Fredericton’s Mine was a major catalyst for the year that was and the year that will be.
Matt Carter | @m_j_c73
When reviewing the last 340+ days of Fredericton music in preparation for an end-of-year feature, I read some past articles, recapped some exceptional live performances and went through an entire year of CHSR’s weekly charts in hopes of refreshing my over stimulated brain in an attempt to not overlook something of significance from the past nearly 12 months. That’s where this began.
I had originally planned to write a feature that recapped CHSR’s top charting albums by Fredericton artists. I combed through every weekly chart I could find and that’s when it became clear that one release seemed to tower above everything else. Fredericton’s Mine was the number one album on the city’s community airwaves for 10 weeks, easily making it the most popular album of the year. Nothing else even came close to that.
Released in May of this year in digital-only format, Fredericton’s Mine is a two volume, 41 track omnibus chronicling recordings made mostly over the previous six months or so by active Fredericton musicians. For many of us, it served as a state-of-the-union address – a reminder to anyone who may have ever doubted the diversity and sheer volume of music coming out of this city. A new testament, if you will.
Fredericton’s Mine was a project conceived and delivered by the Shifty Bits Cult, that small cabal of enthusiastic go-getters who have been championing the city’s art scene for the past few years, and it was first announced during the inaugural SBC town hall meeting early in the year. Part music collection – part art exhibit – each track in the collection was written and performed by a Fredericton musician and paired with an image created by a local artist.
It reminded us of who we are and what we can accomplish.
I use the word “ambitious” a lot when describing many of the arts events that take place over the course of the year. Though maybe overused, I stand behind the term based solely on the fact that there exists an incredible artistic drive in this city. A drive that more often than not, leads to the successful delivery of some pretty remarkable things. Whether we’re talking about PERISH, the new festival that debuted this year delivering an impressive range of performances on a shoestring budget, or the recently announced Front Porch Records, a collective of city musicians working together to put the city on the country’s musical map, the city’s arts scene has a very admirable “we can accomplish anything” attitude that is equal parts infectious and motivating.
At this moment in time, at this particular place in our collective lives, it would seem that the sky’s the limit. On several levels we have the SBC to thank for reminding us that nothing is impossible. But more importantly, I think we as a community are just starting to realize what we’re capable of. 2015 was the year we rolled up our sleeves, rubbed our hands together as said “OK. Let’s do this”.
Fredericton’s Mine was a major catalyst for the year that was and the year that will be. It reminded us of who we are and what we can accomplish. And for these reasons, I feel this collection deserves to be hailed as Fredericton’s 2015 Album of the Year. It’s an exciting time to be in this place.