Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Music, 2009

Haunting music of the American and Canadian West; the infinitely flexible music of Ireland paired with music from Thailand, Norway, and India; polka played on trumpet, violin , and digeridoo; Scottish traditional fiddle tunes next to a tune from China; Robert Burns songs and a song that references Pablo Neruda and Wendell Berry; tunes and songs from the highlands of Scotland, the American south, and all across Ireland from Donegal to Down and Belfast to Clare, and from the plains of South Dakota to Music Row in Nashville are all here. along with some of the best voices and best playing around. What these albums have in common is grace, creativity, vision, and heart, along with knowledge of and respect for tradition and heritage. Take a listen.

Matt and Shannon Heaton Lovers’ Well
songs and tunes from the Irish tradition reflecting on love’s many facets
Gretchen Peters: One to the Heart, One to the Head a trip through the American west in legend and reality
Hanneke Cassel For Reasons Unseen
Scottish style fiddle with fire and grace

Dakota Lullabyy: Albert & Gage
a treasure trove of Americana songs
Claire Lynch Whatcha Gonna Do faith. love. heartbreak, bluegrass, and trains, from one of the best singers around
Tommy Sands: Let the Circle Be Wide Danny Boy traced back to its ancient roots and the future of Ireland imagined, among other things
various artists Darwin Song Project the scientist in context of his family and his world, as seen by eight top songwriters from England, Scotland, and the US

Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan Adoon Winding Nith a lively take on lesser known songs from Robert Burns
Lauren MacColl Strewn with Ribbons fiddle that evokes the highlands of Scotland
Bill Cooley The Return Journey a guitar journey of insight and courage
String Sisters: Live a fiery combination of Nordic, Irish, Scottish, and American fiddle
Liz Carroll & John Doyle: Double Play
two of the best, Carroll on fiddle and Doyle on guitar, with songs and tunes from Ireland and Carroll’s fine originals. it’s nominated for a Grammy
Jerry Christmas: Jerry Douglas
master Dobro player’s soulful take on holiday standards
Jim Malcolm First Cold Day
original and traditional songs from highland Perthshire Malcolm’s a great singer too
Cherish The Ladies: A Star in the East
sparkling view of the winter holidays with Irish American flair
Ian Tyson: Yellowhead to Yellowstone
the real west in the weathered voice of a music legend
Alison Brown: The Company You Keep
banjo at its most creative

honorable mention
three very different and very refreshing aspects of Americana music, and polka as you’ve never heard it before
Caroline Herring: Golden Apples of the Sun

Sara Milonovich Daisycutter

Johnsmith gravity of grace

Polkastra: Apolkalypse Now

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Alexandra Grabbe said...

Thanks for all these suggestions. I look forward to listening!

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

I stumbled this so that I can keep in my fav's. I'm finding it much harder to keep track of links I want to remember later.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just have to say, Kerry really knows her stuff. She helped me find a CD of Scottish Christmas music to give my dad and she was spot-on with it. She knows her stuff!

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kerry, once again you've given me a lot to think about and research! Thanks for this unique blog. Happy New Year - Jen

8:35 PM  

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