Several people have been asking when this would finally make an appearance on this site. It has been circulating around the internet for several months now but finally it is here. Sorry for the wait.
And the winner is….
1. Wrinkle Neck Mules-The Wicks Have Met
This is by far the best album of 2007 about which very few people seem to know. The songwriting is cutting, the instrumentation is astute and original, and the vocals are true. While, “Cumberland Sound,” is my favorite song, the entire album spins constantly on my player nearly a year after purchasing it on a guess through eMusic.com. Every single song is worthy of your ear creating an overwhelming album.
2. Chris Berardo and The Desberardos-Ignoring All the Warning Signs
Can alternative country be upbeat, happy, and rough and tough all at once? Most would say no but Chris Berardo has figured out the formula. A soft melodic voice, positive, intelligent lyrics, and a tuff band combine to push songs of love, admiration, and hope on a genre considered to be anything but. “So Good, So Far,” was my introduction to the group and this record. I almost like, “The One,” and “I Will Love Again,” better but the album is a solid listen straight through.
3. Scott Miller & The Commonwealth-Reconstruction
Though most of this record wasn’t released this year, I found the brilliance of Scott Miller this year and this largely responsible for it. Here is a taste of a song that is in my head on a daily basis.
“The Amtrak Crescent is a northbound train
When you can’t afford to stay no more in New Orleans
So I bought the cheapest ticket and I carried my clothes
With blood beneath my eyes from a broken nose.”
If you don’t know this guy and were clueless like me, you should not stay in the dark any longer. Scott Miller is legit. I would rank him in my top five of all time songwriters. I saw them play the Snorty Horse Saloon in Springfield, Missouri back in the late summer and have never been the same. He can rock on songs like “Eight Miles a Gallon” but can ballad as well as anyone in songs like “Arianne.”
4. Bleu Edmondson-Lost Boy
Thanks to XM radio, I heard most of this CD before buying it and finally think Bleu has something to say. A great artist if not a great songwriter, his previous releases contained lots of party music and cheap shots at the next big hit. Here he settles down, matures, and starts to talk about what really matters in life. “Jesus is Crying,” is an outstanding cut but “Back to You” is equally as desperate. Songwriter Brandon Jenkins is featured again on a BE album with “Finger on the Trigger,” not my favorite by Jenkins—”Feet Don’t Touch the Ground”; “Down in Flames”; “Red Dirt Town”—but another song with a message.
5. Steve Earle-Washington Square Serenade
While others have disowned Earle based on this effort, I love it and think it equals Transcendental Blues as his best since he got out of prison. It is a cross between a lament about leaving Nashville, an enthusiastic welcome to New York City, especially in the title track, and an appreciation of his true love Allison Moorer. I was fortunate to see Moorer and Earle at a show together in Lawrence, KS before, well at least publicly, they were an item. His tribute to her, “Sparkle and Shine,” is a must for anyone in love.
Honorable mention albums of 2007: Though these didn’t make my top five I would recommend you take a look anyway. Peter Case was the most unexpected delight and Todd Snider is his usual self—tough to beat.
Jason Isbel-Sirens of the Ditch
Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs-Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby
Jimmy LaFave- Cimarron Manifesto
Son Volt-The Search
Todd Snider-The Devil You Know
Ryan Adams-Follow the Lights
Peter Case-Let Us All Praise
Dale Watson-From the Cradle to the Grave