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Reflecting on 2012

Jerry Lucky Commentary December 2012

Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2012 All Rights Reserved

 

It is the time of year, where many of us start to look back at the year that was. Reflecting on the past is always a tug between seeing it as it was and waxing nostalgic. Perhaps there is room for a bit of both?

 

I saw more concerts this yearÖ.the highlight would be seeing Neal Morse on the Momentum tour in Seattle. There is something to be said playing in a smaller venue to a very appreciative crowd. If I had my druthers, concerts would be in facilities of two-thousand seats or less. Large enough to create a buzz and yet small enough to not lose the intimacy. Over the years weíve lost that closeness to the artist. You could see it happening as the locations got larger and they started installing video screens to capture the closeness for those standing way at the back.

 

I reviewed more CDs. Typically I was doing three new releases every two weeks, with some fringe material in the intervening weeks. But as more and more independent artists started sending me their material the review stack was getting bigger and bigger. These days Iím trying to keep up reviewing three new releases virtually every week. As a one man show I do what I can.

 

I finally made the switch to digital download links. 2012 was the year that I digitized my whole music collection and then created a back-up, just in case. In the process I realized I wasnít as tied to the physical discs as I thought I was and as a result started suggesting to bands that sending me a download link was just as adequate as sending me the actual disc. Given the cost of postage and everything I felt if I could save bands a few bucks, itís the least I could do. So now Iím happy to still receive discs in the mail (and I still get my share) Iím quite happy to have a kink sent by email.

 

As we transition from year to year, I always start to think about the general state of the progressive rock genre. Prog magazine has started an annual feature where they interview some prog heavyweights at the beginning of each year to ask a variety of questions relating to the scene and get their views. From what I can see, based on people contacting me and the stuff thatís coming my way for review the genre is healthier than ever. Not only are there plenty of people out there making the music, the quality of production and performance is equally high.

 

There seems to be all kinds of musical activity out there from Rick Wakeman redoing the Journey to the Centre of the Earth disc to the new Flower Kings after a five year hiatus. I see more and more artists taking advantage of fan-funded productions, something I first heard from Marillion. While the cost of getting a disc out to the public has gone down significantly, itís still not cheap, so anything a band can do to offset those costs is probably a good thing. Especially since fans seem to be so willing to put their money where their mouths are. I expect weíll see more of this in the future.

 

Reading about the Prog magazine awards, there does seem to be an ever growing, if perhaps grudging acceptance that prog is out there and that itís influencing many new prog and not-so-prog bands. What I mean by that is that even Rolling Stone will use the term prog to describe a band without attaching any negative connotation. The label has perhaps finally become descriptive of the musical style rather than a term of derision in the eyes of the mass media. There are of course holdouts, especially those weaned on the punk scene or the much older traditional ďrock is rebellionĒ crowd. It does strike me as somewhat contradictory or odd that both those groups see the world of rock through rose-coloured glasses, one that refuses to see how manufactured it was and the other that refuses to grow up?

 

So overall, it was a pretty good year. Naturally we lost some veterans to age, ailments and accidents, such is the circle of life. But by and large there are still plenty of new musicians who are sticking their necks out and flying the prog flag. I raise my glass to everyone; fan and musician alikeÖjob well done. Hereís looking forward to yet another great year ahead.

 

At least thatís what I think.

 

Jerry Lucky

(12/4/12)