15. Duke Special – Oh Pioneer
Worth it for the song Condition on its own Belfast’s eccentric yet songwriter on classic lines fashions his eye liner and dreads into another satisfying collection.
14. Deacon Blue - Hipsters
One of the returns of the year, Deacon Blue with Ross’s usual great songs and the best musical context for his work since Raintown.
13. Sinead O’Connor – How About I Be Me (and You be You)?
O’Connor’s strongest writing in decades shares some radical theology of love and justice.
12. Bob Dylan – Tempest
In the year of returns to form Dylan made his most urgent record in a very, very long time.
11. Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls
The first time I heard Brittany Howard’s vocal on Later With... Jools was a musical highlight of my year. Great big riffs and a bigger Gospel voice. Wow!
10. Glen Hansard – Rhythm and Repose
Frames and Swell Season mainman strikes out alone with an
intoxicating songs about love’s redemptive power in the midst of joy and regret.
9. Ben Kyle
Gentle alt. country songs from this Belfast born native of Minneapolis. God infected with a gentle strength in sound and dogma.
8. Matthew Perryman Jones – Land Of The Living
If Chris Martin had depth... if Bono was more poetic...
7. Martyn Joseph – Songs For The Coming Home
Year after year this Welsh boy gets better and more
spiritually wise and politically on the money!
6. Patti Smith – Banga
For adventure, art, religious exploration and the future of humanity it is a wonderful contribution.
5. Mumford & Sons – Babel
Mingling theology subtly inside those banjo picking ho downs is completely electrifying.
4. Brian Houston – Shelter
Think Springsteen, Alabama Shakes and Exile On Main Street era Stones all wrapped in Gospel songs!
3. Jake Bugg
The freshest sound to hit me in ages, Bugg has Dylan, Arctic Monkeys and even George Jones all youthed up for 2012.
2. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
Prophetic songs of economic injustice and where to seek redemption. I spent a whole night preaching from this record during a wonderful evening of music and chat in the Beehive, Delaware, Ohio in March!
1. Bill Fay – Life Is People
The revelation of the year. The man’s amazing story. The humility of his life. The beauty of his work. Thank you God that there is a Bill Fay in the world and in the world of music and that we got to hear it!