Well, here we are. Ten years into the existence of Twangville, something I started while living with friends when my family and I were looking for a new home. It’s been quite a ride. For those new to Twangville, welcome. For those that have been with us for some portion of these ten years, thank you being our friends.
Usually, I write this post to thank fans, artists, and the Twangville posse for being a part of Twangville. This year, I’d like to celebrate the life of a friend. Earlier this year, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) took the life of John Anderson, a friend and Twangville contributor. I met John while working at AOL not long after starting Twangville. It wouldn’t take long to learn that he and I shared a similar taste in music — in particular, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. Truth be told, I’ve never met a bigger Springsteen fan than John.
While we loved a lot of the same artists, I soon looked to John as a source of discovery. In particular, it was John who led me to the mastery of singer/songwriter Matthew Ryan. Beyond Springsteen, when I think of John I think of his love for Alejandro Escovedo, Jesse Malin, Marah, Lucinda Williams, Lucero, The Old 97s, and The Hold Steady. In fact, the only other person I’ve ever known to know this much about rock, alt-country, and americana was another guy I met through work back in Boston, who we Twangvillians know as Mayer Danzig.
I had the pleasure of introducing John and Mayer to each other at SXSW in what must have been around 2008. As expected, they hit it off and went on to be good friends meeting annually at the SXSW pilgrimage and more. John served as a roving reporter for Twangville sharing his exciting and insightful performance reviews with us. John would go on to write dozens of reviews for Twangville mostly highlighting his SXSW adventures. He did this because he wanted to share his love of music with others and to support the artists he loved.
One night when Dave Bielanko’s (Marah) voice was failing him, the band invited 4 fans to come on stage and help with vocals. Naturally, John would be one of the lucky four. While I wasn’t with him the night this occurred, this is the raucous John I remember.
In recent years, we learned of John’s battle with ALS. Around the same time, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was spreading around the nation. Here’s John being a warrior for the cause:
Around this time, Matthew Ryan dedicated “An Anthem For The Broken Hearted” to John and donated proceeds to the family.
This was the kind of guy John was — more than a fan, a lover of music and a true friend. He and Ryan had struck up a friendship over the years. I will forever remember John through this song. Thank you, Matthew Ryan for your dedication.
I hadn’t seen John for a while. We had planned on connecting at a Lydia Loveless show in February of this year. That night never happened when I learned of John’s passing about two weeks prior.
John, I will miss you forever. Your friends know better than anyone that you left a serious and lasting impression on us. Thank you for your legacy and for making music matter more to me and everyone here at Twangville.
As 2016 soon begins, let’s raise a glass. Here’s to John. Here’s to you. Thanks for visiting our tiny town and for being a part of this ten year journey. Thanks to Mayer, Todd, Chip, Eli, Shawn, Jeff, Suzanne, and Bill for helping to make Twangville a community and place people want to visit. More importantly, thanks to the many artists who have provided so much joy for us over the years. Buy their music, their merch, and go to their shows!
Our 10 Most Popular Reviews of 2015
- Jason Isbell’s “Something More Than Free”
- Session Americana “Pack Up the Circus”
- Otis Taylor – Hey Joe Opus … Red Meat
- Leo “Bud” Welch – I Don’t Prefer No Blues
- Tinsley Ellis – Tough Love
- David Ramirez – Fables
- Sour Bridges – Sour Bridges
- Pharis and Jason Romero – A Wanderer I’ll Stay
- Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King – Fat Man’s Shine Parlor
- Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys – Ionia
More best of year lists like this will be coming soon. Stay tuned.
About the author: Washington, D.C. area web designer by day. Music freak by night. I host Twangville‘s weekly Readers‘ Pick.