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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

11 Albums

Here are 11 albums I picked up this year that I really think you should hear. Especially the 5 that I put in bold:

1. Juno Soundtrack: Fun movie and equally fun soundtrack highlighted by Kimya Dawson.

2. Melissa Maclellan - Thumbelina's One-Night Stand: This Toronto singer-songwriter opened for Blue Rodeo (after Cuff the Duke got caught in a snowstorm) and stole the show with an incredible sultry-strong voice and great songwriting chops. And she's married to Luke Doucet.

3. Danny Michel - Feather, Fur & Fin: Danny Michell, the little known songster from Kitchener-Waterloo, delivers again and again and again. This is one of his best.

4. Justin Rutledge - Man Descending: This kid continues to impress with his poetic sensibilities and pretty pretty voice.

5. David Myles - Things Have Changed: Originally from New Brunswick, now a Haligonian, his music has a folky jazzy bluesy old-school vibe. Another great songwriter telling stories about how he learned to live.

6. Martin Sexton - Seeds: He is best experienced live (he paid is dues selling tens of thousands of self-made cd's as a Boston busker), but Sexton's incredible vocal range, gorgeous energy, and his ability to exhale complex music like carbon dioxide, make his recorded work well worth the investment.

7. Country & Western: This is a 10-disc compilation of old-time American country circa 1929-1951, talking Jimmie Rodgers, Gene Autry, Jack Guthrie, the Carters, that kinda thing. It was a time and an era and a feel. It's nostalgia on disc and I love it.

8. Kathleen Edwards - Asking for Flowers: There's a strong streak of punk in Canada's new queen of alt-country (make room Neko Case). Her songs are gritty and real, her voice is powerful and true.

9. Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs (Bootleg Series Volume 8): These songs are so good it's hard to believe they were the ones that didn't make the cut on the original discs. Some of these songs I like a lot more than what was originally released. The man's talent just falls off him.

10. Buffy St. Marie - Running for the Drum: Amazing that you can go decades without releasing an album and then come out with something this good. It's really got it all: political songs, love songs, songs of the reservation and home, Canada and America; blues, old time rock-and-roll, hip-hop sampling. When I saw her live this summer she talked about how she got labelled as a folk singer back in the 60s and started writing 'traditional' Irish-style folk diddies to please the masses. You can see with this album just how much she was holding back.

11. Old Man Luekecke - Notes From the Banjo Underground: Somehow I forgot to include this in my original list, even though this is an absolutely fabulous album! It's a few years old now and I don't have his new one yet, but his songwriting is this strange Mark Twainish folk philosophy that is pure genius, all accompanied by gorgeous banjo pickin. Now one of my very favourite albums.


Carrie Ellis said...

The CBC is compiling a list of 49 songs for Obama to listen to. You may want to put forth a few suggestions.

Charles Gramlich said...

Dude, I have to tell you, I pretty much only listen to metal and hard rock.

I bought some Black Label Society, some Rammstein, and some Metallica this year.

Amanda said...

thanks--got some itunes money for Christmas; appreciate your reviews!

Deixis said...

Though with less effusion, I enjoyed the 9th of 11 as well. I also confess having once enjoyed the 7th of 9, but that is neither here nor there. (Well, it may be just a touch there.)

Aside, I do like a top eleven list better than a top ten list - not least because the number eleven is a double numeric rarity - a pretty little palindromic prime. Next year, how about continuing the theme with a nice top 101 CD list?

benjibopper said...

Carrie: I have mixed feelings about the 49-list. On the one hand, I love a good mix tape, but on the other hand I wish Canada had a bit more pride and a bit less need to impress the president of another country.

CG: Had roomies who were into that stuff. The Finns love it too. It's one genre I never really understood. Never got much harder than Black Sabbath.

Amanda: have resisted the i-pod so far, but it's been tempting me lately for some strange reason.

Deixis: ah yes, glad you enjoyed the palindromic prime. 11 also just seems to be the number of albums i really love each year.