2014 has been a phenomenal year for me on all fronts – so I’m grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I was able to add to my life story. As most of you know, music was involved with pretty much most of these experiences, so I wanted to share the “Top 10 Things I’m Grateful For –Music Edition.”
These are not in any specific order as I’m just typing at will
10. Stevie Wonder – I was fortunate to have tickets for the “Songs in the Key of Life” tour when it came through Washington, DC. To experience the songs I grew up listening to in person with an almost-sold out crowd at the Verizon Center was beyond comprehension. If you haven’t listened to the album in a while, definitely throw it on – Stevie Wonder’s words are more than needed right now.
9. Shazam—Actually, I think my friends are grateful for Shazam in my life. I’ve stopped obsessing over random songs heard on tv or while at a bar and just whip out my phone instead. Granted, I’ve probably spent a ton of money from buying random songs via the app, but my mind can rest now that I know what I’m jamming to.
8. Artists Getting Their Due – I love how some of the artists I’ve been following for years are getting some major props lately. When I realized Prince threw in a cover of Alice Smith’s “Another Love” in his Saturday Night Live performance (the 2nd to last song) I almost fell off my couch. I’ve been an Alice Smith fan since her first album, “For Lovers, Dreamers, & Me” dropped in 2007. There’s Sia, who’s been releasing albums since 1997’s Only See and I have been singing/dancing along to “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from the Annie Soundtrack (yes, I’m a grown adult jamming to the Annie soundtrack, it’s good). And, there’s JohnnySwim — I learned about them from an intern at my job 5 years ago, and immediately fell in love with their music and how they would released EPs a couple times a year. This year, we finally got “Diamonds” which blew everything out of the water – and I has the opportunity to see them live, which made my world.
7. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue – I’ll be honest, I’m much older than him, but I love me some Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and his band, Orleans Avenue. Actually, I think I’m at the age when I just want to make them a home cooked meal and talk music. I see them live every time they come through DC (I missed one of the 3 performances this year because I was sick as a dog) and it’s never boring. If you haven’t seen them yet, I highly recommend checking these guys out – it’s one huge party and everyone enjoys it. What I appreciate with Troy and the other musicians who have made a huge name for themselves outside of New Orleans, is that he gives back through his foundation and working with the kids in the city.
6. Over the Ear MP3 Headphones – I have a mop top of curls, I wear glasses and I use an IPod with a worn out headphone connection. In short, I’m a nightmare for anyone selling audio. Thankfully, I’ve found headphones that are comfy, have great sound, don’t press my hair down into a weird style or make my glasses crooked – and all this for under $100.
5. Apps like BandsinTown and Songkick – Some people have asked me how I find out about so many concerts throughout the year. I wish I could say it’s because I’m connected and know a ton of people in the music business. Nope, I have BandsinTown and Songkick on my phone and IPod. With both apps, I can say who I want to follow and what cities (I pay attention to DC, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco)….voila! I have daily updates on concerts. Sometimes I receive updates before the actual venues make the announcement.
4. Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways – I was in high school when Nirvana was EVERYTHING. It didn’t matter what you listened to, you loved that group. Because of that, I’ve always been a passive fan of The Foo Fighters – I know their music, I’ve seen the various concerts on Palladia, I really like Dave Grohl. When HBO started to promote Sonic Highways I threw it on my TiVO as something to watch while I cleaned my place on Saturdays. Eight episodes in and I don’t want it to end – this is the perfect show for a music junkie who is also into history. Just like some other behind the scenes type of shows, I’ve become invested in the people/city I’m spending a hour of my life with on Fridays. So much so that I’ve already purchased tickets to the Foo Fighters’ 4th of July concert here in Washington, DC.
3. Headphones at Work – I love how I’ve been in the workplace long enough that I can work at my desk. Want to get work out of me? Give me music. End. Of. Discussion.
2. D.C. Jazz Festival – I always wait too long to plan a trip to Jazz Fest in New Orleans, that’s how I do. But, DC has its own 7-day jazz festival that just keeps getting better each year. The past couple of years I’ve seen the Brass-A-Holics at the Hamilton for the DC Jazz Festival kick-off This past summer, to celebrate its 10th Anniversary, a 3-day party at The Capitol Waterfront, a new area in D.C. that has emerged in between the baseball stadium and the Navy Yard, was added to close out this fantastic celebration. The two days I attended with friends, I was able to see Gregory Porter, Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and the Robert Glasper Experiment outside with a picnic (and adult bevvies). Who can complain about that awesomeness?
1. You – I am grateful for all the friends I know, and don’t know, who read my random pieces about music and react – may it be in agreement, with suggestions, or (in the case of some of my friends) a simple *smh*. Looking at 2015 calendar, that’s already filling up with fun concerts, I hope that I’ll be able to share some more random thoughts and suggestions, as well as find some more people to bond over some of those really cheesy 80s/90s songs we all hum along to while driving.