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Editor’s Note: Welcome 2021, We’ve Been Waiting for You

It’s been a long, long year. Same number of seconds, minutes and hours, yes, but I think we can all agree that it sure felt a lot longer than most trips around the sun.

The other day I bought two holiday cards, one to send to each daughter. The first is silver and white and a bit sparkly, with Peace Joy Love written across the front. Very traditional; it’s going to Molly and her family in Toronto. The other says Peace Out 2020. A bit odd, I admit, for an end-of-year holiday greeting; it’s going to Jesse and her boyfriend here in Oakland.

It wasn’t until I sat down to write them each a note that I began thinking about the two messages on the front. Typically, this time of year is full of celebration and anticipation. Presents under the tree! Food and drink and time off! A new year is coming! Resolutions! A fresh start! But for the past few months, I’ve found myself more often just wishing that 2020 would end. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s indicative of my mind set. It’s been a long, long year. Same number of seconds, minutes and hours, yes, but I think we can all agree that it sure felt a lot longer than most trips around the sun.

Still, my routine has not been as disrupted as most, and I’m not the type of personality to dwell on the negative. While I do think certain aspects of daily life will be forever changed by the introduction of Covid-19, and now its variants, I also think we will be returning to some sense of normalcy this year, at least to the point where every trip to the grocery store is not filled with anxiety.

With that spirit in mind, here are a few things I’m looking forward to in 2021.

  • I’m looking forward to seeing some live music. In person! The last time I saw musicians on a stage, I believe, was NAMM 2020 in Anaheim. While my nights out aren’t as frequent as they once were, I’m still jonesing for some loud guitar and a funky rhythm section, something to get the body moving besides a 30-minute walk in the neighborhood. The impact of the pandemic and resultant shutdowns has absolutely devastated the concert and live event industries, more so than any segment of the entertainment universe. And the impact extends to the venues, vendors, crews, manufacturers and parking attendants. A crushing blow. We need live music. We need our friends to get their jobs back.
  • I look forward to going to see a movie again. In a theater! Thank goodness for the streaming services and their partnerships with the film and television production studios in getting content out to screens, even if they’ve been smaller screens. But I still miss a big movie in a big theater. One of the great experiences of my adult life was taking my children to opening day of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring at the Grand Lake Theater in downtown Oakland. Watching them, ages 10 and 11, gripping their armrests and bouncing around in their seats, wanting to whisper to me but knowing they shouldn’t. Frodo and Sam, Gandalf and orcs. A full house. That is magic. And we need to get some of it back.
  • I look forward to having a six-hour dinner with Dan Zimbelman at his Oxford Inn in Maryland or a restaurant of his choosing in Las Vegas at next fall’s AES Show. I would love to sit down in New York City with Troy Germano, sharing a beer in his control room. I can’t wait to fly into Nashville and stop by Blackbird Studio for a visit with John McBride, then head to Ocean Way to pick up Pat McMakin for a night on his back patio, just sipping a fine bourbon, swapping a few stories about the past year and listening to some good music.
  • I can’t wait to visit Rose Mann Cherney in Los Angeles. I miss her.
  • Six months ago I wouldn’t have said this, but I’m actually looking forward to attending a trade show. In person! During the first few months of the shutdowns, it was almost a relief that I didn’t have to travel. The break was nice. Well, that’s over.
  • I look forward to seeing my parents, Jim and Mary. They’re 87 and 84 and doing well, but I miss them. I’m used to spending two to three months a year in Indiana. I come from a large family, and we enjoy gathering. Our day will come.
  • I look forward to fewer Zoom and Google Meet sessions. I love technology, and I applaud the rapid acceptance, but just a tad fewer…
  • And finally, I look forward to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, this month’s cover boys, winning Best New Artist at the 2022 Grammy Awards. After 40 years of making hits for others, these two legends (and two of the nicest and most engaging gentlemen you will find anywhere) will be putting out their first album as artists in 2021. I love that at this point in their career, they’re still as excited as a couple of teenage boys back in Minneapolis.

My best wishes to you and yours as we open up to 2021. May it be a much better year for us all.

Tom Kenny
Editor, Mix