Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Corners Best of 2011

I can't help it if I fall in love with you again, I'm calling just to let you know it dawned on me... (Wilco - Dawned On Me)

2011 was a great year for me personally and another fine year in terms of music. As usual, there was music that seemed to come from nowhere: The Decemberists, The High Dials, R.E.M. (sounded a bit like earlier R.E.M.); music from old reliables: Wilco and John Hiatt. I saw some great shows this year: John Prine, Steve Earle, My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers and much to my surprise Paul McCartney.

Sadly we lost some artists including the great Clarence Clemons. Bruce Springsteen is planning to release new music and tour in 2012, but it is hard to imagine E Street without the Big Man. The White Stripes and R.E.M. annouced their breakups from their web pages. Music will continue in 2012, but let's look back.

Top 10 CDS of 2011

1. The Decemberists - The King is Dead - The music is classic "folk rock" with a twist of R.E.M. Peter Buck plays on several songs and you can hear the R.E.M. influence.. Highlights include Down By the Water, The Calamity Song, Rox in the Box and This Is Why We Fight. The lyrics are interesting and the CD is solid throughout.

2. Wilco - The Whole Love - Another outstanding outting from Chicago's best. Jeff Tweedy and company seem more confident and the CD is more even than recent releases Highlights include Dawned On Me, Born Alone, Capitol City, Standing O and The Art of Almost.


3. R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now - R.E.M.'s comeback album was short live whent the band annouced thier breakup later in the year. This release hearkens back to earlier R.E.M. Highlights include Mine Smell Like Honey, It Happened Today, Uberlin and Oh My Heart.

4. My Morning Jacket - Circuital - I must admit that after 2008's CD of the year Evil Urges, I was a bit disappointed with Circuital. It's not that it is not a fine record, my expectations were probably too high. Circuital contains several really good songs including Victory Dance, First Light, Circuital and Outta My System.
5. The High Dials - Anthems For Doomed Youth -Music like this is a breath of fresh air. They don't make music like this anymore or do they? The High Dials play homage to the 60's or 70's but manage to still sound fresh. Plenty of highlights abound, but Teenage Love Made Me Insane, I'm Over You (I Hope It's True), Uruguay and Snowed In should be heard.

6. John Hiatt - Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
7. Steve Earle - I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive
8. Old 97's - The Grand Theatre, Vol. 2
9. The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time
10. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto


Top 10 Songs of 2011

  1. The Decemberists - Down By the Water
  2. The Decemberists - The Calamity Song
  3. Wilco - Dawned On Me
  4. R.E.M. - Mine Smell Like Honey
  5. The High Dials - Teenage Love Made Me Insane
  6. The Decemberists - This is Why We Fight
  7. R.E.M. - It Happened Today
  8. My Morning Jacket - First Light
  9. The Decemberists - Rox in the Box
  10. Wilco - Born Alone


Top Concert 2011

2011 was really a fantastic year in terms of concerts. I saw John Prine, My Morning Jacket, Steve Earle and The Avett Brothers. However, the best concert of the year was hands down (or hands up) Paul McCartney at The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, OH. Paul was fantastic, sounded and looked great. He ran through classic song after classic, from The Beatles All My Lovin', Blackbird, Elanor Rigby to his great solo stuff from Band On the Run, Mrs. Vanderbilt and Jet. One of the best concerts that I have ever seen period.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Good Bye Ear X-Tacy

And there goes your freedom of choice, there goes the last human voice and there goes the last DJ... (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - The Last DJ)

It's sad times as the local music stores fade. One of my favorites Ear X-tacy in Louisville, Ky annouced it's closure this week. This store along with Lexington KY's CD Central are 2 of the best music stores that I have ever visited. Digital music has it's good points, but there is nothing like searching through those music bins looking for the rare, hard to find, out of print or even a common everyday disc. Time moves forward, but I long for the old days. Ear X-tacy you will be missed.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Local Record Store

Buys every rock and roll book on the magazine stand; Every dime that he get is lost to the jukebox man... (The Beatles - Bad Boy)

The one thing about life is that it constantly changes... for worse and for better... all at the same time. The same goes for music. We lose great artists and we gain great artists. The styles and trends constantly change; I grew up really loving 1960's era music...The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and so forth. As a teenager I can remember pouring through record bins looking for those records and the latest releases. In those days there were good record stores all around. Later in my college days I discovered Cut Corner Records in Lexington, KY. The store was magical. It had rare albums and records from groups that I was just discovering. As records gave way to cd's, Cut Corner Records became CD Central.

