Music

Top 10 Albums of 2019

1. Robert Forster - Inferno

Former Go-Betweens frontman Robert Forster’s seventh solo album, 'Inferno' opens with "Crazy Jane on the Day of Judgement", loosely adapted from Irish poet William Butler Yeats' 1933 poem. The poetic characteristics continue on this beautifully produced record. Forster’s wife Karin Bäumler provides beautiful accompaniment on a range of tracks, from violin on the gorgeous “One Bird in the Sky” to whimsical glockenspiel on "Life Has Turned A Page".

 

 

 

 

 

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2. Andrew Bird - My Finest Work Yet

Chicago native and singer-songwriter Andrew Bird releases his finest work yet. The opening track, "Sisyphus" starts out with Bird's signature whistling. Andrew's vocals, his guitar and violin work are first-rate. 'My Finest Work Yet' is very poetic and beautiful. The album cover art portrays Andrew Bird recreating French painter Jacques-Louis David's 1793 La Mort de Marat painting, depicting the death of Jean-Paul Marat, a French revolutionary leader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. Peter Perrett - Humanworld

Years ago, Peter Perrett flirted with death with ""Another Girl, Another Planet"", but in 2017, he made a comeback and released the stunning 'How the West Was Won'. Working again with his sons Jamie (guitars) and Peter Jr (bass), the former Only Ones leader releases another brilliant album. All songs were written by Peter except for "Master Of Destruction" which was written by Jamie who also produced the album.

 

 

 

 

 

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4. Pernice Brothers - Spread the Feeling

'Spread the Feeling' is the Pernice Brothers' first album since 2010's 'Goodbye, Killer'. The new album features Neko Case on “The Devil and The Jinn” and Pete Yorn on "Throw Me to The Lions".

Joe Pernice recorded a full length Pernice Brothers record a few years back, but ditched it after it was mixed. He just didn't like the songs. With engineer/musician extraordinaire Liam Jaeger, they reworked/mixed the songs worth the time in Toronto and kept recording new songs until 'Spread The Feeling' was done. The record was recorded and mixed in Boston, Toronto and Washington State.

'Spread the Feeling' as much as you did in 2003 with 'Yours, Mine & Ours'.

 

 

 

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5. Rod Melancon - Pinkville

Heavily influenced by the Southern Gothic literacy of Larry Brown and Tennessee Williams, Rod Melancon's new album, 'Pinkville', intentional or coincidental ties together with 2017's exceptional 'Southern Gothic'. The cover art and title track is not a presage of the album's theme, nor about Charlie Company and what life was like in the jungles of South Vietnam.

Produced by Adrian Quesada and Will Walden, 'Pinkville' was recorded in Austin, Texas. Will, son of musician and Emmy winning composer W.G. “Snuffy” Walden, played guitar on Southern Gothic' (“Different Man""). With 'Pinkville', his talents expand to co-writes on five songs and adding electric guitar, keys and percussion.
 
A teaser campaign started last year in mid August with a snippet of the video, “Westgate” that included a neon green Trans-Am. The full single was released on September 14, 2018. It was in 1977 that the T-Top Trans-Am, with its iconic ""Screaming Chicken"" decal on the hood became one of the hottest selling cars of the year after the success of Burt Reynold's 'Smokey and the Bandit'. Rod Melancon is on to something big. The “Laissez les bons temps rouler” continued when three days later Melancon's “Wanna Go for a Ride” from 2014's 'Parish Lines' was featured in a national Toyota commercial. Pontiac, you're next.
 
Now based in Austin, mad talking man Rod Melancon will never be too far from his roots, the Parish lines of South Louisiana. 'Pinkville' conjures up the Drive-by Truckers' 'Southern Rock Opera' with Rod's spoken-word narrative in the album opener and title track, “Up until I was about 10 years old my family owned a crawfish pond outside of Gueydan, Louisiana. That's deep down in Vermillion Parish. Not too far from the Mermentau River.”
 
Melancon pays tribute to the great “Bebop Kid”, Freddy Fender with “Corpus Christi Carwash” and to one of rock 'n' roll's most beloved and respected musicians, Tom Petty with “The Heartbreakers” where Rod sings “Skinny little white boy standing on the corner / Way deep down in the swamps of Florida / He got long blonde hair and a big wide grin / Says there ain't no use hangin round again”.
 

The first thing that stands out about Rod Melancon is undoubtedly his voice. His covers of Tom Waits' “Goin' Out West” and Bruce Springsteen's “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)” flat out rock.

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6. Grace Potter - Daylight

Topanga, California, has long been a haven for artists and musicians; Neil Young's 'After the Gold Rush' was recorded in the basement of his former Topanga Canyon home. The album cover for 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' was shot in the Canyon.

Topanga Canyon was a creative community then and still is today.

