Americana UK Writers’ Best of 2009
So, 12 months on from, oooh, what was it now? 2008. A year without a Ryan release, which is like something much rarer than a leap year, but still there was a lot else to hook in to, including big new releases from established Americana giants like Son Volt and Richmond Fontaine, along with new records from newer bands such as Mumford and Sons and the Great Lake Swimmers, some of which you’ll find in the list below. Don’t forget you can still vote for your favourite records of the year up until December 31st and we’ll publish the results in the new year. In the meantime here now you can find our overall top ten for the year followed by individual writers’ lists. Let us know if you disagree - we’re sure you will with quiet dignity!
- 1. The Duke & the King "Nothing Gold Can Stay" This wasn’t one to be honest that we all agreed on but to be fair, the doubters were in a minority and like the Chinese with noodles (as someone said in the Lost Boys) how can that many people be wrong? As one writer put it "a combination of genuine soul and classic songwriting with scarcely a note wasted leaves you hungry for more."(KR)
- 2. Great Lake Swimmers "Lost Channels" Folk tinged americana perfection, atmospheric and dripping with thoughtful lyrics. (JA)
- 3. Wilco "Wilco (The Album)" Tweedy & Co get the mix of sonic adventure and honest great pop songs perfectly right, in turn making their best since 'Yankee...' ..and this year's live shows were a revelation too. (IF)
- 4. Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More" The band everyone loves to hate or hates to love – or in this case, love to love. Handsome and talented – bastards! (MW)
- 5. Sam Baker "Cotton" Heartbreakingly beautiful tale of forgiveness from this amazing Austin, TX songwriter. (SM)
- 6. Bill Callahan "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" Quite simply a master of his craft. (DC) Although the promo version with comedy carhorns still beats the general release (MW)
- 7. Son Volt "American Central Dust" Jay Farrar goes back to his roots and rediscovers his mojo with an album of classic alt.country (JS)
- 8. The Felice Brothers "Yonder is the Clock" A brilliant album from one of the most defining bands of the decade (WB)
- 9. Gurf Morlix "Last Exit Happy Land" (Own label) After years making others sound good now it’s his turn (MH)
- 10. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit "Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit" Isbell”s new backing band are a welcome addition and this is better than anything the Drive-By Truckers have done in years. (DH)
Writers’ Individual Lists:
Jonathan Aird, Staff Writer:
- 1. Bob Dylan "Together Through Life" Dylan continues his revival with another batch of consistently fine songs.
- 2. Steve Martin "The Crow" Sophisticated banjo playing of a lifetime's beautifully crafted little gems.
- 3. Manassas "Pieces" More than just the scraping's of the barrel - the proof that Down The Road could have also been a fine double album.
- 4. Crosby Stills and Nash "Demos" Vibrant early and alternative versions of some of their best known songs, still astonishing in their most stripped down recordings.
- 5. Steve Cropper & Felix Cavilaire "Nudge it up a notch" It's as if Stax never went away.
- 6. The Decemberists "The Hazards of Love" The finest baroque folk prog concept album of the year.
- 7. Great Lake Swimmers "Lost Channels" Folk tinged americana perfection, atmospheric and dripping with thoughtful lyrics.;
- 8. Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express "Let Freedom Ring"The greatest rock band in the world present a knock-out politically astute album.
- 9. Stephanie Finch "Cry Tomorrow" Mrs Chuck Prophet heads up the band and delivers a sassy treat.
- 10. Steve Earle "Townes (Deluxe Edition)" Steve offers the album up twice, cleaned up is ok but the demos are the business.
Will Bray, Staff Writer:
- 1. The Felice Brothers "Yonder is the Clock"A brilliant album from one of the most defining bands of the decade.
- 2. Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir "Ten Thousand"Pure, natural sound by pure, natural talent.
- 3. Monsters of Folk "Monsters of Folk"A monster of a super group, totally empowering.
- 4. Left Lane Cruiser "All You Can Eat"Bar brawling, in your face punk blues.
- 5. The Lucky Strikes "The Chronicles of Solomon Quick"Fusing widescreen Americana, garage blues and bar room rock and roll.
- 6. Dan Auerbach "Keep It Hid"Gospel blues driven by the heart and soul.
- 7. The Low Anthem "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin"An enchanting collection of raw, folk Americana.
