga, Tn. based band Glass Hammer rocked the crowd at the 3 Rivers Prog Fest just outside Pittsburgh in mid-August and kept the summer sizzlin'.
October saw Radio City Music Hall present the first of the Lord of the Rings films accompanied by a 300 piece orchestra. The second and third films will be shown over the next two years. November brought the Brian Wilson Greatest Hits Tour to Long Island, a fun time was had by all in attendance. The year ended with two major releases, Three Cheers For the Broken Hearted by Glass Hammer and In the City a compilation project by members of the songwriters forum of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. Definitely two of the best albums of the year. Yes indeed 2009 was a very good year!!!
Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather