My Top 10 albums from 2012
I’m a semi-professional music reviewer with an internet radio show and I receive between 6 and 10 albums every month; with the exception of a couple of absolute stinkers, this has been an amazing year for Americana and Roots music; so selecting a Top 10 was really difficult.
For this request I didn’t refer to my notes until number 8 on the list; and that was only to differentiate between 5 competing albums. The Graham Parker and the Rumour album didn’t arrive until the end of November; but just oozes class all the way through. The rest were trawled from my memory banks; which I think is the honest way to do a Top 10 .
I already knew half of the acts so these albums represent a new direction or where they have moved their music onto a whole new level; the other half are new discoveries for me (I do like discovering new music) and in some ways they have managed to take my breath away or just keep me coming back for repeated listens.
Including Gem Andrews at #8 may seem an odd and possibly a ‘romantic’ choice as she is a Newcastle based singer-songwriter; but her album really is excellent and as good as anything that came out of Nashville, Austin or New York this year; so she is here on merit.
01 Bap Kennedy – The Sailors Revenge (I’m a fan and really like everything he’s recorded but this truly is a masterpiece from a man who is finally comfortable with his place in the World).
02 Graham Parker and the Rumour – Three Chords Good (Came out of nowhere at the end of the year and blew me away. Parker is still the angriest man in Pop but when backed by the Rumour for the first time in 20 years you have to sit up and listen).
03 Matraca Berg – Love’s Truckstop (I’d never heard of Matraca when the CD arrived; but the song-writing is outstanding throughout and her voice makes you ‘believe’ the words.)
04 Lincoln Durham – The Shovel Vs. The Howling Bones (This knocked me sideways from the opening few seconds – a genuine left-field genius)
05 My Darling Clementine – How Do You Plead? (They took the age old Classic Country Him and Her pairing and brought it up to date. Who’d have thought songs with stories and tunes still had a place in the industry).
06 Royal Southern Brotherhood – Royal Southern Brotherhood (Combining members of the Neville and Allman families could have been messy but this album is as good as anything that ever came out of the South)
07 Malcolm Holcombe – Down The River (The grumpiest man in Roots finally got a good producer who brought along some famous friends)
08 Gem Andrews – Scatter (Local singer-songwriter far surpassed all expectations on her debut album. This could have been recorded in Nashville)
09 Ian Segal and the Mississippi Mudbloods – Candy Store (A lily-white Brit shows you how to play the Blues)
10 Awna Teixeira – Darkness (The Po’ Girl singer was a huge surprise with this beautiful album).