Triple Played: Time to rewind on 2012 music

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Since there will basically be no more new releases this year, here are my personal top 10 for 2012. Obviously, I will leave out some of your favorites as well as mine.

“Still On the Road to Freedom,” Alvin Lee: Former Ten Years After guitarist Lee’s follow-up to the 1974 classic with Mylon LeFevre, “On the Road to Freedom,” is the surprise album of the year. In my opinion, it’s an instant classic, getting my nod for this year’s very best release!

“Privateering,” Mark Knopfler: I’ve been a huge Knopfler fan since I first heard “Sultans of Swing” in 1978. He just keeps getting better and this two-disc set is a culmination of all those years perfecting his craft. Twenty songs on two discs cover Celtic, blues, rock, country, folk and a serenade all delivered in classic Knopfler style.

“Carry Me Back,” Old Crow Medicine Show: Mix non-traditional bluegrass a la New Grass Revival with old-timey music in the style of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and the result is Old Crow Medicine Show’s best CD to date. These fellows have really come a long way since 1999 and it shows in their songwriting and cohesiveness.

“Signs and Signifiers,” J.D. McPherson: McPherson was a punk rocker until he heard Buddy Holly. This great album reflects on Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino with the attitude of a Stray Cat! Thank you to my son Matt for turning me on to Mr. McPherson’s music.

“Psychedelic Pill,” Neil Young & Crazy Horse: It’s Neil and the “Horse” in their element with the grungy, garage rock style similar to “Rust Never Sleeps” and “Ragged Glory,” two of my favorites. This two-disc set features nine songs and runs close to 90 minutes.

“Bow and Be Simple,” Matt Harlan: Don’t be fooled by the quiet, introspective theme of the second album from this Texas singer-songwriter. Harlan’s songs stand up to most of the best of today’s singer-songwriters and his gentle form of expression makes listening very easy.

“Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan”: An amazing 72 songs on four CDs from 72 different artists varying in age, style and popularity. The songs aren’t new but the recordings are and they are as diverse as they are enthralling. Listening to covers of Bob Dylan songs only enhances his legend.

“Wrecking Ball,” Bruce Springsteen: At my daughter’s graduation, the speaker suggested that in these times we should listen to the writers, singers and poets. To me, Springsteen embodies all of those qualities and “Wrecking Ball” is definitely worth listening to.

“Slipstream,” Bonnie Raitt: Ms. Raitt’s first album in seven years is her best record since the classic “Nick of Time.” Vocally she has never sounded better and the songwriters she covers include Loudon Wainwright III, Bonnie Bramlett, Gerry Rafferty and Bob Dylan (twice).

“Three Pears,” Dwight Yoakam: For his first album in seven years, Yoakam turned to Beck as his producer and looked to the garage rock of the 1960s for inspiration. The result is Yoakam’s best CD in years and one of the very best of his illustrious career, a modern day country-rock classic.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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