This was not the year most of us expected or wanted, and as far as music goes, on some days it seems silly or naive to think about it. But always, in retrospect, those are the worst days, and on better days I feel invigorated for the fight ahead, and at least somewhat inspired. Our incoming president is a walking, talking black hole, a real void of a human being, and his ascension to the presidency threatens the safety of all of us, but especially those of us who are most vulnerable. Anything I can say about the situation will be a cliché within a week, if it isn't already, but among other things, that's what fascism does--it takes whatever we say and tries to render it meaningless. I am doing my best to find ways to be politically involved that feel both meaningful and tangible, and I hope the same for you, wherever you may live.

I won't be doing a meticulous year-end list, but I enjoyed recently released or yet-to-be-released music by the following people this year:  

Mike Wexler
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
A Tribe Called Quest
Gabriel Birnbaum
Cassandra Jenkins
Wilder Maker
Caroline Shaw
William Tyler
Andy Shauf
Kendrick Lamar
David Garland
Stephen Steinbrink
Trevor Wilson
Cass McCombs
Kacy & Clayton
Kevin Morby
Xylouris White
Karl Blau
Red Steppes
The Radio Dept
Jesse R. Berlin
Weyes Blood
Ben Seretan
Aaron Roche
Teen Daze
Ben Seretan
Johanna Warren
Uni Ika Ai
Steve Hauschildt
Daniel Bachman
Joan Shelley
Nico Muhly and Teitur
David Bowie
Brigid Mae Power

It was a good year for music.


My sixth album, Rosewood Almanac, is almost complete. A session to record the string arrangements that I have written is happening in a week and a half, and the weather is getting warmer, and things are looking up all around. It probably won't come out for quite a while yet, but it's nice to be able to predict when I'll be able to put the bow on it, call it done, and begin to focus on the songwriting process for a new batch of songs. Everything in my creative process is cyclical and seasonal, and everything in it is a reaction against complacency. In the winter, sometimes, I get complacent, particularly when it is very cold. I never get much songwriting done when it is bitterly cold outside. But now the tulips have bloomed and the mourning doves are talking and there is a man mowing the lawn next door. Blair and I are talking about building a chicken coop and getting some hens to lay eggs. She has been hard at work at our vegetable garden, and everything has been planted and now it is time to wait for things to sprout, just as it is in other areas of my life. I love that feeling of promise. It's easy to be patient when you know you have tried your hardest to make something good, and when it means it's time to mentally move on to the next thing and start again, which is the most exciting part, in some ways.

I made a spring playlist, which you can listen to on Spotify here. I have one more playlist to make, for summer, and then the playlist project will be complete, I think. You can see all of the playlists here.