WUMB January Program Guide

Things That Went Missing…Things We Hope Will Come Back

Song lyrics, titles of songs, or album titles can sometimes trip a light in our heads when they drift or lodge themselves there. I can’t be the only one in the WUMB-isphere who experiences this. The other day I heard the title track of an album by Martha Scanlan. The title struck me as a microcosm of 2020: “The Shape of Things Gone Missing, The Shape of Things To Come.”

So the Local Music Corner will get a New Year’s break – I will get back to it next month. But as we start anew in what I sincerely hope is much more than stepping across a random line in the cosmic sand, it is good to look back and reflect.

The Shape of Things Gone Missing
So many traditional things, great and small, went on hold in this Pandemic year – maybe another title could be Before and After March 15, 2020. Kudos to the creativity of organizers and musicians alike who turned the word “virtual” into something “real,” as this is how we experienced so many events in 2020 (a notion certain to confuse Artificial Intelligence ‘bots in some dystopian future). But there is nothing like not having something available to make you appreciate it. So let’s take a deep breath and do a little stream-of-consciousness about the things gone missing in 2020. Here goes:

Festival concerts (Newport, Lowell Folk, Green River Fest, etc., etc.), Porchfest, holiday parties and dinners with more than four people, having people over, Thanksgiving Day football games, recreational sports with friends, heading to the pub after recreational sports with friends, going to your house of worship, Honk, Harvard Square Mayfair, baseball/football/soccer game parties with friends at home, GIVING BEAR HUGS, a proper pro Baseball season where the players aren’t putting the health of themselves and their families in jeopardy (the same for all the major sports; remember we had hockey playoffs in August…that’s whacked!), grocery shopping without having to wait in line for 20 minutes to get in, going to the movies, any kind of workshops, book/reading club gatherings, for too many industries…going to work, going to the gym, going out to clubs and coffehouses for live music, WUMB Member concerts (and meeting you there), WUMB’s monthly 3rd Thursdays At The Burren, etc., etc. From the larger-than-life regular events and traditions to various local and personal traditions, we’ve had to learn to carry on without them. Who knew that eating a snack while walking down the street could be a challenging activity? Hmm, I feel a Rodney Dangerfield line coming on…

No, it wasn’t random that I finished the list with the 3rd Thursdays At The Burren. Along with having in-studio interviews at WUMB, they are among my favorite things about the station. I really miss them and have now confided with a couple of the bartenders/waiters at the Burren about that. Speaking of the Burren – and I’m sure this is the case for most restaurants that are managing to operate – due to capacity limits, I’ve never seen so much open space in there. As for their music, Tom Bianchi has been getting a boatload of streaming performances together. Find his 24 Hour Concerts web page.

Now, not to just dump a bummer on you… The other day I was talking with a friend about the phases of dealing with adversity for most of us: first you complain bitterly; then hopefully you get through that to the phase of “OK, what do I do now to deal with this and move on with my life?” With that in mind and getting back to our album title metaphor, we’ve considered The Shape of Things Gone Missing. Now it’s time for
The Shape of Things To Come

In short, I hope the things to come are all the activities we like and need that went missing in 2020. I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So maybe a few months down the line. Especially if we are smart and keep doing our part to stay healthy and safe. HANG IN THERE, EVERYBODY!


OK, a little local music information after all.
Congrat’s and thanks to Jim Infantino of Jim’s Big Ego. For New Year’s Eve he pulled out a song that Jim’s Big Ego did around 2001 called “Thank God It’s Over (New Lang Syne),” and updated it for 2020. Then he got some musician friends from and formerly from the Boston area to record their singing and playing parts. All the video parts were combined appropriately. A good job from all. Among those helping out were Dar Williams, Ellis Paul, Lisa Bastoni, Vance Gilbert, David Wilcox, Jon Svetkey, and many more. If the performance video is still up, you can probably find it via Jim Infantino’s You Tube channel (Jim’s Big Ego).

Also doing a late addition New Year’s Eve stream was Amy Kucharik. She was joined by a cast of virtually many, including Martin Swinger, Jenee Halstead, Ryan Alvanos, and many more.


