For so many people, putting “Best” and “2016” together is definitely an oxymoron, and in my world it’s no different. Personally, it was a bad year with many losses and tears. It all began with the death of David Bowie (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/rest-in-peace-to-the-prettiest-star-david-bowie/) Then my favorite cat of all time had to be put to sleep, at the age of 19 (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/rest-in-peace-derick-mommys-little-heart-6-24-96-to-4-29-16/). And finally, we said good-bye to my beloved father-in-law who passed at the age of 94 a few months ago (http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=181972211).
It was just one of those years where the “hits” just kept on coming and there’s not enough hours in the day for me to write about all of them.
Since I really don’t like to focus on negativity, let’s just say, THANK GOD for music; it’s what makes the world go ’round, and a salvation to many. Like every other year, 2016 was no worse in the music department. There were so many live performances my husband and I attended this year, including a few of his own with Rob Fusari and Pharoah. And my “Learn + Listen” series which made the cover of the Caldwell News: http://www.mypaperonline.com/library-patrons-learn-and-listen-about-famous-musicians.html
Lucky me, I also was blessed to write about many performances for various publications.
Whether it was outdoor concerts, or indoor venues, there was not one bad show in the lot. It’s always so hard to pick a “favorite” but as every music fan knows, there are those songs and moments that keep popping into your head, days, even weeks, after the show is over. To any musician who is reading, whether you’re mentioned here or not, if I approached you after a show, I sincerely loved your act.
That said, in my humble opinion, I’d like to present what I felt was the best on my radar this year. ENJOY!
BEST SONG/VIDEO – ROB FUSARI “Let Love Down”
TOP THREE LIVE PERFORMANCES
1 – ROB FUSARI – The Bitter End, NYC, May 24, 2016
(“Your Trap” featuring Andrea Martin, Matt, Mario, Dennis, and The Constellations)
2 – SOUND + VISION: THE MUSIC OF DAVID BOWIE (Musical Direction: RICHARD BARONE) – Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, NJ, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016
(“Fame” featuring Richard Barone, Jeffrey Gaines, Burnt Sugar Arkestra, Nick Celeste. In other outstanding performances: Wesley Stace and Elvis Perkins)
3 – PUNKY MEADOWS + FALLEN ANGEL BAND – B.B. Kings, NYC, June 14, 2016
(“The Tower” featuring Punky Meadows, Danny Anniello, Chandler Mogel, Bob Pantella, Charlie Calv, Randy Gregg. Felix Robinson also performed on bass in this show)
BEST ALBUM – THE MONKEES “GOOD TIMES”
“She Makes Me Laugh” from The Monkees “Good Times”
BEST VINYL – JACK WHITE “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”
How cool to hear this on a record player!
BEST MUSIC MOVIE – “LET ME DOWN HARD”
Starring Keith Roth, DJ 95.9 The Rat “Electric Ballroom,” performs with Frankenstein 3000 and David Johansen; songwriter for Punky Meadows and so much more!
BEST MUSIC BOOK – CARMINE APPICE “STICK IT!”
Honest; and in a strange way, endearing! Loved it!
And, again, because some things have to be said more than once, in my own little world, quite a few super cool things happened to ease the pain of the sadness, like going to see so much live music, being around amazing people, being able to write for a living — and public speaking (which includes music and health programs!) Not to mention, my incredible husband who is my rock through all the hardships and triumphs. All in all, there were two stand-outs that made this year incredible.
First I got a new kitty, Nicholas Gray; my husband and I adore our new snuggle bun! How can you not?
And, thanks to Ashley Valentin-Patino, I became a professional wedding officiant, and will be marrying many more people in 2017! Speaking of “bests” Ashley’s wedding to Mitchell was not only the best of 2016, but aside from my own, I’d say the best wedding of all time!
May 2017 will bring more love, music, and happiness to the world! Grim Reaper — be gone with you!
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Ashley Valentin-Patino
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist, available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X
To contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, write her at: firstname.lastname@example.org