Top Ten for 2009?

(or What I Spent My Grocery Money On)

You all know by now my penchant for owning the physical disc.  Even when times are hard.  I’d love to tell you it’s because my high morals won’t allow me to copy OPD’s (other people’s discs) but, well, I just really like to peel off the wrappers and pop out the pretty inserts and stuff. 

And, I do like to cuss the postal system when it’s late, cuss the state of our society because there are no independent music stores – you know, get myself a little worked up.  Then, when I finally get my hands on the actual item, I run my fingers over the lyrics booklet, read the dedication and thank yous and all before I listen from track one to the very end.

From the moment I sussed out the info that Steve Earle was releasing "Townes", I knew I’d have to have that one.  It’s a forever keeper.  And, Guy Clark’s "Sometimes the Song Writes You" was getting multiple rave reviews before I’d ever heard of it, so I internet-ordered that.  Kris Kristofferson’s "Closer to the Bone" kept me camped out by the mailbox for a while.  Well worth the frostbite, though. 

Guy’s song "The Guitar" gets my vote for song of the year.  I’ve played it for everyone I know.  I ordered the double-disc-deal of Kristofferson.  I knew I’d beat myself up if I didn’t and sure enough, the live bonus disc was a delightful trip through an Ireland concert and Silver Tongued Devil tripped me all the way back to the seventies.  And Kris commented (I love to hear him talk) that his very young son had told him that was NOT a good song.  "Why?"  "You’re just blaming your problems on somebody else!"  Brilliant kid!  Yes, that IS what the 70’s were all about!

Digress?  No, details are important.  Ask Simone Felice.  Keep an eye on those Felice boys.  I think they’re up to something.  Check out The Duke and The King’s "Nothing Gold Can Stay."  Then find the backstory on that.  Simone was one sad mofo when he wrote some of these songs.  The other Felice Brothers put out "Yonder is the Clock" this year.  I like every album they’ve released and this one was no exception.  It’s fantastic.  I picked up a copy for a friend.  If you miss the opportunity to see this band live, you might die with an incomplete musical education.  Kinda like the live George Thorogood show, only not.  Not at all.  Just go see them.  Then all the songs make sense.

Hey, that Roseanne Cash chick is serious!  What a voice!  “The List” is a gently put together album of oldies that her daddy said should be saved.  She saved them.  Really nicely.  And, her harmony singers are no slouches, either.

Ah, what else?  Them Truckers!  On Austin City Limits!  What about that, huh?  And the release of The Fine Print was a delight.  Finally!  Beautiful!  And Wes Freed’s artwork rocks.  Read the reviews of The Fine Print on this site and a hundred others and you won’t find anything but praise for this perfectly lined-up collection of DBT songs old and new – funny (Mrs. Klaus’ Kimono-Patterson) and sad (Uncle Frank-Cooley) and touching (Thank God for the TVA-Jason Isbell). 

And speaking of which, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s self-titled, self-artworked CD/Album deal at the first of this year was a super standard-setter for all that followed.  What a pretty piece of work this is! 

2009 also brought the previously threatened Murdering Oscar by Patterson Hood..  He puts his all into all he does and does it with a devilish, literate sweetness that you just don’t accidently acquire.  Nobody had to teach Patterson how to don the rock star attitude.  He throws himself into the songs like real rock is his to save and his alone.  He’s up on that stage championing his cause more nights of the year than not and still knocks you upside the head with one brilliant song after another that he somehow finds time to scribble between his entertaining updates on the websites ( and and all the worthy causes he supports..  (see Nuci’s Space).

Okay, what else?  The Gourds "Haymaker!.  And don’t miss Ryan Bingham’s Roadhouse Sun or anything that Gordy Quist and his Band of Heathens put out.  Oh, yeah, and Todd Snider’s new "Excitement Plan".  He should really be our national ambassador of good sense.  Him and McMurtry.

Y’all keep rockin’ on for another year.  I hear Deer Tick’s puttin’ out something good.  And Slobberbone is apt to make an appearance….somewhere…
I’m going to put on this new Drive By Truckers on Austin City Limits in 2009 CD and tell myself "it’s good to be alive", even though the economy sucks and we’re all eating Ramen way too often.  

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