What a year. Like many of us, I sit here reflecting on twelve months full of ups, downs, and even some loop-de-loops. One thing is for sure; for as many trials as this year brought us, it brought us just as much good music to help carry us through.
I feel happy and blessed to say that I spent much of 2022 listening to that music. It is the greatest pleasure of my life to keep a steady finger on the pulse of old time and Americana music.
One of the first releases I found myself completely enveloped by was Gina Leslie’s heartrendingly tender EP “No, You’re Crying.” Leslie’s voice makes me feel as if I should be sitting outside at a Parisian café, softly weeping as I read a letter from an old lover. Sam Shackleton’s “Causeway Recordings” gave me a feeling of being snowed in with an immortal bard who is able to wed the old and the new to create an entrancing tradition all his own. Larry & Joe, Venezuelan-Appalachian fusion duo consisting of música llanera legend Larry Bellorín and GRAMMY nominee Joe Troop, create the soundtrack for a new, better, and more just world—a world that doesn’t exist yet, but could one day if we are open to building it together. Joseph Decosimo’s “While You Were Slumbering” is a masterful work of art, fusing old time music with a sentimentality and sense of humanity that’s extremely rare in these times. These projects are just a few examples of the many that kept me company.
Having spent much of December reflecting on the music I loved in 2022, I decided to put together a list of ways you can join me in supporting and sustaining it. These are an indie music fan’s new year’s resolutions.
- Purchase music and merch directly from artists. Find the Bandcamp page and website for the artists you’re digging right now. Consider making your purchases on Bandcamp Fridays, when the company waives their revenue share and the maximum amount possible goes to the artist.
- Go to live shows. Join email newsletters and follow independent artists on BandsInTown so you know when they’re playing in your town. Purchase tickets and go see them live and in-the-flesh. Take a friend. It will be an experience you’ll always remember, and one that helps sustain a living for creative people you care about.
- Tell other people about artists you love. Don’t be afraid to get nerdy. Buy your friends and family music and concert tickets as gifts. Send them the link to an album by an independent artist you think they’d enjoy.
- Listen to and support independent radio. Find your local independent radio station and listen whenever and wherever you can. You’ll discover unique music you wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and enjoy a wider variety than what you’ll find on the mainstream stations. If you can afford to, become a monthly donor.
- Follow and engage on social media. Subscribe to independent bands and artists on the web. Some platforms you might consider using to follow your favorites are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. Like and comment on their posts. Increased engagement means increased exposure and a stronger chance of a wider audience.
Although I am not a full-time musician, I know it is hard to be one and to do your work with integrity while also trying to make a living, especially in the roots music scene. Live and independent music is still suffering from the weight of the pandemic, but that’s where we fans come in. Pointed and passionate support of creative people is not just important, it is crucial.
I am sure I speak for many of us when I say the following. This music has been there for me in my darkest moments, of which there were many in 2022. It has affirmed and reflected my humanity, expanded my imagination, increased my hope, and bolstered my resilience. Taking action with this short list is the least we can do in return. Let’s join together in 2023 to uplift the artists we love.