Archive for the ‘Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers’ Category

The end of the year marks a great opportunity for reflection. For a music enthusiast, it’s a perfect excuse to make a list of my top albums and songs of the year. This was relatively challenging for me. I tend to think and live very much in the moment. I get swept up in what’s going on around me right now. And for this exercise I had to abandon, for a second, what was playing in the moment, and reflect on what had been playing over the course of the past 12 months. I am not sure I entirely succeeded. But, alas, below I present to you my top 20 songs and top 11 albums of 2011!

Top 20 Songs of 2011

20. Long Days, Fast Years by Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

19. Someone Like You by Adele

18. Another by The White Album

17. Kiss Quick by Matt Nathanson

16. If I Wanted Someone by Dawes

15. Eagle’s Nest by Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps

14. Café Lights by Hey Marseilles

13. Everything (Overture) by Chris Bathgate

12. Anyhow… by Tyler Lyle

11. The Nature of Our Kind by Vandaveer

10. We Will All Be Changed by Seryn

9. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

8. Down In The Valley by The Head and the Heart

7. Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

6. New York by Blind Pilot

5. Old Pine by Ben Howard

4. Blackout by Pickwick

3. 1957 by Milo Greene

2. Beggar In The Morning by The Barr Brothers

1. Honey Jars by Bryan John Appleby


Top 11 Albums

11. Gift Horse by Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

10. 21 by Adele

9. Ashes and Fire by Ryan Adams

8. Dig Down Deep by Vandaveer

7. The Golden Age & The Silver Girl by Tyler Lyle

6. The Barr Brothers by The Barr Brothers

5. Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars

4. Fire On The Vine by Bryan John Appleby

3. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

2. The Head and The Heart by The Head and The Heart

1. We Are The Tide by Blind Pilot


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Fall is my favorite season of the year. Everything about it is perfect—crisp cool days, blue skies, leaves on fire, apple pie, sweaters and scarves. The best place to enjoy fall in New York City is surely Central Park—an 840-acre oasis in the center of a concrete jungle. This morning, my roommate and I took a stroll through the park and when we parted ways I transitioned from wonderful conversation to music. After scrolling through a playlist filled with my summer favorites (many of which I will write about in posts to come), I happened upon “Gravity” by Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers.

Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers have been an anchor in my music catalogue since I first discovered them at a Guster concert in December of 2003, the year they formed as a band. Only an avid fan would travel all the way to Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey to see Guster. Or shall I say, only a loving father would drive his 13 year-old daughter and 3 best friends all the way to Sayreville, New Jersey and sit in the back of a smoke-filled (it was New Jersey, in 2003) concert venue so that they could see their favorite band, Guster. But that concert is archived in my mind not for Guster (who, I am sure, played an incredible set), but for SK6ERS.

I was immediately swept away by the openers, at the time a three-piece band made up of Stephen Kellogg, Kit Karlson, and Brian Factor. True entertainers, Stephen and his crew sang with passion and pure talent, danced in unison, and ultimately won over a rowdy crowd. Their energy and spirit was and remains contagious.

Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers just released Gift Horse, their fifth record as a full band and second album recorded on Vanguard (independent label with two of my favorite artists Matt Nathanson and Indigo Girls). The album shines with wholesome lyrics and strong Americana pop-rock melodies. Gift Horse opens with “Gravity,” a tune celebrating life with memorable lyrics that you will find yourself humming hours after the 3-minute song has ended. “Gravity / you’re knocking me out / you’re shaking me up ‘til I twist and I shout / I love it right here with my feet on the ground.”

“Song For Lovers,” perhaps the album’s strongest piece, lyrically and otherwise, is a tragic song about two lovers contemplating their own mortality. “But as we lay there in the dark / darling I can hear your heart pound / And I know without that sound / mine would probably give out.” The chorus is marked by hauntingly beautiful background vocals which fill the room and leave me with a heavy heart.

In typical SK6ERS fashion, Gift Horse manages to capture heavy topics through catchy tunes. So far, it is my favorite album of the fall and was the perfect soundtrack to my autumn walk through the park. I look forward to their next stroll through town (hopefully I won’t have to go all the way out to Sayreville).

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