40. Olavi Uusivirta: Preeria
There won’t be many major label releases on the list, but I suppose also those big boys need to get the credit when they deserve it. Olavi Uusivirta’s latest album Preeria was a beautiful 70’s kind of pop album. A couple of horrible songs as well, but I can forgive that, because this is mostly either great or really good pop music.
39. Belle & Sebastian: Write About Love
Oh yes, I know this is a shocking place for Belle & Sebastian. Maybe I just haven’t really listened to this one enough, but you have to earn your ice time on hockey and I suppose an album has to earn the “air time”. Write About Love is definitely a good album. Even a really good album. It might be a bit unfair, but I always expect something special from Belle & Sebastian and therefore just a good pop album feels like a minor disappointment.
38. The Hold Steady: Heaven Is Whenever
Pretty much the same goes here. Basic goodness from The Hold Steady, but nothing really earth-shattering this time around. Well apart from Soft In The Center and Weekenders. Those two songs are pretty damn wonderful and I love them to bits.
37. Kim Curly Band: Kim Curly Band
Kim Curly Band’s beautiful debut album has gotten criminally small amount of attention on this blog. It ain’t perfect, but it’s still a pretty convincing debut album. If you are looking for finnish americana, look no further. For example Beauty and Through My Window are such a magnificent songs.
36. Chatham County Line: Wildwood
Chatham County Line wrote possibly the greatest song of the last decade, The Carolinian. New album Wildwood doesn’t contain equally stunning songs, but the band is still in very good form and deliver beautiful bluegrass and americana songs.
35. Kasey Anderson: Nowhere Nights
Kasey Anderson was a new find for me and what a great find he was. A wonderful singer-songwriter capable of writing powerful country rockers and captivating folk ballads. Nowhere Nights isn’t perfect from start to finish, but there’s a bunch of really fantastic songs in here.
34. Drive-By Truckers: The Big To-Do
Certainly not their greatest album, but the highlights like Fourth Night Of My Drinking and Birthday Boy are freakin’ awesome. I think that this time they really succeeded with those rockin’ country tunes, but some of those slower numbers didn’t quite rise to their standard level.
33. Topi Saha: Verta ja lihaa
I’ve been waiting for this album since I heard Hämeentie 61 a couple of years ago on myspace. Topi Saha is a young finnish folk singer-songwriter and this is his debut album. It’s mostly gorgeous. Hämeentie 61 still sounds perfect and there’s at least 5-6 almost equally wonderful songs. There are a couple of “just ok” tunes, but hey.. it’s a debut and pretty damn impressive one.
32. The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang
Maybe the weakest The Gaslight Anthem so far, but still pretty impressive stuff. And I’m not sure is it the weakest either. It could be just the fact that the thrill of finding them is gone and therefore it’s harder to find the same kind of excitement as before. It sounds like they have just one song, but thankfully that one song is so damn good.
31. Lemonator: Shake, Shake, Shake
Kasey Anderson: Nowhere Nights (Red River Records, 2010)
Kasey Anderson is a singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon and his new album Nowhere Nights is pretty marvellous. I assume that Kasey was probably sitting on Bob Dylan’s imaginary couch when Steve Earle was standing on Bob Dylan’s imaginary coffee table stating that Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the world. Especially it seems that the name Steve Earle has to be mentioned on every review. Well now I got that under way and I can focus on the songs. Kasey Anderson is a great songwriter and a damn fine storyteller. The songs range from hard-edged and country-tinged rockers to heartbreaking and/or thoughtprovoking ballads. I might have added one tough rocker to the latter half of the album, because the only minor problem I have with this great album is that the listening experience starts to get a little heavy towards the end if I’m not in the right mood. However, the quality never drops when the balladry kicks in and therefore this is just a case of personal preference. I’m just loving those damn brilliant rockers like All Lit Up and Nowhere Nights more than the slower material.