Yeah, I know 2016 hasn't actually concluded yet, but our business as a band HAS come to a close for the year, effective Friday, December 16th, at around 5PM, when we wrapped the last of the tracking required to hand the 'Six Pack' covers EP off for mixing. Tony Paoletta came by early to contribute a little pedal steel, Kenny & I finished up the last of our harmony vocals, and the whole band(sans Matt) added some fairly syncopated handclaps to the chorus of Thin Lizzy's "Rosalie". With any luck, we'll have copies of this ready for the merch table by the time we resume playing shows in late February/early March.

 In the meantime, rest assured that we will be toiling away; with varying degrees of efficiency I'm sure, on a grip of new tunes, as well as a few old favorites that we intend to populate the 2017 set lists with. We've slowly been weeding out things that haven't been sounding as inspired as we'd like, and now we're setting about the task of replacing them with fresh stock. We've eliminated most of the covers from our regular repertoire too, choosing instead to focus our attention next year on venues that welcome us doing whatever the hell we feel like doing on any given night, be it 2.5 hours of our own back catalog, or 40 minutes of obscure KISS covers…in other words, all bets are off….we're gonna go with our guts and see if we can't craft a show that entertains US first, and hopefully have that translate to the folks on the other side of the public address system.

 As for all these new tunes, I'm going to go ahead and speculate that you'll probably see both a TGA release, as well as another solo  record from yours truly emerge from this lot….hell, maybe even a AA-sided single from The Die Youngs, if Kenny has his way. Things are really starting to stack up, and once again, it doesn't all necessarily go in the same basket.

 Speaking of my solo record, it looks like "A Little Bit Broken" from 'An Overnight Low' will be finding it's way into a 3-episode  story arc next year that ROKU and Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to check out. I'll have more details on that later, but I'm hoping to shoot a video to accompany it. Again, more on that later, but suffice it to say that I'm pretty stoked, since I haven't really had much opportunity to properly gig in support of the release.

Apparently, it's catching on overseas though, even without me touring to promote it. Check out this little fella from London, and his Christmas picks….

 Once we get back from gathering our own bits of Holiday cheer from various locales, I've got a solo acoustic show to do, in support of efforts to rebuild my good friend Bob Long's Canton, IL record shop Shandi's. The victim of a massive gas main explosion, his store is currently out of operation, pending approval from the powers-that-be to re-open. So, a bunch of us are banding together not once, but twice, to help raise funds to expedite his return to action. The first of these fundraisers will take place in late January, while a second will go down in mid-March, and see us playing two sets: one as The Great Affairs, and again later in the evening as Shane Tassart's backing band.

 Shortly thereafter, we'll be returning to the very same venue for this glorious occasion….feast your eyes…….

 It's been a crazy year, 2016, for a variety of reasons….but here's to hoping I won't have to visit the ENT again in 2017, Kenny & I will win big in Vegas this time around, and our new President doesn't single us out for a Twitter assault….although that might ultimately lead to some sort of exposure, which is reportedly better than NO exposure, our current standing.

 On a non-me or us-related subject, if you wanna gift yourself with a great record or two, here are a few things I picked up in the past year that I thought were pretty swell:

(in no particular order….and not all stuff that actually came out in 2016, but rather were acquired in this calendar year)

Cheap Trick  'Bang, Zoom, Crazy….Hello' (Still the best…what can I say?)
Alex Dezen 'Alex Dezen' (Super-introspective debut solo release from the now-former frontman of The Damnwells.)
BJ Barham (Another frontman going solo…this time from American Aquarium. Kinda like a Southern man's take on Springsteen's Nebraska…or at least that's how it hit ME.)
Dawes 'We're All Gonna die' (This one took a minute…but "Roll With The Punches" alone qualified the purchase.)
James Bay 'Chaos and the Calm' (I was a little late to the party on this one, and only slightly ashamed to admit that I discovered him while watching Dancing With The Stars".)
Travis Meadows 'Killin' Uncle Buzzy' and 'Old Ghosts & Unfinished Business' (Both have tunes that absolutely floor me….these really hit home, and that's all I can say without gushing and seeming like I have stock in this guy's career…which I don't, BTW.)

….the latest from The Stereophonics, The Cult, Black Star Riders, Mark Scibilia, Butch Walker, Rick Springfield, John Moreland….a lot of great stuff found it's way to my ears in the past 12 months, and for that I'm thankful. Do yourself a favor and dig a little, if you feel like there's nothing happening out there, because believe me, there is. The big machine just doesn't want you to know about it. They want you to choke on Ariana Grande Latte, or whatever else they pump into the shopping malls to pacify us while we shop for overpriced jeans and stupid toy animals that hatch (and then hopefully die shortly thereafter if not tended to 24/7, 'cause that'll teach the kids a lesson about responsibility.)

 So..Ho Ho Ho and such. As always, please, PLEASE be good to each other…and not just because it's the Holiday season, but rather because it's the right thing to do, and a fine way to conduct yourself on the regular.

 We'll see you in 2017.

   The Great Affairs