Back in the newsroom days, a fun thing to do was to pass along to an editor any press release referring to The First Annual Anything.
“THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FIRST ANNUAL,” the editor would say. Grumbling would ensue.
Before it’s too too late, welcome to the first Ryan White & Associates Gift Guide. May there be a second. Presented here are a few items I came across in my travels this year, made by people who make things right. Most of the list is lifted from the most recent Ryan White & Associates newsletter. (Subscribe here.)
Will Kimbrough‘s Live At Coast. One singer. One guitar. One undetectable case of food poisoning. (Read the liner notes.) Recorded live and played beautifully, this was meant to capture one night of a troubadour’s existence. It captured the best of a fantastic artist.
Tom Corcoran‘s been everywhere, and done just about everything. He’s tucked a lot of that earned wisdom into novels starring a Key West photographer named Alex Rutledge. In Crime Almost Pays, he spun off a couple other characters and gave them their own adventure. This book was good company on a blurry-eyed Ft. Lauderdale-to-Seattle flight a few weeks ago. Tom’s been fantastic company on two different trips to Florida.
Peter Cooper has Nashville in his contacts. All of it. And the freakin’ guy can play and sing. He’s got really good hair, too. He works at the Country Music Hall of Fame and teaches at Vanderbilt and he made a record of songs by Eric Taylor, songs that inspired Cooper and helped shape his ears and his heart and it’s beautiful. Depot Light: Songs of Eric Taylor.
The Earnest Lovers take their name from Ernest Tubb. They get their harmonies from Leslie Beia successfully backing Pete Krebs into a corner and making him learn to sing harmony. Krebs is nothing short of a Portland institution. I profiled him for Portland Monthly this month, and was in the studio as they were making Earnest Lovers Sing Sad Songs, which sums the thing up pretty well. He’s also available for guitar lessons.
Redray Frazier: Blood in the Water is the new EP from my pal Ray. He can make hippies find a soul groove. He’s versatile. He’s really good. This is one of those hard-fought works. There was a time when maybe Ray wasn’t going to do music anymore, but some friends helped him through that. Wise friends.
So there! Go forth and get good gift. And watch this space next year. I’ll figure out a way to use it better.