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Old 12-24-2010, 08:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
killedmyraindog
 
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Default Acoustic Guitar's "Best of 2010"

Lists can be a great way to discover things you haven't heard of if they are contemporary and slightly obscure. As a subscriber to Acoustic Guitar, looking through the list this year there were some great albums I didn't know existed. So heres what Acoustic Guitar had to say about 2010:

(Disclaimer; these are Editors picks. Repeats may happen. On the positive side, you get more perspective for a given album)

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Genuine Negro Jig
Banjos, fiddles, resonator guitars, jugs, and bones whip up a joyful frenzy that hints at this old-time trio’s thrilling live performances. Authentic takes on fiddle tunes and traditional songs dominate, though Rhiannon Giddens’s version of the modern-day tale of revenge “Hit ’Em Up Style” is a highlight. (Nonesuch)


John Mellencamp, No Better Than This
Recorded in mono around a single mic, Mellencamp’s 21st album captures both the vibe of the historic locations in which it was created (a stop on the Underground Railroad, Sun Studios in Memphis, and the Texas hotel where Robert Johnson first recorded) and present-day struggles of working Americans. (Rounder)


Heidi Talbot, The Last Star
The third solo outing for the former lead singer in the Irish group Cherish the Ladies includes her takes on traditional songs both heartbreaking (“Bantry Girls”) and uplifting (“Sally Brown,” “The Shepherd Lad”), with guitar work by Ian Carr and Boo Hewerdine. (Compass)


Darrell Scott, A Crooked Road
One of the best writers in Nashville proves there’s still much to say about relationships and love with this inspired double album of original songs, on which he plays all the instruments—guitar, banjo, mandolin, drums, and piano. (Full Light)


The John Hartford Stringband, Memories of John
Guitarist Chris Sharp assembled the John Hartford Stringband for this heartfelt tribute in memory of their bandleader. Guests include Tim O’Brien, Béla Fleck, Alison Brown, and Hartford himself via unfinished demo recordings. (Compass)


Joy Kills Sorrow, Darkness Sure Becomes This City
Anchored by 2006 Winfield flatpicking champion Matthew Arcara and Jacob Jolliff, the first recipient of a full-ride mandolin scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, this set showcases string-band instrumental chops on original songs delivered in Emma Beaton’s ethereal voice. (Signature Sounds)


Mark Erelli and Jeffrey Foucault, Seven Curses
Two talented songwriters’ spare interpretations of contemporary murder ballads perfectly captures the ache of Woody Guthrie’s “Philadelphia Lawyer,” Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” Norman Blake’s “Billy Gray,” and others. (Indie Europe/Zoom)


Karan Casey and John Doyle, Exiles Return
On this set with his former Solas bandmate, John Doyle is at his subtle best, serving the Irish, Scottish, and English songs with tasteful guitar and bouzouki, and sharing his warm singing voice. (Compass)


Ray LaMontagne, God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise
This past fall’s tour with Levon Helm seemed fitting for LaMontagne, who has created an intimate album of his cinematic songs, with soulful vocals and acoustic guitar front and center, and a feeling reminiscent of the Band’s early days. (RCA)


Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Legacy
In the words of track five, “So good, so good, so good.” Peter Rowan’s mentor Bill Monroe looms large throughout this collection of traditional and original bluegrass, with special guests Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Tim O’Brien, and Del McCoury. (Compass)

Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues
Being named after Townes Van Zandt and having Steve Earle as your father sets up some pretty big expectations, but Justin Townes Earle has developed his own style, one that comes to full realization on the stellar Harlem River Blues. The follow-up to Midnight at the Movies features Earle’s guitar front and center, from his palm-muted fingerpicking on “One More Night in Brooklyn” to the rockabilly strumming on the racy “Move Over Mama.” (Bloodshot)


Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Hawk
The third collaboration between Campbell (formerly of Belle and Sebastian) and Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) mines familiar territory for the unlikely duo—melancholy, spare acoustic duets that pair Lanegan’s gravelly baritone with Campbell’s delicate, breathy vocals. This is the sound of smoky, lovesick evenings and regret-filled Sunday mornings. (Vanguard)


