Elena See – Folk Alley Music Host – Top CD List for 2007
Richard Shindell – South of Delia
To me, this album epitomizes all that is good and great about the world of folk music. Richard Shindell, after careful consideration and personal reflection, chose a collection of 12 songs that mean something to him…it’s a cover album, for sure, but it’s one of those albums that you don’t expect anyone to make. Peter Gabriel next to Bruce Springsteen? Harry Robertson alongside of Jeffrey Foucault? And yet…it works.
Favorite Song: ‘Northbound 35’
Lori McKenna – Unglamorous
I didn’t expect to like this album – I admit it. This is a departure for Lori McKenna. She travels, in this album, from the sparse world of kitchen table folk to the twang of pop-country, which isn’t surprising, given that Tim McGraw produced it. However, McKenna’s songs are still intensely intimate, and she’s still telling a great story.
My favorite? Track 3: ‘Your Next Lover.’ I WISH I was generous enough to feel that way.
Lyle Lovett – It’s Not Big It’s Large
I like this album from Lyle Lovett and his Large Band for a couple of reasons. First, the title of the album – frankly, it makes me chuckle. And second: he does it again! He goes from jazz to pop to ballad to rock and mixes the lyrics and lush orchestration (or hard driving beat, depending) to perfection. It doesn’t matter what mood you are in when you listen to this: there WILL be a song that says it all. I’m a sucker for the ballads on this one – they break my heart.
Favorite Song: ‘Don’t Cry a Tear’
Alison Krauss & Robert Plant – Raising Sand
This is my ‘surprise’ album of the year. I’m not a huge Alison Krauss fan and neither am I a huge Robert Plant fan. Don’t get me wrong — I like them both. I just wouldn’t necessarily choose either of them to grace my top 10. But this album – it’s fascinating. It’s got a good story behind it (they met at a tribute to Leadbelly and decided to try to work together) and the queen of bluegrass and one of the dukes in world of rock and roll really compliment each other nicely. There are tunes on the album that play up both their strengths, along with a great supporting cast of musicians.
Favorite Song: ‘Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us’
Over the Rhine – The Trumpet Child
I’ve been a rabid fan of this Ohio-based band since the release of their last album, Drunkard’s Prayer. And this album…well, it’s different. Where were the personal anecdotes? The stories of love and loss and struggle? The album was not what I expected and I admit it took several listens before I decided I liked it – no, I loved it. I think what I like about this album, and actually, about all of OTR’s albums – they’re so darn sad. And so romantic. And so intense. And yet…they present all these intense emotions in a casual, almost funny, way.
Favorite Song: ‘Let’s Spend the Day in Bed’