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01 March 2013 @ 11:23 pm
Bp's Musical Picks of 2012  
Better 2+ months late than not at all, right? Normally I'm well prepared headed into the holiday season and just need to put the finishing touches on the picks of the year list, but I wasn't as prepared this time around and I spent a lot of time following Trans-Siberian Orchestra around in Nov/Dec so this list fell behind in a big way. But it's finally here - thanks to those that asked where it was this year. Here we go...

On a strictly musical level, 2012 was tough to beat.

My four favorite artists all released new material: Rush, Marillion, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Tara MacLean. I saw two of those groups live including opening night of their respective tours (Rush & TSO). I was able to see a long-time close friend say "Hi" to his musical heroes at his 100th Rush show. I had the privilege of interviewing 5 members of Trans-Sibieran Orchestra; saw them live 12 times, capturing almost 10 full shows on video, including opening night of their brand new winter tour in Peoria, IL. I can hardly imagine having a more musically brilliant year.

Discovering new music was different than the last decade plus as there wasn't a constant stream of new material at the ready or people telling me to check out this group or artist so it was back to old school trying to discovering new artists on my own. As a result there were fewer discoveries and my Musical Picks weighs a bit more heavily on favorites than new discoveries, but there are a few (Air Traffic Controller, Blue Bird, etc.). Instead of the typical 300 or so new albums that had normally been checking out per year, I think I was down well under 100. Spotify was my music source of choice, but what was funny was that while many of these records I first heard via Spotify, I now own physical copies of all but one (which was a digital only release) and I laid down cash for all but just a couple. I now fall into that category of music buyers who purchased more as a result of having a Spotify subscription.

Speaking of Spotify, all of the songs featured as my 'key tracks' below are collected into one playlist on Spotify for your listening pleasure. Check out the entire playlist or use it to sample groups you'd like to check out: http://open.spotify.com/user/squintyt4e/playlist/5yw11yocFNPM9aRe0TlZ81.

2012 also marked my 20th High School reunion which a handful of us celebrated informally this summer. I highlight this because I had already been thinking at the time a lot about that time and as I consider myself firmly rooted musically in the now with a strong affection for the music I grew up with, I realized that my favorite artists from my high school years, Rush and Heart - I saw both live for the first time in 1990 - were not only being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, but have released relevant and current albums that still show both at the top of their game. It's nice to think that vital parts of the soundtrack to my youth still play an important role in my adult soundtrack as well.

So without further ado, here are the albums that provided the soundtrack to my 2012...

1.) Rush: Clockwork Angels [Anthem/Roadrunner Records/WEA]
I had a leaked copy a couple of weeks before it was released on 6/14 and the day following its official release my Mom passed away so this album will always be intrinsically connected as it was my constant companion on a number of car rides during that time and became the only music I listened for about a 4-6 week period. "The Garden" was a valued friend during a very difficult time. Don't be scared away by the term 'concept album' that was thrown around when the album came out. Yes, it's a concept album, but all of their albums are loosely conceptual and it's not as if you can't drop the needle anywhere on the album and listen to the songs without getting involved in the story. Their 20th studio release, almost 40 years into their career and they are still producing relevant and vital material. There's a reason they are and always will be my favorite band. Some of their material on this release stands up to their all-time best as well - magnificent!
"The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect, So hard to earn, so easily burned, In the fullness of time, A garden to nurture and protect" - The Garden
Key tracks:
Headlong Flight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcFGrWjOX0E
The Garden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghfoxBYCaWU
The Wreckers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClbE019cLNI

