OA: Top Ten Albums of 2008 December 26, 2008

1. James McMurtry, “Just Us Kids.” The newest CD from the “ultimate observer” is every bit as good as its predecessor, “Childish Things.” Pulling no punches in his stories full of hard-edged characters who are mostly down on their luck. Fascinating listening is the result.

2. Shawn Mullins, “Honeydew.” This CD just gets better with each listen as Mullins has found his comfort level as a singer/songwriter, and we are the lucky beneficiaries. Mullins is one of the best singers who you may have never heard of. Give it a try.

3. Gary Louris, “Vagabonds.” Anyone who has followed the Jayhawks knows that Louris is a great singer/songwriter Louris. This is his first solo recording since the Jayhawks breakup, and Louris proves he can be a viable solo act as well.

4. Rodney Crowell, “Sex and Gasoline.” All about the fairer sex and the role they have played in his life. This may well be one of Crowell’s best recordings. This superb CD can be described as strong, bold, sensitive and thought provoking.

5. Mudcrutch, “Mudcrutch.” This is Tom Petty’s original band reunited for the first time in years. There are 14 great tracks here featuring 10 originals and four terrific covers including “Shady Grove,” “Six Days on the Road” and the Byrds’ “Lover of the Bayou.” Relaxed and unforced, this could be the record of the summer.

6. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, “Turbo Ocho.” Clyne and the Peacemakers have made their own luck by touring relentlessly. They have played here twice have a good fan base in River City. This is one of their best recordings.

7. Emmylou Harris, “All I Intended to Be.” Harris is one of the most respected figures in modern music for many reasons. Neil Young said that she in under appreciated and will be more popular as the years go on. Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know that this is a great CD as are most of Harris’ previous 24 solo albums.

8. Jakob Dylan, “Seeing Things.” Bob’s son has got more than a little bit of his father’s talent. It is also obvious that it comes through more clearly on this mostly acoustic laid-back effort than in his excellent work in the Wallflowers.

9. Joe Cocker, “Hymn For My Soul.” One of rock’s great voices, Cocker is unique in song interpretation and has released one of his best CDs in many years. Cocker delivers 11 excellent tunes featuring covers of “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” “Beware of Darkness,” “Come Together” and “Long as I Can See the Light.”

10. Van Morrison, “Keep It Simple.” This excellent new CD is classic Van Morrison in every
way. No horns or strings, just subtly great songs sung by one of the greatest singers in the history of rock ’n’ roll and not a bad songwriter, either. A must for all Van fans.


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