Beautiful Musical Moments of 2012

“Best of” lists are popular at this time of year, but since I can not possibly select a “top 10” albums or songs or concerts, I’ve decided to go with an unnumbered, non-exclusive, in-no-particular-order list of beautiful musical moments that I experienced in 2012.

Going to pick up Peter’s car in Calgary/Mike Evin saving our lives: In May, two days after I got back from 2 weeks in Scotland, I hopped on a train and headed to Alberta, where I was collecting my sisterfriend Madison, and having her drive me and Peter Katz’s car back to Toronto. I don’t have a license, so I roped Madi into driving the entire distance herself, in three days. It was a crazy fun road trip and if it weren’t for Mike Evin’s entire catalogue, we might not have made it the whole way to Winnipeg on that first day. Madi was fading after our dinner stop in Regina, and it took songs like “Stripper In My Car”, “Do You Feel The World?” and “Rockin’ Receptionist” (plus several handfuls of chocolate covered espresso beans) to get the energy levels back up in the car. Thank you Mike!

“Still Mind Still” CD release show: on June 7 we celebrated Peter Katz’s new album, “Still Mind Still” with one of the most beautiful shows ever at The Great Hall. I  don’t know how many times I have seen Peter perform, but he never ceases to blow me away. This night was particularly moving.

The Great Canadian Tire Caper of 2012: For the rest of my life I will never be able to pass a Canadian Tire without smiling. Corin’s crazy caper quickly took on a life of its own and by the end of January 2013, we expect to have collected enough Sandy McTyre bills to completely fund the production of Corin Raymond & The Sundowners’ live double-album, “Paper Nickels”. Come be part of the magic on Jan 22 and 23 in the TRANZAC Main Hall where we will celebrate the CD release and announce the final tally. Here’s a video from the recording shows in early Jan this year.

Jonathan Byrd’s official showcase at OCFF: Anyone who was there will understand why JByrd’s official showcase at OCFF in October was special. Jonathan Byrd is without a doubt one of my favourite songwriters and performers, and on this occasion, he proved it to a room full of several hundred folkies. I think that the singalong on “If You Got It, A Big Truck Brought It” is responsible for energizing us all and keeping us going until the wee hours. Here’s my favourite JByrd song.

“Quiet Company” on vinyl: Scott Cooper and his producer Rob Szabo made a damn gorgeous record which we released in the fall. Not enough people wrote about it and not enough people have played it. This is the under-rated album of the year. When Coop hooked me up with the vinyl copy and I set that needle upon it, I melted into a pile o’ hot wax myself. Gorgeous!

Peter Katz Juno Nomination: What a joy to see my friend and long-time client be recognized for his work with a Juno nomination! Peter’s CD/DVD “Live At The Music Gallery” was nominated in the Music DVD of the Year category, alongside David Francey, Feist, Tegan & Sara and Rush. Feist took it home. (This time.)

Rob Szabo’s Cameron House Residency: Some of the best news I heard all year was that Rob Szabo was going to be playing every Wednesday in October in my favourite place: the front room of the Cameron House. Rob has been so focused on producing other peoples’ records that he has hardly had time to think about his own music, so this string of performances was warmly welcomed by his fans. Rob will forever be one of my great musical loves. I get so nostalgic when I hear songs from “A Battery of Tests” which I remember first listening to on my discman, leaning against my locker at lunch time. (Not that it was sooo long ago!) Massively fun times were had during this residency – and we get to enjoy it all over again in February 2013!

Leonard Cohen live: I don’t think there was a single person seated further back/higher up than me in all of the ACC that night. There were even empty rows in front of me. I moved around until I found a good spot where I didn’t feel like I was going to fall 150 metres to my death and where I couldn’t hear the ventilation system too much. This seat ended up being closer to one of the follow spot operators than any other audience members, and I’m sure he was moved by my solo audience participation throughout the show. It still hasn’t totally hit me yet, that I. Saw. Leonard. Cohen. It was amazing and is definitely one of the musical highlights of my entire life so far. Here’s an amazing video from someone who was approximately 200 rows ahead of me, and in London.

Andy Frank’s concert / July 17th 2012: In January,  David Newland postponed his CD release to make room for a concert to help raise some support funds for Helen and Andy while he underwent treatment for colorectal cancer. The concert was stunning but sad, and at the end of the night I went home and sobbed in the kitchen so loud that it woke up my roommate Daniel (who actually thought I was laughing with our other roomie, Erik, who was consoling me. Erik did end up making me laugh when he told me he’d accidentally kicked my cat). The concert was a beautiful moment, but it was definitely not a favourite (how could it be!???) the truly beautiful part was on July 17 2012, when Andy posted his last cancer blog entitled “Freedom”. No more cancer!!! Angels were singing. Definitely musical. Definitely the best news of all time. This list is unnumbered, but this is #1. Man, do I ever love that guy!??!!?!! Frankers!! Here is a picture of Frankers wearing my hair. (Ok… maybe not a “picture”…)

Other albums of note

JP Hoe- Mannequin
Annabelle Chvostek – Rise
David Newland – Give It A Whirl
Steve Strongman – A Natural Fact
Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur

Honourable mentions that didn’t come out in 2012 but were on repeat anyway:

Ariana Gillis – Forget Me Not
Matt Andersen – Coal Mining Blues  (PS. I am in love)
Everything ever released by Patsy Cline
Jordie Lane – I Could Die Looking At You (The fake Scottish person in me exclaims, “Tune!!!”)

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