With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we are officially entering The Holiday Season and all of the joy, stress, and other heightened emotional states that entails. For many, the holidays are a time of joy and togetherness, and a reason to honor the friends and family we hold so dear—but they can also serve as a reminder of the people we’ve lost along the way, or people who haven’t been as lucky as we have managed to be. It’s a time of year that feels tailor-made for introspection (especially here in Minnesota, where the cold weather literally forces us inward), and a great excuse to take a big-picture look at what really matters.
In this spirit of reflection and gratitude, I asked my colleagues here at the Current to take a moment to share what they are thankful for this year. As you’ll see, many of us had musical moments or memories spring to mind first—we are a staff full of music nerds, after all—and it was really quite beautiful seeing how our favorite art form weaves it way into even our most personal stories.
Wishing you all the best this holiday season. And from all of us here at the Current: Happy Thanksgiving!
Jim McGuinn, Program Director
This might sound sappy, but I’m thankful for another year on this earth—a year of watching my son grow up, of deepening friendships with my pals, of my getting to play music and hockey (thankfully not at the same time), for continued good health for my family, and getting to share our passion in the Current with our listeners, and seeing what that community can do—to foster creativity in artists, help connect music to audience, and see an impact every day.
Barb Abney, Midday Host
I am thankful…
.that I got to say goodbye to my grandmother before she passed.
.that my father is responding well to his cancer treatment.
.that I have a loving family who I can call upon to lift my spirits.
.that my partner and I were able to quit cigarettes (now to quit nicotine, completely).
.that our children are happy and healthy.
.that I have more friends than I can visit in a single year.
.that I can still keep in touch with my friends thanks to the internet.
.that I have a job I love which allows me to hang out with new and different people each day!
.that I have a car that starts more mornings than not.
.that anyone would even care to read what I am thankful for.
.that I finally saw a Prince concert!
Jay Gabler, Digital Producer
This year, I’m thankful that Bruce Springsteen is still making music as vigorously as he ever has. Some of his recent albums I love (Magic), others I don’t (Working On a Dream), but I love that the Boss is following through on his younger self’s urging to stay hungry, to stay alive. Maybe the most impressive thing about latter-day Bruce is that his most-listened list on Spotify is routinely stocked with material from his latest album. What other artist of Springsteen’s tenure and stature has kept a wide audience so consistently engaged with his new material?
Luke Taylor, Digital Producer
Among many musical things I’m thankful for in 2013 is Billy Bragg’s new album, Tooth and Nail. The song “Handyman Blues” really spoke to me. Although I happen to be related to a number of very handy people, I relate more to the narrator of this song, who sings, “It takes me half an hour to change a fuse.” As film critic and musician Mark Kermode puts it, “The blues has, at its heart, the contradiction that you play the blues to get out of the blues.” So it is with this great song: Now I don’t feel so bad about being not talented with house projects!
And speaking of Billy Bragg, I’ve been a fan for a really long time, and when Bragg visited the Current in September for a Theft of the Dial, I got to meet him and shake his hand. He’s just as nice and good a person as I always thought.
Mary Lucia, Afternoon Host
I’m thankful for the authentic compassion and friendship of my coworkers.
Last summer when I had to put my best friend and dog, Smudge, down, everyone was so supportive and kind. Many hugs and tears were shared.
After I dedicated my No Apologies track to Smudge and informed my listeners of my plans to put her down the next day I was a wreck, and in tears on air.
As soon as that red light went off in the on-air studio both Andrea Swensson and Jim McGuinn were waiting outside the door to comfort me. It was HUGE to me and meant so much.
My work friends gave me strength during the hardest time in my life. Not to mention a bottle of Patron tequila on my desk.
I invited some people over for a memorial in my backyard to bury her ashes.
Dave Campbell came the day before and helped me dig the hole. Cue Father John Misty… “Someone’s gotta help me dig.” That song will forever remind me of our friendship and of Campbell on his knees in the dirt in my backyard, saying, “I’ve never had a friend ask me to dig a grave before.”
The next day several of my coworkers surrounded me with support and loving feelings as I said goodbye and laid her ashes in the tiny hole in my garden. Everyone took a turn and scooped some dirt over her final resting place as I suddenly realized I couldn’t do it alone.
She was buried in a box in a blue velvet bag with gold lettering. After the deed was done the awesome Jill Riley broke the sad tension by asking me if I had buried Smudge in a Crown Royal bag. I can always count on my friends at work to make me laugh even through tears.
At this time of year I sincerely thank my lucky stars that I get to do a job that I love, for an audience that loves us for what we do. Perhaps it’s ironic then, that a highlight of the year was my recent vacation! It was my first week long yoga and meditation retreat, which instilled more discipline into my practice. I hope you’ll be able to hear the results.
Happy T-Day everyone and thanks for listening!
Leah Garaas, Digital and Marketing
I’m thankful for Poliça’s UBS Forum performance—not only does the new material sound incredible, but it’s also encouraging to have someone with community impact like Channy take your otherwise personal thoughts and put them into words for others to hear.
Jade, Host and Producer of the Morning Show
I’m incredibly thankful every year that I’m able to get away with having a fun job that actually pays me to enjoy music and talk to the musicians I admire. As a producer for the Current, I deal with a lot of the back end: setting up the interviews, greeting bands/guests when they arrive, and entertaining while they sound check or set up. My favorite part of my job, however, is the Coffee Break on the Road. Meeting all of the people who listen to the station and giving them a little bit of a “thank you” with treats and live music. Caroline Smith at a tiny vegan cheese shop to Josh Ritter at a large ad agency; there is something beautiful about bringing together music and fans. And free coffee doesn’t hurt.