I still visit CD Central whenever I am in Lexington. Another one of my all time favorite record shops is in Louisville and is the famous Ear X-Tacy. We need to support these stores any chance we get.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Paul McCartney On the Run in Cincinnati

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you help me sing my song... (Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed)
I saw Paul McCartney in Cincinnati, OH at The Great American Ballpark last thursday. What a great show! Paul looked fit and young for a man of 69; he acted like a man enjoying what he was doing and sounded like Paul McCartney. The setlist included classic after classic; 5 songs from Paul's Band on the Run album and some of Paul's great Beatle songs from All My Lovin' to Blackbird to Eleanor Rigby... Paul did tributes to George Harrison playing Something on ukelele and to John Lennon with A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance.


The show started with the appropriate Hello Goodbye and finished with an awesome medley from Abbey Road Golden Slumber/Carry That Weight/The End. The band did an excellent job of recreating the sounds of the records. Fantastic....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The E Street Band Should Be In the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh when Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half... (Bruce Springsteen - Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out)

With the passing of Clarence Clemons, we now have lost two of our comrades on E Street (Danny Federici passed in 2008). I think it is time (way overdue) that the E Street Band are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It is has been a bit confusing to me why they weren't incucted along with Bruce Springsteen in 1999, but on the other hand maybe Bruce deserved a night of his own. If that is the case then The E Street Band should have been inducted immediatley after that.

The rules for the eligibility of performers into the Hall are simply as follows:

Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.

The Foundation’s nominating committee, composed of rock and roll historians, selects nominees each year in the Performer category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of more than 500 rock experts. Those performers who receive the highest number of votes - and more than 50 percent of the vote - are inducted. The Foundation generally inducts five to seven performers each year.

  1. The E Street Band as we know it has been together at least since Born To Run which was released in 1975 (36 years ago). Nils Lofgren and Patti Scialfa didn't play in the E Street Band until the Born in the U.S.A. era around 1984 (still 27 years ago).

  2. I can't think of a band not in the Hall that has had more influence on rock music; just look at today's young artists from The Hold Steady to The Gaslight Anthem.

  3. Perpetuation of Rock and Roll? How many concerts do you have to play? By my count on the Born in the U.S.A. tour alone the band played over 140 shows.
So your honor I rest my case. Let's get a movement started to get these guys into the Hall, before we lose anymore of them.

Happy Independence Day everyone!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clarence Clemons: 1942-2011

May your strength give us strength; may your faith give us faith; may your hope give us hope; may your love give us love... (Bruce Springsteen - Into the Fire)

I just heard the news that Clarence Clemons passed away after having a massive stroke earlier in the week. Life is so precious and fragile like the house of cards that Bruce sang about in Living Proof. It's hard to imagine the E Street Band without Clarence, but their music will live on.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Clarence Clemons: Countin' On a Miracle

I'm countin' on a miracle,baby I'm countin' on a miracle,darlin' I'm countin' on a miracle to come through... (Bruce Springsteen - Countin' On a Miracle)

By now everyone has heard that Clarence Clemons has suffered a massive stroke earlier in the week. The news since has been cautiously positive, but our thoughts and prayers are with the Big Man.

From one of my all time favorite songs, my all time favorite sax solo - Clarence we love you man.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Decemberists: Down By the Water

See this ancient riverbed, see where all our follies are led, down by the water and down by the old main drag... (The Decemberists - Down By the Water)

The reason for this post is 2 parts: (1) I wanted to check to see how Soundcloud worked (2) I really love this song; I just realized that that is Gilian Welch singing with The Decemberists. This is one of my favorite songs of the year so far.

The Decemberists: Down By The Water by TheMusicFile

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bob Dylan is 70

How does it feel to be on your own; With no direction home, like a complete unknown... (Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone)

Bob Dylan was born as Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941. Happy Birthady Bob! Here are 10 of my favorite Dylan covers.










Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The King is Dead

Had a dream you and me and the war of the end times... (The Decemberists - The Calamity Song)

I bought the new Decemberists cd The King is Dead based on hearing the fine song Down By the Water. After repeated listens I have to put the cd in my early list for best of 2011. The King is Dead is so solid with no weak spots and a lot of high points.

Down By the Water is sort of a cross between a Springsteen & R.E.M. song, musically along the lines of The One I Love; The Calamity Song reminds me of Murmer era R.E.M., a song about the end of the world (come to think of it didn't R.E.M. do a song about the end of the world...); Rox in the Box is a nice work-sing along song about a working in a granite mine; another high point is This Is Why We Fight; I highly recommend the King is Dead.



