Friday Five/Your Take: Best of 2014 (So Far)
We’re halfway through 2014 and there’s been some damn good roots music released this year, ranging from harpist Maeve Gilchrist’s Celtic folk to St. Paul & The Broken Bones’ retro soul to bluegrass band Special Consensus’ tribute to John Denver to Suzy Bogguss’ salute to Merle Haggard.
Today could have been a Friday Fifty, but for sanity’s sake, I went with five songs from the albums that I’ve played the most over the past six months. What are five of your favorite songs released in 2014? Favorite albums? What are you looking forward to later this year?
5. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – “People Don’t Get What They Deserve”
The release of Give the People What They Want was delayed after Jones was diagnosed with bile duct cancer last summer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. But the record was more than worth the wait and Jones lived up to her album’s title, delivering classic-sounding R&B that’s everything a music fan could ever desire.
4. John Fullbright – “High Road”
Fullbright is a helluva songwriter, and “High Road,” which tells the story of a young farmer and his wife, employs the rarely used literary device known as Chekov’s Tractor. If you haven’t picked up Fullbright’s rock-solid sophomore studio album Songs yet, now’s a good time to do so.
3. Lydia Loveless – “They Don’t Know”
20-something Lydia Loveless is one of Americana’s rising stars. Her most recent release, Somewhere Else, is full of sharp, rootsy rock, and the closing track, this Kirsty McColl cover, is just delightful. We got the chance to speak with Loveless about it a few months back; check out the story behind her version of “They Don’t Know” here.
2. Sturgill Simpson – “Turtles All the Way Down”
Simpson’s second full-length album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (which our Karlie Justus gave five stars in her review) garnered attention from folks at NPR and The New York Times. Let’s hope that this results in a trend in which truck and party songs are replaced by songs that mention “reptile aliens made of light.”
1. Rodney Crowell – “The Flyboy and the Kid”
Written for Guy Clark (read Crowell’s thoughts on how friend and mentor Clark has influenced his work over the years), this song, from Crowell’s best record in more than a decade, Tarpaper Sky (here’s our review), is a sweet tribute to a dear friend.
- Arlene: I'd have included "Omie Wise." Doc Watson's is the version I'm familiar with but I think it's been recorded by …
- luckyoldsun: I think the number one country murder ballad is "Frankie and Johnny"--by Jimmie. Also, how about "Delia's Gone" from Harry Belafonte …
- Juli Thanki: Colloquial use of "fantastic" as a synonym for "excellent" dates back to the 1930s. And if it's good enough for …
- Paul W Dennis: I think "Banks of The Ohio", "Miller's Cave" and "It's Nothing to Me" are far creepier than several of the …
- Paul W Dennis: The Hight article is interesting, although I don't know that I would describe it as fantastic, but then I know …
- Dana M: I'm actually excited to hear a new Reba album. As for the Alan Jackson tour, I hope he announces Canadian …
- nm: Agreed. A good job by three very smart women.
- Deremy Jylan: The Hight piece is tremendous reading.
- Juli Thanki: Much like the music of Aldean and FGL, Michelob Ultra is favored by college kids and too much exposure will …
- Tom: ...michelob ultra seems to be a brew from hell.