Saturday, December 31, 2011
December 31, 2011
My highlight for 2011 would have to be the glorious rebirth of Routes & Branches. Having masqueraded for a couple years under the Thursday Morning Mix moniker, KRFC's late-summer restructuring gave me the opportunity to brush off the ashes and rise again all phoenix-like. While I feel I've been fumbling around of late, it makes my heart happy to occupy Saturday evening once again.
Plus, there's the matter of all the great music that was released in 2011, from stuff like Decemberists and Dolorean in the dawning days of January to the one glorious week of October that heralded the release of Deep Dark Woods, Ryan Adams, Great American Taxi and Glossary. It's a generous time for those of us that revel in new music, with nearly every day producing a welcome discovery online, a new song, a new album, even a new artist. Regrettably, listening to more music can muddy the waters when it comes to whittling a year down to just 20 selections.
But it's been done, and I feel generally good about the results. What isn't on the final list? Lucinda, Steve Earle, Gillian, Buddy, Old 97s, Kasey Chambers, Dave Alvin, Ry Cooder, Gourds and more more more. And even worthy Colorado acts like Patti Fiasco, Lizzie Huffman and Turn 4 were turned away owing to no room at the inn. My final moment of panic happened as I passed Berthoud on my way north this afternoon. Only three women on the list!?
Nevertheless, Lydia Loveless was an obvious #1 soon after I previewed the album, reminding me of the most fearless days of early alt.country. The early days of the Bloodshot records label when the edges were sharp and bordering on dangerous. The label wisely included a "radio friendly" copy along with the profanity riddled original copy, with only the latter living in my player because sometimes it's just wonderful to hear such a beautiful voice sling profanity so eloquently.
Next Episode, I'll proffer my favorite songs of the year coming to an end as I type. I love what I do, and Routes & Branches thrives under the pressure of more eagerly listening ears. Please bring a friend.
My Favorite CDs of 2011
1) Lydia Loveless, Indestructible Machine (Bloodshot, 9/13)
2) Blitzen Trapper, American Goldwing (Sub Pop, 9/13)
3) Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Here We Rest (Lightning Rod, 4/12)
4) Decemberists, King Is Dead / Long Live the King / iTunes Session (Capitol, 1/14 and 10/28)
5) Deep Dark Woods, Place I Left Behind (Sugar Hill, 10/14)
6) Dolorean, The Unfazed (Partisan, 1/18)
7) Hayes Carll, KMAG YOYO (and Other American Stories) (Lost Hwy, 2/15)
8) Great American Taxi, Paradise Lost (Self, 10/11)
9) Jayhawks, Mockingbird Time (Rounder, 9/20)
10) Glossary, Long Live All Of Us (Undertow, 10/02)
11) Roadside Graves, We Can Take Care Of Ourselves (Autumn Tone, 7/19)
12) Emmylou Harris, Hard Bargain (Nonesuch, 4/22)
13) Kasey Anderson & the Honkies, Heart Of a Dog (Red River, 2/15)
14) Dawes, Nothing Is Wrong (ATO, 6/07)
15) Ryan Adams, Ashes & Fire (Pax Americana, 10/11)
16) Girls Guns & Glory, Sweet Nothings (Lonesome Day, 8/30)
17) Drive-By Truckers, Go-Go Boots (ATO, 2/15)
18) Low Anthem, Smart Flesh (Nonesuch, 2/21)
19) Frank Turner, England Keep My Bones (Epitaph, 6/06)
20) Amanda Shires, Carrying Lightning (Silver Knife, 5/03)