2013 was another great reminder that The Northwest serves up a very tasty and eclectic blend of musical styles and demonstrated just how deep our talent pool is. Several Northwest artists, such as Allen Stone, Macklemore, The Head And The Heart (to name a few) made appearances on the national television talk show circuit and major music publications, thus shining the spotlight back on Seattle – and demonstrating to those of us that love music, our city offers up a lot more than just grunge and rock. (And speaking of Grunge, congratulations to Nirvana for being chosen for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)
Last year Macklemore and Ryan Lewis told the industry to sod off, took they indie path and then proceeded barn storm across the globe on the continued strength of one of the most compelling records of the year, entitled The Heist. Their tour de force continued to go strong in 2013. The dynamic duo, along with a cast of others, closed out their fall tour with a return home to perform three spectacular sold out shows at Seattle’s Key Arena.
MackLewis took home some MTV “moon men” and may just steal a few Grammy’s later this month on January 26. Not only did the boys put together a brilliant record but they provided a platform for other Northwest artists such as Mary Lambert, Hollis, Michael “Wanz” Wansley, Andrew Joslin and The Passenger String Quartet and Ray Dalton to shine on record and on stage. It was the record that launched careers and helped other artists achieve some of their dreams. The Heist is the gift that keeps on giving!
I said it last year and I will say it again. At SMI, we do our best to cover a wide variety of music. Along with loving the art of discovery and taste-making, we have great reverence for classic artists, whose presence and impact was established before some of the current musicians were old enough to pick up a guitar, drumsticks and tickle the old ivories. Whether it be country, folk, rock, jazz, funk, soul, hip hop or metal, if it’s well-crafted and well produced, we’re listening, diggin’ it and covering it.
The tracks of my tears…
Charles Bradley brought tears to my eyes at Bumbershoot 2013 with his beautiful, soulful and soul-barring performance. After Bradley’s brilliant KEXP set, he received a well deserved standing ovation and then proceeded to walk into the crowd and give some of us in the audience some of the most authentic and heartfelt hugs ever. (I’m here to tell ya, the man gives great hug!). It was not only a highlight for me in 2013 but one of the greatest musical highlights I have ever experienced. This is an artist that you will not want to miss the next time he is back in town.
In 2013 we covered just about every festival there was to cover. Sasquatch!, Capitol Hill Block Party, Bumbershoot, 107.7 Summer Camp, Chinook Fest were a few of many, but one of the greatest highlights for me personally was Timber! Outdoor Music Festival. In fact, it was so successful that our good friends at Artist Home are putting on a Winter version aptly titled Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival, which will take place in Levenworth on January 10th and 11th. Timber! Outdoor Music Festival will expand by an additional day and promises to be even bigger than ever. I happen to know who may be on the bill but I’m not tellin’…You will just have to visit us soon for special announcements on the lineup.
Also Setlist Music’s Underwater Music Festival returned and provided music fans a very cool music experience this past summer. You can see some of the photos and an interview with festival promoter, Sean Hensley.
Check out some of our 2013 Festival coverage with photos by clicking here.
On road again to SXSW…
Several prominent Northwess made the trek to Austin Texas for South By Southwest. Critical Sun Recordings is heading back again and hosted the only unofficial SXSW showcase featuring a lineup comprised solely of bands from Seattle. To read more and see the complete list of artists who attended, click the link below.
Intimate musical experiences video streamed live….
Some of the most special coverage we did this year took place inside some intimate living rooms and secret locations via Seattle Living Room Shows and Seattle Secret Shows. Some of these were streamed live via Melodic Caring Project. Carrie and Kristen Watt opened the 2013 SLS / SSS season with a great show that featured stunning performances from Mary Lambert, Star Anna, Ivan & Alyosha and Campfire Ok.
A few weeks later The Sisters Watt partnered with MLC for another stellar show which featured Naomi Wachira (who became a U.S. citizen in 2013) and Damien Jurado. The event was streamed live via UStream to Rockstars Caden, Zach, Erin, Cassidy, and Ella, who watched the sold out show from their hospital beds.
In what may have been a first, Jurado endeared himself to the audience by stripping down to his long johns mid-set. This was not the result of a wardrobe malfunction – quite the contrary. Since the special audience watching the stream were in their pajamas and socks, the troubadour felt it only fitting that he should be in his PJs as well, as a sign of solidarity
Synergia Northwest celebrated 5 years and staged another brilliant music event featuring the exquisite Synergia Northwest Orchestra. The 2013 lineup featured Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Michael Shrieve as well as Seattle newest rock super group, Walking Papers (vocal/guitarist Jeff Angell, drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), bassist Duff McKagan (Guns n’ Roses, Velvet Revolver & Loaded), keyboardist Benjamin Anderson) along with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. The show was streamed live for the first time via Melodic Caring Project. The song selections from the concert were included in Best Buy’s Special Edition CD and an exclusive Digital Special Edition on iTunes. The record was released on August 6 on Loud & Proud Records.
This is not considered a highlight but a lowlight. Still, we would be remiss if we did not mention the passing of our friend, teacher and artist, Felipe Canete. Canete was born with a heart condition and had surgery as a teen. He kept information about his health private, only divulging his ailment to a select group of friends and confidants. His untimely passing shocked the Northwest music community.
Wait there’s more…
The SMI crew was out and about covering local and national acts throughout the year in a variety of venues. 2013 was our most ambitious year in terms of music coverage. We couldn’t do it without the efforts of the talented and dedicated staff who have a true love and passion for music and the artists that create and perform it.
Below is a slideshow of some of our favorite photos of the year. Of course we couldn’t include all our favorites but we certainly hope you enjoy and marvel at the brilliant photos from some of the best Rocktographers anywhere! In addition, you are invited to browse the archives for some of our 2013 music coverage.
At the risk of being redundant, covering music in Seattle and the Northwest as a whole is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. We can’t drink it all but we will do our best to try to drink in as many drops as we can. Thank you for your support Have a funky, rocking’ soulful, jazzy and folky 2014!