Happy Holidays! Looking Back at 2017

Happy (Almost) New Year, Friends!

This officially makes two years that I've been coming into your inbox on a monthly basis to give you the scoop on what I've been writing and what I've been thinking and what I've been doing. I thank you with my whole heart for being interested enough in what I've got going on to continue following along with my adventures. Information overload is a true and real thing, and our inboxes are all so overburdened, so please know that I do not take for granted for one moment the fact that you're open to receiving one more bit of recurring digital communication from me. I'm gonna keep this short here at the top 'cause I've got a lot of ground to cover.

Table of contents:

  1. What's new on the blog

  2. My best of 2017 mix

  3. 2017 in review

  4. "Wichita Lineman": The 2017 Covers Series

  5. Psychic offerings

What's new on the blog

This month on Queen of Peaches, my thoughts turn to movies, as they so often do at the end of the year.

One of the things that bugs me most about current practices in film distribution is the way that everything revolves around hype. Not that it hasn’t always, of course, but it feels particularly intensified now. Everything’s a summer tentpole; everything’s year-end awards season bait. I see and feel how easily I’m played through targeted promotion and the relentless unavoidability of advertising, at least for the chosen handful of films that can afford such tactics.

It always reminds me of the summer that I drove from Chicago to Chelan, Washington, with three friends. None of us had ever been to Wall Drug in South Dakota before, even though we’d all seen the bumper stickers and knew the main gist of its legend. But, as we were first setting out and planning when and where we’d take our rest stops, none of us felt any particular need to actually go there. Until, of course, we’d been driving for hours with very little scenery to capture our attention other than Wall Drug advertisements along the side of the road, and suddenly its allure became that much more understandable, and irresistible.

Click here to read the rest.

My best of 2017 mix

As I've written about before, I've been making mixes of my favorite new music at the end of every year since 2004. My 2017 mix, titled Laughing at Everything We Thought Was Important, is available for streaming online now. Click the image above, or here, to check out the track list and find the embedded audio player.

If you'd like a physical copy of this mix burned onto a CD, just reply to this e-mail and I'll get one sent out to you in the next few days. If you'd like to reminisce and get nostalgic, or just find some old music that may be new to you, I've got every past edition of these year-end mixes archived (appropriately enough!) on my Mixes page over on my blog. Click and enjoy!

2017 in review

I sit behind a desk eight hours a day during the week and read stuff online constantly, yet even I have trouble keeping up with all the blog posts and articles and other links I've heard good things about and am interested in delving into. So, I recognize that it's entirely possible that you may have missed out on some of the stuff that I created in 2017. Here's a round-up of the most significant stuff I wrote and did this year.













The primary lesson I took away from listening to and thinking through this year's worth of covers of "Wichita Lineman" is that the best way to tackle this song is with ruthless honesty. And I don't necessarily mean to equate honesty with simplicity; I think Sammy Davis Jr.'s bombastic take is just as honest as Dennis Brown's reggae smoothness, which is just as honest as the Scud Mountain Boys' stripped-down approach. The best versions let the best of an artist's truth shine through.

After how much fun Brian and I had at the end of 2016 recording our take on "I'm Waiting for the Man," I knew I definitely wanted to close out this year with our own cover of "Wichita Lineman." And of course, I came down with a terrible cold in late December, which I'm still not completely over. So all my convictions about honesty being the best approach were going to be put to the test, given that my voice is not in the best shape its ever been in. But hopefully the depth of our affection for this song comes through loud and clear. Click here to check it out!

We've officially passed the winter solstice, which of course means that a little more light returns to our days. But the next few months will still be dark and cold. This can be a recipe for seasonal affective disorder, to be sure, but it can also be a rich opportunity for dreaming and reflection. Get in touch if you or anyone you know could use a little psychic insight in making sense of the past year or in planning for the new one.

With so many blessings for the year to come,