VA’s BEST OF 2015: GREAT TUNES FROM A ROTTEN YEAR

VA's Best of 2015 Great Tunes From A Rotten Year

(Graphic by VA)

My year-end recap is appearing late, just as it usually did back on Open Salon.  But I see this as a victory that I am even getting this up online as my blogging has largely been in deep freeze since the shuttering of Open Salon—which housed the former flagship (and much more widely read) version of this blog—in March 2015.

OS shutting down is but just one fabaroony event of many that helped make 2015 a particularly rotten, rotten year for me (and I had thought 2012 was a bad one…).  Mind you, last year seemed like a less than fine one around the world as well as for a high proportion of people I know, for seemingly a variety of reasons.  That’s the nature of life, sometimes, so I guess I’m not an outlier in that regard.  Misery and company, etc. etc.

Enough of the Deborah Downer … On the plus side, there was lots of terrific tuneage and related media to lift the spirits.  And so, without further adieu, here are 15 foci from 15: the soundtrack highlights to one crappadoodles set of twelve months, starting with … Read the rest of this entry »


8 x 11: My “Best of” Musical Favourites from 2011

Best of 2011BLOG Photo

(Photo/Graphic by VA)

NOTE TO READERS: Owing to the March 2015 closure of OpenSalon.com — which was my primary publishing platform, where I initiated this blog and concert series project, and was where most of my pieces were accessed — I need to plug up a few blog-holes (i.e., post-up here a clutch of early Open Salon blog entries that I never transferred to this cyberabode).  This here post is one of those orphaned Ghosts of Blogging Past that needs a re-debut.

In advance of my Best of 2015 re-cap (appearing shortly), here is my second year-end music recap from February 2012: 8 x 11: My “Best of” Musical Favourites from 2011.   While I couldn’t order my fave long players and tracks at the time, I can certainly do so now from the perspective of four years on.  My revised lists would now be …

Read the rest of this entry »


5×5: My “Best Of” Musical Round-Up for 2010

5x5 Best of 2010 variousartists

NOTE TO READERS: Owing to the March 2015 closure of OpenSalon.com — which was my primary publishing platform, where I initiated this blog and concert series project, and was where most of my pieces were accessed — I need to plug up a few blog-holes (i.e., post-up here a clutch of early Open Salon blog entries that I never transferred to this cyberabode).  This post is one of those orphaned Ghosts of Blogging Past that needs a re-debut.

In advance of my Best of 2015 recap (appearing shortly), here is my first year-end music entry from February 2011: 5×5: My “Best Of” Musical Round-Up for 2010.   While I am republishing the list as I saw it at that time, I’ve reconsidered some of my choices in the interim.  Here’s how I would rank 2010 now from a 2016 perspective: Read the rest of this entry »


Four & (Hopefully) More: My Fourth Blogiversary

BLOGBEST VA 4th ANNIV Judy MASTER“I’m going to get a sip of water.  I’ll be back … Talk to each other or something … Mill around for a second …” (Cover mock up by VA)

NOTE: This anniversary marked my starting the My Life — In Concert! blog over on Open Salon four years ago and much of the text below was written for the then-OS audience.   As I am publishing my previous anniversary posts for the first time over here on WordPress, I am republishing this 4th anniversary today.  My 5th anniversary blog will be up tomorrow.

Four years on from when I started this blog project (initially only on Open Salon), and OS and I are still chugging along. On my third anniversary, I lamented how the site was a shadow of its former self, but on this fourth benchmarker I actually feel more positive and upbeat. Read the rest of this entry »


Three is a Magic Number: My Third Anniversary (originally on OpenSalon.com)

3rd Anniversary Fear of Music Cover

No “Fear of Music” … a fear of OS’s obsolescence, perhaps … (Mock-up by VA)
(This piece originally published on Open Salon on June 3, 2013)
NOTE TO READERS: Owing to the March 2015 closure of opensalon.com — which was my primary publishing platform, where I initiated this blog and concert series project, and was where most of my pieces were accessed — I need to plug up a few blog-holes (i.e., post up here a clutch of early Open Salon blog entries that I never transferred over to this WordPress version). 
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Also note that the OS closing also affected some of the cross-linked images here across entries which I will also be fixing piecemeal.  Finally, I am also going to try and transport all OS user comments over here to be amalgamated for posterity.
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Join me over the next few months on a journey into the Ghost of Blogging Past as those missing posts, covering a variety of topics and years, re-debut over here.  Meanwhile, new entries of past gigs are on their way as well.
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This month marks my 5th blogging anniversary.  I am going to be republishing my previous anniversary posts which never made it over here, one per day, with this year’s (delayed) celebratory post appearing on Friday.
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June 3rd marks my third anniversary of hitting the “publish” button here on OS — an anniversary that, round about six or so months ago, I really didn’t think would happen.  While there have been plenty of “sky is falling”-type predictions about the demise of OS during the several years I’ve been here either writing or reading, I never paid much attention to them … until the site started to full-on atrophy in every sense sometime around the middle of last autumn.

Read the rest of this entry »


025. So Here I Am: UB40, March 7, 1984 & March 14, 1985

UB40 Tickets 84 85UB40 play London, Ontario twice, a year apart almost to the week. (Ticket and program scans by VA.  Other images from internet and arranged by VA.)

025. So Here I Am: UB40, Centennial Hall, London, Ontario, March 7, 1984; Alumni Hall, UWO, London, Ontario, March 14, 1985

When you’re a tunehead lifer, farming your musical terrain with a polycultural approach to sonic agriculture, it’s a reality — indeed a necessity — that certain strains of artists/genres/stylistic obsessions inevitably drop out of and then later resurface in my listening crop rotations.  But, as I’ve previously noted, not all seasons’ harvests continue to yield again down through the years.  While some evergreen produce re-seed and return stronger than ever, others wither and dine on the vine. Read the rest of this entry »


VA’s Best of 2014: Fave Music, Media and Re/Discoveries From The Century’s Inaugural Teen Year

variousartists best of 2014 graphicVA Best of 2014 A&M

(Top Photo montage/doctoring by VA — original photos taken at the downtown Bank St. location of Compact Music here in Ottawa and at Chez Various: Click on photo to see full size image.  Below: This and all other labels on the page doctored by VA from my personal vinyl bounty).

After a relatively-weak-year-for-albums 2013, 2014 should have been the antidote for me: seemingly almost every currently working artist that I listen to released a new album while many of my favourite legacy acts put out compilations, archive sets or deluxe reissues.

And in many ways, 2014 was an antidote. Read the rest of this entry »