Jon Nungesser’s Top 5 Albums of the Year
It’s hard to think of all the great albums that came out in the span of the last 12 months! 2015 will surely be remembered for having had amazing artists who created so many stellar records that are diverse in their sound and lyrical content, and will keep us listening well into the new year.
Here are five of my favorites from 2015.
Jason Isbell, ‘Something More Than Free’ (Southeastern)
I feel as though this album really picks up where ‘Southeastern’ left off. Where as in 2013 he was just getting out of rehab and recording his last album – there was a hint of cautious optimism in his work. For ‘Something More than Free,’ Isbell seems to be in a much steadier place and it shows in tracks such as “24 Frames” and “If It Takes a Lifetime.” He seems to be thankful for where he is and we’re thankful for the music he’s creating. iTunes * Amazon.com
The Milk Carton Kids, ‘Monterey’ (Anti/Epitaph)
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan really show off their close harmonies and weaving guitars on this one – it’s a sound that could be easily mistaken for a lost classic of the 60’s folk era. There is no backing band, no frills on this album – just a mastery of their chosen instruments that these two exude in fine fashion. Take a listen to “Asheville Skies,” “Monterrey,” and “The City of Our Lady.” iTunes * Amazon.com
Watkins Family Hour, ‘Watkins Family Hour’ (Family Hour Records)
What started as a show with friends for Sara and Sean Watkins at L.A.’s famed venue Largo has blossomed into an album that takes the spirit of a live show and bottles it up for all of us listening. They are joined by an all-star cast including Fiona Apple, Jackson Browne, and Dawes just to name a few. The Watkins seem to be like a nice wine, they only get better with age! iTunes * Amazon.com
Sufjan Stevens, ‘Carrie & Lowell’ (Asthmathic Kitty)
This album has to be considered one of the best of 2015. Stevens returns to a mostly indie-folk vibe for this record which is largely an homage to his mother who passed away in 2012. It may not be the most cheerful album of 2015, but it commands you to keep listening as it pulls at your heart strings the entire time. iTunes * Amazon.com
The Decemberists, ‘What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World’ (Capitol)
It took going through our CD collection to remember that this record was actually released in 2015 (It seems so long ago now!) Regardless, The Portland band headed by Colin Meloy comes out swinging with their brand of indie-folk-rock. It’s a solid album with many different themes having produced such tracks as “Make You Better” seemingly heard everywhere in the first months of 2015. iTunes * Amazon.com