Elvis Costello, National Ransom
Costello teams up once again with producer T Bone Burnett and a crack team of roots musicians for the follow-up to Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane. Feisty, deeply reverential, and rollicking, National Ransom finds Costello tackling American music with a mischievous glint in his eye. (Hear Music)


Jakob Dylan, Women and Country
Opening with the lilting country shuffle of “Nothing but the Whole Wide World to Gain,” Women and Country finds Dylan returning to the quiet, moody acoustic sound of his previous effort, Seeing Things. Once again Dylan’s sturdy songwriting is given the space to shine, with nuanced touches of pedal steel, banjo, fiddle, and restrained drums perfectly complementing the dusty imagery of the songs. (Columbia)


Junip, Fields
Swedish-Argentine guitarist José González fronts this trio, which features his subdued yet insistent nylon-string guitar lines, atmospheric keyboard fills from Tobias Winterkorn, and minimalist drumming by Elias Araya. Mesmerizing from the start, Fields reveals more upon repeated listening. (Mute)


Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave
His voice ravaged by illness and grief, the late country legend sings of death, faith, and loss against starkly minimalist arrangements—and to chilling effect. This final installment of the Rick Rubin–produced sessions is marked by beautifully restrained guitar work from the likes of Mike Campbell, Smokey Hormel, and Matt Sweeney. (Lost Highway)


Avett Brothers, Live, Vol. 3
Part of the Avett Brothers’ charm is the band’s ragged take on Americana, which owes as much to punk rock as it does to bluegrass. On Live, Vol. 3, the Avetts belt out fan favorites such as “The Ballad of Love and Hate” and “Paranoia in B Flat Major” before an enthusiastic audience that seems bent on singing louder than the band. (Columbia)


The Tallest Man on Earth, The Wild Hunt
Hailing from Sweden, Kristian Matsson delivers his emotional songs in a peculiar, pinched voice that dips and swells, an imperfect-yet-perfect instrument for his impressionistic lyrics. His dexterous, thumb-driven fingerpicking and insistent strumming (“King of Spain”) evoke early ’60s Bob Dylan, but the comparisons stop there—Matsson has charted his own idiosyncratic and thrilling path. (Dead Oceans)


Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964
Recorded by Dylan himself for a music publisher, these demos show the transformation of a talented Woody Guthrie devotee into a powerful singer-songwriter who changed the direction of popular music. Highlights include “Masters of War,” “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” and 15 previously unreleased songs. What were you doing at the ripe old age of 24? (Sony)


Mark Olson, Many Colored Kite
Since 2007 the founder of the Jayhawks has released a pair of solo records so emotionally fragile that the listener can’t help but feel like he or she is eavesdropping on Olson’s deepest thoughts and fears. His voice is considerably weaker than when he harmonized with erstwhile bandmate Gary Louris, but his diminished vocal power serves these delicate songs of heartbreak and hope well. (Rykodisc)


Grant Gordy, Grant Gordy
The young bluegrass/jazz virtuoso’s debut is an inspired, ambitious, coherent collection of original compositions for string jazz quartet (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass) that ranks with the best of his employer, David Grisman. (grantgordy.com)


Black Prairie, Feast of the Hunter’s Moon
Black Prairie’s unclassifiable, mostly instrumental music mines old-time, bluegrass, Gypsy, and tango, combining dobro, accordion, fiddle, acoustic bass, acoustic archtop guitar, and sultry vocals in a completely original way. (Sugar Hill)


Jenny and Johnny, I’m Having Fun Now
Johnathan Rice and Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis certainly sound like they’re having fun on this stripped-down garage-pop gem that contains their most wryly accessible, tuneful, and trenchant songwriting yet. (Warner Bros.)


