Gracey’s Favoritest CDs in 2007

I am still listening to Icky Thump (White Stripes) and enjoying it more each time, so maybe that’s my favorite album of 2007. I really think Jack White brings something unexpected to the table every single time and you gotta respect that. This whole CD is full of innovative creations of the non-typical sort. Check out “CONQUEST”!!! People who think your music collection is a little “country heavy” will appreciate this one. It’s just fun.

Steve Earle and Allison Moorer are in love and in New York City. Washington Square Serenade. What can I say that hasn’t been said already? I absolutely love this album. It’s a beautiful collection of individual songs, but it’s a cohesive piece of art, too. I think it probably is my very favorite this year. It’s one of several Steve Earle albums that will be thrown in the ‘tote that will tote only the essential CDs to that deserted island’ when it comes time to go.

Tommy Womack released There, I Said It! early in 2007. It’s a wonderful, heartwarming gift from the perpetually tormented Tommy. It’s what passes for happy in his world. And I understand that. The year’s early releases tend to be overlooked sometimes. If you liked Circus Town or Positively Na Na, you’ll love this album. Some of the songs, like “Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Blood” and “Nice Day” show a dangerously-close-to-grown-up version of this ‘40 something’ manchild. But, I’ve always thought he was a genius on the verge of either self-destruction or sweet success. So cool to see when it manifests itself as the latter.

Definitely my #1 pick of the year.

You remember the drummer for The Band? (who sang The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down?) Well, he’s older now. Levon Helm, who hadn’t crossed my mind in years, nearly blew said mind with his beautiful CD release, Dirt Farmer. Who’d ‘a thunk? It’s old-timey. It’s twangy. It has beautiful harmonies contributed by his daughter, Amy Helm and Teresa Williams. It’s Arkansassy…….It has a Carter family cut and a Buddy and Julie Miller cut. He says he’s just playing some of those old ‘back porch’ tunes. So sit yourself in an old rocking chair and listen to this one. What are you waiting for? This may be your best bet of the year…..

Jason Isbell. Well, yeah! He’s out on his own and has broken the mold. I don’t know what genre this music is. He opened for Cracker on their last tour. He held up his fair share of Drive By Truckers for several years and can throw down that rockin’, southern, fist-pumping shit with the best of them. But his recently released Sirens Of The Ditch is something apart and something very special. It could easily be the best album you will find this year. I would have to have this CD on that deserted island, for sure. Don’t take my word for it. Go to your my-space-tube-dot-com thingy and check out “Dress Blues”. If you aren’t totally sold, well, there’s no hope and Santa doesn’t love you.

Bettye LaVette released Scene of the Crime this year. The title refers to her return to Muscle Shoals and the studio that did not release her album many, many years ago. She got by with a little help from her friend, David Barbe this time. “Before The Money Came”, the song that explains that whole story, was penned by Patterson Hood of the Drive By Truckers for Bettye, with help by Bettye. When asked, she swore that she was not a song writer, but an interpreter of songs. So some of the expressions she used during their conversations in the studio are liberally sprinkled over this song, giving her co-writer street-cred.

She has a lot to say. She knows how to pick a song that works for her. She works for her songs. “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces” put me in a puddle of tears on the floor. I just want to listen to it again. It could be my favorite CD ever.



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