I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

November 04, 2013 - 11:54 p.m.

The First Annual Horvendile Awards

We are coming to the end of the year. What do you mean the end of the year? There's another two months yet. That's the calendar year. I'm talking about my personal fiscal year. And I don't actually mean fiscal, I mean musical. The year begins and ends with NERFA which is in limbo between years. At some point I started to make a list of my favorite musical discoveries of the year with the thought of making it a blog entry. as I don't think I'm seeing any more concerts till NERFA on Thursday, I won't discover anyone new. So here are the rules. I only count a NERFA discovery if I subsequently saw them someplace else. They have to have entered my musical world. So here's the list in what started as order of discover but when that got confused I switched to alphabetical order. Next year I keep track of this from the beginning and it is in order of appearance. I don't count "the" as part of the name.

The Amigos Band
A NERFA discovery. I first saw them walking into the dining room, three young men in matching red shirts. I had heard about the band but hadn't seen them. I said, "That better be the Tres Amigos or they have serious problems." It was them of course. And they soon added members and being The Amigos Band. Since then I've seen them a number of times and like them more and more. They have a zaniness akin to Moxy Frvous along with virtuoso musicianship. That's a hard combination to beat. They quicly became my people and I even sublet an apartment from a friend of Eddie's. Justin works a block away from where I do.

They were actually my fist discovery as they played the DJ showcase the first day of NERFA. I was so sold on them that I didn't see their other showcases. I knew they were on my must see list. Then I met Katherine socially when we were both in the audience at a house concert. We then went caroling together and became friends and so I was "with the band" from the first time I saw them perform outside of NERFA. I think that was Deni Bonet's CD release party when I was doing merch for Deni and so I was already with the band. That's when I befriended everyone else in Bobtown. Since then I think I've missed just one show of theirs and felt terrible that I missed it. They had the ultimate seal of approval, they played the Budgiedome.. They have also become "my girls" even though two of them are men. Sorry guys. And that's the only context that I'll use girls for adult women. Pesky J. Nixon are my boys, even when Kara plays with them. Their music is twisted neotrad. I think that works. Beautiful sophisticated harmonies, Tons of energy, musicianship, and always fun.

Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert, and Jordan Tice
I wasn't sure at first if I should include them as I've known Brittany for years. I decided to because they are not Brittany's band,. They are a band Brittany is in. Paul and Jordan are great artists in their own right. You might now Paul from the Punch Brothers. They are either classical musicians playing folk or folk musicians playing classical. I call it chamber folk. They even do atonal music I love. Jordan writes that and Brittany doesn't get it but someone plays it beautifully. I have seen them at two house concerts and will not miss them any time they come to town.

Charlie Parr
I was at Red Molly, to see Molly Venter and Eban Pariser's CD release show for Goodnight Moonshine. I know them both way too well for them to count as discoveries. The place was packed. When they were done the place was still packed with their fans. I couldn't even see the stage. I was with Laurie McAllister from Red Molly. We're talking and we hear some great blues played on a steel resonator guitar. At first we thought it was sound check but then realized he was playing for real with nobody paying attention. We did. If you love music you could not ignore that guitar. And then we heard the singing and the lyrics and new we were hearing something special. Laurie had to go but I stayed for the entire set and became a true believer. He plays guitar like Little Toby and writes lyrics as bizarre as John Prine but totally different. You can't compare him to someone else. He's a genius out of Duluth Minnesota and nobody hear as even heard of him. You hear he's playing someplace, you're going. Take my word for it; pure genius.

Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton.
I discovered Jerron at the Snake Oil Review, a series of shows put on by Mark Miller of Spuyten Duyvil. I was doing the merch for everybody. The first one up was Mr. Paxton. He's an entire revue by himself. He comes out and fiddles like Marc O'Conner. Then plays guitar and sings the blues like Rev. Gary Davis. Then switches to banjo like Tony Trishka. I have not seen him but do it yet but he also plays ragtime piano. He's one of a kind. As brilliant a musician as I know.