I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to interview Sir Paul McCartney on the phone ahead of his new record New. It still seems like I dreamt it, but I know it happened! There’s proof on the Current website. Not only was it one of my career highlights, but a lifelong dream come true.
Steve Seel, Co-Host of the Morning Show
I’m eternally thankful that this community has enabled a radio station like this to exist, where we can do the things we do and actually get away with them. We celebrate good music and the people who play it. It’s simple but tragically rare. I thank our listeners every single day.
Personally, though, I’m more grateful than anything for my amazing family—my son Ben who keeps me in a state of awe every single day, and my beautiful wife Jessica who is the only person I can imagine sharing that awe with.
Bill DeVille, Weekend Host
I’ve been to several funerals this year and seen several have life-threatening illnesses. I’m just happy to have my health, my family and a job that I LOVE.
Lindsay Kimball, Assistant Program Director
I’m thankful for all the friends and family that celebrated our wedding with us AND danced their faces off to a lot of LCD Soundsystem. Such a memorable day filled with lots of love and fun.
Andrea Swensson, Blogger
There were so many musical highlights this year—the Replacements show in Toronto will go down as one of my most electric live music experiences of all time, and I somehow got to see Prince play “Nothing Compares 2 U” twice. Oh—and then there was the time when Prince waved his cane in the air and boogied down from the balcony while everyone at the Skyway Theatre went nuts to Janelle Monae’s performance “Q.U.E.E.N.”
But my favorite moment of the year was a quiet one, and it’s one that fills me with so much gratitude for my friends and family and musical life. As my parents walked me down the aisle on a beautiful and hot day this summer, I got to smile at my soon-to-be-husband while two of my favorite vocalists, Lizzo and Lydia Hoglund, sang the Beatles’ “I Will.” I wish I could pause that moment in time and replay it again and again. I’ll never forget it.
Jon Schober, Music Assistant and Producer
This year went by too quickly—the result of life gathering steam as we grow older. I tried to be cognizant of important moments in my life during 2013 so that I could take a breath and remember for years to come. I failed a lot of the time—chalk it up to a hyperactive head—but there are still plenty of times to look back on over the past 11 months. I’m thankful that I’ll be an uncle for the first time to a little Schober boy. I’m thankful my dad is getting better mentally and physically after returning from the Middle East, and that the years of trauma and stress are fading as he enters the next chapter of his life. For my mother, my best friend who I call too many times a week to catch up with to get all the gossip. And for all the trips I was able to take this year, the best and most enlightening being my time on Fire Island in September. There are places and people who change your outlook on life—that little piece of land and the family I was there with was a big instance of that this year.
And how could I forget the Current staff. I came to this station at 20 years old. I didn’t talk. I wasn’t sure if anyone liked me. I was afraid because I was so young. Three years later and I have fostered brilliant and beautiful relationships with this tight group. They deemed me “Baby Schobes,” and I felt like I had a surrogate family 1,000 miles away from my real one in Texas. Lots of love, and Happy Thanksgiving crew.
I’m thankful for being able to observe the weird ways that our little cul-de-sac of pop culture gets passed through to other people, both young and old. At my son’s preschool, they did a project on family members, and asked the kids to say something about everyone in their family. For me, my son said, “My dad likes to work at the radio station all night;” being on the radio is just something his dad does, like other parents are teachers or doctors or bricklayers. My kids are also amused by the concept of silly band names (Yuck and Eels are two favorites), so we played a game the other day where I asked them what silly band names they could come up with. They started calling them out. “The Pictures! The Movies! The Dads!,” then they thought for a minute, and my son added, “Exercise!” I thought, I cannot believe there hasn’t been a band named Exercise (it sounds like some post-chillwave act that will start blowing up Tumblr in 2014). Whenever we think we’ve exhausted all the possible ideas on earth, it’s heartening to observe that the next generation has its creative juices flowing, even at an early age.
The Current was a staple in our house this summer—literally, as we spent months refurbishing and remodeling our new house in Stillwater. It was nice to have the station as a constant as we executed various projects and tasks; we knew that once the 10 p.m. specialty shows (New Hot, Time Machine, H2) rolled around, it was our signal that it was getting late, and we usually wound up staying at the house until they were over, anyway. My father-in-law would come up to me and say, “What’s that really annoying song that—” and he didn’t even need to finish before I could confidently reply that the song he was thinking of was Disclosure’s “When a Fire Starts to Burn.” Speaking strictly as a listener, the Current was a constant companion, and was the soundtrack to many memorable times.
Jake Rudh, Host of Transmission
I’m thankful to live in such a creative community that finds it important to support both public radio and television. I’m also thankful for David Bowie.
I’m thankful for a lot of things this year. I got to interview Beck—which was a career highlight—and I’m grateful to all the artists who contributed to that project, including producer John Miller. I’m so glad to work at a place that lets me stretch like that, and even more grateful for the thousands of members that make the Current possible for me, not just as an employee, but as a loyal listener, too.
On a personal note, after being told five years ago that I wouldn’t likely bear children, I welcomed a daughter into the world this year. (She was 20 minutes shy of being a Rock the Garden baby!) I am flush with gratitude for her, for her totally hands-on father, and for the friends and family who are helping raise her. 2013 was an excellent year.
Derrick Stevens, Producer
I’m thankful for family and friends.
Life is short and tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. This past year, I’ve lost several people that were close to me and it made me realize just how short and sweet life really is.
Hold on and reach out to those people that mean the most to you. When your loved ones pass away, the only thing left are the memories, so cherish them.