Sunday, April 24, 2011

All The Best

I wish you love and happiness; I guess I wish you all the best; I wish you don't do like I do and ever fall in love with someone like you… (John Prine – All the Best)

This month I have had the privilege of seeing two of the best in concert on the University of Kentucky’s campus; John Prine (4/1) and My Morning Jacket (4/17). Last year My Morning Jacket recorded one of John’s songs All The Best for the Prine tribute album Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows (a line from the John Prine song Souvenirs written by Steve Goodman). Neither artist played the song in the April concerts though.

However in a video from The Late Show with David Letterman, John Prine and My Morning Jacket’s front man Jim James (AKA Yim Yames) perform All The Best. I have seen John sing the song in previous concerts. This is a favorite of mine and John would introduce the song as his divorces song.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


If we holler loud and make our way we'd all live one big holiday (My Morning Jacket - One Big Holiday)

I saw My Morning Jacket on the University of Kentucky's campus at Memoiral Coliseum on 4/17/11. The band played a high energy set that spanned their 10 plus year career. Frontman Jim James jumped around and shook his head in youthful exhuberance. James having attended U of K for a few years in the 90's talked about the city reminiscing about living on campus, walking around the city and working fast food.

The rest of the band was very solid; guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Carl Broemel was impressive playing alot of the key parts all the while singing perfect backup; drummer Patrick Hallahan came off like a modern day Keith Moon; Two-Tone Tommy & Bo Koster were on their game as well.

Highlights of the concert: on the epic Dondante, Jim James improvised along as the song built into a crescendo, exploding at the end; I'm Amazed was awesome; Golden, Mahgeetah and One Big Holiday all from 2003's It Still Moves were crowd favorites; Jim James donned on a cape during Wordless Chorus hiding his face like a vampire; both of Touch Me I'm Going To Scream were great, as well as Highly Suspicious.

Off The Record
Evil Urges
I’m Amazed
The Way That He Sings
Butch Cassidy
Wonderful (The Way I Feel)
Lay Low
What A Wonderful Man
Smokin’ From Shootin’
End of Run Thru
Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 2
Wordless Chorus
Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 1
Highly Suspicious
One Big Holiday


Consequence of Sound review

Saturday, April 9, 2011

John Prine: Singletary Center, Lexington, KY

Now my grandma was a teacher went to school in Bowling Green; Traded in a milking cow for a Singer sewing machine... (John Prine - Grandpa Was a Carpenter) I had the privilege of seeing John Prine at the beautiful Singletary Center on the University of Kentucky's campus on Friday (April 1). This was my 5th John Prine concert since 1995. It seems like every 3 years or so old John comes around and I try to go see him. John is 64 years old and you hope he's around for a long time, but you never know. As a friend of mine told me that when she saw Bonnie Raitt in concert a few years ago, Bonnie called John a "national treasure". On this evening John was backed by his fantastic musical mates Jason Wilber on guitar and David Jacques on bass. The song selections for the show was pretty standard; the set started with as alway Spanish Pipedream and ended with Paradise. John played mostly songs from his earlier albums including 8 songs from his 1971 debut album.

My highlights were Angel From Montgomery; Jason Wilber's slide guitar and David Jacques bass fiddle made the song hauntingly beautiful; Grandpa Was a Carpenter, on the introduction John said he originally debut the song at a family reunion and his aunts later cornered him to point out the mistakes in the song - Grandpa smoked Kools not Camels and Grandma went to school in Berea not Bowling Green, at which John replied that they didn't have to rhyme Berea with singer sewing machine; Lake Marie is always a treat; Clay Pigeons, That's the Way That the World Goes Round and In Spite of Ourselves were also excellent. On In Spite of Ourselves John sang the boy part and girl part which was quiet funny.

Complete Setlist:

  • Spanish Pipedream

  • Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore

  • 6 O'Clock News

  • Aimless Love

  • Souvenirs

  • Grandpa Was a Carpenter

  • Far From Me

  • Fish and Whistle

  • Glory of True Love

  • Angel From Montgomery

  • Oldest Baby in the World

  • Clay Pigeons

  • In Spite of Ourselves

  • Dear Abby

  • That's the Way That the World Goes Round

  • Sam Stone

  • Bear Creek Blues

  • Crooked Piece of Time

  • Humidity Built the Snowman

  • Hello In There

  • Lake Marie

  • Encore:

  • Please Don't Burry Me

  • Paradise

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Comeback Collapse

It happened today. Hooray! Hooray! It happened. Hip, hip, hooray!... (R.E.M. - It Happened Today)

It did happen. I bought a new R.E.M. cd in over a decade. After being a big R.E.M. fan in the 80's; slightly less of a fan in the 90's; not really at all in the 00's; I read a good review on R.E.M.'s Collapse Into Now and thought I would give it a try.

