My favourite six records of the year so far show perhaps a lack of the experimental in my raging taste. This is a collection of great songs, performed in the traditional sense. What a collection of crafted art they are!
1. ROMANTICA - Shadowlands
Belfast born, now Twin Cities citizen, Ben Kyle gets the band together again and writes the lyrics and music that I would if I could. Harder To Hear had been my spiritual medication since the album was released last year BUT only officially in the Uk in March!
2. JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNITS - The Nashville Sound
Whatever you call this sound I cannot get enough of it. John Mayer has called Isbell the best songwriter in the world just now and I could not disagree. It caresses the ears, sings sweetly off the tongue and touches the head and heart and soul!
3. VARIOUS ARTISTS - Treasure In A Broken Land; The Songs Of Mark Heard
Twenty five years since we lost the genius that was Mark heard, Phil madeira has done and extraordinary job of bringing Heard’s incredible songs live with a cast of brilliance - Drew Holcomb, Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller, Birds of Chicago and Over the Rhine!
4. ANTHONY TONER - Ink
Northern Irishman Toner with his strongest collection yet. Magnificent craft. The song Alphabet starts off as certain loser of an idea and ends up an absolute triumph.
5. RHIANNON GIDDENS - Freedom Highway
Giddens has the voice of her generation. Here she uses it for songs of oppression and liberation.
6. STEPHEN FEARING - Every Soul’s A Sailor
Canadian songwriter Fearing at his absolute best. His electric and acoustic guitars exchange centre stage as his voice is wrapped around soul nurturing songs.