Category Archives: Best Of '09

My favorite albums of 2009.

Looking Back: Best Of 2009

A year ago today, I revealed my favorite albums of 2009. I don’t think I’ve ever put more thought into a list than that one… this year’s list seemed much more simple and easy. 2009 had so many wonderful releases that really resonated with me, and here’s what ended up in my Top 10:

1. David Gray – Draw The Line
2. The Swell Season – Strict Joy
3. Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill
4. Girlyman – Everything’s Easy
5. Madeleine Peyroux – Bare Bones
6. Regina Spektor – Far
7. M. Ward – Hold Time
8. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
9. Derek Trucks Band – Already Free
10. The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin

Tomorrow I will reveal my Top 25 albums of 2010! Have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve!

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Close Calls

After revealing my 25 picks for the best albums of 2009, I thought I’d mention some artists that didn’t make my list. Below are 10 songs that I thoroughly enjoyed this year. In most cases, the rest of the album didn’t thrill me the way my Top 25 did, and therefore didn’t make my final list. But I still love these tunes!

Joss Stone – “Free Me”
Grizzly Bear – “Two Weeks”
Fruit Bats – “The Ruminant Band”
Peter, Bjorn & John – “Nothing To Worry About”
One Eskimo – “Kandi”
Assembly Of Dust – “Second Song”
St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
Maria Taylor – “Cartoons and Forever Plans”
Lisa Hannigan – “I Don’t Know”
Bob Schneider – “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)”

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My Favorite Albums Of 2009

There were so many solid albums this year, it was very hard to pick one as a stand-out. I thought about it a whole lot, and switched my list around many times. The ultimate test was just going through my iPod, closing my eyes and letting my gut feeling dictate my final choices. Time to reveal! Here are my picks for the best albums of 2009…


 David Gray – Draw The Line

 The Swell Season – Strict Joy

 Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill

 Girlyman – Everything’s Easy

 Madeleine Peyroux – Bare Bones

 Regina Spektor – Far

 M. Ward – Hold Time

 Wilco – Wilco (The Album)

 Derek Trucks Band – Already Free

 The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin

11. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
12. The Decemberists – Hazards Of Love
13. Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King
14. Rodrigo y Gabriela – 11:11
15. Kings Of Convenience – Declaration Of Dependence
16. Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel – Willie And The Wheel
17. Paolo Nutini – Sunny Side Up
18. Norah Jones – The Fall
19. Ingrid Michaelson – Everybody
20. The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
21. Andrew Bird – Fitz and the Dizzy Spells
22. Katie Herzig – Apple Tree
23. A Fine Frenzy – Bomb In A Birdcage
24. Langhorne Slim – Be Set Free
25. Dala – Everyone Is Someone

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Thanks for reading!



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Best Of pH balanced ’09

I had an hour on mvyradio’s Hot Seat to feature the best of this blog for the year. I’m usually a planner, but I decided to leave my choices loose…I went into the studio with a stack of CDs and flew by the seat of my pants, hoping it would fall into place. And it did! I had a blast playing my favorite material from the year and looking over my playlist now, I think I did a pretty decent job of choosing the best of the best. If you’ve read and enjoyed my blog over this past year, then you’re sure to like this hour of music. It will replay on Sunday (12/27) at 10pm and you can also check it out in the archives. Here’s the playlist:

Girlyman – “Easy Bake Ovens”
M. Ward – “For Beginners”
Neko Case – “The Next Time You Say Forever”
The Low Anthem – “Charlie Darwin”
Melody Gardot – “If The Stars Were Mine”
Regina Spektor – “The Calculation”
Langhorne Slim – “Say Yes”
Peter Bjorn & John – “Nothing To Worry About”
St. Vincent – “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood”
Dala – “Alive”
Kings Of Convenience – “Boat Behind”
The Swell Season – “Feeling The Pull”
Hey Mama – “Mountain Bones”
Derek Trucks Band w/ Susan Tedeschi – “Back Where I Started”
Ingrid Michaelson – “The Chain”
David Gray – “Jackdaw”

Listen to my Hot Seat

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Best Of ’09: The Swell Season

The Swell Season – “Strict Joy”

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova pretty much blind-sided me this year. I own the movie Once and I like it well enough…I was fond of the soundtrack but definitely not a huge fan of this duo. Until Strict Joy. This is the kind of album that isn’t just nice to listen to…it gets to you in a deeper place inside.

