In a sea of unsolicited pitches from publicists I've never met promoting artists I've never heard of came an email I get every year about this time and I always look forward to receiving.
Except this year, something different happened.
In my zeal to keep my inbox clean (a Sisyphean task if ever there was one), I deleted the email.
Heavens to Murgatroyd!
Thankfully, I have a good memory, so when it came time to brainstorm the idea for this week's column, I remembered receiving the email and there it was, sitting in my cluttered deleted-items folder waiting for me impatiently, as if to say "You can't quit me."
You're right, I can't!
That email was the annual audience survey sent out by Lowell Summer Music Series organizers, who ask perennial questions like what recipients like about the series and what can be improved.
But it's the part where LSMS officials ask recipients to check boxes on the artists they would like to see from a predetermined (i.e., prequalified) list that whets my appetite (though not for destruction -- Guns 'n' Roses ain't coming here anytime soon).
Again, the list is prequalified so it only includes acts that have a realistic chance of playing Boarding House Park next summer, but it's still stuffed with artists that would make music lovers happy all summer long.
There are nearly 100 acts on the list (98 if my back-of-the-envelope math is correct) and there are usually between 15 and 20 acts in an annual summer lineup, so here's who I'd like to see perform at Boarding House Park from the survey choices, listed in alphabetical order.
America: They haven't played here since 2012, but they are the quintessential outdoor-on-a-summer-night act.
Art Garfunkel: Amazingly, he has never played Lowell.
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Another act that hasn't played here in a long time -- since 2011.
Blondie: They've never played Lowell, but I saw them a few years ago at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion and Deborah Harry still has it.
Blue Oyster Cult: How have they never played Lowell?
Brandi Carlile: She hasn't played here since way back in 2008, and her star has grown lately. She'd be a major get for LSMS.
Charlie Musselwhite: We'd accept Elwood Blues as well, for Musselwhite was supposedly the inspiration for the Dan Aykroyd Blues Brothers character.
Cyndi Lauper: Yes, please.
George Thorogood and the Destroyers: They haven't been here since 2012, as they usually find their way elsewhere in New England, but it would be great to have them back.
Gov't Mule: This would be a coup for LSMS, as they have a rabid following and put on great shows. Frontman Warren Haynes played here in 2011 and 2015.
Kacey Musgraves: She's a pretty major country star, and there's always room for country in the LSMS lineup.
Michael McDonald: He has been touring pretty regularly of late, but he hasn't been to LSMS since 2013. I heard him at Tupelo Music Hall back in February, and he was fantastic.
moe.: Jam bands are always fun outdoors, and they've been here before, way back in 2011. Time to come back.
Rodrigo y Gabriela: I'll keep banging this drum ... or should I say playing this guitar? ... until they come to LSMS. I saw them years ago at the Orpheum, and their energy blew me away.
Rodger Hodgson of Supertramp: He has never played here. They never played here. He's the voice of their biggest hits.
Squeeze: Another classic group that has never played here. There's a lot of room for a lot of hits under the stars.
Todd Rundgren: One of the greatest and most influential acts of all time. But he has never played Lowell. Enough said.)
You've seen my choices. Take the survey and let LSMS know what you'd like to see!