Monday, January 31, 2011

Down To The Wire (TOTR 116)

The Go-Betweens – The House That Jack Kerouac Built

Jethro Tull – From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser

Paul Simon – A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara’d Into Submission)

Death Cab For Cutie – Bixby Canyon Bridge

Son Volt – Down to the Wire

Son Volt – Roll On

Son Volt – Cocaine and Ashes

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – California Zephyr

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – Low Life Kingdom

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – Williamine

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – All In One

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – Breathe Our Iodine

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – These Roads Don’t Move

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – Big Sur

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – One Fast Move Or I’m Gone

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – Final Horrors

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – Sea Engines

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard – The Void

Son Volt – Highways And Cigarettes

Son Volt – Adrenaline And Heresy

Son Volt – Circadian Rhythm

Son Volt – Methamphetamine

Son Volt – Bicycle Hotel

Bob Weir (The Grateful Dead) – Cassidy

Nina Simone – Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

Monday, January 24, 2011

Prodigal (TOTR 115)

Josh White – Prodigal Son

Steel Pulse – Prodigal Son

OneRepublic – Prodigal

Casting Crowns – Prodigal

Sleepy Eyed Fox – The Prodigal

7th Day Buskers – Prodigal Son

Michelle Shocked – Prodigal Daughter (Cotton Eyed Joe)

Two Gallants – The Prodigal Son

The Rolling Stones – Prodigal Son

Amboy Dukes – Prodigal Man

Bad Religion – Prodigal Son

The Revenants – Prodigal Son

The Gatlin Brothers – Prodigal Son

Hank Williams, Sr. – The Prodigal Son

Dierks Bentley – Prodigal Son’s Prayer

The Blues Preachers – Prodigal Son

The Bill Davison Family – Prodigal Son

Fred Hammond – Prodigal Son

Heavenly Gospel Singers – The Prodigal Son

Fairfield Four – Amazing Grace/The Prodigal Son/I Believe I’ll Go Back Home

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dreams (TOTR 114)

Eurythmics –Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

Meat Loaf – Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through

Fleetwood Mac – Dreams

Talking Heads – City of Dreams

Cold War Kids – Dreams Old Men Dream

TV on the Radio – Dreams

Miracle Fortress – Have You Seen In Your Dreams

Wilco – Dreamer In My Dreams

Iron &Wine – Fever Dream

Adele – Daydreamer

Lightning Dust – Dreamer

Rilo Kiley – Dreamworld

Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris – Beyond My Wildest Dreams

Alison Krauss – Dreaming My Dreams With You

Brandi Carlile– Dreams

Jim Croce – These Dreams

Van Morrison – These Dreams of You

Billy Joel – The River Of Dreams

John Mellencamp – Save Some Time To Dream

Colin Meloy – Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect > Dreams

Tallest Man on Earth – Pistol Dreams

The Allman Brothers Band – Dreams

Yonder Mountain String Band – Dreams

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January Morning (TOTR 113)

Zahir – January Morn

Ian & Sylvia – January Morning

UB40/Chrissie Hynde – Breakfast In Bed

The Band – Orange Juice Blues

Poi dog pondering – Postcard from a dream

Joni Mitchell – Chelsea Morning

Jill Andrews – Sweetest In the Morning

Norah Jones – In The Morning

John Legend – Good Morning

Ben Harper – Morning Yearning

Jack Johnson – Tomorrow Morning

Grateful Dead – Till The Morning Comes

The Black Crowes – Good Morning Captain

Tom Petty – High In The Morning

Kings Of Leon – Red Morning Light

Oasis – Morning Glory

Radiohead – Morning Bell

My Morning Jacket – At Dawn

Plants and Animals – Early In The Morning

Gram Parsons – We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning

Iron And Wine – Morning

Bob Dylan – Meet Me in the Morning

Kris Kristofferson – Good Morning John

Cowboy Junkies – Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning

Greg Ellis – Epiphany

Monday, January 3, 2011

"I Remember, I Believe": The Best of 2010 Playlist (TOTR 112)

Kanye West–Lost In The World (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, released November 22, 2010) Without weighing in on the layers of love, hate, and hype that surround Mr. West, “I'm lost the World/I'm new in the city” captures a year of much transformative transition for me where the angels and devils of reality revealed their faces oh-so-clearly.