Heidi Talbot, The Last Star
Irish singer Heidi Talbot has made good on the promise of her 2004 solo debut with a gorgeous, heartfelt, and inventive trad Celtic folk album that features producer/multi-instrumentalist John McCusker and guitarist Ian Carr. (Compass)


The John Hartford Stringband, Memories of John
This John Hartford tribute band’s refreshing combination of old-time tunes, bluegrass songs, and Hartford-style whimsy is best described by Hartford’s beyond-the-grave exhortation, which introduces “Madison, Tennessee”: “It’s gonna be straight-ahead, with allegiance to the music, and not tricky.” (Compass)


Laura Veirs, July Flame
On her most acoustic outing yet, Laura Veirs demonstrates why calling her a “singer-poet” says as much about her inventive lyrical imagery as her understanding of the rhythmic possibilities of simple words. (Raven Marching Band)


Various artists, Southern Filibuster: A Tribute to Tut Taylor
This tribute to Dobro player Tut Taylor is not only a showcase for the best dobro players in the country, it also features some brilliant playing from guitarists Bryan Sutton, David Grier, and Russ Barenberg. (E1)


Broken Bells, Broken Bells
A quirky, tuneful combination of hooky pop, semi-acoustic instrumentation, and accessible electronica from Shins lead singer James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, Beck). (Columbia)


Ola Belle Reed, Rising Sun Melodies
This enjoyable collection of recordings by Appalachian banjo player, singer, and songwriter (“I’ve Endured,” “High on the Mountain”) Ola Belle Reed is a great reminder of what a frisky and fluid lead and rhythm guitarist her son David is. (Smithsonian Folkways)


Karan Casey and John Doyle, Exiles Return
Solas’s original singer (Karan Casey) and guitarist (John Doyle) reunite for a spare, subdued trad collection that proves how much simple beauty and power can be created by a single guitar and voice. (Compass)

Last edited by TheBig3; 12-24-2010 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Ansgar Dälken, All Ways Know
Dedicated to the music of pianist Thelonious Monk, All Ways Know offers brilliant solo guitar arrangements, played in D A D G A D and on nylon strings. (Acoustic Music)


Steve Baughman, Life in Prism: Guitar Notes from the Inside
Applying his trademark bouncy groove and effortless-sounding style, fingerstylist Baughman presents a set of music that includes old-time fiddle tunes, Breton traditionals, Irish jigs, and originals. Duets with Robin Bullock, Dennis Cahill, and Nina Gerber round out an otherwise solo outing. (celticguitar.com)


Duck Baker, Bob Brozman, Ed Gerhard, Woody Mann, and Massimo Gatti, Donna Lombarda
Four masters of American fingerstyle and Italian Massimo Gatti offer interpretations of traditional Italian tunes on this benefit project for an Italian hospice. Each artist’s varying approach to the title tune makes for particularly fun listening. (barcoderecords.it)

Pierre Bensusan, Vividly
The French D A D G A D master returns with a varied set of music. Tunes such as “Kiss Landing” and “D A D G A D Café” are simply as good as contemporary fingerstyle guitar gets in terms of composition, chops, tone, and virtuoso execution. (Favored Nations)


Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Interchange
The LAGQ expands by collaborating with a full orchestra (the Delaware Symphony Orchestra). Featuring Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto Andaluz and the premier recording of Sérgio Assad’s Interchange, (which was specifically written for the group), this album once again shows why the LAGQ is the top guitar quartet performing today. (Telarc)


Tomasz Gaworek, Born to Be Together
Amazingly fluid solo fingerstyle work ranging from Celtic standards to modernistic originals. Chops, imaginative arrangements, and great tone unite in this Polish guitarist’s offering. (Acoustic Music)


Bill Mize, The Angel’s Share
A soft touch and heavy groove, combined with an advanced sense of harmony, results in a highly unique and engaging sound that is on the quieter side of fingerstyle. (billmize.com)

Peppino D’Agostino, Nine White Kites
Nine White Kites features D’Agostino doing what he does best: playing solo guitar in the utmost polyphonic, rhythmic, yet melodic way possible. Influences of world music, classical, and American fingerpicking combine into a fresh batch of D’Agostino’s “minestrone music.” (peppinodagostino.com)


Gyan Riley Trio, New York Sessions
Jaw-dropping nylon-string guitar playing that straddles the lines between classical and jazz. Although this trio (which augments Riley with violin and drums) sticks close to Riley’s charts, the format also allows for a high degree of improvisation. (gyanriley.com)