2.) Alan Doyle: Boy on Bridge [Skinner's Hill/Universal Music Canada]
Alan is one of the principal members of the East Coast Canadian band, Great Big Sea. I ordered this without hearing a note and then started checking it out on Spotify and through a brilliant live TV special (link below). I instantly fell in love. It was the one record that broke the 4-6 week Rush: Clockwork Angels-only period in July and it lead me to listen to other albums. A great mix of songs. It's much less traditional than a typical Great Big Sea record. Actor Russell Crowe contributes a couple of co-writes (Alan and Russell have a musical and acting history together), as well as other guests: Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy, Hawksley Workman, and Mike Post (Law & Order theme) to name a few.
"I know we've got a long long way to go, the other side of the world's only halfway home, there might be nothing down the road, but you'll never know, no you'll never know..." - I've Seen A Little
Key tracks:
Where I Belong: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVi2nPn0WW4
I've Seen a Little: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp47f4HBm1o
Sorry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6HxjZV-QOk
Where the Nightingales Sing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqEkSkxGkuY - one of my favorites of the year (an acoustic, a mandolin, violin and accordion plus voices - who would have thought 20 years ago?!)
Link to TV Special: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2BCDF324BDC52E1D&feature=view_all - one of those shows you see and think "I would have paid a ridiculous amount to be in that room!"

3.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) [Universal Republic/UMG]
It's only a 5-song EP, but it's new material and I'm not used to EPs and where they fit into the grand scheme of things, so I'm putting it right here. A violin-infused rocker, a Vivaldi-themed proggish-cut, a gospel-tinged ballad, a singer-songwriter reflective piece, and a soothing lullaby-like masterpiece. A perfect addition to a new Winter Tour and new label partner. It was a magnificent year to be a TSO fan!
Key tracks:
I Had a Memory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ8bKQxDZys
Dreams of Fireflies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivjIuk9jsNY

4.) Marillion: Sounds that Can't Be Made [Intact/Eagle Records]
I've listened to this less than probably any of the other albums on the list. It's obviously fantastic or it wouldn't be ranked this high, but it's similar to say the Rush catalog. They are my favorite band, but I'll go months at a time without listening to them. This is sort of like that. An amazing album with a number of stellar tracks, but not something I have to listen to constantly. There's one song I can't listen to because it hurts too much, a couple others are hard to devote the time to (lengthy or very heavy thematically). But there are some tracks that I could listen to constantly including "Power" and the title track, which expertly works in "aurora borealis" which is always a plus in my book.
"One day I'll play you sounds that can't be made, They'll sing in us from somewhere inside our heads, No one ever heard them but you and me, We'll make it happen inside us..." - Sounds That Can't Be Made
Key tracks:
Power: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aZxKeANsIw
Sounds that Can't Be Made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4BGpgV1bS4
Gaza: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5VKmyDEF6U
EPK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8WhkyuipSE

5.) Air Traffic Controller: Nordo [Sugarpop Records]
I was introduced to this Boston-based band through Kiara Ana Perico, a viola player who has worked with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Dave Munro, a singer-songwriter who fronts the band, has a knack for creating inventive songs by blending instruments and lyrics with a magical result. I went to check out Kiara's other work and was pleasantly surprised by how much I dug these songs and before too long I was contacting them trying to find out how to get physical copies of the records I was loving on Spotify. They haven't left my rotation since the summer and they are filled with wonderful songs and some fabulous orchestration to highlight smart and harmonic pop songs.
"Yeah if you build it, they will come, Yes I remember where that line came from, It was a movie, one that everyone out there has seen, And when the voices, call out to you, Maybe it’s something that you could pursue, 'Cause we’re all living, yes we are living in this field..." - If you Build It
Key tracks:
If You Build It: https://soundcloud.com/air-traffic-controller/02-if-you-build-it
You Know Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wR4EwrVlc4M
Hurry Hurry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmHmcpvD8Xo
Ready or Not: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B38Q4Bno-Sg
Magic: if you have Spotify - fire up this track from Nordo, it might be my favorite on the record!

