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Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 10, 2011
Scott Foley

Sometimes the highest profile stuff really does merit its attention. Case in point might be my favorite album of 2010, Robert Plant's Band of Joy.

... or Hayes Carll's fantastic KMAG YOYO (and other American Stories). Following 2008's much lauded Trouble in Mind, Carll could have cruised on this one with an album's worth of jokey drunk Texan songs. Sure, the jokes are there, but so is the songwriting, in spades. Admitting there's nothing new under the musical sun, listeners will hear echoes of Townes Van Zandt, Roger Miller, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark and more. Still, those influences appear as more of an inheritance as opposed to a crutch, as Carll lifts it all above most others in the genre with his eclectic, honest tunes. Special recognition goes to Cary Ann Hearst, whose duet on "Another Like You" will certainly serve as a star-turn.

Speaking of meritous acts, I find it odd that I'm suggesting you don't miss the Grammys this Sunday. Word has it that the Avetts, Mumford & Sons and Bob Dylan will perform together. Almost makes it possible to sit through Cee Lo Green's performance with Gwyneth Paltrow and the Muppets ... ?!

* Ben Weaver, "East Jefferson" Mirepoix & Smoke (Bloodshot, 10)
* Supersuckers, "One Cigarette Away (live)" Whole Foods Live EP (SS, 07)
* Decemberists, "Rise to Me" King is Dead (Capitol, 10)
* David Wax Museum, "Born With a Broken Heart" Everything is Saved (Self, 11)
* 4H Royalty, "Rubber City Girl" Colossalalia (Self, 10)
* Jessica Lea Mayfield, "Nervous Lonely Night" Tell Me (Nonesuch, 11)
* Jonathan Byrd, "Wild Ponies" Cackalack (Waterbug, 10)
* Jayhawks, "Pray for Me (demo)" Tomorrow the Green Grass (remastered) (American, 11)
* Southern Culture on the Skids, "Bone Dry Dirt" Kudzu Ranch (Kudzu, 10)
^ Hayes Carll, "Another Like You" KMAG YOYO (and Other American Stories) (Lost Hwy, 11)
* Paper Bird, "Jesus and Arizona (live)" Live at Twist and Shout (Self, 09)
* Lucky Peterson, "Atonement" You Can Always Turn Around (Dreyfus, 10)
* Cowboy Junkies, "Flirted With You All My Life" Demons (Self, 11)
* Bobby Long, "In the Frost" Winter Tale (ATO, 11)
* Rodney Crowell, "Dancin' Circles Round the Sun" The Outsider (Columbia, 05)
* Jeff Finlin, "East by West" Tao of Motor Oil (Bent Wheel, 10)
* Teddy Thompson, "Delilah" Bella (Verve, 11)
* Grant Peeples, "High Fructose Corn Syrup" Okra and Ecclesiastes (Gatorbone, 11)
* Eddie Spaghetti, "Never Thought I Would" Sundowner (Bloodshot, 11)
* Wailin' Jennys, "Mona Louise" Bright Morning Star (Red House, 11)
* Asylum St Spankers, "Last Mile of the Way" God's Favorite Band (Yellow Dog, 09)
* Bridge, "Rosie" National Bohemian (Woodberry, 11)
* Kasey Anderson, "Sirens and Thunder" Heart of a Dog (Red River, 11)
* Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, "Fleeting Like the Days" Holy Coming of the Storm (Self, 11)
* Lynn Miles, "Something Beautiful" Fall for Beauty (True North, 10)
* Greg Trooper, "Might Be a Train" Upside-Down Town (52 Shakes, 10)

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