Tuesday Tunes 133: New Year Songs Part One

Now that Christmas is but a distant memory it is time for me to get back to regular posting habits. That means, of course, that Tuesday Tunes is making its return after a month away. Around this time of year I have got into the habit of playing some songs which relate to the upcoming New Year. I now have collection of regulars, plus some new ones, and there are enough for two posts. It seemed right to play the first set today and then complete the show on New Year’s Day. So that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve played this one a couple of times before. It is by a band of which you probably haven’t heard, but one to which I feel a connection. I was part of the crowdfunding effort which became The Rescues’ 2013 album Blah Blah Love And War, from which this song comes, and band member Kyler England still follows me on Twitter (probably due to inertia more than anything else, as she hasn’t tweeted anything since July 2021!). This is one of those ‘hoping for better’ songs, and the video is hilarious:

That is just so good! As far as I know, the band has never had any kind of chart success anywhere: I think that’s a real shame, as they write some superb songs. A mention too, for Chet Dixon, who is brilliant in that video. He is listed on the IMDB as an actor, including an appearance in Cold Mountain, a long way down the list of credits. On this evidence I think he deserves better, although he does seem to have had a couple of more major roles in recent years and has made several appearances in episodes of tv series.

This next one is very much a regular for me. Counting Crows have been a favourite band of mine since their first album, August And Everything After, back in 1993, and this is the perfect looking back/looking ahead song:

I think that video goes so well with the song. It comes from their second album, Recovering The Satellites, released in October 1996. The album was a US #1 and made #4 here in the UK. As a single, this one peaked at #6 on the US chart and #62 in the UK. The video includes what I think is probably Courtney Cox’s best acting performance ever (even better than when she danced with Bruce Springsteen).

In introducing this song when I’ve played it before, I have said that I’ve long felt that Gretchen Peters, who wrote this one, is one of the best singer-songwriters around. She has made some wonderful albums of her own and is a great live performer, but if her name is known to you it is probably as the writer of songs which have been single hits or album tracks for others, the best known of which is Independence Day, a #1 for both Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood. This is another of hers which is better known as a cover, in this case by the country band Alabama, and it has also been recorded by many others. Gretchen sang harmony vocals on Alabama’s version, which was only ever a B-side and an album track and, as far as I know, she has never recorded the song – New Year’s Eve 1999 – herself. I was going to include the Alabama version when quite by chance a year or two ago I came across another one, by a band who were totally unknown to me: Prescott-Brown. Apparently they were a Canadian country band who released two albums, in 1992 and 1994. Their version of the song is on the second of those albums, which made #10 in the Canadian country albums chart. I much prefer it to the Alabama effort, as Tracey Brown has an amazingly warm voice. I got a ‘like’ on Twitter from Gretchen when I posted this one a couple of years ago, so I guess she enjoyed it too! I’m rather glad that I found it:

You may well know this next one, as the band are better known. I love the way this song looks back at what seem to have been bad times and attacks them with a positive attitude:

Semisonic were one of those bands who never got the success I felt they deserved. Their March 1998 album Feeling Strangely Fine was a little gem, and produced three hit singles in the UK: this wasn’t one of them, hence the audio only clip. In chart terms the album did better here than in the US: #16 as against #43. But given the relative sizes of the countries the sales figures are a little different: they are certified at over 350,000 here, but over 1m in the US. Not bad for a band who I once saw described in a derisive review as ‘making music for college kids.’ What’s wrong with that anyway?

I played this one before, on New Year’s Day 2020, but as the band holds a special place in my heart I wanted to play it again, even if it is another audio-only one, sorry:

I’ve written about Great Lake Swimmers before in a post I’ve shared a couple of times, most recently in July 2021, here. When I shared this one on Twitter I got a ‘like’ AND a ‘retweet’ from both the band and their record company for it! This isn’t specifically a New Year song, but it is very much in keeping with the spirit of determination and hope which we attach to this time of year, so I thought it fair to include it. To my knowledge – and I have all of their albums – this has only ever appeared on a re-released version of their 2006 EP Hands In Dirty Ground, having not been on the original release. That probably explains why there isn’t a dedicated video for it, but I love the song nonetheless.

