Best of 2009…So Far – Part 2 June 18, 2009Posted by Matt in Best of 2009.
Tags: 2009, albums, Best Of, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Justin Townes Earle, music, neko case
Yesterday I gave my rankings for the 11th-15th best albums of the year so far and with this entry I will continue in that same vein, giving choices 6-10. Let me know what you think.
10. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
It’s no secret that I think the vast majority of today’s country music is embarrassingly bad, so it probably just as well that artists like Jason Isbell are making the best common man anthems below the radar. This former member of one of my favorite bands, the Drive-By Truckers, released an excellent solo debut in 2007, but I think this one may be even better. If you have a soft spot for southern music like I do, you owe it to yourself to check this out.
Download: Seven Mile Island, However Long
9. Justin Townes Earle – Midnight at the Movies
This progeny of the aforementioned Steve Earle is the second reason to believe that the genre of country music has not been entirely destroyed by the record companies and the radio. Earle’s songs are pure old-school, sounding much more like something you’d hear from a person pickin’ and grinnin’ on their front porch than an overly sanitized tune from the country charts. From bluegrass to honky-tonk to good old-fashioned hurting songs, this is essential listening.
Download: What I Mean to You, They Killed John Henry
8. Bob Dylan – Together Through Life
You know its been an incredible year for music when the latest release from the legendary Dylan gets pushed all the way back to 8. Employing a distinct Southwestern sound mixed with Cajun and the blues and, heck, anything else he can jumble together, Dylan’s music genius continues to hack away the boundaries people try to set up for him. Every time I’ve listened to this album, it makes me want to hang out with him in some smoky border town cantina.
Download: Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, My Wife’s Home Town
7. Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King
I’ve been a fan of DMB since the band’s debut some 15 years ago, but their recent releases have seemed to be lacking something that the earlier ones had. Though their live show was still incredible, the quality of their studio albums seemed to be in decline….until this one. Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, recorded on the heels of saxophonist Leroi Moore’s sudden death, is a definite return to their early form and may possibly even be their best release yet.
Download: Funny the Way it Is, Shake Me Like a Monkey
6. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
In our home Neko Case is known as “the other woman” because it is no secret that I totally and completely in love with her voice. Her latest continues in a dark, Southern gothic tradition that frames her incredible vocals almost perfectly. I could and would listen to her sing the phone book, but it doesn’t help that this is another excellent collection of songs.
Download: This Tornado Loves You, Fever
To be continued…