Kami Lyle
I was walking through the halls of NERFA when I heard a trumpet. You don't get many trumpets there. I followed my ears and found that it was played by a blond bombshell. OK I'm intrigued. I talked to her a bit and she tells me where she's playing that night. I go to the showcase and find that she can really play and really sing. She's a Berklee grad and I don't know where she's been hiding herself. Well I do, Cape Cod. But the thing is not many people as outgoing as her can actually be said to be hiding. Oh and her husband is a Rock Star, Joey Spampinato from NRBQ. They are two of the nicest and friendliest people you'll ever meet. Of course she only makes the list because she did a gig in New York and I saw it. She's great during a full set and the band rocks. That's why Steve Forbert made them his band for his last tour.

Kat Quinn
Another name familiar to readers of Wise Madness as I've seen her oodles of time. She's someone I met socially first. She was with Kathy when Pesky J. Nixon played John Platt's On Your Radar. She is their Marblehead Homey. I had no idea she was a musician. I then saw her at dinner at the Huntington Folk Festival and still had no idea she was a musician. But we sat together and talked and I found out that she was and had played but I had missed her. She was a great person to talk to and my theory is that anyone who is fun to talk to has a good chance of being fun to listen to. At least I know that he or she has something to say. It took me a while to catch her. I am pretty sure the first show was a Christmas show, with cookies. And that got me hooked. Since then I've seen her ever chance I've had. And she got the ultimate seal of approval too. She played the Budgiedome.

The Lords of Liechtenstein.
I met them at the Christopher Street Open Mic. I went with Erik Balkey and he said that I shouldn't miss these guys. I don't know who was with them as there were three guys playing. They were good and they worse matching sweater vests and I knew that Carey would want to take them home with her. I friended them on Facebook and caught a show I think at the Ivy Bakery and that's where they totally won me over. I've seen them a bunch since then and you've all heard me rave about them. They are two brothers Dan and Noah and they have charm and with and musical chops and are tons of fun. They of course played the Budgiedome. They and Kat are part of our youth movement. I love seien them at Ivy where young women treat them like rock stars.

Sam Baker
Kathryn aka Kay is part of my musical world. We went from being people who would run into each other at shows to friends. I discovered she had a house concert series and I went to one blind. I had never heard of the performer, Sam Baker. He blue me away. He does lyric poetry, The songs and the banter are both integral to the show. He tells powerful stories with incredible charm and one me over completely. How did I not know him before? You don't know him? Do some research; find some youtubes. Better yet see him live. Just do it. And you'll be wondering hwo you never heard of him. In a just world he's a star.

Tara O'Grady
I discovered Tara at On Your Radar. John met her at the WfUV Gala, not in a musical context. She was a guest. She had me hooked within minutes. Most of what you hear is traditional Irish music done with a jazz twist. think of Billie Holiday singing Danny Boy. But she's not a gimmick. She has great album of original songs. What she is, is talented. And guess who her guitar player is; it's Justin from the Amigos Band. So he wins the prize as being a double discovery for me. I have gone dancing twice to her music. I've seen her in concert. I see her playing and I go.

Toys and Tiny Instruments
I saw these guys on the same bill as Anthony da Costa. They are true to their name, they play toys and tiny instruments. But they thing is they aren't a novelty bnad. They seriously rock hard. They're brand of Nerd Rock is harder than TMBG. And they are also tons of fun and great to talk to. Go see them and learn when a stylophone is. Hear a band with kazoos. If you are anything like me you'll be in awe.

So that's my list for 2013. I just counted and saw it was 11 acts. I decided to go with as many as I felt essential. I discovered others and some of them might grow on me. That happens. But for the first year these are the winner. let's do some numbers. How did I discover them?
Nerfa 3
Saw them on a bill with someone I came to see 3
Saw them at a curated show - 3
Knew Someone in the band 1
Knew socially 1

I love that I discovered three of them pretty much by chance. Why so many? Because I see lots of people that way. It's just that most of them are mediocre. Curated shows have the highest success rate.

OK now I have to get to bed. I'm getting up early tomorrow to meet the Swoonable Renita. I think I haven't seen her in a dozen years.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile November 04, 2013
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