This next song is another that I played on New Year’s Day 2020 but haven’t shared since. Time for another airing, I think:

The Foo Fighters are another long-time favourite band of mine. This is very much a stylised ‘looking ahead’ song, and I love its video. They may be one of the loudest rock bands on the planet but when they go into softer mode I think they really excel. This one reached #17 in the US Alternative chart and crept up to #42 in the UK: criminally underrated, in my view. It was also a track on their third album, There Is Nothing Left To Lose, released in November 1999, which peaked at #10 in both the UK and the US. If you never thought you’d see a rock band on the Moon, this is your chance.

Talking of favourites, this is one I’ve played a few times before:

This is from Kate Rusby’s first (of five) albums of Christmas and seasonal songs, Sweet Bells, but is not an original of hers. There are several attributions, but the generally accepted story is that the song was written in 1891 by Will Godwin and Leo Dryden. Dryden sang it in music hall performances and recorded it in 1898. It was also recorded by Peter Dawson (‘Australia’s first man of song’ in case you didn’t know – so not Rolf Harris, then). Dawson’s version is taken a little faster, which I find totally unsuited to what is actually a heart-breaking song from the perspective of a young man looking back at year end, and dreaming of home and family. I think Kate does it far more justice – this is beautiful.

I’ve played today’s final song before, too, but as it is such an uplifting song and video it seemed like a good way to finish this first collection of New Year songs:

I played A Great Big World’s collaboration with Ingrid Michaelson on Day 23 of my recent Advent Calendar, and said then that I would be playing them again soon. A Great Big World are singer-songwriters Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino/King, who met at New York University when they were studying music business. This song was their first single, but wasn’t a hit, though a cover by the cast of Glee made the US Top Forty. The song then featured on the duo’s debut album, Is There Anybody Out There? which was a big hit, peaking at #3 in the US and #16 in the UK, propelled by their hit single collaboration with Christina Aguilera on their song Say Something, which reached #4 in both the US and the UK. Amongst other strings to their bow, they have opened shows for Ingrid Michaelson (yup, her again) and appeared on her April 2014 album, Lights Out. This video is full of joy, and reminds me a lot of the one for Frank Turner’s song Recovery – they have the same feel.

That completes today’s music but I thought I’d add in a little bonus for you. At this time of year there are many tv programmes reviewing the previous twelve months, but this one, whilst mentioning the serious things, takes a rather more light-hearted approach. Russell Howard is a comedian I really like, and this is great:

That’s all for today. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are getting ready to do it all again next weekend. I’ll see you again to welcome in 2023 on Sunday. TTFN 🪅


32 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 133: New Year Songs Part One

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  4. Another great post Clive! How could it not be, you started it off with Calvin and Hobbs. 🙂
    The first video, oh gosh! LOL! All good songs. Alabama is a favorite band of mine, but I have to say that Prescott-Brown’s version was very impressive.
    The miner’s song is moving, Brad and I were talking recently about how it was so sad about the coal miner’s, how hard they worked and how dangerous the work was.
    Fun video by A Great Big World, I love the big dog in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carolyn, I’m glad you enjoyed it. That Rescues video is superb, isn’t it. I agree with you on Prescott-Brown – I think it is a gorgeous version of the song, with the way the plaintive acoustic guitar interplays with her beautiful voice.

      The Miner’s Dream is very moving , especially with those images. Kate Rusby is another with a beautiful voice and the slowed down treatment she gives the song is so much better than the older musical hall versions. I was born and brought up near a small coal field. We had several miners living in our village, and some of the kids came to the same school as me. Not a career for the faint-hearted, and now largely obsolete here.