Odair Assad, El Caminante
Assad’s debut album as a solo artist offers premier recordings of new works by Leo Brouwer, Egberto Gismonti, Sérgio Assad, and others. Stunning performances abound, making this album a must-have for fans of virtuoso classical guitar with a Latin tinge. (GHA)




Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs, God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise
Ray LaMontagne describes God Willin’ as “leagues above anything I’ve done before.” The album forgoes the strings and horns heard on LaMontagne’s prior releases, opting instead for the capable sound of his trusty touring band. LaMontagne’s whiskey-barrel vocals are more than enough to make this record worth your while, but it’s the haunting steel guitar parts (played by guitarists Eric Heywood and Greg Leisz) that will stay with you long after the album runs its course. (RCA)


Guster, Easy Wonderful
This newest addition to the Guster catalog is just dorm-friendly enough to inspire disbelief that they’ve been at it for more than 15 years. Youthful, melodic, and full of innovative pop-guitaristry, Easy Wonderful is true to its name. (Universal Republic)


Broken Bells, Broken Bells
Against a backdrop of decidedly electronic sounds, it’s easy to overlook the contribution of the acoustic guitar to this collaboration between Shins front man James Mercer and producer/multi-instrumentalist Danger Mouse. Broken Bells nevertheless offers a moving, melodic, and convincing argument for the role that acoustic instruments can play in experimental music. (Columbia)


Jakob Dylan, Women and Country
Dylan returns with a fantastic and intimate collection of songs. Don’t miss the stellar background vocals contributed by the incomparable Kelly Hogan and Neko Case. (Sony)


Black Prairie, Feast of the Hunter’s Moon
This all-Portland, Oregon, ensemble unites the Decemberists’ Nate Query, Chris Funk, and Jenny Conlee with the able Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld for an album of mostly instrumental tunes. I’d be hard-pressed to say “no” to a new record or tour from the Decemberists, but if this is what happens when they take breaks, I’m more than willing to grant them a little extra time off. (Sugar Hill)


The Giving Tree Band, The Joke, the Threat, and the Obvious
The Giving Tree Band has made waves for their environmentally friendly initiatives—which include reclaimed-wood instruments, sustainable CD packaging, and an affinity for biking and camping—but their down-home 2010 effort is every bit as fun as it is green. (Crooked Creek)


Rogue Wave, Permalight
Straight-ahead strummers are the exception and not the rule on Zach Rogue and company’s newest release, which plays like a case study on innovative uses for the acoustic guitar. Stand in the way of these catchy power-pop gems and you’re likely to be swept out to sea. (Universal)


Josh Ritter, So Runs the World Away
Ritter’s newest skips the instant gratification of tracks like “Right Moves” and “Next to the Last Romantic” heard on 2007’s excellent The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. Offering instead a darker and more cerebral collection of songs, So Runs the World Away unfolds like a book of poems: withholding, meaningful, and ripe for exploration. (Pytheas Recordings)


Elvis Costello, National Ransom
Costello delivers one of his most diverse and theatrical volumes to date in National Ransom, which reunites the legendary songwriter with producer T Bone Burnett. The extra-wide net’s worth of songs flirts with the sound pioneered on 2009’s Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane, but largely pushes into a sonic territory all its own. (Hear Music)


Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave
If this aptly titled, allegedly final installment from Cash’s American Recordings collaboration with producer Rick Rubin seems preoccupied with thoughts of death and dying, it means only that you’re paying attention. For those prepared to regard this autumnal volume, American VI will prove to be a true gift. (Lost Highway)


John Jorgenson, One Stolen Night
On his latest solo album of Hot Club–style Gypsy jazz and other styles, John Jorgenson shows an ever-expanding skill at composing great melodies and creating brilliant arrangements to showcase his dazzling Django Reinhardt–inspired technique on acoustic guitar and other instruments. (J2)


Bryan McDowell, The Contestant
This 19-year-old multi-instrumentalist won an unprecedented triple crown on flatpicking guitar, fiddle, and mandolin at the 2009 Winfield festival. His debut album demonstrates an otherworldly sense of technique, coupled with brilliantly melodic musical skills on tunes ranging from his stately, patrician acoustic guitar on “Over the Waterfall” to a Hot Club–drenched, jazzed-out rendition of “Swing 42.” (bryanmcdowellmusic.com)

