2012 is a year filled with many great album releases. Almost all “endyear lists” I’ve seen fails to include “Born To Sing, No Plan B”.. and that’s a shame. It might no be among the man’s best albums, but it’s still a fantastic album.
Solid band (as always), great vocal, good songs, interesting lyrics, jazzy, soulful, moody & and a brilliant trombone (Alistair White).
When you’re in need of some VM (as we all are sometimes), please check out this new album.. you will not be disappointed, I promise.
Reminds me of: a Van Morrison in excellent form
Egil: Born To Sing, Open The Door, If in money we trust
Hallgeir: If in money we trust, Pagan Heart, Mystic of the east
Born to sing (Official video):
17. Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears
It’s been seven years since Dwight Yoakam’s last gave us a proper release, 2005′s Blame the Vain. He’s done some acting, he’s done some producing, did some concerts and a tribute album to Buck Owens but he has been sorely missed.
Back on a major label one should think that Yoakam would sound mainstream country, not so at all. He has clearly listened to the new wave of the indie folk/country wave that is happening these last years. Beck is producing on a couple of tracks and Dwight Yoakam produces some tracks himself, they sound very new, almost like a new artist. He has not lost his pop sensibility and his ear for catchy tunes. That doesn’t mean that he has abandonded his honkey tonk roots, and he really let it comes out in a song like, Dim Lights, Thick smoke.
Dwight Yoakam sounds like a cross between The Monkees and Jerry Lee Lewis on A heart like mine!
Catchy, great tunes and still so goddam cool!
Egil: Take Hold Of My Heart, Trying, Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
Hallgeir: Rock it all away, Missing Heart, A heart like mine and Trying
18. Shovels and Rope – O’ Be Joyful
Shovels and Rope sounds like children of both punk and country, and their intimate debut has a brooding darkness throughout. The southern gothic is prominent, even the name hints at darkness. It excites me that country music can be so bold and so fresh. I say country music but it is just as much rock’n roll.
The couple (Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent) released a CD called Shovels And Rope, but this is the first release where they call their band Shovels and Rope. This mix of dark country and old time rock reminds me of Jack White and Loretta Lynn, the rhythm track is simple but the melodies are wonderful.
Dark and haunting contemporary country/rock music.
Egil: Birmingham, Lay Low, Shank Hill St.
Hallgeir: Birmingham, Hail Hail, Tickin’ Bomb and Shank Hill St.
19. I Was A King – You Love It Here
I Was A King has a fine mix of powerpop, guitar walls and great song writing. The guitars are “byrdsy” jangly and this time they flirt even more with the American side of indie-americana-pop. So you see, they’re kinda hard to describe. But they sound terrific!
IWAK has gotten together with two fantastic popmusic masters this time, Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub vocalist, yes him!) and Robyn Hitchcock (Power-pop godfather, The Soft Boys member and solo artist extraordinaire), what a dream-team!
When i first read about it I really couldn’t believe it, it’s a match made in heaven.
The result of this collaboration is IWAK’s best album, a fully realised record with great songs. It sounds so big and it is full of air, but it’s not pretentious at all. They sound more mature and more pop. The Playing is better than ever and the songwriting is spectacular, I realy love this album (You guessed that, eh?) and it is a quintessential pop album. A love letter to music, no less.
Jangly, infectious and very, very good.
Egil: Frozen Disease, A Million Signs, Indiana
Hallgeir: A Million Signs, Food Wheels, Superhero and Leave
20. Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur
I really like break-up albums, I love Blood on the tracks, I love Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love and I love when Jackson Browne sing about his break-ups. Kathleen Edwards is now part of this rich tradition of soul wreching songwriters. Maybe not quite on their level, yet, but she is becoming a very good songwriter, and she is at the top of her game on this album.
But it is not all gloom, she sounds as she’s coping. Actually it sounds that she’s on her way up from the bleakness, the album is full of hope. The songs are really strong an Justin Vernon’s involvement has brought out unknown elements in Kathleen Edwards songs.
Spacious, hopeful and sad, in a good way.
Egil: Chameleon/Comedian, Change The Sheets, House Full of Emty Rooms,
Hallgeir: Chameleon/Comedian, House Full of Emty Rooms, Going To Hell
I think it’s a great story, the story of Babel. I think anyone can direct it as an analogy for a lot of different situations. ….. It’s such a human thing. As humans, we’re such a discontented species. We’re always trying to further ourselves, and you get all the way to the moon and then it’s just discontent. You want to go to Mars.
~Ted Dwane (rollingstone.com interv. – Aug. 2012)
The music is: uplifting, lively, intense, rootsy, Appalachian/bluegrass’ish… and driving rock @ heart (wild @ heart 😉
Reminds me of: The Avett Brothers, The Pogues & Bon Iver on steroids & a helluva string backing….