6.) Muse: The 2nd Law [Warner Bros/WEA]
I'd argue that the first 25 seconds of this record are probably superior to most of the records released this year. It's that good of a start. Muse continues its quest for thought provoking, intense, diverse, and epic songwriting. There's so much to love on this album.
Key tracks:
Unsustainable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF_xdvn52Aspanic
Panic Station: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk24UKKI4yY
Supremacy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfjzBiyBrsI
Madness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek0SgwWmF9w

7.) Missy Higgins: The Ol' Razzle Dazzle [Eleven/Vagrant/UMG]
Missy experienced writer's block for a couple years after her last record and so she traveled and went to University in her home country of Australia for a time to regroup. She eventually relight the spark (with the help of some dates on Lilith Fair) and started writing about her relationship, or lack thereof, with the muse. That resulted in a wonderful album with some beautifully poignant and connected lyrics and melodies.
"I know all the lines to say / the part I'm expected to play / but in the reflection I am worlds away / as I put my costume on / eyelashes one by one / been doing this so long I can tie the knot / behind my back / And everyone's waiting / but it's getting harder to hear what my heart is saying / cause everyone's waiting" - Everyone's Waiting
Key tracks:
Everyone's Waiting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1SDbBzPzt0
Carving the Wood - Creating Everyone's Waiting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcN4iJkL64g
Set Me On Fire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP6USSSmXis
If I'm Honest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nlRiSqPfAY
Tricks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF8wpagiogQ

8.) Threshold: March of Progress [Nuclear Blast]
Unlike previous Threshold records, this took some time to sink in. Part of it might be due to a change in vocalists (their previous, Mac, brought something really special to the group). Their original vocalist, Damien Wilson, is back for this release and I've always liked the Mac-era albums better, but this one slowly grew and now it's right up there with my favorites now due in large part to "Staring at the Sun," which broke the barrier for me. Epic melodic prog hard-rock at its finest.
Key tracks:
Staring at the Sun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USFuam0LsWs
Ashes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uLKKm_EGjg
The Rubicon: Check it out on Spotify - can't find online.

9.) Mumford & Songs: Babel [Glass Note/RED]
Grammy Album of the Year and absolutely well-deserved. Their debut didn't really catch me, but I fell quickly for this one and it is just all around brilliant. It's dark and haunting, but hopeful and uplifting, and uniquely original. It's to be experienced.
Key tracks:
Babel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwbnQ97zc0A
I Will Wait: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGKfrgqWcv0
Lover of the Light: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMJUbZrNnA8
Full Letterman Concert (almost an hour): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doO_nIEKEfE

10.) Grace Potter & the Nocturnals: The Lion, The Beast, The Beat [Hollywood/UMG]
Another slow starter for me, but once it did reveal itself it was ear opening. Such a hard working, always touring, old school rock and soul band from Vermont with such a great vibe. Even if you didn't realize it, you've heard "Stars" on TV at some point over the last year in a commercial, full song, music bed, or something; and it is a masterpiece. Grace soars as usual and the band is tight and solid.
"I lit a fire with the love you left behind, it burned wild and crept up the mountainside, I followed your ashes into outer space, I can't look out the window, I can't look at this place, I can't look at the stars, they make me wonder where you are, stars, up on heaven's boulevard..." - Stars
Key tracks:
Stars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml7TmC__eDc
Parachute Heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP8Zbb2TTW8
Turntable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LA8UJpH1c0 (the studio version is even better than this, but I can't find it)
The Lion The Beast The Beat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Jp4Wpc4Sas

11.) Blue Bird: s/t [BlueBird]
I discovered this band from Omaha through an online contest to get a friend's band to Austin, TX for a SXSW showcase. My friend's band made one of the top spots, but didn't end up winning. Blue Bird didn't win either, but in checking out the top contenders I really took a liking to this group and fell head over heels for the song "Give Me Light." The rest of the album was streaming on Soundcloud and as soon as it had a physical release I contacted the band, fired up the PayPal account and was soon grooving to this and their earlier EP.
Key tracks:
Give Me Light: https://soundcloud.com/themusicofbluebird/give-me-light-1
The War: https://soundcloud.com/themusicofbluebird/the-war-1
Holes in My Pockets: https://soundcloud.com/themusicofbluebird/holes-in-my-pockets