- 8. Brimstone Howl "Big deal: What’s he done lately?" A car crash of punk blues, messy, gritty and stinking of rock ‘n’ roll.
- 9. Little Tybee "Building A Bomb" Wonderfully creative and nothing but inspiring.
- 10. Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More" This will open doors for British Americana.
David Cowling, Lead Writer:
- 1. Bill Callahan "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" Quite simply a master of his craft.
- 2. Volcano Choir "Unmap" Finally a use for Bon Iver and a welcome inclusion for Collections of Colonies of Bees
- 3. The Very Best "Warm Heart of Africa" Exuberant African music mixed with a bit of Indie to create something joyous
- 4. The Dirty Projectors "Bitte Orca" It seems so much more substantial than the Animal Collective, it rocks but not in ways that you might expect
- 5. The Feelies "Crazy Rhythms" Nearly 30 years old and still sounding fresher than most of the young pretenders
- 6. Antlers "Hospice" The kind of record that invites you in and the longer you stay the harder it is to leave
- 7. Japandroids "Post-Nothing" The record I enjoyed the most from the new lo-fi underground, closely followed by Real Estate, Hush Arbours, Wavves
- 8. Avett Brothers "I and Love and You" The move to a major lable did nothing but add to their growing reputation, they are as good at this sort of thing as anyone
- 9. Malcolm Middleton "Waxing Gibbous" Perhaps the review album that I loved the most this year, it infected me from the off
- 10. Andrew Bird "Noble Beat/Useless Creatures" Everyone deserves the right to meander and whistle
Del Day, Staff Writer:
- 1. Austin Lucas "Somebody Loves You" Lucas is a man-mountain in size and stature with a heart that pounds a rhythm of heartache, hope and honest humanity.
- 2. Israel Nash Gripka "New York Town" An unbridled gem from start to finish Gripka embodies classic era Creedence with the craft and guile of a renegade Ryan Adams
- 3. Chris Smither "Time Stand Still" There is something about Smither that makes him the ideal fireside companion on a journey through the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
- 4. Chip Taylor "Yonkers NY" Wonderful memories of growing up in Yonkers with his two brothers as their hopes and dreams are realised (and quashed) that is both a social insight and a loving collection of anecdotes
- 5. Devon Sproule "Don”t Hurry For Heaven" There is an honesty to Sproule's songs that is charming and hugely attractive. A loving paean to life's simplistic joy.
- 6. Danny Schmidt "Instead The Forest Rose To Sing" Like reading a copy of "Leaves Of Grass" accompanied by some exquisite guitar playing. A wordy, insightful masterpiece.
- 7. Magnolia Electric Co. "Josephine" Finally! I get it now. Molina is that lyrical genius and heart-stirring American realist everyone keeps telling me about. Got it.
- 8. Josh Small "Tall" A lo-fi gem that wears a spectral shroud and takes the meaning of understated to a new level.
- 9. Leo Rondeau " At The End Of The Bar" The sort of record that should be blaring out of every jukebox in the land. Honky tonkin heaven.
- 1. Kieran Kane " Somewhere Beyond The Roses" Banjo, baritone sax, and gritty country. ;Yes, it works. It does. I promise.
Phil Edwards, Staff Writer:
- 1. Joshua Singleton "Joshua Singleton " Exponent of BIG songs that, like Jeff Caudill and Jack Ingram, deserve to be heard in stadiums.
- 2. Sam Baker "Cotton" The third and final album of the trilogy that's hopefully bought him closure.
- 3. Hey Negrita "Burn the Whole Place Down" A studio acoustic thang, with a live vibe.
- 4. Warren Gaskell "Beautiful Failure" Manchester boy does good. Takes a few listens to get it, but when you do, it's spot on.
- 5. Eric Brace & Peter Cooper "You Don't Have to Like Them Both" Musician meets journalist - they form a band. Release a good album.
- 6. Gurf Morlix "Last Exit to Happyland" Legendary producer proves he's as good as the rest of the them. No in fact, he's better.
- 7. Josh Harty "A Long List of Lies " Second album has been a while coming, but hell it's good.
- 8. Andrew Morris "Longbeach EP" New boy does good and big things beckon. Watch out for him.
- 9. The Walkabouts ”Got No Chains" A double CD that includes covers by other artists, hopefully bringing them to a wider audience.
- 10. The Story's "Live EP Part One" The Welsh band doing what they do best. Harmonising like their life depends on it, live.
