It’s voting time, you may have noticed. Time for ND readers to select the albums that moved them the most, that they liked the best, those they listened to more than some others, using whatever criteria that either strikes them at the moment they vote or over which they agonized for weeks. Who knows what goes into any one person’s listening habits at any given time?
Of course, lists are also a good way for us to organize our thoughts. Not only is each entry on every one of these lists highly individualized and as diverse as accepting communities can be, but this year readers gave their lists “titles.” Some of them are as creative as what’s on the lists themselves. Here are my picks for the best list titles from ballots submitted as of this writing:
1. I Am a Little Unsteady on My Feet These Days
2. Got Me a Postcard and a $20 Bill
3. Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go To the Party
4. Stop Listening and Tell Me How I Feel
5. Barbed Wire Won’t Stop the Wind
6. Am I Getting Old?
7. Patrick Picks Pulverizing Packets of Pleasure
8. No Deliverance for No Depression
9. Noise Nerds Op (2015)
10. Beacons of Hope in a Morass of Mundane Modern Music
I bring this up, of course, as a lead-in to a question: How do we generally become aware of music and what’s going on? Because, before we can be moved by something, we have to become aware of it. That’s where magazines like this and lists like these from both staff critics and readers alike come into play — each one of us simply cannot see every artist; we cannot listen to every album that is released. But collectively we can cover a lot of ground and pick up on stuff we wouldn’t have learned about elsewhere, from someone else who thinks highly of it.
I know that’s what I appreciate about these lists. If I see something on somebody’s list that I find intriguing, I may give it a listen. If I see it on two or more lists, I’ll search it out and see what’s what. A list is a beginning, not necessarily an end unto itself.
So this week, I’m going to feature some artists my fellow photographers have seen but of whom I was not aware. Maybe you’ll learn of some great new music this way, too. I have found that, generally speaking, if someone is interesting enough to photograph, he or she is worth giving a listen. You may feel that way as well.
Check out music by: Johnny Sansone, James Bay, Eldridge Gravy, Jeff Pope of the Saloon Daddies, Ryanhood, Burning Velvet, and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux. To boot, I’ve included only one exception. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, and all our younger readers need to be aware of an event which led to a celebrated song, the title of a first album, and a very fine movie (directed by Arthur Penn).