The Boxcars, The Boxcars
Put mandolin superstar Adam Steffey in the same band with banjo/fiddle giant Ron Stewart and a cast of modern bluegrass masters and you get the first bluegrass supergroup of the new millennium. Burning down the rails through a selection of originals and classics, these Boxcars are on a one-way track to greatness. (theboxcars.com)


The Punch Brothers, Antifogmatic
Enigmatic, emphatic, and ecstatic, the Punch Brothers delight in reinventing not just bluegrass but every modern musical form to create an acoustic amalgam no other band could create. Led by master mandolinist Chris Thile, this quintet toys with the listener’s sense of time, space, and security to create an unforgettable experience. (Nonesuch)


Don Stiernberg, Swing 220
Jazz mandolin genius and former Jethro Burns protégé Stiernberg leads acoustic guitarist Jeff Jenkins and bassist Rusty Holloway through 14 jazz standards that crackle with wit, style, and substance. If you want to hear acoustic swing done right, here’s a graduate-school lesson from the modern master. (Blue Night)


Nora Jane Struthers, Nora Jane Struthers
Struthers writes new songs that could be prewar and sings them in a voice drenched with truth and integrity. Joined by the likes of Bryan Sutton, Tim O’Brien, and Stuart Duncan, Struthers’s debut album sounds like an undiscovered cache from the Carter Family’s Bristol Sessions. (Blue Pig)


Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, At Edwards Barn
Two pioneers of country rock reunite in a stripped-down bluegrass setting that merges their glorious voices and consummate musical skills, where they cover Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers classics such as “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Wheels,” “Sin City,” and “Eight Miles High.” (Rounder)


Infamous Stringdusters, Things That Fly
No other modern progressive acoustic band does a better job transcending the boundaries of bluegrass to create a coherent, emotional musical statement. Rich, cinematic songwriting is supported by elegant contemporary arrangements and soaring instrumentals and singing to create a moving work of art about love, loss, life, and all the things that make us fly and fall. (Sugar Hill)


Tim O’Brien, Chicken and Egg
Acoustic chameleon Tim O’Brien slips into the soft-shoe footprints of John Hartford on this album filled with wry wit and deep-water wisdom on the troubles and triumphs of life as we know it today. Joined by aces like Bryan Sutton, O’Brien skips effortlessly from bluegrass to swing to roadhouse rock. (Howdy Skies)

Last edited by TheBig3; 12-24-2010 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nels Cline, Dirty Baby
Wilco’s lead guitarist found time in the past few years to record a solo guitar album, a Nels Cline Singers session, and this double album of music inspired by the paintings of Southern California artist Ed Ruscha. Fronting two different large ensembles (with organ, violin, percussion, reeds, electronics, and more), Cline lays out a cornucopia of mind-bending acoustic and electric riffs, colors, and textures, always in the service of the bigger picture. (Cryptogramophone)


Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu, Chiaroscuro
Playing classical, baritone, and 12-string guitars, Towner matches wits with Sardinian trumpeter Fresu on six new and old Towner compositions, the Miles Davis/Bill Evans classic “Blue in Green,” and two improvisations. If you’re drawn to lustrous trumpet (open and muted) and flugelhorn melodies and gleaming guitar arpeggios, filigrees, and single-note runs, this duo album is indispensable. (ECM)


Clogs, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton
When he’s not playing guitar with his brother, Aaron, in the National, Bryce Dessner showcases his acoustic patterns alongside composer/violinist Padma Newsome, percussionist Thomas Kozumplik, and bassoonist Rachael Elliott in this post-rock chamber quartet. With more vocals (by Newsome, Shara Worden, the National’s Matt Berninger, and Sufjan Stevens) and guest instrumentalists than ever before, Clogs turn this vague concept album into a grand textural statement. (Brassland)


Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté, Ali and Toumani
The pairing of Malian guitarist Touré and kora master Diabaté yielded one more sweet-spirited, dreamily drifting collaboration before Touré’s death in 2006. The crystalline delicacy of interlocked plucking is undisturbed by minimal guest appearances (including bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” Lopez and Vieux Farka Touré on congas and vocals) on this beguiling follow-up to the Ry Cooder–graced, Grammy-winning In the Heart of the Moon. (Nonesuch)


Gyan Riley Trio, New York Sessions
On his two previous studio albums, new-music scion Gyan Riley employed overdubbing and guests (including his genius dad, Terry Riley) to realize his compositional dreams. Here’s a working trio, with Timb Harris (violin and viola) and Ches Smith (drums and hand percussion), applying free-jazz energy and astounding chops to original compositions that draw from classical, Indian, and African sources. (gyanriley.com)


Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Hawk
First, over a delicately goth acoustic-guitar foundation, split Leonard Cohen into his yin and yang sides. Then throw in some Townes Van Zandt (“No Place to Fall”), a James Brown piano-guitar riff (“Come Undone” = “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”), a dollop of grunge (the Smashing Pumpkins’ guitarist James Iha), and two exquisitely atmospheric voices, and you have 13 songs of unbearably dark beauty. (Vanguard)


Various artists, We Are One, In the Sun: A Tribute to Robbie Basho
Basho acolyte Steffen Basho-Junghans opens and closes this absorbing homage to the Eastern-influenced “American Primitive” pioneer. Buck Curran, who performs here with his wife, Shanti, as Arborea, put together an often-psychedelic, mostly new-folk, mostly guitar collection with Helena Espvall, Meg Baird, Glenn Jones, Fern Night, and others. (Important)


Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the Cairo Gang, The Wonder Show of the World
As prolific as Elvis Costello was in the 1980s and ’90s, Will Oldham fashions yet another achingly intimate collection of acoustic confessions that pivot on uniquely frank lyrics buoyed by guitarist Emmett Kelly and bassist Shahzad Ismaily. Does anyone else think he sounds like a young (but humble and more introspective) Stephen Stills? (Drag City)


Tin Hat, Foreign Legion
In two different concert settings, this quartet version of Tin Hat—Mark Orton, acoustic guitar and dobro; Carla Kihlstedt, violin and vocals; Ben Goldberg, clarinet and contra alto clarinet; Ara Anderson, trumpet, pump organ, piano, glockenspiel, percussion—again defies “genre-fication” (folk? jazz? world? classical? film score?) with the loose charm it brings to live performance. (BAG Production)


Various artists, Beyond Berkeley Guitar
The title of this generation-spanning anthology refers to both its less far-ranging predecessor, Berkeley Guitar (also curated by fingerstylist Sean Smith), and the legacy of John Fahey, Robbie Basho, and other San Francisco Bay Area acoustic masters. From veteran Richard Osborn to 20-year-old Aaron Sheppard and experimentalist Ava Mendoza, this sampling of old- and new-guard instrumental styles is unrelentingly enthralling. (Tompkins Square)

Odair Assad, El Caminante
Odair Assad plays solo on this album with all the brilliant clarity and passionate sensitivity that has made the Assad Brothers among today’s most sought-after classical performers. From Brouwer to Piazzolla to Mangoré’s “Choro da Saudade,” Assad’s interpretations are nothing short of thrilling. (GHA)


Black Prairie, Feast of the Hunter’s Moon
Featuring guitarist Chris Funk (of the Decemberists) on Weissenborn and dobro, Black Prairie is stretching the strings of the string-band model into quirky, spooky shapes on this accomplished debut, with ingredients from bluegrass to traditional Romanian music. (Sugar Hill)


John Jorgenson Quintet, One Stolen Night
The John Jorgenson Quintet inhabits the same space as Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli’s Quintet and Hot Club of France. Here—as if Jorgenson’s scorching playing isn’t enough—his quintet takes it a step further, with the addition of bouzouki, clarinet, and sax. (J2)


LAGQ, Interchange
The LAGQ, with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, offers both the first concerto ever written for the guitar, Rodrigo’s lovely Concierto Andaluz, and the most recent, Sérgio Assad’s Interchange for guitar quartet and orchestra, written specifically for the group, referencing the heritage and extraordinary musical gifts of each member. (Telarc)