Ian Fildes, Reviews Editor:
- 1. Lloyd Cole "Cleaning Out The Ashtrays" Exquisite 4-Disc box of almost lost delights. One of England's finest songwriters clears the vaults in this almost faultless collection of literate pop genius
- 2. Manic Street Preachers "Journal For Plague Lovers" Yeah ok, Richey's shadow loomed large, but this blistering return to form belongs firmly to the interpretive melodic talents of James Dean Bradfield. An unexpectedly blinding career highlight
- 3. Wilco "Wilco (The Album)" Tweedy & Co get the mix of sonic adventure and honest great pop ;songs perfectly right, in turn making their best since 'Yankee...' ..and this year's live shows were a revelation too
- 4. Tom Freund "Collapsible Plans" After years in the sidelines Ben Harper's right hand man turns in a stunning set of crafted gems. Americana of a truly superior vintage
- 5. JBM "Not even in July" Evocative and touching debut album from Actor Jesse Marchant. Heir to Ryan Adams' sensitive poetic melancholy
- 6. Camera Obscura "My Maudlin Career" Glasgow's best band didn't stray far from their 'Phil-Spector-Does-Gothic-Country' formula this time around, but these luscious melancholic pop symphonies delight more and more with repeated plays
- 7. The Hush Now "Constellations" Ambitious Bostonian alt-rockers lose the hazy effects, find the 'turbo boost' button and make a play for the major league with second stunner in a row
- 8. Elvis Costello "Secret Profane & Sugarcane" T-Bone Burnett aided Costello make this stripped down acoustic country record. As ever, the songwriting is as colourful, intelligent and razor sharp as we've come to expect
- 9. The Cribs "Ignore The Ignorant"‘ What on earth is Johnny Marr, one of the world's finest guitarists, doing with a scrappy trio of Wakefield punks' we wondered? Seamlessly weaving his 6-string magic into one of England's best bands career pinnacle, that's what!
- 10. The Twilight Sad "Forget The Night Ahead" Dark as midnight, powerful as a juggernaught, Tender as the breeze and noisy as a jet taking off. This Scottish band's second was thrilling, when it wasn't terrifyingly sad
Keith Hargreaves, Staff Writer:
- 1. The Shaky Hands "Let it Die" In with a bullet, it’s fresh, exciting and vital.
- 2. Wilco "Wilco (The Album)" Tweedy has hit his 2nd purple patch with delightful tunes and complex emotions and melodies.
- 3. Richmond Fountaine "We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River" their best yet with Willy hitting his stride as the most enlightened and enlightening chronicler of America’s true heart.
- 4. Various "7 Worlds Collide" A gorgeous album of songs what The Golden Smog should have come up with last time.
- 5. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit "Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit" Crunchy and yet chewy pop/rock with a Southern flavour and a Muscle Shoals sensibility.
- 6. Mark Olson & Gary Louris "Ready for the Flood" A long time coming and more mellow than expected but with some beautiful moments.
- 7. Monsters of Folk "Monsters of Folk" A whole from such diverse backgrounds – modern poetic music.
- 8. Jim Jones "Daylight and Stars" As John Martyn heads off the new one rides in. Mellow, mystical and shivery.
- 9. The Beatles "The Beatles – Remastered" Essential.
- 10. Susan Boyle "I Dreamed a Dream" The naysayers be damned, the best recorded vocal performance of a generation.
David Harry, Staff Writer:
- 1. Magnolia Electric Co. "Josephine" Tragic, timeless and triumphant, "Josephine" is the best thing Molina's done, and thatis saying something.
- 2. The Duke & The King "Nothing Gold Can Stay" Heart-aching and beautiful, this one hits you in the gut.
- 3. The Felice Brothers "Yonder Is The Clock" Somehow manages to better last years "The Felice Brothers".
- 4. Grandy Duch "Petit Fours" Delirious electro-lunacy from Mr. & Mrs. Frank Black
- 5. Eels "Hombre Lobo" A big sound and an even bigger beard for Mr. E.
- 6. Various Artists "Introducing Townes Van Zandt Via the Great Unknown" More variety than Steve Earle's better known "Townes", this is a fitting tribute to a true alt-country hero.
