Facebook just pieced together my “2012 Year In Review” and sent me a link to it. It's a pretty cool new feature. Though I appreciate the thought, I can't say I totally agree with their highlight choices so I went ahead and created my own 2012 Year In Review for the new/old blog. Despite the inevitable ups and downs in the world, I am both fortunate and blessed that 2012 was, as Facebook suggested, a really wonderful year. I suppose at times like this, as I’m gearing up to make my New Year’s resolutions and set my personal goals for 2013, it’s helpful to take a moment and reflect on some of the goals that were achieved last year, to reflect on how fortunate I have been to have so many good things happen recently, and also to express my gratitude for the many wonderful people in my life…
Let’s see, 2012… Every single day good things happen (yes, I truly believe this, though on certain days it may be harder to see them than on others), but a few things stick out from this year. For starters, my aunt beat lung cancer (incredible!); I spent New Year’s Eve in Helsinki on a beautiful snowy eve; In February I fell into the most beautiful guitar I’ve ever played and simply adore it; March included trips to NYC & Boston with my lady, visiting friends and making music; I earned my Master’s degree in April, finished my Ph.D. coursework in the summer, and passed my Ph.D. qualifying exams at Indiana University in December (woo-hoo, with sincere thanks to Sue Tuohy, David A. McDonald, & Lynn Hooker); In May The Starday Story won the Belmont Award for Country Music Book of the Year and it later won a 2nd award from ARSC for Best Research in Record Labels (thank you ICMC and ARSC!); Also in May I got to pick some tunes with bluegrass legend Roni Stoneman in Nashville’s Studio B; Roller skating with my family and lady in July was beyond wonderful (mom on skates!); Also in July, along with Mike Lee, Jerry Miller, Shane Kiel, Jake Kamp, Amanda Lee, the Vallures, and many talented friends, I released a new LP/CD that was just a joy to create (GO!GO!GO!); Throughout the year I shared various stages with so many great friends and musicians—Rex Trailer, Al Hawkes, Sean Mencher, Kim Lenz, Roy Kay Trio, Johnny C., the Daryl Haywood Combo, Eddie Clendening, Leon Chance… (I can’t even begin to name them all but it’s been a fantastically fun year for music); Saw a lot of dear friends at the Indy Road Rockets Festival, the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, and during the summer U.S. tour with the Hi-Fly Rangers to name just a few; met Willie Nelson and Lil Bub, the Internet’s Most Famous Cat (unfortunately, not at the same time); I produced a Starday audio documentary which features Bill Clifton, Ralph Emery, George Jones, Bill Malone, Frankie Miller, Don Pierce, Ralph Stanley, and many others, as well as a segment on Henry Glassie’s Ola Belle Reed recordings that I think turned out really nice; Uncovered a sweet 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 that is an absolute pleasure to cruise; And will spend the last two weeks of the year in the States with my family and even get to hear my pop preach;… Oh, and I moved to Finland! For the past four months I've absolutely loved spending time with loved ones, making music, and making new friends in Helsinki, Tampere, Kouvala, Järvenpää, Joensuu, and all the roads in between.
To say the least, it was an incredible year. It was so wonderful to see so many old friends along the trail as well as forge so many new friendships. I can’t possibly thank my friends and family enough for their support, their love, and for just being a part of this thing called life, but in time I’ll try! As we turn the annual corner, 2013 is looking like it will be filled with just as much excitement—The Starday Story comes out on paperback in March and The Starday Sessions tribute CD with the Barnshakers, Deke Dickerson, Wyatt Maxwell, the Hi-Fly Rangers, Jerry Miller, Sean Mencher, and so many other talented friends/musicians will be released on Goofin’ Records during the same month; My brother’s wedding in April; Screamin’ Rockabilly Weekender (Spain) in June with rockabilly legend Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell and many others; Lots of great shows and festivals already booked in Finland, Sweden, Spain, and beyond; A new full-length album with the Hi-Fly Rangers will be released on El Toro Records; Several lectures on ethnomusicology and country music are already booked; and FINLAND!—I can’t wait to continue my explorations of Finland and I’ll be sure to share the highlights here (I’m hoping it includes live reindeer, live music, and the northern lights—preferably all at the same time). I am so happy to hear from friends and share in the joy of life accomplishments and goals being met, of weddings, childbirths, new books, new movies, new jobs, new albums, and more. It is a constant reminder of how much fun this world can be and I look forward to what 2013 will bring us all. I wish everybody the warmest of holiday seasons, that you are all surrounded by dear friends and loved ones, and I’ll hope to see y’all out on the 2013 trails!