I first heard R.E.M. in about 1983 when a friend played me the Murmer album. It was like something totally new. Peter Buck's jangly guitars sounded to me like at least 2 if not 3 guitars. Michael Stipe's singing was mumbly with the lyrics being indecipherable. Mike Mill's bass and Bill Berry's drums were solid. The harmony vocals were soaring to the point of making the hairs on your arms stand up.

Each album in the 80's after 1984's Reckoning saw a slight change in the sound; 1985's Fables of the Reconstruction was bit more murky; 1986's Life's Rich Pageant was more straight ahead rock; 1987's Document was a little harder; and then their major label debut 1988's Green was more popier. Each of these stand on their own. Around the end of the decade Rolling Stone magazine declared the band America's Best Rock and Roll Band.

The 1990's saw R.E.M.' s popularity grow which peaked around 1992's more acoustic Automatic For the People. In 1994 the band did a 360 with the guitar heavy Monster, a very solid album. The subsequent tour was plagued with some health issues; Bill Berry collapsed on stage with a brain aneurysm and Mike Mills and Michael Stipe also had health issues. Bill Berry recovered after surgery, but decided to leave the band. R.E.M. has never been the same.
The post Berry R.E.M. further removed the band from the sound that I fell in love with in the 80's. The 00's albums have been more atmospheric, less jangly; the drums burried.

Just released Collapse Into Now is a return of sorts to R.E.M.'s 90's sound. I like the cd quite a bit. Mine Smell Like Honey (I hate the title, but love the song) is classic R.E.M.; when the song kicks into the chorus the harmonies lift you off the ground. Same with the harmonies on It Happened Today which include guest vocals from Eddie Vedder. Uberlin recalls Drive from Automatic For the People; Blue could have come off of 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi. I'm still taking in this disc, but it's nice to hear from an old friend.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Being Clarivoyant and The Future

Take a picture of this: The fields are empty, abandoned '59 Chevy, Laying in the back seat listening to Little Willie John; Yea, that's when time stood still...(Robbie Robertson - Somewhere Down the Crazy River)

It feels like that finally a long winter may be coming to an end. The days are getting warmer and longer. The sun has been peeking out and finally some new exciting music is being released. It seems that artists either get their music released for the Christmas season or they wait until March or April. Recent releases include Radiohead's download only King of Limbs, Lucinda William's Blessed, R.E.M.'s Collapse Into Now, The Baseball Project's High and Tight, etc...

On the Horizon:
  • Broken Bells will release an EP Meyrin Fields on March 29
  • My Morning Jacket is releasing live music from their web site each week until the April 12th release of their new CD Circuital.
  • Steve Earle's new CD is I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive will be released on April 26th
  • Old 97's will release The Grande Theater Volume 2 some time in May.
  • Robbie Robertson's How To Become Clairvoyant which is to be released on April 5.

Robbie Robertson is familiar to alot of folks as the guitarist for the Americana roots pioneers The Band (although 4 of the 5 members were Canadian). The Band toured and recorded with Bob Dylan, played at the Woodstock Festival and made several great albums in the late 60'/early 70's before breaking up in 1978. Their final concert was filmed and released as the movie The Last Waltz. The concert film included many of their contemporaries and friends such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young, to name two.

Robertson has recorded several solo albums since the breakup, but they have been far and few between. In 1987 Robertson released his self-titled solo debut, co-produced by super producer Daniel Lanois and Robertson. Some "Band purists" panned the album, but I thought it was brilliant. The record had that Lanois sound and featured U2 and Peter Gabriel (whom Lanois had also produced). The album contained several great songs including Somewhere Down the Crazy River which featured additional vocals from The BoDeans singer Sam Llanas. Fallen Angel, a tribute to bandmate Richard Manuel who had died in 1986, is another winner. Other standouts include Showdown at Big Sky, Sweet Fire of Love, American Roulette, and Broken Arrow which became a hit later for Rod Stewart.

