I love lists-- all kinds of lists.
Best of lists, worst of lists, stuff you have to see/hear/do before-you-die lists. I also love making lists, but that’s really hard for me to trim down my list to a manageable size. Here’s my attempt at a 2013 list of some of the best things (in my opinion) you’ve heard this year on High Plains Morning. This list is by no means complete, and it is in no particular order.
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell - "Love Has Come For You"
Two Texas natives (Waco and Dallas, respectively) get together and write a bunch of quirky, haunting tunes. Add to that a bunch of guests- Esperanza Spalding, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Sean and Sara Watkins and more-the result is Love Has Come For You. If you haven’t heard this yet, check out Sarah Jane & The Iron Mountain Baby.
Lucy Wainwright Roche - "There’s A Last Time For Everything"
Lucy’s family tree is full of great songwriters. Her father is Loudon Wainwright III, her mother is Suzzy Roche, her siblings are Rufus and Martha Wainwright and her niece is the granddaughter of Leonard Cohen. With lineage like that, how could she not be a musician? This is Lucy’s second record and it includes a great cover of Call Your Girlfriend.
Eric Clapton - "Old Sock"
Eric’s 2013 album has been called slick and smooth (I think unfairly so), but to me it just sounds laid-back, and in a good way. It’s a collection of some of his favorite tunes from childhood to the present. Plus, it has four (!!) reggae tunes.
Anoushka Shankar - "Traces Of You"
Anoushka began studying the sitar under her father the late Ravi Shankar at age nine. She made her performing debut at 13, and recording debut at 14. Traces Of You is her seventh release and it includes three tracks with her sister Norah Jones, their first collaboration.
Richard Thompson - "Electric"
Over 45 records since his first recordings with Fairport Convention in 1967, and this latest is every bit as good as the rest of his catalog. Richard is #69 on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Guitarists of All Time.
Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer - "Child Ballads"
Anais (2004 New Folk Winner at Kerrville) and Jefferson chose these seven songs from the 305 English and Scottish ballads collected by Francis James Child in the last half of the 19th century. My personal favorite is Geordie. I love the contrast of the sunny, perky arrangement and the tragic tale.
Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby - "Cluck Ol’ Hen"
Recorded live on a US tour last year, this record really makes me wish I was there. A 10-minute bluegrass version of The Way It Is-what could top that?
The Civil Wars - "The Civil Wars"
Sadly, in between the completion of this recording and it’s release, The Civil Wars announced they were going on “indefinite hiatus”. Let’s hope it’s not permanent. Check out their cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ Disarm…
Sarah Jarosz - "Build Me Up From Bones"
Sarah was nominated for a Grammy before she turned 18. This is her third record; she continues to grow and she’s still only 22. Imagine what's still to come...
Billie Joe + Norah - "Foreverly"
An unlikely collaboration: the leader of the most successful punk band of the last 20 years, a mega-star singer-songwriter and a classic Everly Brothers record from 1958. Put them together and you get Foreverly, a re-interpretation of ‘Songs Our Daddy Taught Us’, a collection of traditional American songs.