Dec 12 2014
This anniversary really sneaks up on me. Really, the only way I seem to know that my site is celebrating an anniversary date is that it goes down for a while due to a problem with processing the renewal payment.
So, here we are again. I feel compelled to make some sort of big post about the year that has passed and what is coming ahead. Sure, why not?
Here’s a song to listen to while you read.
(Malte Schiller’s Red Balloon, “You Got Away With That” from Not So Happy)
I can’t believe it’s been three years. At the same time, it feels like a lot more than that. I am pulled in two directions. One has me discouraged that I’m not doing more with the site… offering more and different types of content, expanding in directions I’d intended and just, overall, being more effective at running this operation. The other direction is an utter disbelief that I’ve done as much as I have. It’s a crazy experience, where I find myself perpetually looking forward to what music is on the horizon and what possibilities potentially exist for my site, while simultaneously floundering in the day to day panic of publishing something, anything.
It’s terribly fun… a strange kind of suffering that highlights the discovered joy in both the profoundly creative and the everyday mundane, and in which time seems to fly right on by even as each moment lasts a tiny eternity.
I feel like maybe with that last paragraph I wrote the opening for a TED talk on one of the stages of the grieving process or, at the very least, I’ve got a decent pitch for the next installment of the Hellraiser movie franchise.
So, what happened in 2014? In truth, not much. Perusing my posts on this day last year and two years prior on my site’s first anniversary, I had all kinds of plans. BIG plans. I had all kinds of ideas of types of content I wanted to produce. Aside from two artist discography overview columns (one for Taylor Haskins and another for Diego Barber, which will publish any day now), I pretty much stayed the course. In retrospect, I am totally unsurprised. Many of the long-form pieces I have planned (and still have planned) never came to fruition and some of the new theme columns also never came around. Perhaps if I can ditch the day job some time down the road, then yes, these plans may actually develop and resolve, but for now, it’s gonna be business as usual.
You’ll have noticed that I’ve moved away from the concept of review and focused more on the idea of recommendation. This is a small difference perhaps, but in my view, a huge change in perception. As I mentioned in one of my (hopefully) helpful advice columns, I make the distinction between reviewer and recommender, and how I came about discovering which of those I am (suspense over: the latter). Three years in, I can honestly say I’m a much better writer about music than I was when I began. And after all that time, I’m still pretty middling. Every now and then I nail a decent column, get the review down with some unusual burst of talent, but mostly, I just muddle my way through them. I’m cool with that. But I feel like my real value to the scene is tracking this music down. There is no off-the-radar in my world. I want to find it all, no matter how obscure. And then I want to get the spotlight on it.
My goal is to write less… much less… about each album. Maybe a decent 250 words of who the artist is, a few brief things about what makes the album cool, some embedded audio and links… and that’s it. The music is gonna do a better job selling itself than my words ever will. I think brevity will benefit both my site and my readers. Of course, every now and then there’ll be an album that compels me to put down a thousand words of flowery prose and mangled analogies, but for the most part, I’m gonna attempt to keep it short and sweet.
There’s also the complication that I’m beginning a new fiction project, so that’s gonna eat up some time, too. This, however, is leading to a Bird is the Worm sister site that I had hoped to be able to announce on my anniversary post (suspense over: I’m not ready yet). But hopefully soon. Maybe late-January, early-February. I still have some work to do on it, and then when I get a decent model fashioned, I then have to decide if it wasn’t a stupid idea all along. Creative inspiration is a beautiful thing, but sometimes when it’s ready to step outside and reveal itself to the public, it realizes that it isn’t wearing any pants. These things happen.
Just over the next hill, we’ve got the Bird is the Worm Top 30 of 2014 coming up. I believe the first reveal is set to happen on December 25th. That said, if I can pull myself together in time, I might have a few preliminary posts that focus on the best labels of 2014, top musicians, and a post on some of my favorite non-jazz albums by musicians who typically perform in the jazz genre. Depending on time and space, those posts may, in fact, start out the new year instead. I am terrible at estimating these things.
What else, what else, what else… I think that’s about it. Definitely a bit more pragmatic take on the state of things than past anniversary day columns. I’m sure that many of the veteran music site people out there could confirm whether this a normal progression.
I want to thank all of the musicians who create this great music and all of the people behind the scenes who play a part in getting it out there for us to hear. And I definitely want to thank all of you who stop by here and check this great music out. I’m always thrilled to hear that you’re finding new music to love. It always makes me happy to write up an album that appears nowhere on a google search and then discover, months later, that reviews and comments and forum posts about the album are popping up across the internet. Connecting great music with great listeners is my reason for being here in the first place.