In 1991 Robertson released Storyville, recorded in New Orleans. I have not heard that one. In 1994 Robertson recorded music for a televsion documentary called The Native Americans. In 1998 he continued along this road with another Native American influenced record Contact From the Underworld of Redboy. These records are inspired combining authentic sounds, chants with modern sounding music.

I have already read a negative review about How To Become Clairvoyant but I want to listen for myself. Robbie Robertson has not followed a straight career path since leaving the Band but his limited outputs have been fun.





Saturday, February 5, 2011

The White Stripes: 1997-2011

But I can't help but wonder if after I'm gone will I still have these three hundred mile per hour, finger breaking, no answers makin', battered dirty hands, bee stung and busted up, empty cup torrential outpour blues... (The White Stipes - 300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues)

I was saddened to hear the news Wednesday of the breakup of The White Stripes. It's obvious that we haven't heard the last of Jack White, but the White Stripes were one of the most original rock bands to come along in some time. The duo from Detroit popped up at a time when it seemed that rap and hip hop had taken over and that rock was on it's last leg. Here are a few of my favorites over the years:





Saturday, January 29, 2011

From Texas to Tennessee

I'm going to take it to the United Nations or to a rock and roll radio station... (Old 97's - Please Hold While the Train in Moving)

I've been listening to Bruce Springsteen's The Promise quiet a bit lately, but I wanted to talk about a couple others that are also on my current playlist.

First to leave the station from Texas, the Old 97's and their latest release The Grand Theatre Volume I. The Old 97's play rock and roll with a twist of Texas country. They are lead by charismatic front man/lead singer Rhett Miller, with Murry Hammond on bass and vocals, lead guitarist Ken Bethea and drummer Philip Peeples.

The Grand Theatre was recorded in Austin Texas after the band had rented out the Son of Herman Hall in Dallas and played the new songs to see how they would sound in concert. A couple of dozen songs were recorded. A second volume is to be released this spring.

At any rate, The Grand Theatre is the Old 97's besting outing since probably 2001's Satelite Rides. The cd starts off with the title track, a rocker with interesting lyrics; Every Night is Friday Night is instant likable breakup song; Champaign, Illinois is a rewrite of Bob Dylan's Desolation Row (Dylan is given half the writing credit); The Dance Class and Please Hold On While the Train is Moving are highlights; on Let the Whiskey Take the Reins gutiarist Ken Bethea is the star as Rhett Miller sings in a low voice; Murry Hammond takes over the lead vocals on You Smoke Too Much and You Were Born To Be In Battle with winning results.



Second up from Tennesee are Kings of Leon and their 5th album Come Around Sundown. After a change in direction on their last album Only By the Night from garage rock to stadium rock the Kings continue in that direction. Sundown is again produced by Angelo Petraglia and Jacquire King and leans a little in the direction of U2 with it's atmospheric sounds.

The cd opens with the very atmospheric The End; Radioactive, the fine lead single follows; Mary has a 50ish feel to it; the highlight is the ode to southern hospitality Back Down South. Come Around Sundown may not pack the punch of the Kings early work or have the mega hits of Only By the Night, but it is a fine listen.



Monday, January 17, 2011

Springsteen's Promise

I bought a shirt uptown in Bloomindales and babe I tried to make the latest scene; Hitting cool just like Jimmy Iovine... (Bruce Springsteen - Ain't Good Enough For You)

Bruce Springsteen's classic album Darkness on the Edge of Town was released in 1978 and to my ears the album is a cohesive, flawlsess gem that flows seamlessly from side 1 through side 2 The songs are dark and bold, but also filled with honesty and hope. With that said I believe the right songlist was chosen for Darkness on the Edge of Town.

The new Darkness 30th anniversary box set was released back on November 16 and includes 3 cd's; the remix of Darkness and 2 cd's worth of unreleased songs recorded for the Darkness record (also released seperately as The Promise); 3 dvd's; including 2 live concerts and the making of Darkness. Needless to say this treasure trove of Bruce materials has been a blast digging through.

The Promise includes 22 songs and has taken a little bit to get the feel for and I must admit that on first listen I was bit disappointed because the songs didn't necessarily sound like Darkness songs. I thought the Darkness outtake's released on 1998's 4 cd set Tracks, sounded more like Darkness songs; Bring on the Night, The Iceman, Don't Look Back all have Darkness qualities about them. However, upon futher listens I have found The Promise to be a rewarding experience and have discovered the songs for what they are... outtakes from Bruce's most productive era. The Promise in an intriguing glimpse into the evolution of not only Darkness on the Edge of Town, but also Bruce & the E Street Band.

Some of the songs on The Promise, Bruce gave to other artists; Because the Night - Patti Smith; Fire - The Pointer Sisters; Rendezvous - Gary US Bonds; Talk To Me - Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. These songs are reborn here. Bruce's urgent singing matched with E Street' s muscle make these versions must listens.

Some of the songs are in different in forms; Racing in the Street ('78), Candy's Boy, Come On (Let's Go Tonight) - a cross between Factory and Johnny Bye-Bye. These versions are not up to the originals, but a fascinating listen nonetheless.

Some of the other songs should have been released on another album, maybe after Darkness and before The River; Save My Love is a great song; Ain't Good Enough, a 50's style rave up, is a highlight; Wrong Side of the Street is classic Bruce; Gotta Get That Feeling, Outside Lookin' In, It's a Shame, Breakaway, The Promise are all fine songs.

I don't know how many more of these unreleased discs we will ever get out of Bruce, so I am going to appreciate The Promise now.



Saturday, January 8, 2011

2010 Leftovers

So turn up your radio and darling dial me in close; We're riding on the airwaves and we're traveling coast to coast... (Bruce Springsteen - Save My Love)

2010 was a really good year in music; we finally got that box set of Darkness on the Edge of Town goodies from Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band; we got great new stuff from younger bands like The Black Keys & Gaslight Anthem; we got a fantastic cd from the side project band Broken Bells; and we got several fresh discs from the likes of Robert Plant, Alejandro Escovedo, Neil Young & Tom Petty.

Here are some videos in tribute to 2010.







Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Corners Best of 2010

I want you out on the streets making a noise for everybody; I want to hear your voice up above the crowd and the noise ... (Alejandro Escovedo - Down in the Bowery)

As I've said before, I love year end lists. I enjoy making them and reading others.

2010 was another good and suprising year in music. There were several suprises this year from Broken Bells to Black Keys. I saw several fine concerts this year: Alejandro Escovedo, Bob Dylan, Kings of Leon, Paramore, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, The Avett Brothers, The Whigs, The Incurables, etc...

Here we go:

1. Broken Bells - Broken Bells - James Mercer of The Shins and musician/producer Dangerous Mouse released their debut record together in 2010. The result is a great blend of The Shins quirky melodies and lyrics with the experimental/hip-hop of Dangerous Mouse previous works. The CD is loaded with great tunes.

2. The Black Keys - Brothers - The duo from Akron, Ohio released a classic in 2010. Brothers is full of gritty blues, R&B and classic rock sounds. Highlights include Tighten Up, The Only One, Everlasting Light, Ten Cent Pistol and Sinister Kid.


3. Alejandro Escovedo - Streets Songs of Love - Street Songs of Love comes off like a classic record with a terrific mix of both rockers and ballads. The highlights include Down in the Bowery, Anchor, After the Meteor Shower, The Bed is Getting Crowded and Fall Apart With You.


4. Robert Plant - Band of Joy - Robert Plant, one of the great voices of rock and roll released another rootsy record in the vein of 2007's Raising Sand. Band of Joy features Buddy Miller & Patti Griffin and brilliant song choices: Angel Dance, Monkey, You Can't Buy Me Love, Silver Rider, Cindy I'll Marry You Someday, House of Cards, etc...
5. Bruce Springsteen - The Promise -Bruce finally released those outtakes from The Darkness On the Edge of Town era that we have been waiting for several years. The Promise is look behind the curtain into the most productive era on E Street. The songs range from classic E Street sound to 50's style rave ups to Southside Johnny territory. My review will be coming soon.

6. Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown
7. Old 97's - The Grand Theatre
8. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
9. Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
10. The Hold Steady - Heaven is Now

My favorite songs of the year are as follows:

  1. Broken Bells - The Mall & Misery
  2. The Black Keys - The Only One
  3. Broken Bells - Mongrel Heart
  4. Band of Horses - Factory
  5. The Gaslight Anthem - The Queen of Lower Chelsea
  6. Alejandro Escovedo - After the Meteor Showers
  7. Broken Bells - Vaporize
  8. The Black Keys - Tighten Up
  9. Broken Bells - The High Road
  10. Alejandro Escovedo - Down in the Bowery

It's really hard to pick one favorite show this year, but Alejandro Escovedo was so good when I saw him In Lexington, KY at The Kentucky Theater back on October 19. Close behind was the Kings of Leon/Black Keys/The Whigs at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH on September 2.