There was this one gig we had to cancel because 3 of us got hit by the COVID Train. That pretty much put a wrap on the Year From Hell for us. The pandemic had already made a juggling act of our schedule, turning many of our favorite venues into ghost towns. But before I extended my middle finger to 2020, I started thinking back. And you know what? 2020 was otherwise a pretty great year to us Bodarks. Here's 10 reasons why.
#1: We got lots of radio time.
Last January we were invited onto a KHYI 95.3FM program hosted by Maylee Thomas, called "Texas Homegrown Music." (Check out the full episode.) We also spun some tall tales on KNON 89.3FM - with Obie Obermark of "Texas Renegade Radio," and again on the "Thursday Morning Blend" with Dave Chaos. Twice, we had songs featured on KXT 91.7FM's "Local Show" with Amy Miller. And twice, we had songs compete on KFWR 95.9FM's "Local Music Showdown."
#2: We made a new album.
Having just launched our Live Americana album in November of 2019, we didn't expect to crank out another right away. But when we hit Fort Worth Sound Studio last January, we quickly realized we could finish this 4th album and have it launched by the year's end, thanks to the sound engineering of Bart Rose. Two studio sessions there plus some home studio time to polish it up, and Heck! We had ourselves 11 original tunes and 4 covers.
#3: We made the charts.
Our new tunes caught some air on other stations around Texas, and even as far north as New York and Ontario. This air time resulted in our new album popping up on the radar of the Alternative Country Charts, making its way to #8, among some mighty fine company.
#4: We celebrated our 8th birthday.
February 11th is the anniversary of our very first gig. So, each year around that time, we like to throw a little party. And in 2020, we decided to celebrate it twice that week at Lava Cantina and Poor David's Pub, where our buddy Tony Drewry caught these fun pics.
#5: We did some time on the road.
After the pandemic hit, our schedule tanked somewhat. Fortunately, we were still able to keep our summer tour mostly in tact, thanks to some savvy and socially responsible planning on the part of those venues. The City of Leander, down in central Texas, hosted us for their July 4th shindig, where spectators spread out far and wide across a parking lot. We finished the last recordings for the new album in a room of the hotel they put us up in. Next, we headed to Kansas for a spectacular adventure around Shelly's old stomping grounds. (Read all about the Kansas tour here.)
#6: We threw a launch party for the new album.
On 10-10-2020, the official drop date of Side Effects, we had us a big ol' splash at Love & War in Texas with live music from our great friends Honey Folk and Mockingbird. Now, the sprawling, semi-outdoor patio of this place was perfect for social distancing, so people could enjoy the hootenanny with lots of elbow room, and pick up a freshly sterilized CD of the album which had just sold out on Amazon.
#7: We got blogged and podcasted.
Had us a nice chat with Drew Myers for his "The Road Less Travelled" podcast. (Catch that episode here.) Then, we took over Real Texas Radio for a full hour to discuss the Side Effects album, which also caught the attention of several music blogs, including AMProfile, Twangville, and AMP. In addition to Alan Mercer doing a write-up on us for his blog, he shot some snappy promo pics, included in this here video slide-show:
#8: We made our first music videos.
Speaking of videos, I had a bit of fun with vintage film footage and an iMovie program to create some home-made flicks in support of Side Effects. For three songs on the new album. I mean, other than a few type-o's, not too shabby for a first effort at lyric vids.
#9: We played Bloomin' Bluegrass Festival.
When they announced the dates of this year's Bloomin' Bluegrass Fest - the second largest of its kind in the country - we blocked it out on our calendars because we knew we'd want to see the great folk pickers they book and attract. You wouldn't believe all the virtuosos in one place! But then we were surprised by an invitation to play on their Grassroots Stage again, which sweetened up the whole experience.
#10: We released some holiday singles.
While at Fort Worth Sound recording our album back in the beginning of the year, we had a little extra time to capture a few additional holiday tunes. "Turkey Time In Texas" is one we'd written the previous year - about how we Texans like to celebrate Thanksgiving (read more about it here). And "Papa Noel" is a classic Cajun Christmas tune Shelly brought to the table years ago.
So, yeah! Adios to 2020! We could have done without your scourge that took our beloved John Prine and wreaked havoc on the world of live music. But thanks for the adventures and memories, nonetheless.
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