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Monday, January 01, 2018



ROUTES & BRANCHES  
it's our kind of music
January 1, 2018
Scott Foley, purveyor of dust

Don't know why it's more challenging for me to assemble my favorite songs list than a list of my favorite records.  More than usual this year, many of my very favorite songs happened to be on my top albums, and I played those songs during my year-end records list (see below, a few weeks ago).  Rather than repeat myself, for this Episode I've chosen to only feature stuff from artists who weren't part of that albums list.  In other words, we're not counting anything down here, just spending some quality time with music that's mattered the most to us over the past twelve months.

Last week we featured some of our favorite artists' own favorites for 2017.  Got just another to share with you. From Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, whose Constant Stranger landed in the upper reaches of my 2016 favorites list (and whose collaboration with Will Johnson we'll review next week!), we're advised to check out the following:

Acetone, 1992-2001
Ry Cooder, Paris TX  (1989)
Replacements, For Sale Live in 1986 at Maxwell's Hoboken
Link Wray, s/t (1971) and Be What You Want To (1973)
Dion, Kickin' Child: the Lost Album

For my part, if a white hot iron were held to my forehead by way of threat, I'd probably list the following as my ten favorite songs for 2017 (in alpha-order):

Ryan Adams, "Do You Still Love Me"
Craig Finn, "God in Chicago"
Jason Isbell, "Hope the High Road"
Parker McCollum, "Misuderstood"
Travis Meadows, "Pray For Jungleland"
John Moreland, "It Don't Suit Me (Like Before)"
Ron Pope, "Stick Around"
Texas Gentlemen, "Habbie Doobie"
Becky Warren, "Full of Bourbon"
Lee Ann Womack, "All the Trouble"

Writing this on the first day of the new year, I have spent the last couple weeks following so many links and staring at so many lists from other bloggers.  I've listened to more than my average share of music that doesn't fit here, just in search of patterns and outliers and anything I might've missed.  It matters deeply to me that I understand popular music, even if I don't represent it on my blog. Whereas Jason Isbell and Tyler Childers landed on just about every roots-leaning list, Lee Bains III and Ron Pope were radically under-represented.  Which is all good, because music works best when it strikes at the heart, when we can't tear our ears away from a sound and the emotions solicited are genuine.


(some) FAVORiTE SONGs for 2017

- Chuck Prophet, "Jesus Was a Social Drinker" Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins  (YepRoc, Feb 10)
- Angaleena Presley, "Motel Bible" Wrangled  (Mining Light, Apr 21)
- Whiskey Shivers, "Southern Sisyphus" Part of Something  (Clean Bill, Jul 21)
- Rod Melancon, "Lights of Carencro" Southern Gothic  (Blue Elan, Jun 16)
- Tift Merritt, "Proclamation Bones" Stitch of the World  (YepRoc, Jan 27)
- Hiss Golden Messenger, "Gulfport You've Been On My Mind" Hallelujah Anyhow  (Merge, Sep 22)
- Charlie Worsham, "Call You Up" Beginning of Things  (Warner, Apr 21)
- Caroline Spence, "Southern Accident" Spades & Roses  (Tone Tree, Mar 3)
- Iron & Wine, "Thomas County Law" Beast Epic  (Sub Pop, Aug 25)
- K Phillips, "Coalburner" Dirty Wonder  (Rock Ridge, Mar 10)
- Mark Porkchop Holder, "My Black Name" Let it Slide  (Alive Naturalsound, Feb 17)
- Mic Harrison & High Score, "Salt Stained Road" Vanishing South  (Harrison, Mar 10)
- Shovels & Rope w/John Moreland, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" Busted Jukebox Vol. 2  (New West, Dec 8)
- Juanita Stein, "Someone Else's Dime" America  (Hand Written, Jul 28)
- William Matheny, "Blood Moon Singer" Strange Constellations  (Misra, Feb 24)
- Craig Finn, "God in Chicago" We All Want the Same Things  (Partisan, Mar 24)
- Leif Vollebekk, "All Night Sedans" Twin Solitude  (Secret City, Feb 24)
- Harmed Brothers, "Adopt a Highway" Harmed Brothers  (Fluff & Gravy, Apr 21)
- Romantica, "Lonely Star" Shadowlands  (Last Chance, Feb 10)
- Nicole Atkins, "Brokedown Luck" Goodnight Rhonda Lee  (Single Lock, Jul 21)
- Sam Outlaw, "Bottomless Mimosas" Tenderheart  (Six Shooter, Apr 14)
- Matthew Logan Vasquez, "Red Fish" Does What He Wants  (Dine Alone, Apr 21)
- John Murry, "Under a Darker Moon" Short History of Decay  (Latent, Jul 14)
- Ian Felice, "Will I Ever Reach Laredo" In the Kingdom of Dreams  (New York Pro, Aug 25)
- Blank Range, "Seemed Like Word Got Around" Marooned With the Treasure  (Sturdy Girls, Aug 25)
- Langhorne Slim, "Life is Confusing" Lost at Last Vol. 1  (Dualtone, Nov 10)
- Tim Barry, "Running Never Tamed Me" High on 95  (Chunksaah, Sep 8)
- Hellbound Glory, "Empty Bottles" Pinball  (Black Country Rock, Oct 13)
- Becky Warren, "Full of Bourbon" War Surplus (Deluxe Edition)  (Warren, Sep 1)
- Travis Meadows, "Pray for Jungleland" First Cigarette  (Blaster, Oct 13)


So here's to a 2018 rich with musical discovery.  Here's to a year bearing plenty of surprises - new artists and new directions.  For my part here at R&B HQ, I firmly resolve to buck expectations, to blur boundaries and to dig for musical treasure at every opportunity.


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