Sunday, January 1, 2017

My 2016 in Music


My Spotify account shows that I've listened to Kermit the Frog's 'Rainbow Connection' more than any other song in the past year.  It makes sense since it's the first track on my 'New Dad Playlist' and which is part of the daily routine for my little girl.  That little girl attended her first ever concert / festival this year.  She can now boast having seen the mighty Sheepdogs and Barenaked Ladies as her first shows.

2016 may have been a pretty depressing year when it came to deaths across the music world - as heard here 'RIP 2016 Playlist' (No Prince on Spotify sorry) - but it was also a year with some amazing new music.

My personal year was very different in that I was learning the ropes and trying to balance things on the home front with an addition to our family. That meant lack of sleep and less late nights at concerts around town. It didn't mean lack of learning about new music though. It was actually the opposite - I listened way more than I had in recent years. I discovered and uncovered music from all genres while diving deep into the past through nostalgia with a different perspective on life. Here's an on-going playlist I've been working on entitled - 'The GREATEST Songs Ever Recorded IMHO'

For me 2016 could be summed up in 2 words - GORD DOWNIE. Although David Bowie, Prince, George Martin, George Michael , Glenn Frye, Phife Dogg, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen and many others passed away - it was the news of my idol Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip, that shook me to the core. I continue to spend countless hours going deep into his band's catalogue as well as his solo work on the heels of hearing that terrible news.  This was one more thing to put perspective on life and how precious it really is.  

I was one of the luck my ones that went to a few of the band's last shows this past summer. I went to Toronto's first night with 2 lifelong pals and my older brother. It was a true celebration of the band's 30+ year career chalk full of hits.  The band also played many songs off their latest album entitled 'Man Machine Poem'.  There was no way I was going to miss this band's last show in their home town of Kingston, Ontario.  On Saturday, August 20th I made the trip with friends and soaked up what was one of the most amazing music filled days of my life.  Kingston was magical and the band managed to make this junior hockey rink feel like a sweaty little club.  Only difference was that 20 million people were watching right across this country.  It was a very special day and shined a light on the wonder that is Gord Downie. 

Here's a little video I don't remember shooting during 'Wheat Kings' on that final night.

I also managed to land tickets to Gord's 'Secret Path' performance at Roy Thompson Hall in October.  This was simply beautiful and among the most powerful messages and performances I've been witness to in my life.  I consider myself lucky to have grown-up in a time when Gord Downie was making music.  

I will be listening to Strombo's salute to The Tragically Hip this evening starting at 8pm - link here if you're interested.  

Here are a few quick lists of my favourites this past year.

Top 10 Shows
  1. Guns N Roses @ Sky Dome
  2. Metallica @ The Opera House
  3. The Weeknd @ Air Canada Centre, iHeartRADIO Jingle Ball
  4. The Killers and Sam Roberts Band @ World Cup Of Hockey Village
  5. The Tragically Hip @ The K-Rock Centre, Kingston 
  6. Gord Downie @Roy Thompson Hall
  7. Noel Gallagher @ Echo Beach 
  8. Pearl Jam @ Air Canada Centre
  9. Lumineers @ Mod Club 
  10. Jack Garett @ The Garrison 
Top 10 Songs
  1. David Bowie - 'Dollar Days'
  2. Warpaint - 'New Song'
  3. Gallant - 'Bourbon'
  4. Gord Downie - 'The Stranger' 
  5. The Tragically Hip - 'Machine' The Tragically Hip - 'In Sarnia'
  6. Michael Kiwanuka - 'Love & Hate'
  7. Sam Roberts Band - 'Roll With The Spirits'
  8. Kings of Leon - 'Walls'
  9. Alessia Cara - 'Seventeen'
  10. Red Hot Chili Peppers - 'Dark Necessities'
Top 10 Albums 
  1. David Bowie - 'Black Star'
  2. The Tragically Hip - 'Man Machine Poem'
  3. Sam Roberts Band - 'TerraForm'
  4. The Weeknd - 'Starboy'
  5. Kanye West - 'The Life Of Pablo'
  6. Kings of Leon - 'Walls'
  7. Drake - 'Views'
  8. The 1975 - 'I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It'
  9. Alessia Cara - 'Know It All'
Respect to the great songwriter and TV Dad Alan Thicke too.  I know he didn't write this one - but it's the perfect song.

Best wishes to you and yours in 2017.  

Gregg

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