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Top Records of 2006

January 7, 2007

It’s time for the list:

This is my first Top 10 countdown.  It seems that we are finally entering a new era for music.  Musicians have stopped fighting the internet and instead used it as a tool to fight the music industry.   Music has finally been open to the masses in a way like never before.

So the count down:

1.  Modern Times-Bob Dylan.

Without argument this is his best work since 1989’s Oh Mercy.  His voice has not been cleaner, the band has not been better, and the song writing continues to bring us to our knees begging please don’t stop.

2.  The Crane Wife – The Decembrists

This is band finally getting the respect it deserves.  For the first major label release the Decembrists choose not to forsake their independent style.  Choosing the theme from an ancient Chinese fairy tale full of heartbreak, revenge, and murder ballads, they are proving that they will not sell out.

3.  Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam

How bold it is to self title your 8th studio album after 15 solid years of true rock and roll.  While it may not reach the number of sales as their classic debut, Eddie and the boys have made us believe that rock is not dead.

4.  The Life Pursuit – Belle & Sebastian

You may not agree with my placement of this record, but for me it set the course for the year.  This sleepy underground band from Scotland has been cranking out beautiful records for 10 years.  This record will make you wonder why no one has been paying attention.

5.  Continuum – John Mayer

I admit I was not excited about the release of this record.  While I was impressed with Try! I was afraid he wasn’t going to be able to follow-through with the expectations and truly give up on his teenage fan base.  I was pleasantly surprised after my first listen.  He has out done him self and truly established a firm foundation to set a new direction for popular music.

6.  The Information – Beck

Having never been an avid Beck fan I really didn’t know what to expect with this record.  My first Beck record was Sea Change and I had mixed feelings.  With the Information I think he is back in his element and out to bring the fun back to the live show.

7.  How to Grow a woman from the ground – Chris Thille

Yes finally a real bluegrass record!  While I’m saddened by the break up of a band that is near and dear to my heart, I’m excited to see what these cats can do on their own.  This record proves that bluegrass rocks and will continue to be an influential piece of American music.

8.  Highway Companion – Tom Petty

I thought I was going to place this higher on the list but it’s really been just an outstanding year.  With rumors of retirement and this being the last studio album I’m slightly nervous that this may be the last we hear of a rock legend.  While not as direct as the previous record, Highway companion sets Petty back at the front of rock stardom.

9.  Songbird – Willie Nelson

Possibly his best work since the mid 70s, Nelson has teamed up with protégé Ryan Adams and borrowed the band that is defining the new sound of Alternative Country.  Songbird is a benchmark record that hasn’t been truly acknowledged.

10.  Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers – Lucero

I didn’t like this band when I first heard them.  Ben’s voice is a bit hard to overcome, but being a Dylan fan that’s not an excuse.  I got this album and an earlier release this year and changed my perspective.  This band of brothers is what rock and roll is all about.  With a fan base of die hards who would probably quit work just to see these guys play, Lucero is continuing to follow the dream where thousands of us have fallen short.

Dishonorable mentions:

The Eraser – Thom York

Being a Radiohead fan I was disappointed in this attempt do it solo.

Eyes Open – Snow Patrol

This album would have made the list if they didn’t name check Sufjan Stevens.

Supply and Demand – Amos Lee

I thought this album would have been different than the first, sadly it was not.

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