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Saturday, November 12, 2011

ROUTES & BRANCHES
November 12, 2011
Scott Foley

Three and one-half years have passed since Kathleen Edwards released her Asking For Flowers CD.  Whereas that one was produced by uberproducer Jim Scott, the new Voyageur finds Edwards herself at the helm, along with Bon Iver guy Justin Vernon.  I do enjoy Vernon's music, tho I consider it the closest thing indie rock has to new age (along with Sigur Ros and perhaps Bjork).  The stronger force in this pairing seems to be Edwards, whose songwriting confidence seems to improve with each release.  She does seem to be trying to break free of the "pretty Canadian songwriter standing in a field" rut, with more upbeat moments and depth of production.

Other Canadians messing with my year-end favorites chart include Deep Dark Woods.  Now that I have a complete copy of their Place I Left Behind, I see the boys from Saskatoon as among the forefront of bands upholding the legacy of The Band.   From a bit further south, I haven't heard a more soulful sound this year than Brittany Howard and her Alabama Shakes.  This link just might change your life (of course, after you finish with your business on this fine weblog ... ). 


*  Freakwater, "Good For Nothing"  End Time  (Thrill Jockey, 99)
*  Richmond Fontaine, "Mechanic's Life"  High Country  (El Cortez, 11)
*  Greensky Bluegrass, "Don't Lie"  Handguns  (Big Blue Zoo, 11)
*  Reckless Kelly, "I Never Like St Valentine"  Good Luck & True Love  (No Big Deal, 11)
*  Kentucky Parlor Pickers, "Ruby Sue"  Barn Burner  (Self, 11)
*  Kathleen Edwards, "Mint"  Voyageur  (Rounder, 12)
*  Gob Iron, "Nicotine Blues"  Death Songs For the Living  (Transmit Sound, 06)
*  Pert Near Sandstone, "Solid Gone"  Paradise Hop  (Self, 11)
*  Alabama Shakes, "You Ain't Alone"  Alabama Shakes EP  (Self, 11)
*  Great American Taxi, "Poor House"  Paradise Lost  (GATR, 11)
*  Dirt Daubers, "Angel Along the Tracks"  Wake Up Sinners  (Colonel Knowledge, 11)
*  Boca Chica, "Sin City"  Get Out Of Sin City  (Self, 11)
*  Todd Snider, "I Spoke As a Child"  Songs From the Daily Planet  (MCA, 94)
*  Have Gun Will Travel, "Keep It In Your Heart"  Mergers & Acquisitions  (Suburban Home, 11)
*  Mike McClure, "Old Crow"  Fifty Billion  (598 Records, 11)
*  Deep Dark Woods, "Place I Left Behind"  Place I Left Behind  (Sugar Hill, 11)
*  Danny Barnes, "Low"  Rocket  (ATO, 11)
*  Kathryn Mostow, "Give Me Something Good"  Rich Girl  (Self, 11)
*  Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, "Roots & Wings"  Gift Horse  (Vanguard, 11)
*  Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, "Cease Fire"  Exploration  (New West, 05)
*  Barnstar, "Charlottesville"  C'Mon  (Self, 11)
*  Megafaun, "Get Right"  Megafaun  (Self, 11)
*  Tom Russell, "Mesabi"  Mesabi  (Shout Factory, 11)
*  You Me & Apollo, "Oh Brother"  Cards With Cheats  (Self, 11)
*  Hoots & Hellmouth, "Why Would You Not Want To Go There"  Salt  (Self, 11)
*  Lera Lynn, "Gasoline"  Have You Met Lera Lynn  (Slow, 11)

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