Evidently, from all I see around me this January 1, it's the time of year to write lists. So here goes with my five great music events of 2012, and a couple of references to what the new year should have in store:
- Discovering No Depression: Anyone reading this here will not need an introduction. But joining in has brought me into contact with a large number of people who like the music I do, has introduced me a numerous bands and musicians I would otherwise not know about, and has provided another outlet for my music writing. Long may it last.
- Meeting Taj Mahal: I spent a good hour or so chatting to one of the world's great bluesmen, someone I have liked since first hearing him in the early 1970s on a magnificent sampler album called "The Rock Machine Turns You On". The best thing about it was that he was so very nice and friendly - not a soupçon of self-importance in him (which cannot be said for all the musicians I talked to in 2012). A close second to Taj was Joanne Shaw Taylor, another one who is supremely talented yet very down to earth.
- Finding the TuneIn Radio app: This wonderful little gizmo has allowed me to listen to music all over the world at any time I like. Some of it has been serendipitous, such as tuning in to Mexicana 1210 radio from Puebla on Cinco de Mayo. More frequently, I use it to listen to Wrecking Ball Radio, a splendid Cosmic Americana station that I think is based in North Carolina. Above all, however, it has linked me up with WWOZ New Orleans 90.7 FM. What glory to go to sleep in rural Oxfordshire (west of London) listening to jazz, blues and Cajun right from the cultural centre. (The station, incidentally, is featured on the TV series Treme - another great music discovery of 21012).
- Hooking up my record player: I bought an Ion turntable a year or so ago to convert old LPs to MP3s. It did a bit of it, but this year, I hooked it up permanently to my Bose system in the living room. I believe there was some hope in some quarters of my household that the arrival of this this device meant that LPs, once converted, would be leaving.Dream on. There is a wonderful used record shop where I live and records have been added rather than subtracted. Oh yes.
- Improving my own playing: Don't get me wrong - I am not going on the road with Taj and Joanne any time soon. But with the help of my beloved Agnes (guitar) I can now bash out songs ranging from Ledbelly to Little Feat and Cream to Martin Carthy. Not for public consumption, of course, but I can dream.
So that brings us to 2013 . So far I have a tentative interview lined up with the great Richard Thompson (whose yet-to-be-released CD "Electric" I have listened to with pleasure), I have tickets to see Neil Young and Leonard Cohen later in the year, and I will probably also see 10CC, one of the most subversive pop groups ever.
Not a bad start, but looking back 2012 was pretty good for me, musically.