I guess I lose what little blogger cred that I have if I don't post an end-of-the-year "Best Of" list before 2012. I'm getting it in just under the wire. These are my favorite albums on this day, the 31st of December, in the year of our lord 2011, and it is subject to change whenever I feel like it. Seriously, it's been a great year for music, and it was really difficult for me to make this list. Feel free to heap praise on me or call me a pretentious overbearing wretch.
1. Hayes Carll - KMAG YOYO (and Other American Stories)
April 23 for a song-by-song rundown. You were fallin' like the Alamo, drinkin' fast and talkin' slow, lookin' like it's time to go home.
Buy: KMAG YOYO (& other American stories)
2. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
I Am Disappeared.mp3
Buy: England Keep My Bones
3. Gillian Welch - The Harrow and the Harvest
video from their appearance on Conan. That's the way that it ends, though there was a time when you and I were friends.
Buy: The Harrow & The Harvest
4. Deer Tick - Divine Providence
Daytrotter Barnstormer tour in Maine, just before hurricane Irene, in a small, hot and sweaty hall. So fun, just like this album. We're full grown men, we act like kids. We'll face the music next time we roll in.
Let's All go to the Bar.mp3
Buy: Divine Providence
5. Chuck Ragan - Covering Ground
tempered from the road right after being forged in flames. "Meet You in the Middle" is a standout track which features Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem on vocals.
Nothing Left to Prove.mp3
Buy: Covering Ground
6. Austin Lucas - A New Home In the Old World
Buy: A New Home In The Old World
7. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Here We Rest
Codeine. If there's two things that I hate, it's having to cook and trying to date.
Go It Alone.mp3
Buy: Here We Rest
8. Robyn Ludwick - Out of These Blues
A Truer Sound introduced me to this album early in 2011, and I kept coming back to it. Robyn Ludwick's voice and music slightly resembles Lucinda Williams, only a little softer and sweeter with a Texas drawl. Ludwick sings about being down and out, broken hearted, and homesick. This album was produced by Gurf Morlix, one of the best in the business. Don't be hard on yourself, son, I knew you were leavin'. You always wanted to climb to the top of the world.
Buy: Out of These Blues
9. J. Mascis - Several Shades of Why
Is It Done.mp3
Buy: Several Shades of Why
10. Todd Snider - Todd Snider Live: The Storyteller
Boston in February played out like the record. Snider is the best in the business at this brand of hippie folk rock and storytelling. This record highlights Snider's wacky sense of humor, but even the serious, poignant songs will make you play the album again and again. That last song was such a touching little number about athleticism and hallucinogenic drugs. You don't really hear enough of that in folk music anymore. I'm just doing what I can.
KK Rider Story.mp3
Don't it Make You Wanna Dance.mp3
Buy: Todd Snider Live: The Storyteller