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An Open Letter from Joe Johnson, Knick Knack Records:

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This is a re-post of a contest that we ran in January of 2012.  There were no winners.  Only losers.


On a cold Friday in January, I watched The Foghorns belt out their tunes to an exuberant, sold out crowd at Comet Tavern, and I had a small revelation. The first band I ever released on Knick Knack Records did something great. Truly great. And I had a part in it: I released one of the best albums of 2011. 

And I’ve watched the band play their material to full houses throughout Seattle throughout 2011, including the Tractor Tavern, High Dive, Comet, Blue Moon, an amazing Christmas show at Hattie’s Hat, and the Noise for the Needy Festival. The Foghorns have nailed every show-- they’re always authentic, powerful, and emotionally stunning.

As 2012 rolls in, my label will release our second record, this one from Seattle’s legendary psychedelic delta blues band GravelRoad. Before we do, I’d like to give one shout out to our first band, and to myself for choosing them. The Foghorns are among the best live bands in Seattle. And their first album with us, To the Stars on the Wings of a Pig, is the best damn album of 2011-- by any band. No other band had the intelligence, the emotional resonance, or the fearless sonic approach that, to me, hearkens a contemporary take on the great albums of Neil Young and the Rolling Stones.

So for 2012, I’d like to offer everyone reading a challenge. I guarantee you the album I released in 2011 is the best you’ll hear from that year. Go to my site, and you can have the digital download for free. Simply enter coupon code BESTOF2011 at the checkout after you’ve added the album download to your shopping cart. If you like it, think about buying it. If you don’t, name me a better album. I’ll listen to it. If there is anything in the same category as The Foghorns’ last album, I’ll give you $40 in free store credit. No strings attached. (Because there is a possibility that I missed some great music in 2011, I’m ready to give away two $40 credits. But there are rules, which are below.)

Hey, by the way, on February 4th, The Foghorns play Columbia City Theater with James Apollo and Virgin of the Birds. 


The Foghorns’ To The Stars on the Wings of a Pig is a Great Damn Album Contest Rules
E-mail entries to

1. Album submitted must be rock, blues, country, folk, or some mix. We will judge on four categories: originality, lyrical integrity, overall theme, and ability to hold interest over multiple listenings. 
2. Limit two submissions per household. 
3. If there are some great albums that are actually better than our first release, we will send the $40 credit to the person who submits that album name FIRST. We have the money to do this for only two albums.
4. We will announce if there are any winners. 
5. Knick Knack will respond to submissions. Therefore, responses may take a while. 
6. Presenting an argument as to how each submission is better in some way than The Foghorns album would be a strategically advantageous way to go with this contest. BUT, we reserve the right to reproduce and post your submissions, and possibly argue against them in an antagonistic manner. 
7. We aren’t joking about this. If there’s a better album, we’ll gladly pay you the money for turning us onto it. We’re really friggin into music. 
8. Contest entries must be received by February 29, 2012