      That dog is cute, isn’t it. Not so fond of the moggy though 😊


  5. That first video always makes me smile I can just imagine someone doing that when they are home alone…I get the more sombre tunes as life has been like that this last couple of years …and finally, your bonus clip was hilarious thank you for another great post Clive I hope 2023 brings you happiness and good health xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carol, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I went for a mixture of smiles and serious – as you say, that kind of reflects life these days. I wish the same for you next year too 😊 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The cartoon … all I can think of is that cute li’l Calvin has morphed into a junior version of the megalomaniac that once sat in the Oval Office, better known as ‘Trump’. Phew! And I used to just love Calvin & Hobbes! That first one … you’re right … the video is hilarious! The Counting Crows video … just too depressing. But then … so is life these days, yes? I must thank you for introducing me to the work of Prescott-Brown, of whom I was unfamiliar. I’m not a fan of country music, but this was truly beautiful. Great Lake Swimmers? You certainly do know of many bands and artists I’ve never heard of!!! Though I’m not a Foo Fighters fan (you could have guessed that, yes?) I rather liked this one! Sometimes I surprise even myself! You’ve introduced me to Kate Rusby before and I do love her voice! The song was sad, but I enjoyed listening to Ms. Rusby. I must admit to some really great laughs from the final video … I even laughed loudly at one point! All in all, your New Year’s Post – Part I was much fun! Thank you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We all have our moments, even Calvin, it seems!

      I’m pleased you liked most of these and got the laughs from the songs and Russell Howard – I told you he was good! I particularly liked the lady who thought actors were standing in for Joe Biden – she really believed that, and no prizes for guessing who she voted for last time. I’m really pleased you liked the Foo Fighters one, as I didn’t think you would. I mixed in a couple of sad ones amongst the fun: as you say, that’s life these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s for sure!

        I definitely did enjoy this and you were so right about Russell Howard! I want to see more of him! I admit to an eyeroll over the lady who thought actors were standing in for Biden, but I didn’t think she was serious … wow, what a mind, eh? Ha ha … I’m always happy when I like something you didn’t figure I would, as when you like something I didn’t expect you to. Isn’t this fun … we get to know people through the music we play! Yes, my friend, music reflects reality, and rather like literature, if it’s all rosy-posy, then it’s boring, for it isn’t an accurate depiction of life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m pleased you did, and Russell is well worth watching. I thought that woman was completely serious – a typical MAGAt. The type who has to sit down to keep their brain warm. It’s good getting to know people through music – it has always been important for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. We just got back today from our family Christmas, which explains my absence from the last few days of your Advent Calendar. You really outdid yourself with Part 1 of New Year songs. I truly liked each one, and it was a pleasure to listen to them all. If I were forced to name my favorite, I couldn’t choose one. I particularly enjoyed The Rescues, Counting Crows, Semisonic, Foo Fighters (no surprise there), and A Great Big World.

    Looking forward to Part 2.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tbh, Pete, I rather thought you might have had more important things to deal with anyway! I hope all is well after the quake and you had a lovely family Christmas. I’m glad you enjoyed all of the songs – always good for me when that happens!

      I’m planning Part Two for Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’ve been on a roll lately (no pun intended). This family gathering was in the works for some time, and we had already put up the money for the Airbnb. Miraculously, everyone got there despite the “once in a lifetime” storms that affected most of the country. I’m betting you’ve read about all of the travelers who got stranded in airports. It was a nightmare of epic proportions, most of which we avoided.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You did all do well to get there! There has been a lot of coverage here, as often we get what you’ve had when it blows this way. It looks horrendous – I don’t think I’ve seen anything on that scale before. Natural conditions haven’t been good for you lately, have they! Glad you’ve got through it all relatively unscathed 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Joyous selection Clive, especially Foo Fighters and Semisonic. Also the Russel Howard clip was a nice addition. I’ve been so busy but have just caught up with your Days of Christmas songs. Thank you so much for the wonderful music! It gave me so much Christmas cheer and was so informative. A lot of work went into that and really appreciate your musical knowledge and taste! Hope you had a nice Christmas and I’m looking forward to more New Year/Tuesday Tunes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Paul, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this and the others. Hope your Christmas was good – mine was very quiet, but that’s normal! Judging by the stats I think others have been busy too – the audience tailed off as Christmas approached and today’s post has had fewer views, likes and comments than I can recall on a first day. Other regular bloggers seem to be AWOL, hopefully things will pick up in time for Part Two of this 🤣


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