Grace Potter takes love to another level with her new album, 'Daylight'. You'll love these eleven songs, you'll love her voice.

So many great musicians played on this album, including Heartbreakers Keyboardist Benmont Tench, known as one of the finest organ players, piano players, anything-with-keys players, who plays on six tracks.

Singing group vocals are Lucius (Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig) who appeared on Roger Waters' 2017 album 'Is This the Life We Really Want?' and joined him on tour as his backing singers sing group vocals on the opening track "Love Is Love", "Back To Me", "Repossession", "Desire", and "Please".

Famed engineer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Eric Valentine who is married to Grace Potter produced, engineered, mixed and mastered 'Daylight'. The songs were written by Grace and Eric. 'Daylight' was recorded at Barefoot Recording and Topangadise Studios (facility Valentine built at their Topanga Canyon home).

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7. Bonnie Bishop - The Walk

Stunning. Soulful.

Bonnie Bishop's voice is as impressive as that of Susan Tedeschi or Bonnie Raitt. Choosing to work with Producer Steve Jordan was a grand decision. Jordan also plays drums, percussion, and electric guitar on the album.

"This soundtrack is dedicated to all who wander. I hope it helps you on The Walk to wherever you are going."

 

 

 

 

 

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8. Lee Harvey Osmond - Mohawk

In his 50s, Tom Wilson learned that the parents who raised him were not his birth parents. He had been adopted. His biological mother and father were Mohawk from the Kahnawake reserve, just outside of Montreal. This shook Wilson to the core, sparking him to explore his newly-revealed Mohawk roots and uncover the truth. His memoir, 'Beautiful Scars' was published and released in November 2017.

Tom Wilson's ""acid-folk"" musical project, Lee Harvey Osmond has released its fourth album. 'Mohawk' was produced, recorded and mixed by Michael Timmins of the Cowbow Junkies. Tom Wilson co-produced and did the album artwork.

Wilson has again surrounded himself with some excellent Canadian talent - Thompson Wilson (bass, guitar, harmonica and backing vocals), Anna Reddick (bass), Johnny Dymond (bass), Ray Farrugia (drum and percussion), Aaron Goldstein (pedal steel and electric guitar), Colin Linden (dobro), Paul Reddick (harmonica), Oh Susanna (backing vocals) and Darcy Hepner (flutes and horns).

 

 

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9. Derbert McClinton and Self-Made Men + Dana
    
Tall, Dark, & Handsome

Mr. Smith is back in town and so is Delbert McClinton. 'Tall, Dark, & Handsome' is McClinton's 20th studio album. The swinging hand-picked studio band, Self-Made Men, assembled for 2017's 'The Prick of the Litter' are also back. Saxophonist Dana Robbins was also added. Delbert McClinton, who turned 79 last November, has been singing R&B, blues, rockabilly and country for 47 years, starting on the Texas honky-tonk circuit. In the late Fifties, McClinton's Straitjackets were the house band and one of the few white acts at Jacks, a Fort Worth club where they backed up Howlin' Wolf, Lighting' Hopkins and Big Joe Turner.

Inspired by bluesman Jimmy Reed, McClinton switched from guitar to harmonica, and in the early Sixties, when he toured England with Bruce Channel, he taught some harp licks to John Lennon, who was playing in a then-unknown opening act, The Beatles.

The musicianship on this fabulous album is impressive. The Self-Made Men + Dana are: Bob Britt (guitar), Jack Bruno (drums), Mike Joyce (bass), Kevin McKendree (keyboards), James Pennebaker (guitar), Dennis Wage (keyboards), Quentin Ware (trumpet) and Dana Robbins (saxophone). Kevin's son, the incredibly talented Yates plays guitar on "Loud Mouth". 'Tall, Dark, & Handsome' was recorded at Kevin McKendree's recording studio, The Rock House, in Franklin, Tennessee.

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10. Tim Easton - Exposition

Tim Easton gives more than a splendid exposition of vocal talent on his newest release. Perfectly crafted, 'Exposition' is the singer-songwriter's most independent and ambitious project to date. The album was produced, performed and recorded on the hallowed grounds of specific locations in Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi.

Easton's musical exposition journey began at the Okfuskee Historical Society in Okemah, Oklahoma (birthplace of Woody Guthrie), continuing down to the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas (where for three days, Robert Johnson recorded 16 songs along with alternate versions of each) and lastly, Clarksdale, Mississippi (birthplace of Muddy Waters).

Hollywood's Cherokee Studios might have closed in August 2007, but at the peak of its success, it housed five studios. 'Exposition' evokes 2003's 'Break Your Mother's Heart' which was recorded at Cherokee. Easton's exposition to and of blues & folk music continues today just as it did twelve years ago; three pop-up studios replacing the five that once stood on North Avenue.

'Exposition' is one excellent 'field recording' album.