Gareth Pearson, Urban Echoes, Vol. 1
Called the “Welsh Tornado” by Tommy Emmanuel, Pearson is a whirling dervish of virtuosity and verve. But with these 12 compositions, including two jaw-dropping arrangements of Michael Jackson hits, he also shows a tender, lyrical side. (CandyRat)


Ben Powell, Preliminaries
Animated by the mountains of Tibet and other remote locations, Powell’s debut collection of original compositions exudes serenity. That ruminative spirit, and his effortless virtuosity, places him in direct lineage from fingerstyle giants like Michael Hedges and Pierre Bensusan. (Yellow Gecko)


John Prine, In Person and On Stage
In Person and On Stage is the ultimate Prine, a retrospective of his career with songs from his entire playbook—and the closest thing to going on tour with the raconteur/singer-songwriter and guests Emmylou Harris, Iris Dement, Josh Ritter, and Sara Watkins. (Oh Boy)


David Russell, Sonidos Latinos
Incomparable classical guitarist David Russell explores the varied works of Latin American composers Augustín Barrios Mangoré, Manuel Ponce, Jorge Morel (two of the works were written for Russell), and Héctor Ayala in a must-have collection. (Telarc)


Aleksandr Tsiboulski, Australian Guitar Music
Winner of numerous guitar competitions, Aleksandr Tsiboulski astonishes with the clarity of his sound, flawless technique, and passionate interpretations of Australian composers on this debut collection. (Naxos)

John Mellencamp, No Better Than This
Recorded on vintage mono gear in three historic locations in the South, John Mellencamp’s second collaboration with celebrated producer T Bone Burnett conjures the spirit of rockabilly cats, bluesmen, and troubadours past with grit and fire. Guitarists Andy York and Marc Ribot contribute expert, no-frills support throughout, and the veteran singer’s weathered pipes fit the rough-edged material to a T. (Rounder)


Robert Plant, Band of Joy
When an attempt to reprise his acclaimed 2007 collaboration with Alison Krauss went south, Robert Plant instead teamed with Nashville hotshot Buddy Miller, and the former Led Zeppelin front man’s new incarnation as a mystic folk-rocker resumed its upward trajectory. Carried aloft by Patty Griffin’s incandescent vocal harmonies, Plant imbues nuggets by Los Lobos, Richard Thompson, Townes Van Zandt, and others with a mesmerizing muscle all his own. (Rounder)


Kim Richey, Wreck Your Wheels
With the self-assurance of a well-oiled road machine, a genre-blending songwriter’s songwriter and her crack touring band gathered shoulder-to-shoulder in a small Nashville recording space and successfully generated intimate magic. Richey’s warm vocals, evocative imagery, and unerring pop instincts have never jelled to more compelling effect. (Thirty Tigers)


The Innocence Mission, My Room in the Trees
Creators of a singular brand of dreamy alternative pop with a deceptively earthy core, Don and Karen Peris and the married duo’s longtime collaborator Mike Bitts return with another distinctive set of lilting, impressionistic gems. Shaped by Don Peris’s elegantly spare guitar work and his wife’s endearing vocals, the band’s time-tested themes of resilient spirit, durable faith, and unjaded wonder continue to ring fresh and vital. (Badman Recordings)


Mary Gauthier, The Foundling
Just as you’d expect from one of our most unflinchingly honest chroniclers of the heart, Mary Gauthier’s real-life bid to locate and connect with the unwed mom who put her up for adoption in 1962 provided grist for some powerful reflections indeed. Achingly poignant at times, almost defiantly resolved at others, these 13 tracks ultimately tell a tale of acceptance and compassion for the flaws and noble aspirations in all of us. (Razor and Tie)


Josh Ritter, So Runs the World Away
An uncommonly literate and bold storyteller, Josh Ritter follows the breakthrough triumph of 2007’s The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter with a thematically unified collection of songs that measure the costs and rewards of a life dedicated to exploration and momentous journeys. Ritter’s theatrically crafted narratives and his versatile band’s subtle flourishes take listeners on a sonic journey that lingers in the mind long after the last notes have faded. (Pytheas Recordings)


