As 2011 takes its final bow in the coming days, everybody and their brother will have a ‘best-of’ list to share with the world. I don’t put too much stock in these lists other than to use them to go back and check out some of the releases that, for one reason or another, I missed. Here are three albums I missed the first time around that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Add It To The Collection… Robbie Robertson is clearly an artist who makes music if and when he feels inspired to do so. After nearly ten years, Robertson felt the inspiration to put out his first album of the millennium, and if you prefer quality over quantity the wait was well worth it. How To Become Clairvoyant is an impressive collection of 12 well-written songs performed excellently by Robertson, a core rhythm section of Ian Thomas (drums) and Pino Palladino (bass), and a collection of guest musicians and collaborators ranging from Eric Clapton to Trent Reznor. The result is a modern rock/blues record with exquisite guitar playing and a very cool overall vibe. Must-have track: “Axman” – Robertson’s tribute to the great six-string players of years gone by.
Worth Another Listen… Pistol Annies is an all-female trio of up-and-coming country music singers who came together to have a little fun and cause a little ruckus – think the legendary Highwaymen with bigger hair and prettier faces. Comprised of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, the trio gave themselves alter-egos (Lone Star Annie, Hippie Annie and Holler Annie respectively) and a bio that reads like the script to Thelma and Louise 2. Their sound on Hell on Hells is vintage country music/bluegrass with beautiful three-part harmonies and classic Nashville-inspired song writing. Must-have track: “Hell On Heels”
Worth Another Listen… If you’re a fan of classic R&B or 70’s soul music in the styling of Stevie Wonder or or Jackie Wilson, then Raphael Saadiq is worth checking out. I first became aware of Saadiq when he accompanied Mick Jagger at the 2011 Grammy Awards during his age-defying tribute to the great Solomon Burke. But the truth is, if you grew up in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s then you likely heard Saadiq’s earlier work as part of Tony! Toni! Toné! with their hit single “It Feels Good.” This year Saadiq released Stone Rollin’ the follow-up to his 2008 Grammy-nominated The Way I See It. On Stone Rollin’ Saadiq proves that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with as a purveyor of retro R&B. Must-have track: “Heart Attack”
That’s it from me in 2011. Happy Holidays to the BBP community and here’s to more great tunes in 2012!