23 albums touched by the hand of God in 2012 – a non-numbered list of albums that I’ve played over and over that were released in 2012. Some of them were reviewed here on Jason’s Jukebox, some of them weren’t. All of them are worth your time and attention. The last look back at an amazing year of music. I’ll see you later this week with my 1st review of 2013.
The word “Americana” when applied to music conjures up visions of acoustic guitar, singing with friends around a fire, and an authentic approach to the music and lyrics. All of these things are true – at its best it can incorporate country, folk, bluegrass, and even R&B into the mix. Over the last decade or so a curious thing has taken place – as American indie bands discovered pastoral (think Nick Drake), English indie bands have discovered Americana styled music (think The Band). What happens when the two styles merge? You end up with a band like The Cornelius Crane, who have delivered a masterpiece of a record, E.P. Too.
In late 2011 I had the opportunity to visit Philadelphia, PA for a week of catching up with old friends, hanging out with family, and longing for a stronger cup of coffee from my adopted hometown of Seattle, WA. Visiting where you grew up can be a very stressful experience as people who haven’t seen you in ages insist on seeing you, people you were close to are suddenly out-of-town, and you find yourself as the star of your very own version of the film Garden State. Fortunately I had the chance to sit down for lunch with an old friend, Shilough Hopwood, in a quaint little eatery in Doylestown, PA – he also happens to front a very special band called Honeychurch.
Everything I know about Sweden can be distilled into the following:
- Swedish Fish (usually purchased at IKEA)
- Lingonberry Jam (purchased at IKEA)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Pärson Sound – International Harvester – Harvester – Träd, Gräs och Stenar (same band basically in different incarnations) are my favorite psychedelic band and they are from Sweden
- The Jens Lekman song “The Cold Swedish Winter” with its lyrics “When people think of Sweden / like Cliff Richards who thought it was just / porn and gonorrhea / And Lou Reed said in the film / Blue in the Face / that compared to New York City / Sweden is a scary place
The day Whitney Houston died I was listening to the new Honeychurch cd, driving on the freeway, formulating a review in my head (to coincide with the launch of this site). Throughout Honeychurch’s history they have received tons of well deserved attention for their covers of The Magnetic Fields, Neil Young, and Dolly Parton. Ah yes, Dolly Parton. The author of “I Will Always Love You” , a song which was made (even more) famous by a certain Miss Houston. I had to laugh as I watched an argument break out on a website over who actually wrote the song – a Whitney fan was in disbelief that Dolly Parton had written this song, a song so associated with Whitney Houston that it was instantly in the charts again once she had passed. Honeychurch – Dolly Parton – Whitney Houston – back to Honeychurch. With their new record “Will You Be There With Me”, Shilough & Larissa Hopwood of Honeychurch have created a masterpiece.