February 15, 2014

Greetings to my fellow musical travelers. Sorry for the delay in getting our next edition published, but we have been “experimenting” with the format for the past couple of months. Doing a monthly (or so) post was getting to be a job rather than what I had originally intended “DAA” to be. And then it hit me last month as I saw the news releases and stories about The Beatles and the 50th anniversary of their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. If you hear something you like, you don’t want to wait a month to tell people. I know we live in an “instant gratification” society, but if you are passionate about music (even mildly enthusiastic) you want to spread the word……now. So we have a new layout and the ability to tell the world when we hear something worth downloading or buying on a daily even hourly basis. Again this is new and we may tweek the layout and the format over the next weeks and months, so stay tuned; and if you have any ideas or suggestions please let us know.

I had planned to do my “End Of The Year” list of the best albums of 2013 in January, however, getting the new format defined took longer than expected. I’m glad. After reading articles about The “timeless” quality of The Beatles’ music, I went back to my list and asked the question……when I go to “the home” will I take any of these albums with me? My list changed. Not drastically, but enough that I dropped a few and added others. I know this is late, but I like it better. So in no particular order, here’s my “Best of 2013”:

1. Neko Case: “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You”. An album that gets better everytime I listen to it.

2. Laura Marling: “Once I Was An Eagle”. The comparisons to Joni Mitchell are hard to ignore, though I much prefer Laura’s voice. And like Joni she is a unique artist. Not every song is a classic, but those that are……

3. Mark Knopfler: “Privateering”. This gem is finally available in the states. There’s a ittle something here for everyone: blues, celtic, country, rock and more. Mark has made some great albums with Dire Straits and as a solo artist; but this is one of, if not the best.

4. Kacey Musgraves: “Same Trailer Different Park”. Kacey’s major label debut won two well-earned Grammys: Best Country Album and Best Country Song. She is a talented songwriter and a gifted singer. You don’t hear “intelligent” used very often these days, but it’s appropriate here.

5. Queens Of The Stone Age: “…..Like Clockwork”. An album that sparked a lot of discussion and dissension. “Where is the rock” seemed to be a common complaint. It’s a bit dark and takes some listening to fully appreciate, but I love it when an artist is willing to take chances.

6. Willie Nile: “American Ride”. It is hard to believe that Willie’s first album came out in 1980 and that he’s been part of the New York music scene since the early 70s. Yet here he is almost 35 years later producing what may be his best work. Some car or motorcycle company should be using the title track.

7. Bombino: “Nomad”. The back-story alone makes this worth buying. It isn’t just the best “world music” album of the year; it’s one of the best albums period.

8. Boz Scaggs: “Memphis”. Nobody does it better.

Best Reissues of the Year: “Delbert & Glen Sessions 1972-1973” and “Performance-Rockin’ The Fillmore: The Complete Recordings”

Best Classical Albums of the Year: “Atterberg: Orchestral Works, Vol.1” and Patrick Dupre Quigley and Seraphic Fire: “Ave Maria”. Atterberg is a Swedish composer whose music will have you wondering why every major orchestra isn’t playing his symphonies on a regular basis. Seraphic Fire’s “Ave Maria” is superb.

Best New Artists: Lorde: “Pure Heroine” and Savages: “Silence Yourself”.

Albums We Won’t Be Listening To in 5 Years (maybe less): Imagine Dragons: “Night Visions”, Daft Punk: “Random Access Memories” and Vampire Weekend: “Modern Vampires of the City”.

Best Free Album of the Year: Caro Emerald: “The Shocking Miss Emerald”. This is an acoustic version of some of the songs from her current album of the same name. And if that wasn’t enough you can download it for free at her web site. Click here and go to her music tab.

Songs of the Year: “Super 8” by Jason Isbell from “Southeastern”. A great song from a great album (anyone who duets with Kim Richey gets my vote); and Will Lee: “Get Out Of My Life Woman” (duet with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top with Allen Toussaint on keyboards). Check out the YouTube videos: Will Lee and Jason Isbell.

I have a batch of mp3s to share before we head overseas next week. Stay tuned.