Top 5 Albums:
1. Assembly of Dust - Some Assembly Required
2. Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)

3. The Black Crowes - Before the Frost… Until the Freeze
4. Wilco - Wilco (The Album)

5. Phish - Joy
As 2009 began‚ I honestly didn't think I could top my experiences from the previous year. For one thing‚ I started January broke due to the usual summer/fall musical shenanigans. But‚ as we all have found in being a slave to the groove‚ there are always unknown surprises around every corner we turn‚ every show we wander into.

The end of the decade began with a cold Pabst held high as I truly connected with The Presidents of the United States of American at the House of Blues in Boston- a forgotten piece of 90's music still chugging along at an enjoyable pace.

Getting cozy in the dark corners of Club Metronome while Akron/Family left my ears ringing and my inspiration tank refilled.

Sitting in the mystical woods at Strange Creek Campout‚ listening to the melodies of the New Riders of the Purple Sage "Ripple" throughout the ancient Berkshire Mountains.

The sounds of Les Claypool echoing down the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas as I swam in a hidden waterfall behind the main stage.

My eyes watering during The Dead's set at Rothbury -- "U.S. Blues" with fireworks exploding over the stage (not to mention the String Cheese Incident reunion).

Seeing the latest additions to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals take the group into the next phase‚ rocking socks off at the Burlington Waterfront.

Slipping down muddy hills at the Festivus for the Restivus‚ the sounds of African singing sensation Oumou Sangare provoked a sing-a-long to the fierce forces above.

Soaked to the bone under dark skies while Crosby‚ Stills and Nash electrified a joyous crowd at the Gathering of the Vibes (who could forget the take on "The Weight" by the Levon Helm Band w/Bob Weir?).

Standing sidestage at the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival (in Wyoming) during footstomping‚ ankle breaking sets by Yonder Mountain String Band‚ Railroad Earth and the David Grisman Quintet.

Wandering the Black Rock Desert (in Nevada) for two weeks as Burning Man once again encompassed my soul and opened up the unknown possiblities of the Universe.

Sweating bullets as my body gyrated and my arms flailed at the moe. Halloween extravaganza in The Capital City‚ ultimately running around the town only to catch the late-night U-Melt performance inside Red Square (which lasted until sunrise).
2009 was a poignant end to a haphazard decade in not only music‚ but within any factor affecting humanity‚ for good or ill.
I say‚ bring on 2010!
In the words of the film Dazed and Confused:
"The Fifties were boring‚ the Sixties rocked‚ the Seventies -- oh my God -- they obviously suck‚ right? Maybe the Eighties will be radical‚ y'know. I figure we'll be in our twenties and‚ hey‚ it can't get any worse."