12.) Jason Mraz: Love is a Four Letter Word [Atlantic/WEA]
I liked Jason's first album for a while and then for some reason when it became popular I didn't. But I was still interested in what he was doing as his long-time guitarist and musical director, Bill Bell, was Tara MacLean's husband and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson's collaborator on his solo LP, and when this first came out I gave it a spin and thought it was interesting. Then I started seeing a link passed around on social media from Bill and Tara about this amazing performance that was taped for VH1 and I clicked. A minute into Jason's introduction and I was drawn right in to his description of the genesis of the song. He was teared up and I almost was as well. When he began "I Won't Give Up" I was already sold, but the performance was nothing short of amazing. I went back to Spotify that day and re-listened, totally got the album this time around and placed my order on amazon that afternoon.
Key tracks:
I Won't Give Up (live): http://www.vh1.com/video/misc/768816/i-wont-give-up-vh1-storytellers.jhtml
93 Million Miles (live): http://www.vh1.com/video/misc/768815/93-million-miles-vh1-storytellers.jhtml
Fantastic background story of the writing of 93 Million Miles: http://bubbleup.vo.llnwd.net/o2/livefromdarylshouse/episode55/11Dinner2.mov
The Woman I Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkbTp3-zBGg

13.) Heart: Fanatic [Legacy/Sony Music]
A solid hard rockin' record. However, similar to their previous release, Red Velvet Car, the classic Wilson sister harmonies are few and far between (something that this fan of almost 30 years really misses). Sadly by the time I saw them on this tour they had dropped a few new songs from the set and I was only treated to three new songs live. It's an album that's reminiscent to 1977's Little Queen to me with lots of crunchy guitar-driven songs and a few acoustic-based numbers that rock. The title cut is just pure Wilson rock with that peace-infused love conquers all vibe.
Key tracks:
Fanatic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIoxpJtMe0E
59 Crunch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhPT0kJkrIg
Rock Deep (Vancouver): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1VlqEduM94

14.) Brandi Carlile: Bear Creek [Columbia/Sony Music]
A long-time fan, but this one took a bit to grow on me. Brandi and the Hanseroth twins continue to develop their rock/country roots laden with harmony vocals and organic instrumentation on this release.
Key tracks:
That Wasn't Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDxF_lLony4
Save Part of Yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o27Ogg27VA
Keep Your Heart Young (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKvdFKNv6pE

15.) James Kinne: Scraps [James Kinne Music]
Some gems that have for one reason or another not been included on James' previous releases. As it's a collection of unreleased material it may not have the cohesiveness of a true album, therefore it contains a myriad of different styles and textures, but it's all solid material.
Key tracks: A Place I Know, The Long Road Back, Billboard Buildings
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/album/0dWhf2Ey2f4RMNQKVTrRrk
Sampler: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jameskinne4

16.) Of Monsters and Men: My Head Is an Animal [Universal Republic/UMG]
I regularly listen to Jian Ghomeshi's interviews on Canada's QTV You Tube channel and was intrigued by the Icelandic duo who front this seven member group. The songs they performed were brilliantly unique blending acoustic instruments, accordion, trumpet, percussion, and well sculpted harmonies
Key tracks:
Little Talks (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQhhadD65Ws
King and Lionheart (live on QTV): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQdhN9u30oU
Mountain Sound (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7l1_WTokJ0
Dirty Paws (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RXMIyMdhaY

17.) Bruce Springsteen: Wrecking Ball [Columbia/Sony Music]
I wanted to get into this more than I did, but for some reason there were some songs that kept me at a distance (looking back I think it's all of the back and forth between the rock and rootsy cuts - the rootsy ones weren't doing it for me). But it's got a lot of great Bruce earnest moments and that's what I love.
Key tracks:
Land of Hope and Dreams (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1i5lyNLmNM
Wrecking Ball: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2KNqxwt4Qg
Jack of all Trades: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtGb5MPCMlg
This Depression: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEiynKZtvRM

