Americana UK Readers End of Year Poll 2008
Ok, here it is, the long awaited list of what you think were the highlights of 2008.
In the main you were all pretty much agreed so with two exceptions, of which more below, we haven’t put in full lists, just winners, as that avoids having something at number 10 that only got one vote.
So, pause for drum roll…let the envelope opening begin.
Album of the Year - 2008
- 1. The Felice Brothers - “The Felice Brothers”
We said: "…as Americana as you can get, you can't just hear it, it flows through you like last night's booze, leaving you wanting more when it's gone. If someone were to ask you "what is Americana?" you could give them this album soaked, as it is, in tradition and authenticity and know you were giving them a true American original…"
- 2. Bon Iver - "For Emma, Forever Ago"
Famous shack dweller Justin Vernon knocked this little masterpiece off over the space of four months with, it seems, only the snow for company. There must be something in the (frozen) water up Wisconsin way. Sample lyric: "Only love is all maroon/ Lapping lakes like leery loons/ Leaving rope burns-- reddish ruse." Fabulously understated Americana.
- 3. Fleet Foxes - "Fleet Foxes"
Synthesising a plethora of musical styles from folk, rock, pop and more these guys are flavour of the month in many quarters, not just here at Americana-UK. Their rustic aesthetic is enhanced by their ability to seemingly harmonise any vocal. Fine Americana indeed. And a debut so the promise of lots more to come
Artist of the Year - 2008
- 1. Neil Young
- 2. Bruce Springsteen
- 3. Leonard Cohen
Confirming that 2008 was the year when the oldies reasserted themselves our winners have a combined age of 196. Leonard Cohen was the must see of the UK live circuit with Neil Young not far behind (when he wasn’t working on his Archives project, which judging by what’s been released so far could well be an essential purchase in it’s entirety. As for the Boss, the new album appears to be continuing his purple patch and live with the E Street Band he still embodies the rock and roll dream.
A mention from the site also for the great Danny Federici, long time organist for the E Streeters, who passed away in November.
Best TV Show of 2008
- Later .... with Jools Holland -There isn’t really anything else is there, and with the addition of Later…Live this remains the only regular music show worth watching.
Best Movie of 2008
- "No Country For Old Men" – In a year replete with good films Javier Bardem and possibly the greatest ever film assassin trumps Daniel Day-Lewis’s There Will be Blood.
Best Radio Show of 2008
- Bob Harris Saturday Night (BBC Radio 2) Despite significantly increasing competition from internet radio (many shows were mentioned but each one only by a few as the tribalisation of music continues apace) The Whisperer still reigns supreme, though interestingly his Saturday, more eclectic, three hours is more popular than the more focussed but shorter Thursday Bob Harris Country.
Best Magazine of 2008
- Word Perennial winners Uncut were finally ousted this year, and with the sad demise of No Depression (though it does still have a website) the way was clear for Word (or The Word, if you must – we’d rather not) to sweep to the front. “Home Of Intelligent Life On Planet Rock” is their strap line, and they’re right.
Hero of the Year: Barack Obama
Well yes, and who else was it going to be? Brits may remember Tony Blair and 1997 and fear a false dawn, but this is still a sea change in America and hopefully the rest of the world too.
Villian of the Year: The Banks
Again, who else was it going to be? Lots of different ways of saying the same people here but in essence you all railed against the combination of greed and incompetence that characterised the world’s financial institutions.
A (dis)honourable mention to Sarah Palin, a woman so disturbing, bizarre and just plain wrong that it’s hard to think of a single positive thing to say about her, except that if she runs in 2012 it should improve Obama’s chances of a second term.
So that’s the lot. Many thanks to all of you who voted.
The winner of the Readers Poll draw was David Johnston