Hello hello. In my lane of work as a journalist, I'm often assigned to uncover some of the latest and greatest music artists on all scales, from the local country kid just budding into the scene with the help of a family friend who just so happens to be big in Nashville to the gaunt folk-singer in a murky bar who's been at it for years, to multinational pop superstars and deservedly lauded songwriters that have truly found the guise to make music out of poetry. For those of you who've had the privilege of checking out @Rose's own music thread, it's basically that, but with my own musical musings (cut to credits). Cheers to good ol' @Eebit for the idea, by the way! Credit's due where it's due, and our resident, fan favorite golden-locked boy really hatched quite the idea recommending this topic to me. Whereas Rose is mainly ranting about the adds that she sends in through her wonderful work at Red Lipstick Radio over at WZBT, I'm speaking from my positions as a freelance music & arts writer with Tucson Local Media and Tucson Weekly, events promoter at Monterey Court, staff member of PopMatters, and North American editor at For Folk's Sake. Other than that, I'm speaking as a friend and colleague to many in the business, whether we're talking about the super cool radio hosts like Rose, the innumerable talented musicians out there in the world, labels, album cover artists, photographers, promoters, managers, or otherwise... It's a big world. Its own ecosystem. I'm looking forward to divulging random stories from my musical world to you all whenever my mind really turns towards the idea of it! 2016 has been an incredible year for music, honestly - more-so than 2015 or most recent years. For a year that's otherwise been rather tumultuous on a global and personal scale, it's super cathartic to be able to lean back on music, like any true friend, as one of the few constants pervading the scene. I'm sure we'll be talking all-around favorites of the year soon, but for now, let's focus on Conor Oberst. He's been an obsession of mine for a long time now - since the release of Bright Eyes's 2004 album, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning - and while I've always admired his Dylanesque tenacity for fusing folk and rock influences into new and wild ways since, I've also been yearning for something more simplistic from him since those early days. He's so much more poised and assured in his craft than he was 12 years ago, but there's something so fulfilling about a dude strumming his guitar and yelling out in protest with not much more about it that I was always hopeful he'd return explicitly to his folk roots. His self-titled Conor Oberst from a couple years back came close, but it didn't retain as much of that warmth in roots, personally, to totally scratch this itch... Ruminations, which was just released today, totally scratches that way. It's straight-up folk with a dark streak. No frills about it - one of my absolute favorites of the year, right out of the gate. Check out a live video of Conor performing the opening track off of the album live on the Current, which is also my current favorite cut from it. If you like what you hear and you're the money-spendy type... consider throwing the dude a bone here, or on iTunes or something. [video=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_Cy2pxqCRo[/video] Next up, we'll probably be talking about some of my friends in music who I'm super passionate about, but on the overall, this is going to be one wonderful and varied topic that I'll enjoy long nights getting tangential in for your (hopeful) pleasure. If you have any questions for me about my work, any other favorite music of mine, genres that I listen to, my thoughts on concerts, or whatever else you can think of, by all means - ask! Discuss! Let's get this topic on da road.