I love the question Adam asked on his This might hurt blog a couple of weeks ago about where you bought your first record. In that spirit, and in the spirit of Mojo mag, which asks these types of things all the time, I’ll list my top five albums of the year and ask you to join in. Don’t feel confined to just five. I like hearing about what other people are listening to.
The best album I’ve heard this year has to be Acid Tongue by Jenny Lewis. It wasn’t reviewed or received as well as her first solo album with the Watson Sisters, Rabbit Fur Coat, but it’s better. The first was very unusual, stark, real basic, a nice blend of country and pop and she shared the bill. Acid Tongue is more conventional with a band or actually two, sort of, bands but it’s executed beautifully and her songwriting is in great shape.
It helps that I saw her play live earlier this fall at the Shubert in New Haven with band members who played on the album, including her boyfriend/producer. I love Carpetbaggers with Elvis Costello, but the topper is The Next Messiah, a nine-minute romp that rocks. She opened with that in New Haven. It’s just a wonderful record.
After that, Steve Winwood’s Nine Lives, his best selling album in years and back on a major label, Columbia. He got quite a boost out of playing at MSG with Clapton in February but you know, he’s been playing live consistently with guitarist Jose Neto with few breaks since his return album About Time in 2003.
I, Flathead by Ry Cooder, which has some serious rockers and, of course, exquisitely tasteful playing, with an early countrified rock ‘n roll feel. It’s supposed to be the third in a trilogy, which started with Chavez Ravine, the best of the three.
Shelby Lynne’s Just A Little Lovin’, a semi tribute to Dusty Springfield, who is one of my all-time favs. She does six Springfield tunes, very low key and under produced, which really works. Also included is How Can I Be Sure, the Rascals song.
The fifth is Esperanza, by Esperanza Spalding, an amazing female bassist just out of Berklee in Boston, my old school by the way.
So let’s hear what you liked this year. Just new releases for now. We’ll look at reissues in a later post.