Egil: I Will Wait, Hopeless Wanderer & Babel
Hallgeir: Babel, Lover of the light and Broken Crown
22. Darrell Scott – Long Ride Home
“…even Jesus couldn’t help me today”
Darrell Scott is one of the best songwriters i know of. I am relatively new to his work, and discovered him when he was nominated for a Grammy for, Hank Williams’ Ghost in 2007. He has since toured with Buddy Miller and Robert Plant, those men do not pick people (for the Band of Joy) that doesn’t know what they’re doing, trust me Darrell Scott is the real deal.
Long Ride Home is his seventh album. This is great music and he some very special guests on this album, Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark, Patty Griffin and many more. These are his peers, he fits nicely in this company and that says something. The songs are incredibly strong and constantly interesting. The hour flies by.
This is storytelling at it’s richest and best.
Heartache, lost love and temptation.
Egil: It Must Be Sunday, Out In The Parking Lot & The Country Boy
Hallgeir: Someday, Candle for a Cowboy and Out in the parking lot (with Guy Clark)
23. Marty Stuart -Nashville, volume 1: Tear the Woodpile down
Marty Stuart is back with this fabulous, but short, 30 minute album of traditional styled country. He runs through a fine bunch of songs with his touring band and some great guests, Hank3, Kenny Lovelace, Buck Trent and more. The Topics are hard core country themes: truck driving, love and loneliness. This is pure country but not slick Nashville, I think it is better to call it country & western music, and it is clearly a project that is close to Marty Stuart’s heart.
Traditional but fresh and with tremendeous technical skill
Egil: The Lonely Kind, Tear the Woodpile Down, Sundown in Nashville
Hallgeir: A Matter of Time, Holding on to nothing and Truck Driver’s Blues
24. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe
Bobby Womack has given us this aptly titled album this year, it is one of his best albums, and that says a lot! He has certainly been dealt a rough hand by life and he has come out triumphantly, he is a survivor, a soul survivor.
Damon Albarn plays a big role in Womack’s resurrection, first by including him on two Gorillaz albums and now by producing (along with Richard Russel) this record. He seems to have pushed Womack in the right direction and fed his creativity more than anybody has for very many years.
This is classic Bobby Womack but with a spacious, trip-hoppy sound.
Egil: Please Forgive My Heart, Dayglo Reflection, Love Is Gonna Lift You Up
Hallgeir: Please forgive my heart, The Bravest Man in The Universe and Whatever happened to the times
25. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
“I’m traveling, I’m female, I’m strong.”
~Sharon Van Etten (on why – Tramp)
The music is: Naked, raw, truthful, mesmerizing, demanding & often beautiful.
Reminds me of: early PJ Harvey, Liz Phair & even Emmylou Harris.
Hank W. Rodgersons Gospel Experience live Stavanger 16 Dec 2012
Me and my wife Kathrine had the pleasure of seeing this wonderful band again last sunday, it was a good concert. Last time we saw them was in a church, not so this evening. Cementen, a local, rock club/pub was the venue and it suited the band equally good. Some of the band took came over and said hello, They’re just the nicest people!
As I said it was a great evening and well worth the trip, I took a lot of pictures (Nikon D7000) and shot some video on my trusted Nikon compact (Nikon P7000). Enjoy, and be sure to check out the Hank W. Rodgersons Gospel Experience next time they are playing close to you. I guarantee that you’ll have a fun night out!
My old friend Jesus (yellow tint by me to “enhance the folksy gospel feel”):
Steve Earle is next out in our series of christmas videos. It’s an incredible song from the album “Copperhead Road”, released in 1988. The background voice was provided by the wonderful Maria McKee on the album version.
In this version it’s just Steve and his guitar:
It shows that our hero Mr. Steve Earle is not always political, he seems to have a little religion in him as well. Maybe it was just the holiday season approaching that inspired him, who knows? A very nice song it is.
Here is the version from the album (with Maria McKee on background vocals):
Nothing But A Child (Steve Earle)
Once upon a time in a far off land Wise men saw a sign and set out aross the sand Songs of praise to sing, they travelled day and night Precious gifts to bring, guided by the light They chased a brand new star, ever towards the west Across the mountains far, but when it came to rest They scarce believed their eyes, they’d come so many miles And the miracle they prized was nothing but a child
Nothing but a child could wash these tears away Or guide a weary world into the light of day And nothing but a child could help erase these miles So once again we all can be children for awhile
Now all around the world, in every Iittle town Everyday is heard a precious little sound And every mother kind and every father proud Looks down in awe to find another chance allowed