- 7. Great Lake Swimmers "Lost Channels" Tony Dekker”s is a mesmerising front man and apart from the odd misguided nod to REM, Great Lake Swimmers have a sound all of their own.
- 8. Kieran Kane "Somewhere Beyond the Roses" Subtle and powerful, this is mature songwriting
- 9. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit "Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit" Isbell's new backing band are a welcome addition and this is better than anything the Drive-By Truckers have done in years
- 10. Shield Your Eyes "Shield Em" A last minute mention for the loudest and most exciting new British Band
John Hawes, Staff Writer:
- 1. Austin Lucas "Somebody Loves You" "Shoulders", "Singing Man", "Somebody Loves You", the songs, the voice, the strings.
- 2. The Penny Black Remedy "No Ones Fault But Your Own" They captured their live sound better than I dared to think possible.
- 3. Milk Kan "Milk Kan""Don’t It Suck That You Gotta Grow Up"reaches out to my inner child.
- 4. The Duke & The King "The Duke & the King" It feels like a complete work rather than a collection of great songs
- 5. Starless & Bible Black "The Shape of the Shape" "Les Furies"does it for me.
- 6. The Grit "Straight Out The Alley" Psycobilly Ska Punk at it’s best.
- 7. Todd Snider "The Excitement Plan" Wonderfully Lo-fi and as acerbic as ever.
- 8. Tinariwen "Imidiwan Companions" Saw them before I’d heard of them, bought this as soon as I got home.
- 9. Diana Jones "Better Times Will Come" Her voice slays me.
- 10. Polly Scattergood "Polly Scattergood" Even though my favourite track didn’t make the final cut (and an Essex girl – gotta support your own)
Maurice Hope, Staff Writer:
- 1. Danny Schmidt "Instead The Forest Rose To Sing" (Red Hose) A singer-songwriter, guitarist set to become a major player
- 2. Malcolm Holcombe "For The Mission Baby "(Echo Mountain) Great stories delivered by a voice sharp and rustic sound
- 3. Chris Smither "Time Stands Still" (Signature Sounds) The master of the folk blues groove at his mercurial best
- 4. The Band Of Heathens "One Foot In The Ether" (Blue Rose) Americana Band-like music that stands as stout as Mt Rushmore
- 5. Kieran Kane "Somewhere Beyond the Roses" (Dead Reckoning / Compass) When it comes to music with drive Kane is tops
- 6. Lyle Lovett "Natural Forces" (Hump Head) Superb musicianship, songs and an incredible vocal talent
- 7. Sam Baker "Cotton" (Music Road Records) Unique, short sharp lyrics that cut to the bone
- 8. Levon Helm "Electric Dirt" (Vanguard) Direct, earthy Americana roots music steeped in soulful values
- 9. Gurf Morlix "Last Exit Happy Land" (Own label) After years making others sound good now it’s his turn
- 10. Various "Man Of Somebody’s Dreams; Tribute to Chris Gaffney" (Yep Roc) Great songs matched by the performances of the sublime cast
Soren McGuire, Interviews Editor:
- 1. Sam Baker "Cotton" Heartbreakingly beautiful tale of forgiveness from this amazing Austin, TX songwriter.
- 2. Danny Schmidt "Instead The Forest Rose To Sing" He'll probably hate me for saying this, but damnit, Danny Schmidt must be the new Townes Van Zandt!
- 3. Slaid Cleaves "Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away" The opening track alone put this album a career high for Slaid Cleaves. Stephen King liked it too.
- 4. Son Volt "American Central Dust" As Wilco got weirder and weirder, Jay Farrar got better and better and made his best album since Trace.
- 5. Joe Henry "Blood From Stars" He produced the Ramblin' Jack Elliott record, mixed the Son Volt record and made the dark folk-jazz masterpiece of the year.
- 6. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit "Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit" In a year dominated by The Drive-By Truckers releases, the best songs actually came from their former guitarist, co-singer and songwriter. Oh, the irony.
- 7. Chuck Prophet "Let Freedom Ring" Because rock n'roll albums recorded in Mexico City in the middle of swine-flu scare always end up pretty damn good. Tom Petty'ism for the new millenium
- 8. Nathan Holscher & The Ohio 5 "Hit The Ground" & Will Hoge "The Wreckage" Lovesick thirty-somethings from Cincinatti and Nashville who wrote the songs, Ryan Adams should have written this year. If Adams could still write songs, that is.
