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Published: 2012/02/03

A Final Look at 2011 (Staff Selections)

RANDY RAY

What will you remember most about 2011?

The twins started Kindergarten in August, and that was a bit of a game changer! Our oldest boy was placed in an accelerated 2nd/3rd grade, which presented new frontiers for him, as well. On a geo-political front, I’ll remember the Occupy movements as another reminder that often the city within a city, and its various occupants seeking more out of life than what is presently given, can shape and form the changes in a society. I’ll also remember that a band, noted for its breakthroughs in improvisation, can, in its own way, exist without any plans, or agenda, or ideas for growth, or a sense of reasonable forward movement, but can still produce an hour’s worth of magic in a shed.

What albums appear most in your iTunes or iPod?

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme – for pure bliss
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew – for pure genius
Widespread Panic – Light Fuse Get Away – for magnificent band conversations
Opeth – Heritage – for a completely unexpected and brilliant artistic left turn
Foo Fighters – Wasting Light – “It’s the balls, stupid.”

What was the best musical discovery you made in 2011?

Opeth’s Heritage was my favorite album of 2011, but their tour was even more of an eye opener. I caught them at the Marquee in Tempe, and the band played a truly memorable set that focused on progressive, folk, jazz, improv and subtle changes in music, rather than their patented metal riff-and-growl technique which made them famous. Clearly the best show that I saw in 2011, while proving that a band that became famous for doing one thing in an inspired and innovative way, can modify their art in a riveting and refreshing way as long as it is natural, organic, and part of their DNA. And it is.

What was your favorite show or tour of 2011?

Opeth by a landslide—intelligent progressive rock that transcends its limitations by including a variety of elements within sharp tunes and great musicianship.

What musicians should readers look out for in 2012?

I love the Barr Brothers new self-titled debut album and their quartet. I hope they allow this lineup some room to breathe on the road and in the studio. I had the chance to speak with Andres Vial, who plays everything from bass to vibes in the quartet, after a gig, and I can sense his passion for this collaboration, as well. I think the band has a unique chemistry that is worth exploring for the band and its potentially larger audience.

Are there any musicians you would like to see collaborate in 2012?

I would love to see Trey Anastasio collaborate with his fellow Phish mates in the studio on a complete group effort…and not leave the studio until that has happened.

And from my interview with John Popper in early 2011, I’d like to see this:

RR: What about the possibility of a return for the H.O.R.D.E. festival?

JP: Yeah, we’re talking about it. That would be H.O.R.D.E.’s 20th Anniversary, summer of 2012, so that would be very apropos. We’re looking at it. Everybody’s talking about Colorado, and that stuff is in the works. We’ll see if we can get everybody on board. There are a lot of entities you’ve got to juggle for that, but I think, so far, the reaction of everybody seems to be positive, so we’ll see what we can get going.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

I went ‘Back to the Basics’ with my listening last year, so I plan on going back to another approach in 2012: listening to much more new music. I also plan on writing more, while continuing to partake in some rather interesting conversations with others. And, bringing this all full circle, making sure the Rays at home always have what they need.

*****

GRACE BEEHLER

What will you remember most about 2011?

Graduating college and navigating the real world – and relocating from the suburbs to Brooklyn.

What albums appear most in your iTunes or iPod?

Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Local Natives Gorilla Manor

What was the best musical discovery you made in 2011?

My roommate turned me on to Beyoncé. I have a newfound respect for her – she’s amazing on so many levels. And I finally discovered Van Morrison – it took me a while to hear something more than just “Brown Eyed Girl.”

What was your favorite show or tour of 2011?

So many: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at the Town Hall in New York; the whole Umphrey’s McGee run at Brooklyn Bowl; every moment at Wanee Music and Arts Festival; Galactic at Lundi Gras in New Orleans

What musicians should readers look out for in 2012?

Alabama Shakes, Futurebirds

Are there any musicians you would like to see collaborate in 2012?

Warren Haynes and Brittany Howard (from Alabama Shakes); Mumford & Sons and Jerry Douglas; and Trey’s new project with the National should be awesome.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Swim more, write more, relax more. Maybe cut back on those weekend brunches…maybe not.

*****

MATTHEW SHELTER

What albums appear most in your iTunes or iPod?

Album: Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues ; Song: “Windows Are Rolled Down” (Amos Lee)

What was the best musical discovery you made in 2011?

Fleet Foxes, The Belle Brigade

What was your favorite show or tour of 2011?

Dispatch, Dawes/Blitzen Trapper, The Avett Brothers

What musicians should readers look out for in 2012?

Alabama Shakes, Band of Bees

Are there any musicians you would like to see collaborate in 2012?

Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Stop exercising, eat more, drink to excess.

*****

SAMUEL MARTIN

What will you remember most about 2011?

Personally: Proposing to the girl of my dreams and high school crush while at Superball IX, as well as becoming a father to a healthy baby boy named Trey.

Musically: In-spite of living in the middle of Montana and the state of the economy being able to see my 3 favorite performers: Phish, moe. and Jackie Greene.
(Also giving away all of my Gorge, Dick’s and VT Phish Lotto Tickets – to stay home with my then very pregnant fiance’)

What albums appear most in your iTunes or iPod?

TV on The Radio: Nine Types of Light, Jackie Greene: Gone Wanderin’, ALO: Man of the World, My Morning Jacket : Circuital

What was the best musical discovery you made in 2011?

Kurt Vile – talk about a musical game-changer. This is must hear music in a year full of great releases. Also anything that Danger Mouse touches- i.e. Broken Bells, ROME, El Camino etc.

What was your favorite show or tour of 2011?

Jackie Greene – Big Sky, MT 9/2/2011 (Jackie Greene must have one of the brightest futures in jam/folk music today- everyone seams to want a piece of him.) or moe. – Seattle 1/21/2011 -The Showbox (IMO the last 3 years have been some of their best)

What musicians should readers look out for in 2012?

Dawes, The Stone Foxes, Radio Moscow, Moon Taxi

Are there any musicians you would like to see collaborate in 2012?

How about Phish and Pearl Jam collaborate. PJ20 really opened my eyes into the evolution of such an important band- well done Cameron Crowe!

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Cut back on the bluegrass shows- this past year was saturated, so 2012 I hope to focus on quality not quantity.
Find a balance between music and family.

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