Here are a few more 'Best of 2016' thoughts before I sign off for the season.
Katey Laurel - "This is Christmas"
My biggest regret this season is not finding time to cover Katey Laurel's 2-CD Christmas album "This is Christmas". Katey's album was funded over a year ago through a very successful Kickstarter campaign, so successful that it allowed her to produce a double-disc Christmas album this year. Katey is a Denver, CO singer with a strikingly beautiful voice. Her album was one of my favorites this year, and bumped may others out of the rotation, as I listened to Katey over and over. I'm going to come back to Katey's album early in the 2017 season to do it justice, and maybe snag an interview too. If you missed out on this album in 2016, add it to your 2017 'must have' list.
Katey Laurel website
Hot Breakfast! - "The Holiday Shift"
Hot Breakfast! is Matt Casarino (of "200 Days of Christmas" on Facebook) and Jill Knapp, a Christmas-loving duo that writes and performs some of the best original Christmas rock-and-roll around. Their music is awesome, their songwriting amazing, and the energy they put into Christmas deserves a standing ovation. Love their music and what they give the world at Christmas. Check 'em out.
Hot Breakfast! website
The Shenanigans - "Decidely Simple Christmas"
This one is going to be tougher on all of you Christmas music fanatics. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre has produced "Santaland Diaries", based on the stories by David Sedaris, for a few years running now. Throughout the play, the two performers have several musical interludes, mostly Christmas standards, but also a few rewritten and updated to the spirit of the play. Meaning, they are PG-13 if not mildly R-rated. And very, very funny. The two performers, Claybourne Elder and Shanna Jones, recorded the songs from the show, plus a few more, and had them for sale after the show, using the band name "The Shenanigans". It's a treat. If you're one of the lucky ones that receive Der Bingle's Christmas comp every year, you'll probably find an updated "I'm Gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas" on the 2017 edition, featuring the line "I hid a body in a trunk - somebody snitched on me". Not available commercially - maybe I can convince Claybourne and Shanna to let me share a song next year.
KC Rep Facebook page
And finally, in the spirit of the Best of 2016, one of the best things this season for Der Bingle was being invited to guest DJ on KKFI, a Kansas City public radio station. The hosts of one of the weekly shows invited me to come in and play some Christmas songs from my collection. The original date, Dec 18th, was postponed due to ice, so we kicked off New Year's Day 2017 with a half hour of Christmas music. Being able to share some songs and talk about Christmas music was fun, exciting and a real treat for me. I'm hoping to be able to return again next season. Thanks to Kasey, Scotty, and Mikal for inviting me - you're all such good people.
River Trade Radio Facebook page
And so, that about wraps it up for the 2016 season. I hope you all have enjoyed the interviews, music info, contests, and shared music. I'll be back again next year, doing many of the same things. I'm pretty sure that the blog will lean more toward the artist interviews and features about new music and drift away from music sharing. It's getting tougher all the time to find music that isn't available digitally already, so I imagine that will be de-emphasized, though if I find some real shareable gems I'll make sure to post them here. I'd love to know what you think about the interviews and contests, and the blog in general, so please comment or send me an e-mail.
Check back in from time to time - I may write some off-season posts. The Folk Alliance International Conference is in Kansas City again this year, so I may post some articles after that event in February. And there's Planet Comicon in April(?). Holy smokes, those will both be here before I know it..
So, signing off for now, and hope to see you all next season!