The Civil Wars
This album contains a lot of depth, power, emotion and passion…and some of that springs from the unique circumstances surrounding its release.
John Paul White and Joy Williams were gaining incredible momentum after their debut album in 2011. But relentless touring created issues between them, and they decided to call it quits shortly before this self-titled sophomore album was finished. They actually finished the recording process separately, and are still not on speaking terms.
Many are hoping for a reconciliation, but if this is indeed the last we hear from The Civil Wars, it will be an incredible farewell.
The Civil Wars
Let’s Be Still
Here’s another album that I’m considering for my best of list. But like Tedeschi Trucks Band, it may be the power of the single that’s really sticking with me. From start to finish Let’s Be Still is a solid album, but the song “Shake” is extraordinary. Definitely one of my favorite SONGS of the year:
The Head and the Heart
The Ash & Clay
These guys are one of my favorite discoveries of the year. I’ve heard folks say they are just a “rip off” of Simon & Garfunkel, but to me, they bring back that familiar S&G sound but with a new twist. At times they are quirky, at times they are a bit bluegrass…and they are absolutely hilarious and charming live in concert.
The Milk Carton Kids
Made Up Mind
This album is dynamite, of course. No surprise there. I’ve been listening to it a lot the past few days, because I’ve decided I want to pick my TEN favorite albums, and I’m not sure how I feel about the entire album from top to bottom. It’s a serious contender for the list… and no doubt about it, the single “Made Up Mind” is one of my favorite tracks of the year!
Tedeschi Trucks Band
This NYC band came onto my radar this past summer, when I saw them perform live at Boston Calling. I have to say, I was completely blown away. I quickly learned the group was on the verge of releasing their DEBUT album… keep your eye on Lucius, they are one of the best new acts out there.
This album is undeniably Willy Mason’s best yet. It’s no surprise that his words are brilliant, but the music is also incredibly dynamic…there’s experimentation here that we haven’t seen from him before, but the core strength of his vocals is still front and center. From start to finish, this album has guts and the lyrics hold weight. The tracks are individually compelling… and together, make a brilliant album that is one of the strongest releases this year.
I think this album is Paul McCartney’s best in years…I still really appreciate his approach to a pop song, there aren’t many folks out there who do it quite like he does.
I’ve seen Deer Tick perform several times over the years and I never quite felt the excitement I hope to feel. Their music can be LOUD. It can be hard-edged, so to speak. This new album, despite it’s title, has a lot of lighter material that I absolutely love. I wonder if the change in sound is disappointing to their older fans…but it’s certainly gained some new ones…
Once I Was An Eagle
Laura Marling makes very raw music that is sometimes uncomfortably sad or honest, making for stunning songs that are easy for me to make a connection with. Her latest release is sure to be high on my year-end list…
Although I will admit that this Dr. Dog album is not my favorite of their releases, their sound is still unique and strong and dynamic on B-Room. This band is one of my favorite bands making music right now (if not my favorite). I decided recently that if I was asked to recommend ONE lesser known contemporary band to someone who wanted some new music, it would definitely be Dr. Dog.