I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but 2014 is over. Musically speaking, it’s a year I won’t soon forget. On the live front, it was the year I finally saw The Replacements, not to mention Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Wonder. Natalie Merchant came to Portland. It was also the year my friend Matty and I went to Chicago to see the unbelievable, unforgettable “David Bowie Is” exhibit. My beloved singer Amanda Palmer wrote a book called “The Art of Asking,” which Santa brought me and, by the time this goes to press, I’ll have my nose deep into it.
2014 was the year I fell in love with Carte Blanche, Sarah Jaffe, Arc Iris and Judith Hill, to name a few.
New music that pleased me immensely came from The Ghost of Paul Revere, Kate Schrock, The Box Tiger, Monique Barrett, Jason Spooner, Sunset Hearts, Eric Bettencourt, Samuel James, Lake Street Dive, Zeile August, Lucius, U2, Sinead O’Connor, Tori Amos, Patty Larkin and Mary Fahl, among others.
Looking ahead to this year, I’m already excited about Portlander Clara Junken’s new CD, “Out To See,” and to finally see London Grammar live. Their show’s been rescheduled twice, so here’s hoping the Jan. 24 date sticks. I also think I’m going to need to see U2 in Boston this summer. It’s been a few years and they are one of the best live acts out there.
Here’s hoping that the rumor of there being another season of “Twin Peaks” is true. “Falling” by Julee Cruise is by far the most stunning theme song ever, and I hope it also enjoys a comeback. I also hope to see Damien Rice come somewhere near Maine on the heels of his latest record, “My Favourite Faded Fantasy.” Who was at his show at The State Theatre back on April 19, 2004? Truly unforgettable. I haven’t seen Rice since and would like to change that. I’m also sleeping better at night knowing that Portlander Sara Hallie Richardson is back in the studio and will have a new album out this year. Can. Not. Wait.
So let us remember what we loved, who we lost and what we have our sights set on for 2015. Needless to say, my Red Sox have nowhere to go but up, so there’s that.
Before I sign off for this week – and year – I of course would like to send you to a show.
Singer-songwriter and pianist Kate Schrock is celebrating the release of her stunning new CD, “kör,” with a show on Munjoy Hill. Schrock was one of the first local acts I got wind of when I moved to Portland 20 years ago and heard her debut album, “Refuge.” She’s been a favorite ever since with her soulful, stirring vocals, gorgeous piano and spiritually wise lyrics. She recorded “kör” in two days at the famous RCA Studio A in Nashville. The album is 11 songs, including a cover of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain” that has been a staple of her live show for years. Schrock has done something really special with it and I urge you to go here for a joyful earful: www.kateschrock.com/kor/ and catch Schrock and special guest Glen DaCosta, former sax player for none other than Bob Marley and the Wailers. I can’t wait for this show! Starting the year off on a Schrock note is sheer perfection.
Kate Schrock with Glen DaCosta. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland. $15 in advance, $18 day of show. stlawrencearts.org.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, friends and fellow music fans. See you out there. At the shows.
Oh, and by the way, my favorite song of 2014? That’s easy: “Whiskey Man” by Arc Iris. Give a listen: