Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Album of the Year

All that music in the air, Happy people everywhere, Make it hard to sing the blues until Mardi Gras is through... Steve Earle - After Mardi Gras

2013 was not a strong year in music releases.  Although there were some fine albums, definitely some extra base hits, but no home runs.  Steve Earle's The Low Highway was his best album probably since 2002's SidetracksJim James released an excellent solo record in Regions of Light and Sound of God

My favorite and best album of the year was Jason Isbell's Southeastern; a collection of sobering stories and songs that in some ways were hard to listen to all together.  The best songs from the album were Stockholm, Songs That She Sang in the Shower, Traveling Alone and Super 8.

2014 is looking to be a rebound year with early albums expected from Bruce Springsteen and Broken Bells.  Also U2 is planning to release their first since 2009 and to make it even more exciting, they have been working with Danger MouseOld 97's have been working on a new album.  Wilco, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys and The Decemberists are due for new music (I hope).  

2013: Concert of the Year

It's the end of the century and I can't think of anything but you, all, all, I, need,  I got you,  I got you, babe... Wilco - I Got You (At the End of the Century)

The concert of the year was the Americanarama Tour at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I got to see Wilco & Richard Thompson for the first time, as well as My Morning Jacket for the second time and Bob Dylan for the sixth time.

The high point was Wilco; they played songs from throughout their career from I Got You (At the End of the Century), Hummingbird to It Dawned On MeRichard Thompson joined Jeff Tweedy and company for the Fairpoint Convention Song Sloth and Wilco's great California Stars.  They joined My Morning Jacket on their set to play George Harrison's Isn't It a Pity

My Morning Jacket's set was high octane with the crescendo of Wordless Chorus, Victory Dance and Gideon.  Front man, Jim James was very animated and entertaining.

Bob Dylan closed the night with a typical Dylan show, highlighted by Charlie Sexton's great guitar work.  Enigmatic as ever.

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: Best Release of Older Music

Last time I Saw Marie she was waving goodbye with hurry-home-drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye: Marie is only 6 years old so information please try to put me through to her in Memphis Tennessee...  Chuck Berry - Memphis Tennessee

The Beatles second volume of music recorded at the BBC was a rich blessing of 2013.  The release included 63 tracks, none of which overlaps with The Beatles' first BBC release.  The 2 discs included 37 previously unreleased performances, 7 cover songs not on original Beatle albums; 23 previously unreleased recordings of in-studio conversation between the band's members and their BBC radio hosts including 4 short interviews with each Beatle.

John Lennon singing Chuck Berry's Memphis Tennessee is the highlight of the set.  Another is the in-studio recording of I Feel Fine with numerous false starts.  Like the first BBC release the witty banter captures The Beatle's humor and charisma.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: No. 1 Cover Song of the Year

Tonight there's fallen angels and they're waiting for us down in the street; Tonight there's calling strangers, hear them crying in defeat. Let them go, Let them go, Let them go, Do their dances of the dead... Bruce Springsteen - Drive All Night

Glen Hansard, an Irish singer and a member of the folk duo called The Swell Season released an EP with the title cover of the great Bruce Springsteen ballad Drive All Night.  This great cover includes the nephew of Clarence Clemons and current E Street member Jake Clemons, as well as Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.  Springsteen is a tough cover, but Hansard does the song justice.  I also love how he plays homage to John Hiatt's Feels Like Rain towards the end of the song; awesome...

No. 1 Cover Song of 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013: No. 1 Song of the Year

Lock me up tight in these shackles I wear, 
Tied up the keys in the folds of your hair and the difference with me is I used to not care; 
Stockholm let me go home... Jason Isbell - Stockholm

The No. 1 song of 2013 comes from the best album of 2013, Southeastern by former Drive-By Trucker, Jason Isbell.  The song is about a man that feels trapped in a relationship in Stockholm, Sweden; great lyrics and song...

No. 1 Song of 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013: No. 2 Song of the Year

Travelin’ now on the low highway, windows down listenin';  wheels turnin round on the asphalt sayin' every sound is a prophecy... Steve Earle - The Low Highway 

The No. 2 song of 2013 is the title track from Steve Earle's The Low Highway.  A Woody Guthrie type song about the current landscape of America...

No. 2 Song of 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013: No. 3 Song of the Year

Here I am in the 21st century;  I have to say it ain't as cool as I hoped it would be;  No man on the moon, nobody on Mars... Steve Earle - 21st Century Blues

The No. 3 song of 2013 comes from Steve Earle's latest and return to form The Low Highway.  A song decrying the times that we live in...

No. 3 Song of 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013: No. 4 Song of the Year

And the songs that she sang in the shower all ring in my ear like Wish You Were Here,  How I wish you were here... Jason Isbell - Songs That She Sang in the Shower

The No. 4 song of 2013 comes from Southeastern by the former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell.  The singer longs for his girl and haunted by her memories...

No. 4 Song of 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013: No. 5 Song of the Year

I use the state of the art Technology;  Suppose to make for better living... Jim James - State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)

The No. 5 song of 2013 comes from Regions of Light and Sound of God, the debut solo album by My Morning Jacket's Jim James.  The lead-off song seems to be about society relying on technology too much...

No. 5 Song of 2013