- 9. Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More" Toughest choice of the year was between this, The Felices and The Duke & The King, but how the hell do you argue with a song like "Little Lion Man"?
- 10. Kieran Kane "Somewhere Beyond The Roses" Not only did this album set a new record for the use of saxophone on a country record, it also saw the seasoned New York singer take his music in completely new directions
Stu Olds, Web Monkey:
- 1. Soulsavers "Broken"
- 2. Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More"
- 3. Liam Finn & Eliza Jane "Champagne in Seashells"
- 4. Madison Violet "No Fool For Trying"
- 5. Pete Murray "Chance To Goodbye" EP
- 6. Baskery "Fall Among Thieves"
- 7. Les Claypool "Of Fungi and Foe"
- 8. The Deadstring Brothers "Sao Paulo"
- 9. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit "Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit"
- 10. Primus "Pork Soda" (re-release)
Andy Riggs, Staff Writer:
- 1. Neil Young "Archives Vol 1 (Blue Ray)"Over priced? Overdue? Still bloody marvelous.
- 2. Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women "Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women" My Americana artist of the decade.
- 3. Mark Stuart & The Bastard Sons ”Bend In The Road" No more Johnny Cash, still a great country record.
- 4. Salim Nourallah "Constellation" Rhett Miller's producer releases his own opus.
- 5. Jess Klein "Bound To Love" Arrived without any fanfare, Jess takes her place ahead of Lucinda.
- 6. Howard Elliot Payne "Bright Light Ballads" Produced by Ethan, this is a gem of a record.
- 7. The Black Crowes "Before The Frost" Disappeared off the critical radar - still making fine records like this one.
- 8. Ian Hunter "Man Overboard" Crap concerts with the Mott, at 70 Hunter still has his tongue in his cheek and with this brilliant set of songs.
- 9. Wilco "Wilco The Album" Forget the poor reviews, tuck into the terrific songs on this record.
- 10. Drive By Truckers "The Fine Art" Odds & Sods? You're having a laugh – superb.
Kai Roberts, Staff Writer:
- 1. Kieran Kane "Somewhere Beyond the Roses" A visionary album, both lyrically and in terms of its unique instrumental fusion, which deserves to be far more widely known.
- 2. Magnolia Electric Co "Josephine "Jason Molina's most coherent collection of songs to date, haunting in its stark beauty.
- 3. Neko Case "Middle Cyclone" Her complex and individual songwriting continues to develop, whilst her voice is as luxurious as ever.
- 4. Espers "3" The Philadelphia acid-folk illuminati expand their aural palate to produce their most diverse album to date.
- 5. The Duke & the King "Nothing Gold Can Stay" A combination of genuine soul and classic songwriting with scarcely a note wasted leaves you hungry for more.
- 6. Alela Diane "To Be Still" An elegant fusion of acid-folk and country-rock bound together by her gloriously wistful vocals.
- 7. Akron/Family "Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free" An unruly melange of folk, funk, free jazz, psychedelia and sheer noise but from this chaos, a new order arises.
- 8. Sarah Jarosz "Song Up In Her Head" At only 18 she can write songs like Gillian Welch and play mandolin like Chris Thile, without a hint of precociousness.
- 9. Dan Auerbach "Keep It Hid" Freed from the primitivism of the Black Keys, Auerbach expands his sound and produces a psych-blues classic.
- 10. The Unthanks "Here's the Tender Coming" Performs the rare feat of taking traditional folk music in new directions without compromising its authenticity.
Jeremy Searle, Deputy Editor:
- 1. Various "Three Score & Ten: A Voice To the People" Nearly 150 tracks from the seventy years of the world’s oldest independent label, showcasing British folk at its finest.
- 2. Various "The History Of Rhythm And Blues Part 2 – 1942-1952" Just pipped to the top spot, another essential and rollicking collection of our musical roots.
- 3. Jones "Hopeland" Trevor Jones from Mira cle Mile mixes song, poetry and spoken word to beguiling and devastatingly powerful effect.
- 4. Richmond Fontaine "We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River" More of the same it’s true, but Willy Vlautin’s faultless noir vignettes are still as good as Americana gets.
- 5. Chris Wood ”Albion" Career retrospective from the most powerful and relevant artist in British folk today.
- 6. Son Volt "American Central Dust" Jay Farrar goes back to his roots and rediscovers his mojo with an album of classic alt.country.
