I wish I had more interest in prioritizing the records I love from the last calendar year. Normally it’s one of my favorite posts of the year, one I debate internally for hours. This year, I realized that when you write daily, documenting an arbitrary time period truly becomes (at best) vain or (at worst) maybe kind of pointless.

Instead, I’ll simply provide a list of records that impacted my life this year. To be honest, 2012 was a motherfucker; It was filled with goodbyes, sickness, loss, aging and apathy but these records were the reassuring hand on my shoulder, the hope I needed or the pain I felt. These notes and verses were glimmers of warmth and shivers of cold. Choruses were unearthed trinkets; mined gems that fueled the desire to keep pushing.

All I can do is offer them to you without ranking or reason, a simple gesture of thanks to each and every artist for having the courage to put their words and melodies into the ether.

Readers, humbly, I ask you take some of your money destined for bars and fancy coffees over the holidays, and support these artists. Please.

* I’ve only listened to Gabriel’s record twice (streaming on CBC), but it’s the type of discovery that keeps me hunting. Once it sinks in, I’ll attempt to paint a better picture but Minnikin’s ambitious combination of orchestration and traditional country dances around your headphones and thankfully breathes some new life into the music that dominates our Nation’s preference. It’s full of talents players, grit, and surprising hope. It’s as real as the life you want to lead.