Tune Out of 2012
As Christmas passes us by and the end of the year nears, it is
time to make some decisions and look back to the year in music 2012. Here is my Top 10 list for
10. Lydia Loveless – “Indestructible Machine” – Loveless’ music can best be described as hard-edged honky tonk with a punk music attitude. A darling of the South By Southwest festival, the Ohio native brings energy and verve with every cut on her latest album, “Indestructible Machine.”
9. Andy Thorn and Friends – “Fire In The Sky” — A young-gun North Carolina banjo player, Andy Thorn is a musician on the rise. Currently playing with the refurbished Leftover Salmon, this solo album is excellent, featuring hot picking and an open-minded approach to the music, including great new instrumentals, such as “Bird Call” and a fun twist on the Guns and Roses classic, “Sweet Child O Mine.”
8. Amy LeVere – “Stranger Me” – LeVere’s music is more than the stereotypical “chick behind a piano” fare, as on this latest album she fleshes out quirky, unusual, yet wonderful new music that is original and interesting.
7. Esperanza Spalding – “Radio Music Society” – Spalding’s music continues to amaze. Heavily steeped in jazz, yet still able to blend cross-over appeal into her sound, Spalding’s music is both challenging, yet accessible; her vocals are superb, and her bass playing is wonderful.
6. Kathy Mattea – “Calling Me Home” – Mattea has seen many sides of the music business, having been on top of the country charts years ago. Since then, she has explored Celtic and other forms of music successfully. Here, on “Calling Me Home,” she pays homage to her West Virginia roots as the granddaughter of coal miners.
5. Lettuce – “Fly” – Lettuce has become one of the best funk bands in the land. They still skirt the edges of the jam band scene, but their music is decisively funky. “Fly” is one of their best albums yet, a funky soundtrack to this modern world.
4. Scott Miller and Rayna Gellert – “Codependents” – A seemingly unlikely pairing, Miller and Gellert hit it off musically when they met on West Virginia’s Mountain Stage radio show. Miller has been producing his own unique and rootsy albums for years, and Gellert is an excellent fiddler and multi-instrumentalist who played with Uncle Earl back in the day. Hopefully, this album with send you off to find both Miller’s albums, as well as Gellert’s new solo album, “Old Light.”
3. Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives – “Nashville Part 1: Tear The Woodpile Down” — Practically the only band playing real country music and honky tonk these days, Stuart and crew are not just trying to recreate nostalgic sounds, but are instead bringing it hard and fast. They are very much in the here and now, and Stuart and Kenny Vaughan’s dual guitar ripping is fantastic.
2. Jerry Douglas – “Traveler” – Douglas, perhaps the best dobro player in the world, is a huge part of the Grammy Award-winning sound of Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas. But it is on his more eclectic and progressive solo albums where he gets to really stretch and have some fun. The guests on this diverse and awesome project include Eric Clapton, Mumford and Sons, Keb Mo, Dr. John, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Paul Simon, Omar Hakim, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Bela Fleck and more.
1. Leftover Salmon – “Aquatic Hitchhiker” – Leftover Salmon finally regrouped after many wonderful side projects by its band members, Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt. This time, however, the boys brought in the previously mentioned hot shot banjo player Andy Thorn to add some kick to the proceedings. This party album finds the self-described “Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass Band” having fun and kicking it into high gear.