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.
- Applejack: "I’m sure there are many ways to lasso in and constrict any genre or format, any of them, so tightly …
- Emily: Wow!! Fabulous! Love those boots and you all look stunning! xo
- Leeann Ward: Bangor is named somewhat commonly in country songs. It's usually their example of the most north you can go: Vince …
- bob: Portland West was almost Boston West. From Names on the Land by George Stewart: "When more people arrived in Oregon, Amos …
- Jack Williams: There's "Eight More Miles To Louisville", where Portland is referred to as Portland East.
- nm: Of course, Bangor is also mentioned in "I've Been Everywhere."
- Stuart Munro: As if that's what this discussion is doing, Barry. I'm for the online commenters thinking about and discussing the music …
- bob: Agree on King of the Road. There's another song that mentions Maine, "A Tombstone Every Mile" recorded by Dick Curless …
- Barry Mazor: I'm sure there are many ways to lasso in and constrict any genre or format, any of them, so …
- Stuart Munro: I'm not sure that there hasn't been a shift in the meaning of the term "Americana" as originally used and …