- 7. Gretchen Peters & Tom Russell "One To The Heart One To the Head" Peters career best, as Russell brings grit to her sweetness and together they create elegiac border country, with "Guadalope" ;and " If I Had A Gun" in particular absolute perfection.
- 8. Tinariwen "Imidiwan – Companions" Touareg pioneers of desert blues make their best album yet.
- 9. Mawkin:Causley "The Awkward Recruit" Folk’s pin-up boys prove they’ve substance as well as style, with Jim Causley’s classic folk voice underpinned by the frighteningly good playing from the Mawkin lads.
- 10. The Felice Brothers "Yonder Is The Clock" Alt.country’s ragged ramblers transcend their debt to The Band with a raw and rootsy set.
Mark Whitfield, Editor:
- 1. Snowglobe "No Need to Light a Night Light on a Night Like Tonight" The best band to ever come out of Memphis just got better
- 2. Parlour Steps "The Hidden Names" They may veer onto Coldplay territory from time to time but on top of cracking melodies the arrangements are simply amazing.
- 3. Bill Callahan "Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle" The version with carhorns or course.
- 4. John Wesley Harding "Who Was Changed & Who Was Dead" JWH was changed, and back into the kind of melodic masterpiece maestro he once was
- 5. Great Lake Swimmers "Lost Channels" Great Lake Swimmers or Great Lakes? The battle goes on and it’s 3-2 to the former on the basis of this
- 6. Pájoro Sunrise "Done / Undone" Simple, understated lo-fi folk, but with... shock, horror... melodies
- 7. Malcolm Middleton "Waxing Gibbous" Mr Middleton suddenly discovers optimism – well, not in spades, but it’s still an incredibly addictive record
- 8. Richard Shindell "Not Far Now" The music might sound straightforward (albeit with an incredibly strong sense of melody) but the lyrics are something else altogether.
- 9. Idlewild "Post Electric Blues" Picking up where their brethren Teenage Fanclub left off – well, at least until their next record
- 10. Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More" The band everyone loves to hate or hates to love – or in this case, love to love. Handsome and talented – bastards!
Dan Wilkinson, Staff Writer:
- 1. Cracker "Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey" Return to top form for the kings of irreverence
- 2. Wilco "Wilco (The Album)" Proof that Tweedy can still write songs
- 3. Manic Street Preachers "Journal for Plague Lovers" A concept that should never have happened but actually worked.
- 4. Bob Dylan "Together Through Life" Accordian rock for young lovers.
- 5. The Beatles "Revolver" Would appear on a top ten list whatever year it was released.
- 6. Dinosaur Jr "Farm" Loud alt-rock heaven
- 7. Bruce Springsteen "Working on a Dream" The boss, only in widescreen
- 8. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band "Outer South" Love him or hate him Oberst knows how to write a tune.
- 9. The Beatles "Rubber Soul" See Revolver
- 10. Pearl Jam "Backspacer" Vedder and Co discover fun.
Andy Williams, Staff Writer:
- 1 Mark Olson and Gary Louris "Ready for the flood" The Godfathers of Americana return and show the world how it should be done. Genius.
- 2. Indigo Girls "Poseidon and the bitterbug" "Fleet of Hope" makes this worth every penny on its own - they still make it seem so simple.
- 3. Bob Dylan "Together through life" A rollicking stroll through Main Street America. What would music sound like if he hadn't dreampt this all up?
- 4. Lisa Hannigan "Sea Sew" I'm including this because I didn't hear it until this year and the vinyl came out in April. I fall in love again every time I play it.
- 5. The Black Crowes "Before the frost - Until the freeze" (Red Distribuiton, 2009) The best Rock and Roll Band in the world. Period.
- 6. Steve Earle "Townes" An act of friendship and homage to a song writers song writer. Lovingly recorded as only Steve Earle could do.
- 7. Chris Smither "Don't Call Me Stranger" Song writer par excellence returns to dazzle with an album of folk/blues and incredible subtlety.
- 8. Paulo Ntini "Sunny Side Up" I don't care how popular this is - It is an excellent record full of great songs.
- 9. Richmond Fontaine 'We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River' Does exactly what it says on the tin.
- 10. Thea Gilmore "Strange Communion" A Proper Christmas Album full of Proper Christmas Songs - and she's proper luvverly as well (it is christmas after all).