A member of the band The Frames, Glen Hansard felt the spotlight that came with the Once movie soundtrack (which won an Oscar), and said he was so used to struggling with his music career that he found himself struggling with success for a while. Then there was the daunting task of a follow-up album. Not to mention the complications that came when the duo’s relationship went from friendly to romantic to professional. But the two say it has only made their music stronger and Strict Joy is a testament to that.

The Swell Season
Strict Joy

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Best Of ’09: WILCO

Wilco – Wilco (The Album)

This is the 7th full-length album from Wilco and while it may not be their best, it is certainly one of the best albums of 2009. Wilco (The Album) is up for Best Americana Album at the Grammys…and it’s got some tough competition. Also in the category is the latest from Levon Helm, Bob Dylan, and Lucinda Williams as well as the outstanding collaboration from Willie Nelson and Asleep At The Wheel. I hate to be a naysayer, but Wilco may not be taking home the award this year. However, I still maintain that this album is extremely solid from start to finish. The tunes took on even more depth for me after I saw them performed live this past summer. In fact, I have to say that Wilco is one of the best live acts I have ever seen.

Wilco (The Album)

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Best Of ’09: Derek Trucks Band

The Derek Trucks Band – Already Free

These days, you rarely find young musicians making solid rock and blues music. On Already Free, Derek Trucks is doing just that. He and his band cover all the bases on this new album.  It starts with a rockin’ cover of Dylan’s “Down In The Flood”, and gets better and better with each track. Check it out…you’ll be jammin’ to “Something to Make You Happy” and “Don’t Miss Me” and groovin’ to tunes like “Maybe This Time” and “Get What You Deserve”. The blues and soul really surface out with “Sweet Ispiration” and “Down Don’t Bother Me” and these guys also nail it on the slower tunes like “Our Love” and “Back Where I Started” (with wife Susan Tedeschi on vocals). To me, it’s clear that Derek Trucks will be a legend…and that this album is most certainly one of the best of the year.

Derek Trucks Band
Already Free



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Best Of ’09: David Gray

David Gray – Draw The Line

This album keeps impressing me over and over. It’s got such solid tracks…”Fugitive”, “Jackdaw”, “Stella The Artist”, “Nemesis”…I could go on and on! And listening to the album as a whole is a great experience too. From start to finish, I believe Draw The Line is David Gray’s best material since White Ladder. Despite the fact that it came out in September, it’s definitely one of my most listened to albums of 2009.

David Gray
Draw The Line

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Best Of ’09: Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor – Far

After initially being turned off by this album’s single, “Laughing With”, I gave it another chance and checked out the rest. Boy am I glad I did! Tracks like “The Calculation”, “Folding Chair”, and “Wallet” won me over instantly. And I’ll admit, even the one tune I used to skip over, I now listen to once and a while. I think Regina Spektor has that perfect blend of expected and unexpected on this album. I also like feeling totally goofy and fun on one tune and introspective and quiet on the next. I almost overlooked it, but Far has definitely made an impression on me this year.

Regina Spektor


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Best Of ’09: Girlyman

Girlyman – Everything’s Easy

Girlyman is one of those bands I want to tell everyone about. I had only heard their name a few times when I saw them live at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival this past summer. I had no idea what kind of music to expect from a band called Girlyman. In fact, I think folk was the last genre I would have guessed! Well folk is what they are…folk with mindblowing harmonies. They blew me away at Falcon Ridge and I think this album really does them justice. Everything’s Easy is a collection of songs that show off this group’s incredible story-telling abilities. The first track, “Easy Bake Ovens” gives you a great representation of the GORGEOUS three-part harmonies that are so striking throughout the record. Check out that tune, and others from the album on their MySpace page.

This Atlanta-based trio has not (yet) gotten the recognition I think they deserve. They will be definitely be high on my list of favorites this year.

Everything’s Easy

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