I don't think the fact that I had a name for it from the opening bell of Jan. 1 - ¡El Ocho! - could have possibly made 2008 such a tumultuous roller-coaster of a year, but it's curious that the still-unnamed 2009 has been such a steady, mellow year so far.
As I wrote last year at this time, a half year is a period of time that never gets enough credit. So if a year generates a year's worth of reflection, why not give half as much to a half year?
The Fourth of July has long been claimed as a modified personal New Year's Day by Mr. Chair, and in a bit of good fortune I was able to spend the holiday with the man himself, soaking in the glorious Colorado weather and flinging myself headfirst into the funky side of Denver.
The trip also provided one of the greatest moments of the year so far - Wilco & Okkervil River at Red Rocks.
I've already caught about 40 shows so far this year, and here are some highlights aside from Wilco & Okkervil River: Fourkiller Flats (six times - great as always), the Crooked Fingers, Elvis Perkins, Justin Townes Earle, Gary Louris & Mark Olson, Mike Watt, Provocative Whites, Avett Brothers, Jonathan Richman and Sunset Rubdown.
And then there's SwedeFest, the ludicrously self-indulgent 30th birthday party I threw myself. Talk about growing elderly in style. Thanks again to all the bands that played that one...
If last year was one for weddings, this year has already been a big one for kids - The General, The Skousens and Freaktown & Lisa Marie have all welcomed tiny human beings into the world.
My adventuring for the year started up last month when I went to Desemboque on Mexico's Sonoran coast. Further adventures are likely to include Seattle and San Francisco...
These pictures were all taken from my balcony yesterday evening, with the camera on my sweet new iPhone. The searing heat in this desert does bring a few rewards from time to time.
Here are some of the best albums I've heard so far in 2009:
• Elvis Perkins in Dearland - Elvis Perkins in Dearland
• Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
• Clem Snide - Hungry Bird
• Golden Boots - Winter of Our Discotheque
• Bob Dylan - Together Through Life
• Mos Def - The Ecstatic
• Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
• Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer
• Sum & Belief - The Lone Wolf
• Fourkiller Flats - Treasure & Trash
• Justin Townes Earle - Midnight at the Movies
• The Felice Brothers - Yonder Is The Clock
• The Antlers - Hospice
Like every other year, I'm way behind in catching worthwhile movies, but I did really enjoy Adventureland and I Love You, Man.
Anyone else have thoughts on the first hemishphere of 2009?
Bob Dylan - Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
Golden Boots - Love Is In The Air
Elvis Perkins in Dearland - Shampoo