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Courtesy photo.




Be a music fan’s Santa
An under-the-tree fantasy list

12/10/15
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com



Don’t know what to get your favorite music fan this year? Here are some ideas, from albums to concert tickets.

Start with a collection of homegrown Christmas tunes. Pickwick’s Mercantile Holiday Album features Jim Dozet, Taylor O’Donnell, Chris and Eric Klaxton, Matt Langley and many other faculty members of Portsmouth Music & Arts Center, which the CD benefits. Call 431-4278 for more information.
With the proper mood set, here are some gift ideas for the person in your life that drives around with the “70% of my brain is song lyrics” bumper sticker on their car.
A concert ticket is a twofer gift — both when it’s opened and at the show — three times if you’re invited along. The state’s premiere amphitheater announced its first 2016 booking recently; seats for Florida Georgia Line at Bank of NH Pavilion at Meadowbrook on Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25, are $30-$85 at meadowbrook.net. 
If “Money” is no object, make a Pink Floyd fanatic’s dream come true with tickets to one of David Gilmour’s three sold-out New York City shows — April 10, 11 and 12 — part of a much too brief North American tour also stopping in Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles. Tickets on StubHub.com start at $130 and end on the “Dark Side of the Moon.”
For true fans, streaming and files can’t replace a box set, and there are a few standouts this year. The deluxe Blu-ray version of Beatles 1+ includes the Fab Four’s 27 chart-topping singles along with restored videos of each song – and a bevy of extras. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings has Brett Morgan’s brilliant documentary, a 31-track soundtrack, a hardbound book and a jigsaw puzzle among its goodies. 
The Cutting Edge 1965 - 1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 (6 CD Deluxe Edition) goes inside Bob Dylan’s creation process during three groundbreaking 1965-1966 albums. It’s ideal for the fanatic who’s dying to hear 16 different takes of “Like a Rolling Stone.” The big baubles in Bruce Springsteen’s The Ties That Bind: The River Collection are a coffee table book and a 1980 concert film and documentary on two Blu-ray discs; oh, and 52 tracks on three CDs, most of them rarities.
Or you can ditch the classic rockers and go local. Mindset X released the long-awaited Oceans this year; it’s a prog-rocker’s delight (amazon.com). Make a country fan’s Christmas with Shana Stack Band’s Then & Now, the latest from the 2015 New England Music Awards Band of the Year (shanastackband.com). 
Newcomer Anna Madsen’s five-song EP Palm Reader is hauntingly beautiful (facebook.com/annamadsenmusic). Ubiquitous Americana performer Paul Hubert’s All Connected is a tasty treat (paulhubertmusic.com), and Return to the Castle from fiddler Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki’s trio latest will delight Celtic music fans.
A T-shirt or other swag really connects band and fan. Rising stars Hunter offer a line of nautical and patriotic themed gear (facebook.com/hunterbandofficial). A Pat & the Hats shirt sports a monkey staring longingly at a banana in space (patandthehats.com).
Many fine music biographies came out in 2015. The best of the bunch is Concord native and ex-Del Fuego Warren Zanes’ Petty: The Biography, one musician writing with brilliant insight about another. Neil Young follows up his first autobiography with Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars, which contains some Young artwork and a few environmental lessons.
The Emperor of Sound: A Memoir is Timbaland’s modest account of a life and career that’s spawned “more top-ten hits than Elvis or The Beatles.” Speaking of The King, few in music history were as influential as the man who founded Sun Records and discovered Presley. Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll is the latest from master music biographer Peter Guralnick. All books are available at amazon.com.
Consider a concert video like Queen – A Night at the Odeon, taken from the 1975 tour where “Bohemian Rhapsody” was performed for the first time, or Roxy the Movie, highlighting a legendary three-night 1973 run by Frank Zappa & the Mothers that’s sat in the vaults for decades. More recent is Rage Against the Machine Live at Finsbury Park, recounting a free concert done for British fans that made the band’s “Killing In The Name” the Christmas No. 1 in the U.K. singles charts – a big honor across the pond (amazon.com) 





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