“A Good Year for the Roses” is my favorite George Jones song, and he recorded it two times! I prefer this earlier, rustic version, from a single I found years ago, to the lush recording from the album George Jones with Love, which I had to buy on iTunes because it’s apparently the hardest of his LPs to track down.
Anyway, it was a good year for the roses – the ones in this picture grow up my kitchen window, and it took seven years to get the little bastards to bloom. Totally worth it.
One year ago Martin Devaney played the second in-store performance here in the new shop, just a day after a big snowstorm. Nobody was here but he and Jake Hyer played a great set of songs from his then-new album (The West End) for Laura and I and our kids. In the year since we’ve worn down a copy of The West End and several songs have become favorites.
Although “A Friend is a Rose” fits this post, it’s tracks off the second side that have become favorites of mine – “Underwood” and the sweet, uplifting “Nashville by Nightfall”. I expect I’ll bring the album with me when I DJ at next month’s “Theme Night” at the Amsterdam (January’s theme will be money), playing “Hold on to your Money” along with a pretty varied set of unique greenback-themed tunes.
Tomorrow’s Sunday in-store will feature the Ghost Test, an electronic/folk hybrid celebrating the release of it’s first EP, Forme. This will be our last live music event of the year and brings the total number of in-store performances for 2011 up to 45! Who would have imagined it last December?
I don’t think I could pick a favorite, although the Taxpayers‘ pass through town last summer was – as I’ve said before – a lot like having the circus visit your record shop. Just a few weeks later, Bitter Roots actually managed to put together a killer hour set of Santana covers on little notice, something I never would have imagined possible. Jamey Whatton’s killer guitar solos, spot-on-Santana, were probably my favorite moments from this year’s in-store performances.
Another touring act we were thrilled to host was Lydia Loveless from Columbus, OH, whose album Indestructible Machine was our favorite of 2011. And the week before we had the nicest bunch of guys you can imagine (Nelsonvillians and Wind-Up Bird).
Still, it was the local acts we most enjoyed. Over six weeks we celebrated Minnesota country courtesy of the Schlitz Kickin’ Country series (which will continue into 2012 with Hymie’s Winter Record Sale on January 21st at the Triple Rock Social Club). We could have done it for six more weeks because there’s so much talent in these Twin Cities!
2011 also saw a now-legendary set by Fat Kid Wednesday on Record Store Day (Which was well recorded by John from Empty’s Tapes and ought to be – hint, hint – issued as a live disc by the trio). People ask about the Fat Kids’ set in the shop pretty often, and I’m glad John was there, but the performance I wish I had a recording of to hear was the White Whales’ set here in the shop, one of the first the quintet ever played. Trust me, you will be hearing a lot about these guys over the next year…
The Annandale Cardinals played outside on Record Store Day after some bands weren’t tough enough to do it. Burliest band in the world? For 45 minutes they were the best band in the world!
And, of course, Is/Is played in the shop not once but twice!
It was a goddamn good year!
This upcoming week we’ll begin posting our TOP 10 LOCAL RELEASES of 2011, two a day with #s 2 and 1 appearing Friday. A lot of “top 10″ lists have started appearing and I can sincerely say that the 10 releases we’ll be highlighting this week are better than most of the out-of-town big label acts whose records I bought this year (Although… Bad as Me…Good Lord, Tom Waits if you happen to read the Hymie’s blog, your new album is sweet!).
After our “top 10″ concludes Saturday’s post will feature a preview of several 2012 records we’re looking forward to. Several favorite local artists have been kind enough to give us mp3s to post (one even gave us a test pressing!). Sunday’s post is something special, a surprise you’ll just have to wait for. That’s sort of in the spirit of the season, isn’t it?
I started this post remembering Martin Devaney’s in-store performance and I think I’ll conclude with a track from the Crossing Guards. He’s right – “It’s good to be a regular somewhere.” Thanks to all of you, our regulars.