The Jayhawks, The Bunkhouse Album
Finally released for the first time on CD, the previously out-of-print 1986 debut album from the Americana movement’s finest band captures the group in heavily countrified mode before its artier and harder-edged tendencies surged to the surface. But while pedal steel-driven echoes of the Flying Burrito Brothers abound, the quirky intelligence of primary songwriters Mark Olson and Gary Louris already foretells a band’s eventual transition into rockier terrain. (Humphead)


Marc Cohn, Listening Booth: 1970
An album of stripped down 1970s covers, smoky voiced Marc Cohn’s tribute to the eclectic soundtrack of an era runs the gamut from Bread to the Grateful Dead. Custom-made for a candlelit rendezvous or a late-night drive under the stars. (WEA)


Ray LaMontagne, God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise
New England troubadour Ray LaMontagne’s soulful baritone is a remarkable instrument unto itself, and these ten rhythmically charged, expertly crafted songs offer its most riveting showcase to date. String wizards Eric Heywood and Greg Leisz anchor the tight ensemble sound of LaMontagne’s backing band, the Pariah Dogs, who nailed down their performances live in the singer’s Massachusetts home studio. (RCA)


Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964
Bob Dylan opens the vault once again to offer a double-disc set of simple acoustic guitar and voice publishing demos that includes 15 previously unreleased tracks. Even this early in the game, it’s clear that Dylan’s epic evolution from earnest folkie to Beat-influenced rock ’n’ roller is well under way. (Sony)

Last edited by TheBig3; 12-24-2010 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Guster :thumbs:
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave
If this aptly titled, allegedly final installment from Cash’s American Recordings collaboration with producer Rick Rubin seems preoccupied with thoughts of death and dying, it means only that you’re paying attention. For those prepared to regard this autumnal volume, American VI will prove to be a true gift. (Lost Highway)
I just finished A Hundred Highways and I'm really looking forward to this.

Quote:
Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues
Being named after Townes Van Zandt and having Steve Earle as your father sets up some pretty big expectations, but Justin Townes Earle has developed his own style, one that comes to full realization on the stellar Harlem River Blues. The follow-up to Midnight at the Movies features Earle’s guitar front and center, from his palm-muted fingerpicking on “One More Night in Brooklyn” to the rockabilly strumming on the racy “Move Over Mama.” (Bloodshot)
I really enjoyed it, and I'm hopeful that he will have a successful career.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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That`s a long and interesting list ! Any personal recommendations to narrow down our investigations?

I`ve heard the first item - Genuine Negro Jig, and the title tells you what you get; respectful renditions of mainly traditional songs with beautifully clear vocals, banjo and fiddle. CCD should keep the purists happy, but for me they lack that individualistic touch that makes a band stand out.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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that ali farka album is the business,....i'm just saying
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Big3 any chance you would have links to one or a few of those. I would love to listen to them but they seem rather hard to find.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry, I pulled it from the website. if you google Acoustic Guitar Magazine I'm sure its there. If I didn't subscribe, i wouldn't know myself.

As for my picks or whathaveyou, I love love love Josh Ritter, and I was absolutely no fan of the latest Robert Plant offering. his solo work is usually god awful.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, Justin Townes Earle and Josh Ritter both sound interesting.

Quote:
Various artists, Beyond Berkeley Guitar
The title of this generation-spanning anthology refers to both its less far-ranging predecessor, Berkeley Guitar (also curated by fingerstylist Sean Smith), and the legacy of John Fahey, Robbie Basho, and other San Francisco Bay Area acoustic masters. From veteran Richard Osborn to 20-year-old Aaron Sheppard and experimentalist Ava Mendoza, this sampling of old- and new-guard instrumental styles is unrelentingly enthralling. (Tompkins Square)
I heard bits of Beyond Berkeley Guitar which is better than the previous Berkeley Guitar as far as I can tell. BBG has a soft, almost New Age touch, while BG seemed so influenced by John Fahey, that I`d rather just listen to the man himself, thank you.

Here they let you download one track for free:
Tompkins Square Records
Sorry, it`s not much of a link - perhaps someone else can do better !
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