By Christopher Treacy
The holidays have passed, but the music signifying their presence has not. We’re not big fans of overdoing it, but… the first CQ Roundup of 2023 is filled with seasonal tunes (and a badass new groove from Terry Blade). Bear with us as we get back into a flow: things grind to halt in entertainment during December, but the first quarter of a new year has always been a great time for indie artists to release new music.
Song of The Week: Terry Blade – “Won’t Be Around”
The first single from Blade’s upcoming album Ethos: Son of a Sharecropper (out January 20) is hard hitting. The instrumentation lays low, allowing the arresting vocal to remain at the forefront of the mix. Blade is telling an excerpt from a larger story, here, so context is hard to pinpoint, making the narrative all the more compelling. As an artist forever articulating what it means to be both black and queer, Blade has largely used music on the fringes of R&B up to this point, but Ethos takes more of an Americana approach. “Won’t Be Around” still oozes plenty of soul, though, and the sentiment could either be a one of independence or abandonment, depending on perspective. We got to ask him about that and the stylistic shift in his music for an upcoming Q&A, so stay tuned for that this week.
Keep For Cheap – “Pictures and Posters”
Contemplative and pared-down, Minnesota’s Keep For Cheap offers this wintery vision… both a celebration and a lament for life’s annual/seasonal cycle. It’s amazing how easily emotion can turn on us, going from gratitude to uneasiness and worry. When things feel right, we worry they won’t stay that way, because change is inevitable. Staying “in the moment” is, perhaps, life’s biggest challenge.
Ever More Nest – “Happy New Year”
“In a wooden frame, under a glass pane, we’re still the same.” Kelcy Wilburn really nails it on this outtake from Ever More Nest’s album Out Here Now, which arrived in August. We could try explaining it, but why would we when she does it so eloquently.
“One of my favorite photographs of a particular friend and me was taken on New Year’s Eve as we walked our way to a giant bonfire made of drying Christmas trees. The old Mid-City New Orleans tradition had gotten unmanageable by that year, and it was a crazy fun and wild thing to witness. New Year’s is such a strange holiday—celebrating the passage of time, a sometimes joyful and sometimes painful process we can’t control. We celebrate the end of a good year; we celebrate the end of a bad year. As humans, we’re always trying our best to mark the beginnings and endings of things that never really stop or start. New Year’s celebrations can be arbitrary, but they can also be quite powerful. I love the dichotomy.”
D.C. Anderson – “Twenty Twenty Three”
D.C. Anderson has had a long career in theater and has appeared on television in episodes of The Blacklist and Billions, but here he’s exercising his singer-songwriter muscle in an affecting ode to the expectations of a new year.
Paula Boggs Band – “Mistletoe & Shiny Guitars (remix)”
Older song, new mix!
Christopher Treacy has been writing about music and the music industry for 20 years. He’s contributed to The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Herald, Nashville Scene, and Berklee College of Music’s quarterly journal, as well as myriad LGBTQ+ outlets including the Edge Media Network, Between the Lines/Pride Source, Bay Windows and In Newsweekly. He’s the Managing Editor for CQ and lives in Waitsfield, VT.
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