Minkin’s Music – Best of 2010
It’s once again time to present my Best of 2010 musical selections. The year began with the band Reckless Kelly and the fantastic Somewhere in Time which pays homage to their mentor Pinto Bennett and The Famous Motel Cowboys. Next, there was a wave of leading ladies including Patty Griffin’s gospel influenced Downtown Church album produced by Buddy Miller and Shelby Lynne highlighting her beautiful range throughout Tears, Lies, and Alibis with simple arrangements and an old folk/blues acoustic guitar. The country rockin’ Miranda Lambert is blistering on Revolution and the sweetheart of Outlaw Country, Elizabeth Cook, puts music to storytelling on Welder.
The boys also make a strong showing including John Mellencamp and his roots Americana No Better Than This along with Jeff Bridges, Colin Farrell, and Ryan Bingham performing original songs written for the motion picture soundtrack Crazy Heart; both albums produced by T-Bone Burnett.
Three of the biggest surprises came from local singer/songwriters who deserve more than a token mention on this list. You should hear for yourself Northeast Ohio favorites like the old-timey trio Hey Mavis perform tracks from Red Wine. The sweet vocal harmonies of Laurie Michelle Caner and Sarah Benn blending with Ed Caner’s viola profunda sound effects give the trio a big, fat sound on the collection of all original material. The amazing Brent Kirby and his Gram Parson’s influenced Last Song on The Soundtrack is woven with tales about the life of a romantic featuring Chris Hanna on piano and Al Moss on pedal steel. The lovely Kate Tucker has a beautiful soft soprano voice which makes her music on the moving White Horses stand out. Part melodic and part gothic, she writes songs that pierce through your heart with a sharp edge blade. Of course, Akron’s favorite sons Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach once again have taken The Black Keys to another level with their latest release Brothers.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers showed they are the kings of rock ‘n roll bands with the release of Mojo. Heartbreaker’s guitarist Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench on keyboards, and the legendary Ron Blair on bass make this album an instant classic. Making a run at the finish was Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs with his fantastic God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise. But this year, the top award must go to ex J. Geils Band front man Peter Wolf with his brilliant Midnight Souvenirs, an album loaded with 14 great songs covering all spectrums of his musical background. Radio singles “I Don’t Wanna Know”, “Don’t Try To Change Her”, and “The Night Comes Down” are blended with a soft soul ballad “Overnight Lows”, a funky R&B number called “Everything I Do”, and a country toe tapper “Always Asking For You”. The record also has a couple of sweet duets featuring Neko Case on “The Green Fields of Summer” and “Tragedy” with the lovely Shelby Lynne. Wolf’s record was the find of the year and I’m glad this one fell into my lap.
As the year comes to a close, I’m reflecting on the past four years of writing Minkin’s Music and all the good times with people I’ve met along the way. May the spirit of the season touch your soul and let comfort and joy shine upon you throughout the upcoming year.