Perry’s WUMB BEST SONGS of/for 2013–in no particular order
In the past two years, my “Top 10” songs of the year grew to 38 and last year 40 songs. Maybe I’ve gotten more disciplined for this last year…only 35 songs and 30 artists. So we’ll call it my Top 35. Without stressing about setting them in order, here they are. Enjoy. And thanks for listening. Feel free to spread the word about WUMB. Happy New Year…
OK, we’ll start with one that was actually out at the tale end of 2012:
Jim Lauderdale – Iodine [Carolina Moonrise]
How can you not love a song with lyrics like “I’m the meanest man in Tennessee, I eat horseshoes for breakfast”?
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Ben Harper & Charlie Musslewhite – Don’t Look Twice [Get Up]
What a dynamic union. The album Ben Harper wanted to make since he was a kid. Combustible musical forces.
Holly Williams – Let You Go [The Highway]
Yes, yes. She is the granddaughter of Hank Williams. But she comes off as legit on her own. This is her fourth album.
Bill Carter – Anything Made of Paper [Soundtrack: West of Memphis]
A respected singer-songwriter for 30 years in Austin, Bill Carter’s contribution is simple and direct with effecting couplets.
Steve Mayone and Kristina Stykos – Rescue Me [The Cousins Project]
Second cousins, they did not meet until 2006 when she saw him playing a gig with Bow Thayer in Vermont–where she lives.
Josh Ritter – Heart’s Ease [The Beast In It’s Tracks] OK, I could have picked at least four songs from this album.
Probably the most positive break-up album you will ever hear, from devastation (read liner notes) to coming out the other side.
Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison – But I Do [Cheater’s Game];
Married with successful solo careers, outside of a 2006 Christmas EP this is their first record together. Great results.
Ron Sexsmith – Snake Road [Forever Endeavor] A highly respected songwriter from Canada for many years. This song also has a nice bouncy groove to it.
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – Bluebird Wine; Chase The Feeling [Old Yellow Moon] I could have picked 4 tracks or so.
What a reunion, after about 40 years! Bluebird Wine was originally on Harris’ 1975 Pieces of the Sky. Crowell re-wrote two verses
and they switched roles for some of the song.
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell – Fighter [Love Has Come For You]
My favorite (banjo) lick of the year…from an unlikely pairing that comes up with the goods. Great tunes and great song stories.
Patty Griffin – Go Where You Want To Go [American Kid]
An album of songs she began working on about four years earlier, most of them inspired by the life of her father.
Lori McKenna – My Love Follows You Where You Go [Massachusetts]
Excellent producing by Mark Erelli adds dynamic rhythm and strength. Previously recorded by Alison Krauss in 2011.
Mavis Staples – I Like The Things About Me [One True Vine]
Great soul, great rhythm, great words. Lyrics by her father Roebuck “Pops” Staples. Oh, and, the voice of Mavis Staples…
Cold Satellite w/Jeffrey Foucault – Sleepers Awake; Necessary Monsters [Cavalcade]
Singer-Songwriter Jeffrey Foucault’s second album of lyrics by poet Lisa Olstein.
Alela Diane – I Thought I Knew [About Farewell]
Despite its bleakness worthy of early Joni Mitchell, this song’s musicality makes it an engaging listen (much like Joni’s early songs).
Will Dailey and Ryan Bingham – Brotherly Love [V/A – Ghost Brothers of DarklandCounty]
Both singers shine as the battling brothers at the center of Stephen King & John Mellencamp’s ghost story musical.
Billy Bragg – Your Name On My Tongue [Tooth and Nail]
Artful musical blending throughout the album by a crack band and producer Joe Henry. Billy hits the heart and brain!
Aoife O’Donovan – Thursday’s Child [Fossils]. By the way, you say her first name as EE-fuh.
Nice instrumental, tempo, and rhythm changes from the Crooked Still lead singer’s debut solo album.
James Cotton w/Gregg Allman – Midnight Train [Cotton Mouth Man].
Want to know more about Cotton’s life? Much of the album traces the route. Thick and saucy tone from the Blues Harp great!
Mandolin Orange – Calvary [This Side of Jordan]
A comeback for the North Carolina duo, much of this was written while lyricist Andrew Marlin was recovering from a broken pelvis.
Donna The Buffalo – One Day At A Time [Tonight, Tomorrow, and Yesterday]
Veteran festival (and very fun) band formed in Ithaca, New York in 1987.
Gregory Alan Isakov – Second Chances [The Weatherman]
If it weren’t for second chances, we’d all be alone… An overnight success since 2003.
Willy Mason – Talk Me Down [Carry On]
Martha’s Vinyard native. Once a guest on a local radio show, was heard by an associate of Conor Oberst; later toured with Oberst.
The Deadly Gentlemen – I Fall Back [Roll Me, Tumble Me]
Led by Crooked Still banjoman Greg Liszt, who years before had been recruited for Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions tour.
Mark Knopfler – Red Bud Tree; Privateering [Privateering]
Due to contract problems, released everywhere but USA in Sept 2012. Released in USA Sept 2013. First album since 2009.
Over The Rhine – Sacred Ground; Let My Soul Catch My Body [Meet Me At The Edge Of The World]
A very pleasant diversity of sounds and styles with lyrics that jump out, e.g; “Love me like a rumor you can’t outlive.”
Sarah Jarosz – Over The Edge; Dark Road [Build Me Up From Bones]
May ’13 New England Symphony grad, young Sarah continues to pilot Bluegrass into new territories. Engage! I like it.
The Parkington Sisters – September [Inside My Head (EP)]
Actual sisters, they are from Cape Cod. The change in the weather from summer to…colder…comes through the music.
Howe Gelb – The Three Deaths of Lucky [The Coincidentalist]
Hypnotically moody, night vibe piece. With K.T. Tunstall…whose 2013 album Gelb produced.
And from the future…
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Stranger To My Happiness [Give The People What They Want]
This will make you shake it into the new year. Out Jan 2014.
TOP ALBUMS OF 2013
Josh Ritter – The Beast In It’s Tracks
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – Old Yellow Moon
Aoife O’Donovan – Fossils
Mark Knopfler – Privateering (2013 US release)
Over The Rhine – Meet Me At The Edge Of The World
Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison – Cheater’s Game
Patty Griffin – American Kid
Ron Sexsmith – Forever Endeavor
Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones.
Best “New” Artists: Willy Mason, Gregory Alan Isokov.