Artists To Watch 2012

Band Song Next area appearance Why them
01. The Jayhawks She Walks In So Many Ways I love The Jayhawks so much, and was thrilled with their first new album since 2002 and the first one with co-founder Mark Olson since 1995’s masterpiece Tomorrow The Green Grass.
02. Martin Solveig featuring Dragonette Hello Yeah, I heard it in a commercial, but it’s so catchy.
03. Bleu B.O.S.T.O.N. This one’s for all my Boston peeps.
04. Butterfly Boucher Not Foolin’ Around Tonight I’ve liked her for a while, but this track really took me by surprise.
05. Jonathan Coulton Sucker Punch 02/17/12 Rams Head Live! Only his second studio album, this time appropriately produced by a member of TMBG.
06. Rachael Yamagata Starlight 03/27/12 Birchmere Can’t resist her sultry voice.
07. Pat McGee Release 01/07/12 Birchmere The Virginia native back again with a nice selection. Jill would like you to know she preferred “Juliet” (on the leftovers).
08. Native Run Let Me Down Easy 12/31/11 Jammin’ Java Can never go wrong with a Todd Wright song.
09. Butch Walker Summer Of ’89 He’s been around for a long time, but this song just grabbed me from the start.
10. The Head And The Heart Lost in My Mind 03/20/12 Rams Head Live! This track has a Gomez feel, and the one on the leftovers has a Ben Folds feel. Tough choice.
11. Dawes A Little Bit Of Everything The second coming of Jackson Browne.
12. The Joy Formidable Whirring An updated Smashing Pumpkins (if Billy Corgan was a woman (but not bald)).
13. Blackfield Blood I’ve featured them before, but this song has their other singer on vox, Israeli singer Aviv Geffen (great driving song).
14. The Naked And Famous Young Blood 04/02/12 The National An Australian band with a cool sound.
15. Matt Wertz Someone Like You I just like the sound of his voice with the guitar and percussion.
16. Billy Bauer Band Maybe Tomorrow A Herndon Festival alumnus with a DMB feel.
17. Thea Gilmore The Difference A great song for a good cause.
18. Bill Michalski Little Black Hole The Mayor of Shantytowne with his first solo EP.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
A.J. Roach – The Poet
Beth Patterson – Range Rover
Crooked Still – It’ll End Too Soon
Dawes – So Well
Ember Swift – I Could Stay Here
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Great Lake Swimmers – Pulling On A Line
Hurtsmile – Love Thy Neighbor
John Popper & The Duskray Troubadours – Love Has Made It So
Mates Of State – Palomino
My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
Pat McGee – Juliet
Red Molly – Hold It All
Sara Radle – The Pins
Shane Hines – Leave It All Behind
Steven Wilson – Postcard
Telekinesis – Car Crash
The Decemberists – June Hymn
The Head And The Heart – Ghosts
The Jane Austen Argument – Holes
The Jezabels – Endless Summer
Tori Amos – Carry
Wax Audio – Thunder Busters


A water main break at the building where I work meant I worked half the day from home on Tuesday the 1st. The 3rd we headed over to The Barns at Wolf Trap to see Girlyman put on a great show (hadn’t seen them in a while and they’ve got some great new songs). Nina sat that one out with Grandma. The 5th brought a house concert in Herndon, featuring Stuart and his friend Sue opening for Maura Jensen (Jill and Nina made a brief appearance).

Nina Shanty

On Friday the 11th, I was off and picked up Dominic and Melissa from Dulles. They came down as they’re Nina’s godparents and that weekend was her christening.

Nina Melissa

That night, we ordered takeout from 100 Degree again; the first time I was disappointed in a meal from them (but in retrospect shouldn’t have expected excitement from a “lamb casserole”). Saturday Sharon came in and I picked her up at Dulles as well. That evening she ran out to visit a friend, but Jill’s dad and his wife came to visit. After socializing ran later than expected, it was a little late to cook so we did takeout again, this time from nearby Flippin’ Pizza (best chain pizza around).


Sunday was the big baptism, and we got to church early so Nina could be dressed and we could take pictures outside. She was remarkably well behaved during the event (although I took her out soon after when she started to fuss), and was happy to be walked around the rest of the morning. After we shared cake and other treats with the congregation, we headed home where we had more food with all our families.


Later that afternoon I returned to Dulles (which was the most crowded I’d ever seen it), and tried a Peruvian chicken recipe for us and Sharon. Sharon flew out of National the next day, so I got up early to get her on a bus over there.

Our first big road trip with Nina started on Saturday the 19th. We’d planned on trying to get an early start after her last feeding during the night, but all of us slept in, not getting up ’til 7 and not hitting the road until 9AM (I’d dropped off Illa at the kennel the previous afternoon). The first five hours of the drive went pretty well as Nina slept in her seat. We stopped at a NJ Turnpike rest stop to feed her (and get Nathan’s for us), then stopped again at a White Castle just before Newark (area was a little sketchy, but ok).

Once we passed into Connecticut, Nina was awake and unhappy and let us know. Eventually Jill was forced to sit in the back seat next to her (which forced an interesting luggage reconfiguration). We finally arrived in Boston around 6PM. The Cannons were just finishing dinner, and had made enough tasty chili to feed us as well. We got to socialize a bit before the kiddos all headed to bed, and then some more after that before we all were feeling the exhaustion.

