Tag Archives: Best of 2012

Best albums of 2012: number 16 to 20

Van Morrison – Born To Sing No Plan B 16

16. Van Morrison – Born to sing,  No plan B

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):


Dwight Yoakam 3 Pears 17

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!

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Take Hold Of My Heart, Trying, Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
  • Hallgeir: Rock it all away, Missing Heart, A heart like mine and Trying


Shovels and Rope o be joyful 18

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.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Birmingham, Lay Low, Shank Hill St.
  • Hallgeir: Birmingham, Hail Hail, Tickin’ Bomb and Shank Hill St.


I Was a King You Love it Here 19

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.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Frozen Disease, A Million Signs, Indiana
  • Hallgeir: A Million Signs, Food Wheels, Superhero and Leave


Katleen Edwards Voyageur 20

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.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Chameleon/Comedian, Change The Sheets, House Full of Emty Rooms,
  • Hallgeir: Chameleon/Comedian, House Full of Emty Rooms, Going To Hell


The complete LIST


Best albums of 2012: number 21 to 25

mumford and sons babel 21

21. Mumford & Sons – Babel

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


Darrell Scott Long ride home 22

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.

– Hallgeir


  • 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)


marty_stuart_nashville_volume 1 23

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

– Hallgeir


  • 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

Bobby Womack Bravest Man in the Universe 24

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.

– Hallgeir


  • 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


Sharon-Van-Etten-Tramp-2012 25

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.



  • Egil:  Give Out, All I Can & Magic Chords
  • Hallgeir: In Line, All I Can and Serpents

To the complete LIST