Music from the Pandemic Year. (Playlist is in chronological order of posting)

The year 2020 started off well enough.

Then things got weird. The biggest public health crisis in over a century upended our lives. Racial unrest simmered and sometimes boiled over in our cities. Politics in the Trump Era somehow managed to get more contentious and more bizarre than they had been before. And the personal challenges — illnesses, accidents, moves, losses — continued underneath all of the above.

These songs are the lemonade we made from this lemon of a year.

Alan started out the year with a solo track, a religious coming-of-age ballad called “Learn for Myself.”

Then the biggest musical innovation of the year came as a result of the pandemic lockdown, when Alan collaborated with his cousin Tom on the “Pity Party” mini-album. They continued working together on a stellar series of individual tracks, enough to make a solid EP: “Thorn in my Side,” “I’m Getting Better,” “Mind Cavern,” “Love & Kindness,” and “The Fight Within.”

After the site was rebranded as the “Sanderson Music Collaborative,” Tom started posting his solo tracks here as well. He churned out an astonishing number of great recordings this year, often using lyrics from his wife Lori, and some with a bit of input from Alan: “The Inner Ride,” “Tensity Ocean,” “La Guitarra Cantante,” “Fly Like a Bird,” “Life Driven,” “The Arms of Winter,” and “Worth of a Soul.” He also posted two tracks written by his longtime friend and collaborator Scott Church: “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” and “Sister of Fortune.”

Alan spent some time mentoring his musical kids this year, who produced some really catchy tunes: “The Ballad of the California Gold Rush,” “Skydiving,” “Zynspiration,” “Leaving To Go To High School,” and “The Ball Machine.”

Rounding out the year’s family productions is a pair of hymns performed in folk arrangements: “The Iron Rod,” and this year’s Christmas song, “Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains.”

All in all it turned out to be a banner year for our musical output. Not that we’re asking for another year like 2020, though.

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