18.) The Tragically Hip: Now for Plan A [Zoe Records/Concord/UMG]
Key tracks:
We Want to Be It: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8sMi_fs018
Goodnight Attawapiskat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzHu4btRUyY

19.) Saga: 20/20 [Eagle Records/UMG]
Long-time vocalist Michael Sadler left for a couple of years and one album, returning with this album and it is definitely a welcomed return! One of the best voices in rock back home where he belongs. Soaring melodies and rapid-fire keyboard/guitar licks abound in typical Saga tradition.
Key tracks:
Album sampler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnDfjhF0veA
Lost for Words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMwSK2y51WQ
Show and Tell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD3WjImKaHU
EPK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IywSinZHV9E

20.) Joe Bonamassa: Driving Towards the Daylight [J&R Adventures/UMG]
The title track is classic material. Classic Rock radio is a dead format with hardly a song recorded in the last two decades, but if there was ever a new artist that would fit beautifully in that radio format it would be Joe. That song is just a millimeter away from being an epic masterpiece, it's that good. And it was written by Joe! He tosses 4 or 5 originals on a record and then fills it with old school blues, which is great, but I'd love to hear more Joe songs. Brad Whitford of Aerosmith guests on the entire album.
Key tracks:
Driving Towards the Daylight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTG-bCMG05E
Too Much Ain't Enough Love (w/ Jimmy Barnes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jX-LAjOrYk
Dislocated Boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj4VZ2Xa53g

Tara MacLean - 2013:
I mentioned that Tara MacLean released some new material this year, three songs (only 2 of which are streaming online) so I'm including them here because she is my favorite female vocalist/singer/songwriter and because they are wonderful:
Where Am I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n8Xo93HKKM
Scars: http://www.myspace.com/taramaclean/music/songs/scars-88136839

Honorable Mention:
A Fine Frenzy: Pines [Virgin Records/EMD] - I love that Alison Sudol went out on a limb and followed her muse. Sadly I just didn't connect with it, but have the utmost respect for her for making a true-to-herself album.
Black Country Communion: Afterglow [J&R Adventures/UMG] - Some really great material on this, I just can't handle this long of an album of Glenn Hughes' voice.
Pinnacle: A Blueprint for Chaos [Pinnacle Music/Fox's Den records] - Prog rockers from Pennsylvania as well as friends.
Kate Rusby: Make the Light [Pure Records] - a 2010 release, but new to me.
Rik Emmett & Mike Shotten: Airtime-Liberty Manifesto [Rockit Sounds] - not a 2012 release, but new to me.
Air Traffic Controller: The One [Sugarpop] - not a 2012 release, but the debut from the group that grabbed the #5 spot and first introduced to me this year. I played this a lot!

A couple of video clips that I wanted to highlight as being particularly amazing from this year:
(even if you are not a fan of these artists it is well worth the few minutes, I guarantee it)

Jason Mraz - I Won't Give Up (live): http://www.vh1.com/video/misc/768816/i-wont-give-up-vh1-storytellers.jhtml - he talks about the songs creation and how something painful turned into something beautiful, the performance that follows is as amazing as Jason's intro.
Missy Higgins - Carving the Wood - Creating Everyone's Waiting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcN4iJkL64g - she discusses the song's beginning but also the 'carving of the wood' which many times is the artists favorite part of the process. As fans we only see the final product, but this discussion of the carving I loved.
Alan Doyle - TV Special: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6HxjZV-QOk&list=PL2BCDF324BDC52E1D - Television special on the new album with some insights on the album and some amazing and diverse performances.
Air Traffic Controller - Ready or Not: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B38Q4Bno-Sg - my favorite promo video of the year - great camera angles, framing, and movement, not to mention the song is brilliant.

