Saturday, January 4, 2014

Another Year Over . . . and a New One Just Begun

Sweeping Up Times Square on January 1
It's mighty hard to believe, but another holiday season has come and gone. I hope it was a memorable and happy one for you and yours. I spent the holidays with my brother and his family in Maine, and it couldn't have been a more wonderful ten days. Well, OK, it would have been better if I could have brought along some of the weather we were enjoying when I left Los Angeles, but that proved impossible. Call me crazy, but I prefer sunny, 80 degree days to snow, ice and below-zero temperatures. Still, it was nice to watch the snow coming down from a comfortable chair near the fireplace indoors, and it was good to learn that I can still work a snow blower pretty well when called on to do so.

I really enjoyed putting this year's mixes together, as well as posting information about their contents. When I started this blog in 2011, I saw it as a useful vehicle for sharing some background about my annual holiday mix tapes. The focus has expanded a bit to include posts on holiday music in general, which I've also enjoyed writing. And that's not the only thing that's expanded. Steady and decidedly modest during its first two years, this blog's readership expanded significantly in 2013 – a ten-fold increase, in fact. I was completely unprepared for this higher level of traffic, and unfortunately we exceeded my website's monthly download allotment for December before the month was into its second week. As a result, I understand that many people who tried to download this year's regular and special bonus mixes were unable to do so. I'm sorry about that. As a result, I've decided to leave those mixes on the website for the balance of this month rather than taking them down on January 1, which had been my plan. Visit my website to download or listen to those compilations while they're still available. I hope to be better prepared next year, and I appreciate your patience in the interim.

We will now begin our annual hiatus, which is scheduled to last until sometime this November. I wish each of you a happy, healthy and satisfying 2014, and I look forward to getting together with you again this Fall for another wonderful holiday season.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Patti Smith Welcomes the New Year in Boston

I spent part of New Year's Eve Day at the Sheraton Boston before flying back to Los Angeles shortly before the new year dawned. Had I realized that Patti Smith was playing next door at the Hynes Convention Center that evening as part of Boston's annual First Night celebration, I would have gladly delayed my departure  after all, one can walk from the Sheraton to the Hynes without even going outdoors! Patti Smith is an amazingly talented artist who puts on a truly inspiring show, but she usually performs in Lower Manhattan on New Year's Eve and I didn't realize she was playing in Boston until I read about it on New Year's Day. This year, it seems she scheduled her annual New York shows on December 30 and January 1 to be in Boston for New Year's Eve. Well, if we had been at the Hynes for the countdown that night, here's what we would have seen as 2013 gave way to the new year:

The setlist for this and most of her band's other shows is available HERE

The following clip features the opening number from this week's Boston show, a relatively subdued version of my very favorite Patti Smith song, "Dancing Barefoot":

Incidentally, Patti recorded a rather stunning version of the classic carol "We Three Kings" for the album A Very Special Christmas 3, which benefits the Special Olympics. I've never found the right spot for it on any of my previous mixes, but it deserves a place in any respectable Christmas music collection.

UPDATE (1/20/14):  This morning, I happened upon this beautiful version of Patti Smith performing "O Holy Night." I don't read Italian very well, but I believe the video was recorded at a benefit concert at Dall'Auditorium della Conciliazione in Rome.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year, 2014

Well, here it is 2014, and, as in previous years, people saw the new year in around the globe in many colorful and festive ways. Highlights from the celebrations held in several different cities are featured below. I spent a good portion of the day in Boston for the first time in many years, which was nice, although I spent the actual countdown moment in a jet over Minneapolis. Wherever you were and whatever you were doing, I hope it was a blast, and that the new year brings you many blessings and much happiness.