After some consultation with my blog advisor, aka my wife, I've decided to release each addition in a separate post so you do not have to bother yourself with scrolling to get to the new information. For those jumping in mid-list. If you want to know what's come before, you can read the full blog HERE.
#10 James Bay - Chaos and the Calm: I am not even sure how I learned about James Bay. I think I was just chasing links on YouTube, and I saw this young cat with an old Epiphone Century. As a guitar nerd there was immediate respect, so I clicked, and then...then there was the voice, whispy yet so full of soul. Like Ed Sheeran and other young singer/songwriters, James is able to merge modern beats and rhythms while paying homage to the great soul music that came before. It is often challenging for an early release to remain on the list, as new releases push it to the back of the rotation until it becomes lost, but Chaos and the Calm was able to stay relevant. It is a great windows down CD, something to drive to, something to play in an attempt to escape the pressures of the day. Stand out tracks for me, "Let it Go," "Move Together," "Hold Back the River," and "Collide." There is a little something for everyone on this disk, a fair amount of sad bastard tunes (my personal favorite), some anthemic songs designed to lift your spirits, and a good selection of ass shakers.
#9 Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble: Until yesterday I wasn’t sure what CD would end up in the 9 spot, and I think the determining factor was an absolutely incredible performance put on at the Pageant by Hansard. I’ve seen him several times, even based a roadtrip around catching him in Chicago one year, so I knew what to expect, but this show was something different. There seemed to be more joy, less need for acceptance and more acceptance of his genius, like he has finally settled into the fact that he is amazing. Didn’t He Ramble is more of a brooder, something you really need to sit down and listen too. Previous recordings with the Swell Season and even Rhythm and Repose were more immediately emotional. He gets there, on tracks like“My Little Ruin,” offering that crescendo that allows us to feel what he is saying, but the majority of the disc is heady, it sits in a numb-zone where there are fewer feelings and more thoughts. His voice is still the blanket that we all want to snuggle up with, and his sincerity continues to offer respite in a world of false profits.