Music is the elixir of life … 2012 in review
For me, “music is the elixir of life.” It’s the soundtrack to my every day. It alters my mood like no other drug. It brings me joy when there’s none to be found and comforts me when there is no one else around. With less than 48 hours to go until we bid 2012 goodbye and say hello to 2013, I figured it was long overdue to reflect back on some of the musical moments and highlights from the past 364 days.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite musical memories from 2012:
Getting a new record player from my wife for my birthday and starting to collect vinyl again. Some of the records I bought included a pair from one of my all-time fav’, “No Depression” bands:
Uncle Tupelo – Still Feel Gone
Uncle Tupelo – March 16-20, 1992
Six Shooter Records “Autumn of Awesome”
The Toronto indie-label, run by the affable Shauna de Cartier, has been a favorite outlet for some of my favorite new music over the past decade and 2012 was no exception. Beginning in August with the release of the sophomore disc from Whitehorse (Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland) – The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss – Six Shooter proceeded to release the following discs over the next few months, all worth a listen if you have yet to pick them up:
Farm Aid 2012 in Hershey, PA.
This was the fourth time I’ve attended and covered this annual benefit concert to raise money and awareness about the plight of family farmers. While the highlights are usually the four headliners and Farm Aid board members (Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews), each year there are always new musical discoveries. Flash back to 2002 – the last time the concert was in PA – and that’s when I witnessed an early afternoon, too-short set by Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. See below for my review and photos from the event.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse in London, Ont. – Labatt Center
On the floor, sniffing the Horse, with Neil and Old Black still rocking in the free world and as passionate as ever – showing off songs from their latest Psychedelic Pill, along with classics such as “Powderfinger,” the “old man” showed, at least for me, he gets better with age, and no matter how long it’s been since he and his Crazy Horse mates last played, the magic of this garage band is still there.
The Who – Quadrophenia in Toronto
This was a nostalgic trip for me. The Who was my first concert back in 1989. Since then, I’ve attended hundreds. For the Who 2012 version, I attended the show with one of the same friends I went to that gig back in the late 80s when I was a teen at the now long-gone CNE Stadium in Toronto. While Daltrey’s voice is not what it once was and Pete’s windmills are a little slower, it was a fun, entertaining show nonetheless.
New discoveries: Every year I discover new music. Sometimes it’s a brand new artist or oftentimes it’s an artist that is not so ‘new’ but is new to me since despite feeling like I read and follow a lot of music, there are always so many musicians that fly below my radar for some reason. Here are a few that I’m glad I was tipped off about in 2012:
Jimmy Cliff’s Rebirth – Ashamed to admit, but this was a “Starbucks discovery.” No, not the artist, but I did purchase the record from Seattle’s purveyor of coffee and glad I did. A brand new disc from one of reggae’s pioneers – and a damn, fine one at that.
Well that’s it for tonight. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot, but it’s been fun reminiscing a bit and recalling some of these musical memories. Here’s to many more in 2013. Yours in music, D