This is always the toughest list to make. It could easily be twice as long.. or even longer, but I suppose the point of these isn’t to list all good albums you’ve listened to during the year. Therefore I forced myself to cut it down to 25 albums. Top 10 probably would make more sense, but this was already difficult enough. This is the first part. The missing top 12 will be on another blog entry within a day or two.
25. T.Hardy Morris – Audition Tapes (Dangerbird Records, 2013)
I don’t think I had even heard the name T.Hardy Morris before I was listening to American Songwriter (magazine) sampler earlier this year. His song on that sampler was the title track of his album Audition Tapes and it instantly grabbed my attention and I bought the album a while later. There are 4-5 damn great songs here and the rest of them aren’t bad either.
24. Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backward (Bloodshot Records, 2013)
I hadn’t really been listening to Robbie Fulks since 2005 and Georgia Hard album. Then this marvellous thing came along and reminded me that Robbie Fulks is one great country singer-songwriter. Gone Away Backward is a very impressive traditional country record.
23. Michael Feuerstack – Tambourine Death Bed (Forward Music Group, 2013)
The real last minute entry to this list. Sure I had listened to Michael Feuerstack’s new album on Spotify and even shortly featured it at onechord.net months back, but I didn’t bought it until Zunior’s boxing day sale. Therefore it might be slightly questionable to include it on a year end list, but it’s just so good that I don’t have the heart to leave it out. A very strong (and fragile too) album from this fine Canadian singer-songwriter.
22. Doc Feldman & the LD50 – Sundowning at the Station (This Is American Music, 2013)
It feels like Sundowning at the Station has been on pretty much every year-end list I’ve red and onechord.net is not going to be an exception. Doc Feldman & the LD50 fully deserves all this recognition from the folk and americana communities. Convincing stuff.
21. Drag The River – Drag The River (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2013)
This is a very singer-songwriter heavy list and seriously needs some alt country or countrified rock music. I’m a long time fan of Drag The River and own most of their back catalogue. This new self-titled album is not the very best thing they have ever done, but a wonderful record nevertheless.
20. Pickering Pick – (Tropic) (Yer Bird, 2013)
Pickering Pick is one of my favourite singer-songwriter and seem to release an excellent folk album pretty much every year these days. (Tropic) wasn’t as brilliant as his previous album Prayer Flag, but it’s another beauty for sure. Even when the words seem to be more likely to hurt you than heal you, the songs always sound so warm and kind. And I love that.
19. Huck Notari and The River – Huck Notari and The River
This was the first Kickstarter project I took part in. I’ve been so addicted to the beauty of Huck Notari’s earlier work that it was really easy decision to set up that account and pledge some money. At first I was mildly disappointed (meaning that I really liked it, but not as much as the earlier albums), but during the last few months I’ve really learned to love the easy-flowing beauty of this album. In The Candlelight is such a sweet song. First it kind of feels like there’s nothing happening, but in the end I felt like the song was everything.
18. Samantha Crain – Kid Face
I’ve liked Samantha Crain’s music since her debut full-length, but her songwriting rose to another level on her 2013 album Kid Face. There’s so many magnificent songs here that I’ve lost count. This is one of them called For The Miner.
17. Pokey LaFarge – Pokey LaFarge (Third Man Records, 2013)
The local record shop owner tricked me into buying this by putting this on while I was in the shop. Probably knew I was going to a) like it, b) ask what it was and c) leave the record shop with that record in the bag. I haven’t regretted my instant decision to buy it one bit. I’ve spent a large part of the year listening to vintage music and therefore these old-fashioned songs by Pokey LaFarge were a perfect fit. This album always make me feel good. Therefore I probably should listen to it even more than I have.
16. Jacco Gardner – Cabinet Of Curiosities (Trouble In Mind, 2013)
Jacco Gardner is a dutch pop wizard and created a stunning baroque pop / psychedelic pop album Cabinet Of Curiosities. I’m a big fan, but our cat wasn’t entirely convinced when I put this on. She immediately started complaining. Either she isn’t really used to hearing any other instruments than an acoustic guitar and a soft male voice (which is quite understandable if you look at this list) or she just thought the arrangements lacked the feline touch and some meow harmonies will lift it to another level.
15. Vikesh Kapoor – The Ballad Of Willy Robbins (Mama Bird Recording Company, 2013)
Vikesh Kapoor was one of the big new finds to me. I probably wouldn’t recommend starting a recording career by making a concept album loosely based on a newspaper article, but thankfully Vikesh Kapoor never consulted me. The Ballad Of Willy Robbins is a remarkable effort that was a constant companion during last fall.
14. Bobby Emmett – Brighter Days (Mono Edition)
Back in 2009, Bobby Emmett took the album of the year title with his marvellous album Learning Love. It took him a while to make that follow-up, but it finally arrived in 2013. Brighter Days doesn’t match the brilliance of Learning Love (to be frank, I’m not sure does any power pop -related release of the past five years match it), but this one is also filled with gorgeous songs.
13. The Deep Dark Woods – Jubilee (Six Shooter Records / Sugar Hill Records, 2013)
The previous The Deep Dark Woods album The Place I Left Behind is pretty much my favourite album of the decade so far. Jubilee doesn’t quite reach that level, but it’s still mostly brilliant. Not entirely convinced about the last couple of songs, but there’s a huge amount of gorgeous songs like Red Red Rose and Gonna Have A Jubilee.
This perfect version of Red, Red Rose is a magnificent way to end this first chapter of the Album of the year list. Top 12 to follow either tonight or tomorrow.