It’s almost a new year. I’m not about to say this was the best year ever, but I also can’t get behind everyone who’s saying it sucked. Personally, I got to play more music this year than probably any other year of my life, and that’s all I could ever wish for. I spent almost four months on the road in 2011. Joined a bunch of bands (and had one break up, but such is life). Released a new album, and got at least one more ready for the world. Met enough cool people to last several lifetimes. Not so bad, all in all. I welcome 2012 with open arms, in the hopes that all of these successes will multiply and flourish over the next 12 months.
Regarding touring: I had originally intended to blog thoughts and images from the road. Really, I did. But my spring solo tour came after three solid months of contacting bands and venues, booking and advancing shows, plus all the stuff that goes along with releasing a new record (album art, publicity, etc.). And my relationship with writing had been soured somewhat by a freelance job that owed me a ton of dough. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of my laptop and barf up more words. So I took a few months off. And then a few more months.
Then, the fall tour with The Morning After Girls came and went, and I realized I’d just been tweeting the whole time. Unfortunately, any kind of tour recap would be redundant, if not impossible, at this point. But I will say this: The stress and lifestyle of touring can bring you to your lowest point, but it can also lift you to your highest. Those high points are why I do this: the validation provided by someone shouting “yeah!” among the applause after a song; a sweet personal note on the mailing list after the show; the brief emotional plateau that comes from knowing you’re doing what you do at your best. Here’s hoping for another 50 tours.
Rather than wax nostalgic about individual moments–because that could take forever–I’m simply going to list the names of the people who made my 2011 a truly terrific year, whether they were integral to my creative growth or a super-fan who came to every local show, whether they lent a hand with load-in or let me crash on their sofa. The order is almost totally random. If I missed anyone, it was very much unintentional. It’s a very long list.
KFM, Ariel Hyatt, my brothers in the Morning After Girls (Sacha, Martin, Alex and E.J), Andrea Kremer, Keith Hosmer, Jason Schultz, J. McCarron, Adrian Cohen, Will McCranie, Seth Faulk, Jonathan Lam, Matt Krahula/Nightmare River Band, Rebecca Rosenkranz, Jason and Kevin and Derek (Soren Well), Adam Greenberg, Patrick Bower, Darren Will, Luther Russell, Mark Connor, Ben Karis-Nix, Eric Halder, Sarah Clark, Scott Smith, Terry McClain, Nathan Glass, Tom McWatters, Bob Buckley, Albie Von Schaaf, Tess Collins and all at McGeary’s, Brett Portzer, Ryan Slowey, Troy Pohl, Matt McWatters, Felipe Torres, Roger Paul Mason, Alan Foreman, Kristin Sidorak/Violet Trouper, Jody Stephens/Ardent, Joyce Linehan, Joe Pernice, Paul Melancon, The Black Tag, Josh Bloom/Fanatic Promotion, NBC10 in Philadelphia, WNYC, Eli Asher, Josh Henderson, Melissa Tong, Noah Hoffeld, Dan Loomis, Chicago Acoustic Undergound, Fearless Radio, Ninelle Efremova, The Hounds Below, Dead Meadow, Harper Blynn, Levi Weaver, Jennifer Gilson/The Living Room, The Deli magazine, Chris Cogott (love the cover tune), Phantogram, Prince, Billy and Maria Nicgorski/The Cobbs, Rob Campanella, Prescott Kagan, Sam Libretti, Adam Long, Chuck Oney and all at Bethel Road Pub, Alan Lewis, Bengt Aleksander and Action Camp, Anthony Johnson, Jason Falkner, Jen Raines, Christian Bland, Alex Maas, Louise and Jade and Rose in Tucson, Nadia Kazmi, Andrew Vehlies, Jimmy Gnecco, Eliza Hittman, Scott Cummings, Paranoid Social Club, Sloan, Chris and Dave at WEXT, Greg Haymes/Nippertown, Metroland, Billy Kekevian/PhillyVenues.org, Kuki/the Dearloves, Vintage Thrift, Make Music New York, Fifth Nation (Music and Julia), Elias/The Flying Eyes, Otis Taylor, David at the White Mule, Michael Jones/WUSC, Josh Roberts, Matt Gross/A Heart Is A Spade, Brett Rosenberg, Tom Pappas, Mike Caffrey, Converse Rubber Tracks, Lorna at the Listening Room, Hyoejin Yoon, Fiona Silver, Heather at the Triple, Mark Connor, Jay Martin, X-Ray Eyeballs, Eddie/Awendaw Green, David at Village Tavern in Charleston, Uncle Mountain, Janine at Lulu’s, Madeleine Wright, Fitz at Republic Coffee, Pam at the Naked Bean, Hanna Unverzagt, Laura Thomas/ComboPlate Booking, Caritas of Austin, Jen DaRe and ATN Showcase, Invisible Children, Charlene Kaye, Megan Cox, Damian David, Mike Giblin/Parallax Project, Craig Marshall, Jessie Torrisi, Backwords, SuperHappyFunLand (strangest venue ever), Becky Middleton, Megan Slankard, Tori Sparks, Aficionado, Summer People, Devin and all at Blackbird Buvette, Laura Baboulis, Lonna Marie/UGA, Casey Reed/Half Windsor, Jennifer at The Beat in LV, Mark Fribush(!), Ben at Hidden House, Keith Caruana, Ryan Lukas/The Big Nasty, all at the Motley/Scripps College, Lestat’s, Soda Bar, Sharon Van Etten, Marko Shafer/Hotel Cafe, David Poe, Bleu, Graham Colton, Shawn & Jen, Linnaea’s, David and Margeaux, Caitlin Roper, Taylen, Janis Logan and all at Vintage Wine, Julie Westlin-Naigus, Uncle Joe and Aunt Tammy, the folks from Bill’s in Yakima, Everyone in SLC, Mary Emrich (happy birthday!) and family, Walnut Room Pizzeria, Olivia & Kayla, all at Mercury Cafe, Dechen Hawk at Laughing Goat, Mule/The Longest Day of the Year, Steve Jamrozy/Side Door and Flat Iron in Omaha, The Humbugs, everyone at Cause, Taylor Dahlin, Vu/WeHeartMusic, all at Indie Coffee in Madison, Wisc., Alex and Kim and all of Suzuki Beane, Trolley, all at Brillobox, PGH Punk Rock Karaoke, Aamco in Pittsburgh, Margie Rosenkranz/The Eighth Step, Jenifer/Market Market Cafe, Amber Rubarth and Jim Bianco, Erin Pihlaja, Sean Rowe, Chris Cornell, Drome Sound, Filter magazine, Jay Space, Scott DiPatria, Rob Turner, Xemu Records, Spindrift, Troubadour Dali, Shawn/Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, the Vandelles, Julian Woolsey/Perfect Prescription, Chloe Ryan, Anna Hergott, Heather Hennessey, Douglas Nelson, Millie/Sounds Australia, everyone at the Basement/Graveyard Tavern (ATL), Black Box Revelation.
You are champions, one and all. See you in 2012.