Cee Lo Green – Old Fashioned (The Lady Killer, released November 5, 2010)In a century where old-school has felt entirely fresh, it’s hard not to get intoxicated by records that sound this timeless.

Yeasayer – I Remember (Odd Blood, released February 8, 2010) A hidden spring gurgles up tribal memories for the future, narrating liberation and romance as it goes down, outside my head and in my headphones.

Jonsi – Go Do (Go, released April 5, 2010) Euphoric Icelandic vegetarian falsetto sings in English what could easily be the anthem for my life (and also, apparently, for car commercials) on an album of sweet affirmation. “You will survive we´ll never stop wonders/You and sunrise will never fall under/We should always know that we can do anything.” May it be so! And what are we waiting for?

SufjanStevens – Now That I’m Older (The Age of Adz, released October 12, 2010) Wisps of wisdom, whispers of reflection, and in this refraction, I finally got infected by Sufjan’s vision. Impending maturity feels better by the day.

Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can’t See Land (The Winter of Mixed Drinks, released March 1, 2010) An anthem and epiphany of letting go and moving on. Song still moves after multiple listens. Listen: “Swim until you can't see land/Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?/Up to my knees now, do I wait? Do I dive?” And finally: “Let's call me a baptist, call this the drowning of the past.”

Band Of Horses – Evening Kitchen (Infinite Arms, released May 18, 2010) Crafted songcrafters come crisply into cozy maturity, singing songs that linger on the soul, leaving a sweet aftertaste of truth: “And if you're ever left with any doubt/What you live with and what you'll do without/I'm only sorry that it took so long to figure out.”

Kings Of Leon – Pickup Truck(Come Around Sundown, released October 19, 2010)When I moved to the mid-south from the midwest in the mid-90s, I had no idea that our music city would become the icon of rock that it is. These kings follow the footsteps of the king and give good guilty pleasure and hometown pride.

J RoddyWalston And The Business – Used To Did (J RoddyWalston And The Business, released on July 27, 2010) I “used to did,” but “now I didn’t.” Tell it like it is (!) in balls loose lightning boogie.

The Black Keys – Next Girl (Brothers, released on May 18, 2010)On Brothers, the Keys get honest, and so must I: as in life, so in love, we make mistakes, and we move on. I am so glad that I too got another chance.

John Mellencamp – No Better Than This (No Better Than This, released August 17, 2010) It defies and fulfills logic that the same man who thrilled the radio with “Hurt So Good” or “Jack and Diane” some three decades ago would be a wise-and-fit elder and prophetic poet of a country-church-meets-hotel-room Americana. Go John.

Robert Plant – Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down (Band of Joy, released September 14, 2010) Traditional and medicinal, this magical hymn makes amends and bends the narrative. Nothing against Zepheads pining for a reunion, but these Nashville-fueled folk-fusions bury the dead of that epic past with a musical dawn we all hope will last.

Laura Marling – Devil’s Spoke(I Speak Because I Can, released March 22, 2010)Forget all notions that folk this good, this haunting, and this beautiful is all pentangled up in the past. Marling moves the mountain of your soul with her sole sincerity and stunning singing.

Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs – Devil’s In The Jukebox (God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise, released August 17, 2010)Maple syrup slips on an old mountain road as Ray rips Joe Cocker-croons about yellow moons, a slinky serenade with slow sexy steam—kitchen kicking summer soundtrack still soothes on winter playback.

