There is so much I should be doing right now that I thought I should do none of it. Instead, I've started reflecting on 2011, and looking forward to 2012. I thought I'd blog the highlights of the year. Why 20? Just because. So..in no particular order:
1) John, Darren, Sue, Maria and I made an album, and to date it was the most fun I've had making a record.
2) Anne Leighton came into my life and is now my promoter and dear friend. She is a wonderful person and a powerfully good presence in my life.
3) My dog Hank and I have visited the dog beach on Lake Michigan in all seasons, with winter clearly being my (and his) favorite.
4) Last night they played "A Lot Like" from the new album on WXRT. Never gets old knowing your music is on the radio. In fact, in never stops being totally exhilarating. Other radio stations helping to get the new album out there in 2011: WGN, WKHS, WSPN, KZFR, WCSB, KFAI, WFHB, and Troubadour 1700.
5) I started a group called "supper club" this year. I've had great group of hungry folks in my tiny Chicago apartment this year, and I look forward to cooking the meal all month. Keeps me inspired.
6) I got a banjo in 2011, and it has helped me to give a much stronger and self-assured voice to the characters in my songs (I am supposing this is to do with the twang).
7) My old high school buddies and I got to go deep sea fishing at my friend Nick's wedding. Water and sky can fix a lot of what ails you.
8) My voice students have grown by leaps and bounds. I love watching you all enjoy music so much. Great work.
9) Wendell and Jensina Burton put on another amazing Emilyfest. I tell you what, you two: I felt weird that you named a festival after me at first, but now I've totally embraced it. I can't wait for Emilyfest 2012.
10) I got to play 2 shows at the Skokie Theatre in 2011 before they officially close their doors. Al and Annalee, that experience was great, and you two are both headed for even better times, I know it.
11) My girls and I have had some pretty epic nights this year, but none so adventurous as that one in November, which ended on horseback. Thanks ladies for another great year.
12) I've started playing some bluegrass music with Colby Maddox. I'm anxious and excited and kind of jittery every time we play, which is how I know I'm really learning something.
13) Fans flew me to Utah for a show, and I got to hike Zion National Park. Thank God for national parks and thank Indiana Jones movies for making them feel even more thematic.
14) My friends Maggie, Jerm, Molly, Nick, Jenna, and Jeremy had babies this year, and you all have blown me away by how great of parents you already are.
15) Tony, Tracy, Erin, Rick and I made a music video, and we had a lot of fun doing it. Thanks for the great year you guys.
16) Just when I thought I knew them all, I discovered even more pockets within the city of Chicago this year that I can't believe I lived without: Andersonville Galleria, Cafe Svea, Noodle Zone, Gethsemane, Mr and Mrs. Digz, Presence, and the New Century 400 Theatre.
17) My family has been over-the-top great to me this, especially Mom and Dad, who are in the slow process of retiring to the way way backwoods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Thank you so much for letting me operate the fancy tractor with no previous experience. It was a thrill.
18) I started painting again after years of not.
19) Sara gave me the best bowling birthday a bad bowler like myself could ask for.
20) Yet another year, and I wasn't mauled by a mountain lion. (If you don't know me, you think I'm joking. If you do, then you understand how truly grateful I am for this.)
Onward to 2012. -Em