I didn’t discover a lot of artists in 2022, but I was utterly obsessed with one and deeply into the other. I stumbled onto Morgan Wade via Youtube and have been listening to (and talking about nonstop to the annoyance of friends & family) her for the last few months. I don’t think I can capture all of her appeal to me in one video. She’s one of the few artists for whom I want to listen to different versions of the same song by, because of the little differences in delivery. Like Tom MacDonald, she’s also someone who addresses serious issues in her songs — like substance and mental health. Going through my own dark valley in the late 2010s and surfacing from that in 2020 has made me acutely aware of how ignored these issues are in our society, so I appreciate artists who are frank about them.
The other artist I enjoyed enormously this year is Lonnie Johnson, an early 20th century blues musician. While trying to find the performers for “Jet Black Blues”, I discovered that it was done by a black musician, Lonnie Johnson, playing with the white Eddie Lang (aka Blind Willie Dunn). Theirs is an interesting partnership given the times!
Beyond that, I spent a lot of 2022 listening to bands that had already spoken to me — chiefly, Sierra Ferell and her beautiful approach to old-time and country music, and Tom MacDonald’s unpredicted appeal. I don’t like rap, as a rule, but when I hear him speak I attend to what he says.
And for a final thought, I leave you Morgan Wade in cut-offs keeping time in bare feet. Holy wow. (Language warning. Also, Morgan Wade warning.)