Delta Spirit – Devil Knows You’re Dead (History From Below, released June 8, 2010) Give a man a roof and road and a lyric sheet to pen eulogies like this.Matt Vasquez visualizes with his mouth a musical truth outside time but for our times and of our time. I am honestly surprised this record has not found a wider audience and a higher acclaim.

The Tallest Man On Earth – Burden of Tomorrow (Wild Hunt, released April 13, 2010) Gritty folksinger Kristian Mattson is “carving riddles,” and we are fed when we listen.

Justin Townes Earle – Workin’ for the MTA (Harlem River Blues, released September 13, 2010)Just his name conjures a jones for his voice, Justin Townes Earle owns retro folkabilly with metro sensibility and sears the ears and banishes fears.

Ryan Bingham – The Weary Kind (Crazy Heart Soundtrack, January 19, 2010) Bingham brings it on this song and on his album Junky Star. I began the year in a ball of tears in an almost-empty Nashville movie house on a weekday afternoon. We drove an hour to see a film which unrolled our lives on celluloid. This song won an Oscar for its plaintive summary of the alcoholic artist’s path. It sounds so sad, but its message is ultimately so hopeful.

Mumford & Sons – Roll Away Your Stone (Sigh No More, released February 16, 2010)On the hottest and dustiest of afternoons that would be Bonnaroo, I crammed to the front of the tent to sing this song out-loud with a few thousand other frenetic fans. Like so many other songs this year, the lyrics here say what I am thinking before I think, tapping my feelings with profundity: “It seems that all my bridges have been burned/But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works/It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart/But the welcome I receive with the restart.”

Anais Mitchell – Why We Build The Wall(Hadestown, released March 9, 2010) Duets and collaborations remind that music is ultimately a community affair for campfires, barn-raisings, work parties, weddings, funerals, rallies, protests, and prophecies. Mitchell and an army of friends make it real for all-of-the-above-and-them-some, preachin’ it with such precise passion that we don’t mind her preachin’ about walls and how wars are never won and how poverty is the enemy.

Natalie Merchant – Peppery Man (Leave Your Sleep, released released April 13, 2010) While some critics cast aspersions at Merchant for getting too maternal and professorly on this dynamic and dissertationesqe collection, the combination of folk genres and folksy themes is anything but sleepy. When Natalie toured through Nashville and brought these songs to the Ryman Auditorium, she mentioned the powerful experience of working with our own gospel luminaries the Fairfield Four on this phenomenal track.

Mike Farris &The Cumberland Saints – Down On Me(The Night the Cumberland Came Alive, released October 26, 2010)Another great gift of the last year: further discovering rock-blues-gospel-Americana sparkplug Mike Farris and getting the spirit at the revival of his live shows.On this disc, a cast of collaborators (including the McCrary Sisters, daughters of the aforementioned Fairfield Four) and local champions take it to church (literally, in this live recording cut in a local sanctuary) to offer musical healing and Nashville flood relief.

Patty Griffin – Move Up (Downtown Church, released January 26, 2010) Mike Farris most likely got the idea to record at Nashville’s Downtown Presbyterian Church after collaborating on Patti Griffin’s deeply personal, heartfelt, and universally-appealing folk-gospel album simply called Downtown Church, one of many recent efforts to tastefully and dramatically bridge the indy-folk-Americana and traditional gospel genres.

Mavis Staples – Wrote A Song For Everyone (You Are Not Alone, released September 14, 2010) Getting “born again” (again!) as a Christian in middle agecan really alter one’s music-listening-as-meditation habits, and I am so thankful for all the great gospel that crosses-over to indy and inclusive and intelligent, making an altar of sound in my heart and mind. Mavis Staples is a grand matron of rock-pop-gospel anthems, and this new record really earns an “Amen.”

Lizz Wright –I Remember, I Believe (Fellowship, released on September 28, 2010) Following in the steps of the Staples family tradition as well as that of Bernice Johnson Reagon, Lizz Wright spins so much sweet honey to soothe the sinner’s soul with a testimony towards salvation and liberation.