And now for something more traditional for a “first article of the year.” Here are my top songs of 2020. It was tough, but I limited the list to 20. Oh wait, make that 22. Plus an honorable mention. Since you are reading this list rather than hearing me compile it, you are saved from hearing me sob about songs I cut from the list. Let’s put it this way – I could easily have made it 40 songs. Come to think of it, I usually do have 34-40 songs. And that’s not including the ones that I wind up thinking of after I’ve finished the list!

All this to say that despite all the negative things about 2020, there was some amazing music released that year. Thank you for listening to us share it with you. A toast to better things in 2021…and to having you along for the ride with the music again.

Auld Lang Syne,

~ Perry

Top SONGS of 2020. Too difficult to rank them so I’m not gonna. So there! These are in order of what would be good sequencing for an album. Until I change my mind again. Let it go, Perry.

01) The Sea The Sea – “A Thousand Years” STUMBLING HOME

02) Corb Lund – “She’s Never Not Had Horses” AGRICULTURAL TRAGIC

03) John Craigie – “Climb Up” ASTERISK THE UNIVERSE

04) Drive By Truckers – “Rosemary With A Bible And A Gun” THE UNRAVELING

05) Ry Cavanaugh w/Jennifer Kimball and Duke Levine – “Too Tired For Drinking” TIME FOR THIS
[I could have picked many songs from the record. This track featured the three of them]

06) Mapache – “Life On Fire” FROM LIBERTY STREET.

07) Robert Plant/Patty Griffin – “Too Much Alike” Robert Plant retrospective DIGGING DEEP: SUBTERRANEA

08) Kim Richey – “The Way It Never Was” A LONG WAY BACK: THE SONGS OF ‘GLIMMER’

09) Danny Barnes – “Juke” MAN ON FIRE

10) Bonny Light Horseman “The Roving” BONNY LIGHT HORSEMAN

11) The Jayhawks – “This Forgotten Town” (or about three others from the album…) XOXO

12) The Steeldrivers – “The Bartender” (one of the top singles of the year for me). BAD FOR YOU

13) Mike Hastings – “Wash Ashore” (w/Christian McNeill, who co-produced). 2020 single

14) Charlie Crockett – “Run Horse, Run” WELCOME TO HARD TIMES

15) Eliza Gilkyson – “Beach Haven” 2020

16) Otis Gibbs – “Panhead” HOOSIER NATIONAL

17) Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – “Overseas” REUNIONS
Ayeesh, could have picked about 4 of ’em from the album. “Dreamsicle,” “Overseas,” “Only Children,” “Letting You Go” (get the tissues for that last one).

18) Danielle Miraglia – “Bright Shining Stars” BRIGHT SHINING STARS

19) Darrell Scott – “The Lost Highway” SINGS THE BLUES OF HANK WILLIAMS

20) Tre Burt – “Caught It From The Rye” or “Untold God of War” CAUGHT IT FROM THE RYE

21) John Prine – “I Remember Everything” 2020 single
[Imagined headline: John Prine causes run on tissues with release from beyond]

22) Grain Thief – “Gasoline” GASOLINE

Honorable Mention: Bob Dylan’s 17 minute opus for JFK – “Murder Most Foul”

What, you want my top albums? You know, I’m glad you asked (if you did…). It reflects more of the diversity of good music from the year. Thanks – see you on the radio.

01) Eliza Gilkyson – 2020
02) Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – REUNIONS
03) Charlie Crockett – WELCOME TO HARD TIMES
04) The Jayhawks – XOXO
05) Bonny Light Horseman – BONNY LIGHT HORSEMAN
06) John Craigie – ASTERISK THE UNIVERSE
07) Steve Earle – GHOSTS OF WEST VIRGINIA
08) Various Artists – ON THE ROAD: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN HARTFORD
09) Della Mae – HEADLIGHT
10) Otis Gibbs – HOOSIER NATIONAL
11) Watkins Family Hour – BROTHER SISTER
12) Mark Erelli – BLINDSIDED
13) Tre Burt – CAUGHT IT FROM THE RYE
14) The Secret Sisters – SATURN RETURN
15) Ry Cavanaugh – TIME FOR THIS
16) Cindy Cashdollar – WALTZ FOR ABILENE
17) Sierra Hull – 25 TRIPS
18) Lucinda Williams – GOOD SOULS, BETTER ANGELS
19) The Mammals – NONETTE
20) Danielle Miraglia – BRIGHT SHINING STARS

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