Folk Alley’s Best of 2011 – Elena See

2011 was another outstanding year for new music, and just like the diverse music you hear on Folk Alley, our hosts and staff have wide ranging tastes as well. We love it all – everything from contemporary singer/songwriters, Americana, Celtic, Bluegrass & Old-Time, World Music, and more. Over the next week we’ll share our individual hosts and staff Top Picks for 2011 with you. First up – Elena See!

by Elena See, host on FolkAlley.com M-F 7:00am to Noon; Sat & Sun Midnight-5:00am (ET)

Seems like every year there’s more and more…and more music that’s being released! So it’s hard to stay on top of things and it’s also hard to pick just one or two or ten favorites. But here we go:

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Alison Krauss & Union Station
Paper Airplane

If I had to pick one favorite for 2011 – this would be it. And it almost didn’t happen! The five musicians – Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminski, Ron Block, and Barry Bales, with Krauss on lead vocal and fiddle – got started on the new album…and then stopped. But after a visit to songwriter Robert Lee Castleman, they got things rolling again and the result was, according to Krauss, an album that represents “a trying time that has to end.”

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Jeff Black
Plow Through the Mystic

I was so excited for this recording! And – and this never happens – my expectations were blown out of the water. Plow Through the Mystic was better than I could have imagined. Jeff Black is just great at creating stories, using harmonies to masterful effect, and writing lyrics that, for some reason, just hit me right in the heart. Sigh. It’s a keeper

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Lori McKenna

My first exposure to Lori McKenna was with her country-esque Unglamorous from a few years back. And I liked it a lot. But this album – it’s an amazing collection of stories that really showcases McKenna’s ability to create songs from intensely personal experiences. What’s great about Lorraine is that while the experiences might be personal, McKenna is able to make them relate to anyone who cares to listen. Care to listen!

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