It’s been one heck of a year, so I’ve taken the time to reflect on my favorite shows, records answers songs of 2018:
5. August 30 @ #LOTG2018
I mean, C’mon: Dr. Dog, The Wild Feathers, Rival Sons, The New Respects, Savannah Conley & Roots of a Rebellion. Any questions? Having worked every event since the launch in 2009, this was a night I actually caught a good part of every set and even had a rare chance to see a full set at Live On The Green. After seeing Dr. Dog a few times before this show (including their previous LOTG play in 2010), I knew it was one I couldn’t miss. Thankfully, alongside around 15,000 music fans in Music City, I didn’t.
4. The Daybreaks/Them Vibes/Jeremy Lister @ Nashville Sunday Night
Once Ana Lee put in her vacation request, I couldn’t volunteer fast enough to fill in as host of this Nashville Sunday Night. Jeremy Lister & Friends opened the show and sounded as good as I ever heard them…which I have a couple few times, you know? Them Vibes brought the funk, feel & fire (and special guest Maggie Rose) to kickoff the live broadcast from 3rd & Lindsley before The Daybreaks took the stage to celebrate the release of their new record “The Idea of You”. It was a great show and night had by all, whether in the club or on the radio!
3. Sturgill Simpson @ Bonnaroo
So, I finally got to see Sturgill Simpson play live…alongside my buddy Hammel at Bonnaroo, because of course. While being nearly mesmerized by Sturgill’s guitar slinging prowess, I was reminded of something Hammel said to me years before: “If I could play guitar like that, I’d be so badass”. He’s not wrong.
2. Foo Fighters @ Bridgestone
Originally scheduled for October of 2017, a re-schedule finally brought the Foos back to Nashville in support of “Concrete and Gold” in May. It was worth the wait. Dave and the guys have been relentlessly fighting foo for nearly 20 years! While I’m not a huge fan of the latest record, once you see a live Foo Fighters show, you show up with an expectation level of 1000. At least I always have, and they’ve never disappointed. The show at Bridgestone in May 2018 was no exception.
1. Anderson .Paak @ Bonnaroo
On the advice of my friend and fellow host of ‘Lightning in the Morning’ Adam Culver, I knew I had to make a plan to see this set in Manchester. Having seen the set at the MEMPHO festival in 2017, and – well, like many things, really – ADAM WOULD NOT SHUT UP ABOUT IT. I made sure to have a good spot to see and hear everything clearly (never easy at Bonnaroo) and guess what? For the rest of the weekend, I WOULDN’T SHUT UP ABOUT IT. I’m still talking about it!
5. Arkells Rally Cry: A new collection of bangers from our Canadian buddies. Excited to see Max and the guys return to Nashville early in 2019 – March 6 at Exit/In – maybe almost as excited as Max was to meet Wayne Gretzky.
4. Maggie Rose Change The Whole Thing: Co-produced by Bobby Holland (The Daybreaks) and featuring co-writes with Nashville’s Them Vibes, this latest release allows the listening cosmos to further discover the world-class, next-level talent of all involved. A great collection of tunes (including a fantastic cover of The Letter) recorded live with her 13-piece “family band” in one take, no overdubs. No BS. If you don’t have it, get it.
3. Leon Bridges Good Thing: More like great thing. If you’ve heard it, you know. If you haven’t, listen and then you’ll know, too.
2. Natalie Prass The Future and the Past: An apt title for a fantastic record. Taking a bit from her past sound while mixing in new sonics, tones & feels tells me the future is here and Natalie is establishing herself as an artist with staying power. Not surprising, “Short Court Style” made my list of top songs in 2018, and as evidenced by her set at this year’s Live On The Green, Natalie brings all the energy captured in the studio to the stage as well.
1. Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour: What can I say that hasn’t already been said? It’s just THAT GOOD. Again, an amazing collection of talent – from songwriters and players to producers and engineers – all being properly showcased, each in her or his own element, working together to make a collection of stunning, diverse songs, each in its perfect, proper place. A testament to those responsible, “Golden Hour” was even sequenced perfectly – start to finish and uninterrupted it is my #1 of 2018 and in my Top 10 from anyyear. It’s just THAT GOOD.
10. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers “Keep a Little Soul” – A reminder of the genius of Tom and the band – recorded in 1982, it works in 2018, it would’ve fit well on any Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers record and it fits snugly in my ears
9. Kacey Musgraves “Velvet Elvis” – My favorite track on my favorite record of 2018, written by Kacey, Natalie Hemby and Luke Dick (Republican Hair)
8. Leon Bridges “You Don’t Know” – Listen and then you’ll know
7. Lucie Silvas “Kite” Lucie’s new record “E.G.O.” is terrific and I really enjoy spinning this one on the radio. And in my car. And at my house…and looking forward to hearing it Jan. 17 at Exit/In when Lightning 100 Presents Lucie & Friends LIVE!
6. Caroline Rose “Jeannie Becomes a Mom” Just a fun song to listen to! Lots of vintage sounds and a retro meets modern feel
5. Dr. Dog “Go Out Fighting” – One of my favorite Dr. Dog tracks of all time. And that’s a looong list…
4. Devon Gilfillian “High” – Devon’s latest is a jam! The follow up to “Troublemaker”, folks better be ready for Devon – my pick as a breakout artist in 2019
3. Elise Davis “Don’t Bring Me Flowers” – There is something about the sound of this record I absolutely love – very open and uncluttered, yet powerful in its delivery that accompanies Elise’s beautiful, soaring voice to perfection
2. Maggie Rose “Smooth” – Co-written by Maggie along with Brother Love and Alex of Them Vibes, I’ve been wearing this out since I was lucky enough to hear a rough mix back in the spring. It was my Lightning 100 DJ pick of the week back in May and is my favorite DJ pick made during all of 2018
1. Natalie Prass “Short Court Style” Easy placement on the playlist of the rest of my life. There is so much to love about this track. I’ve probably listened to this song more times than any other in 2018 and I’m not tired of it. Not even close!