With the holidays approaching and the year winding to a close, we look back at 2011’s memorable moments in the music world. For the first round of responses, we reached out to some of our favorite musicians to share their thoughts on the year’s highs and lows. Set I features Jesse Miller of Lotus, who had a big year with the release of their self-titled album in September and an extensive tour that included stops at festivals and a headlining spot at Red Rocks. Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper released American Goldwing and embarked upon a tour with Dawes. Alexander Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) released a solo album. Andrew Altman (Railroad Earth) played the Hangout down in Gulf Shores. While Phish was taking a little break in between tours, Todd Isler (Mike Gordon Band) returned to the road as did Patterson Hood and The McLovins.
PATTERSON HOOD (DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS)
What will you remember most about 2011?
Musically, probably seeing Alabama Shakes at a little record store in my hometown this summer.
What album or albums appeared most often in your iTunes?
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo and The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh
What was your favorite show or tour in 2011?
Probably Iron and Wine with The Low Anthem at The 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA.
The Glands reunion show at The Georgia Theatre and Gillian Welch were also mind-blowing great.
What emerging band should readers watch out for in 2011?
Alabama Shakes!!! That shit is beyond amazing on every level.
*Who would you want to collaborate with next year?
I’d love to do another project with Booker T. Jones. Always wanted to do something with Tom T. Hall or Bobby Womack. Would love to produce a project with Alabama Shakes.
Any big plans in the works for 2012?
I have a solo album in the works that should come out in mid 2012. I very excited about it.
ANDREW ALTMAN (RAILROAD EARTH)
What will you remember most about 2011?
I made the move into NYC this summer and preparing for that took a good portion of the year. The Occupy movements have also made this year memorable for a touring musician. It is one thing to see it on the news, but when EVERY city you go to has one it starts to feel like something is really going on. It is happening even in places you wouldn’t expect like Mobile, AL and Charlotte, NC and I hope it gains even more attention.
What albums appear most in your iTunes or iPod?
Ray Lamontage God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise; Feist Metals. I also went through a pretty heavy Dr. John phase this year. I have always loved the New Orleans sound and he’s one of the best.
What was the best musical discovery you made in 2011?
Immersing myself more deeply in the Grateful Dead catalog. I listened to them a bit growing up but not with the same dedication as their fan base. This year we did a few songs with Warren Haynes, and a late-night thing at Harmony fest with [John] Molo and [Barry] Sless, but nothing tops the moment we had when Bill Kreutzmann joined us onstage at the Hangtown Halloween Ball for “Mississippi Half Step.” I was glad I did my homework this year!
What was your favorite show or tour of 2011?
A sold out Red Rocks! We also did a ski-tour this winter, which was so awesome since I just learned how to snowboard.
What musicians should readers look out for in 2012?
The New Mastersounds, Zach Deputy and Toubab Krewe all have a different sound that I dig. I’ve been hearing many good things about Warren Haynes Band as well but always seemed to miss their sets this summer.
Are there any musicians you would like to collaborate with in 2012?
I did a tour with Papa Mali before my RRE days and it would be fun to work with him again. The Warren Haynes acoustic thing we did was great and well worth revisiting. I have also been trying to get started on a record of my own and hope to include some old friends as well as some new ones.
How do you plan to ring in the New Year?
Three nights at The Ogden! We had so much fun there last year and it is nice to have all the family and friends that can make it that time in the season. New Years shows always feel like a big reunion from all the great times over the last year. Kyle Hollingsworth will be guesting with us one night and we are going to cook up some surprises for that.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Spend more time in the studio!