Favorite Live Shows:

Small Venue Shows:
1.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: May 10 - Broome County Arena, Binghamton, NY
2.) Matt Nathanson: March 3 - Calvin Theater, Northampton, MA
3.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: May 3 - On Center, Syracuse, NY
4.) Missy Higgins: Sept. 23 - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
5.) Eric Johnson: Sept. 22 - The Egg, Albany, NY
6.) Mark Wood w/ the Columbia High Orchestra: March 10 - Columbia High School, East Greenbush, NY

Large Venue Shows:*
1.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Nov 15 - Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, IL - opening night of brand new winter tour - magic
2.) Rush: Oct 10 - Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, CT
3.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Dec 23 - TD Garden, Boston, MA - 8pm show
4.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Nov 24 - Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH - 8pm show - Front Row
5.) Rush: Sept 7: Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH - opening night
6.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Dec 20 - XL Center, Hartford, CT
7.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Dec 13 - TU Center, Albany, NY - my 40th TSO show, my Dad's 10th, 3 interviews = bliss
8.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Nov 23 - Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT - 3pm show
Honorable Mention: Roger Waters: June 28 - TU Center, Albany, NY (would have been after all the TSO shows, but still an amazing gig)

*For TSO double-header dates I picked my favorite of the two shows only

Favorite Live Performances (and the videos I captured of them):
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: "For the Sake of our Brother" - Dec 20 - Hartford, CT - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eo-LfxxYdI
Matt Nathanson: "Room at the End of the World" w/Whitney & Davy Jones tribute - March 3, Northampton, MA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt4arLGVDG4
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: "What Child Is This" - Manchester, NH 3pm - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFW8WGmQAkE
Rush: "Bravado" - Oct 10 - Bridgeport, CT - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjK0bRa9qMI
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: "Tracers" - Dec 23 - Boston, MA 3 pm - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4u1RC77A4U
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: "Faith Noel" - Dec 13 - Albany, NY - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBj03IjAMBE
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: "Christmas Canon Rock" - Boston, MA 8pm - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boQ_8NQSsNs
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Narration + "The Wisdom of Snow" - Uncasville, CT 3pm - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUTP6L5HS7M
Mark Wood: "Stairway to Heaven" - March 10 - East Greenbush, NY - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONs44D6S9oQ

Favorite Musical Moments:
Taking my daughter to her first musical, Wicked
Seeing TSO with my Dad in Albany and Hartford
Seeing and hearing Jay Pierce in Peoria on opening night; his inspirational return to the TSO stage
TSO interviews with Paul O'Neill, Rob Evan, Chris Caffery, Roddy Chong and Al Pitrelli
Watching my daughter's Zumba class dance to Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are"
A coincidental stumble upon a beautiful performance from TSO's The Lost Christmas Eve in May
Meeting up with friends at shows
Chills in Peoria with Lisa while hearing Erika Jerry soundcheck "For the Sake of Our Brother"
Listening to the new Rush single with Chris for his first time
So many personal moments with TSO band members and TSO friends on the Spring & Winter tours

10 Years Ago - My Musical Picks of 2002:

1 – TIE: Rush – Vapor Trails / James Kinne – Between
2 – Josh Joplin Group – The Future That Was
3 – Our Lady Peace – Gravity
4 – Kasey Chambers – Barricades & Brickwalls
5 – The Tragically Hip – In Violet Light
6 – Spock’s Beard – Snow
7 – Kreviazuk, Chantal – What If It All Means Something
8 – Andy Stochansky – Five Star Motel
9 – Joe Bonamassa – So, It’s Like That
10 – Ron Sexsmith – Cobblestone Runway
11 – Counting Crows – Hard Candy
12 – Dishwalla – Opaline
13 – The Benjamin Gate - Contact
14 – Porcupine Tree – In Absentia
15 – Greenwheel – Soma Holiday
16 – Chris Robinson – New Earth Mud
17 – Course of Nature – Superkala
18 – Solomon Burke – Don’t Give Up On Me
19 – Springsteen, Bruce – The Rising
20 – Willie Nelson – The Great Divide

Honorable Mention:
Bon Jovi – Bounce
Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
The Elms – Truth, Soul and Rock ’n’ Roll
The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
George Harrison - Brainwashed
Mad At Gravity – Resonance
Silverchair - Diorama