OK, it’s mid December. That means it’s time for my best of 2009 list. Overall, 2009 had a tough act to follow because 2008 was an extraordinarily good year musically. I do think that there was a bit of a fall off from last year, but there was still plenty of good new music around. I’ve picked the 10 albums that I’ve enjoyed the most this year. They will be presented today and Wednesday, half on each day, in alphabetical order.
Sarah Borges and The Broken Singles – The Stars Are Out: Sarah Borges has been around for a few years and usually categorized as alt country. But The Stars Are Out demolishes that view of her. It’s mostly rock of varying kinds, mostly up tempo and all wonderful. The songs are split between covers and SB originals. A few SB&BS fans have complained that this album is overproduced, but if this is overproduction, bring it on.
The Damnwells – One Last Century: One Last Century is just plain wonderful. You could call it rock power pop with wonderful songs and great vocals. If you need a reference point, The Gin Blossoms aren’t all that far away from this. There is no reason not to own this album; it was released as a free download here. Yes, it’s legal!
Charlie Faye – Wilson St: Originally from this area, Charlie moved to Austin a few years back and Wilson St. of the album title is where she ended up. Austin is the place where rock, blues, country and folk all blend into each other and that’s what happens on this album as well. All songs are CF originals or co-writes and standouts include She’s Gonna Go, Bottletops, Runaround and Simple Seduction.
Israel Nash Gripka – New York Town: Too young to have been around during the classic rock era, Israel reaches back to what was good in the 70s as inspiration for this set. And yes, it does seem he’s channeling John Fogerty in the song Pray for Rain.
Norah Jones – The Fall: The past couple of years have been ones of change for Norah Jones. So with all that going on in her life, its no wonder that her new album, The Fall, finds Norah’s music in transition as well. This record features an entirely different musical team and although it still recognizable as a Norah Jones record, it has electronic elements and is mixed to be edgier. Highlights include Young Blood, It’s Gonna Be and Back to Manhattan.
To be continued…