Sunday morning Jess made pancakes, then Chris and I took his two older girls to the playground at their nearby school (and I found out I can still do at least one pull-up). For lunch, we were recommended to try Anthonys Roast Beef & Pizza. I went with the roast beef since it’s what they’re known for, and Jill had the fish sandwich.

P & Nina

Once we got on the road it was a quick trip to Holyoke. In the afternoon, Jill’s mom Sue hosted a bunch of family and had a cake to celebrate Nina’s baptism, then we had pizza for dinner. Nina got to meet Gram, her first great-grandparent.

Monday we headed over to Jill’s grandparents on her dad’s side where her dad and his wife met us and we all had lunch together. Nina saw her two remaining great-grandparents, and many pictures were shown and taken. Later on Sue was tired (her hours are crazy this time of year) and I cooked breaded pork chops for dinner.


Tuesday I picked my Mom up from the Hartford Airport. We picked up dinner at Antonio’s in Easthampton (Jill and I both had some spicy wings).


Wednesday we went and took Jill’s nephew Jake out. We had lunch at and then shopped for books at. Table and Vine. Sharon and Robin came around dinnertime and Sue made Shepherd’s Pie.

Nina Robin

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Sue was the chef, so I mostly stayed out of her way. The dinner was the classic lineup, the stuffing was particularly good, as were the pies (way too many to count). After dinner I got to disassemble both turkeys, which took quite a while. Most people came after dinner for dessert, and after that there was a round of board games.


Friday we went to Northampton for breakfast with Robin at Sylvester’s, where I had a nice Eggs Benedict. After that, Jill shopped at Webs with Nina, while I shopped in Turn It Up. We visited Robin in her new house and got the tour, then visited Jill’s friends Jude and Jen and their daughter and son. For dinner, we headed to Opa-Opa and got some tasty meat and all their wonderful seasonal beers (the pumpkin and Winter Warmer are recommended).

Nina Robin

Saturday was picture day, and all kinds of folks were over in their nicest clothes. Afterwards Sue had made pasta, and we cleaned her out (I only got a half serving since I had salad first, had to fill up on leftover pizza).


Sunday we had an early Christmas at Jill’s sister’s house. Nina’s not quite ready for gifts (she likes sparkly lights much better), but I got a couple nice ones, including some Rush playing cards. Dinner was homemade spaghetti and lasagna.

early Xmas

Monday morning we tried to make another early start, and did leave by 5AM. We skirted around New York City, and had an early lunch at a Sonic in Edison, NJ (it must truly be the fast food mecca: both a White Castle and a Sonic). We had to stop at the last three rest areas in Jersey as Nina was awake and fussy, so once again Jill sat with her. But after that the trip went smoothly – we even took a free ride on the ICC to skip Beltway traffic. We made it home by 3PM and I went and picked up Illa from the kennel

It was a pretty good month, but it closed on a sad note. On Tuesday the 29th, I went to a funeral for the born too soon and too ill daughter of my friend Eric. The coffin was just too tiny, but at least the rain seemed appropriate.


The month started off slowly. Weather wasn’t great on Saturday the 1st, so we cancelled outdoor plans (also Nina wasn’t interested in doing much between being fussy, feeding, and sleeping). Sunday Jill let me sleep in while she and Nina went to church, then Nina slept on my lap through the Skins game while Jill went out for lunch.

Nina in swing

On Saturday the 8th we went to the Reston Oktoberfest. Nina slept through a fair amount of it (including through the polka music as we waited in the beer line). The brats from Clyde’s were good (as was the Old Dominion Octoberfest brew), but the find was Pollo Peru – great charcoal cooked chicken and sauces.

Nina tummytime

Friday the 14th I went to see Terry Pratchett at the National Press Club. He’s fading now, but still is funny. The next night Mom came over for a trial babysitting run, and we went to Paradise for Indian (not bad, but I think there’s better Indian restaurants in Herndon).

Nina and Mom

On Thursday the 20th, I needed to get my car serviced, and Jill and Nina came out and had lunch with me at Pollo Campero in Manassas (they do very nice fried chicken). For my birthday, we took a road trip to Charlottesville on Sunday the 23rd. We went down in the early afternoon, and checked into the Omni right on the Pedestrian Mall. We went out and had dinner at Zocalo where our friend Jeremy is maître d’. Luckily it was warm enough to eat outside, as Nina was unsettled. A great dinner and tour of Southern cuisine – Jill even liked the grits. Next we headed next door for a show by the reunited Jayhawks. It was great, and Nina and Jill stayed long enough so I could dance Nina around during “Blue”. The next morning we had a quick breakfast of paninis at the Calvino Cafe before heading home. Nina traveled well, which made us very happy.

Nina in bouncy chair

Saturday the 29th we headed over to my mom’s house to celebrate my birthday with her and Dad. She made one of my favorite meals, her homemade egg rolls and moo shu pork wraps, along with her homemade applesauce and Cold Stone cake for dessert. Monday was Halloween, and although Nina dressed up nicely (as a chili pepper) and we had lots of candy, we only got 6 trick or treaters.

Nina Halloween