It’s just too hard to listen to every album that gets released in a given year. I certainly can’t. What that means is a handful of good recordings escaped me until this year. Fortunately, it’s never too late to discover good music. Here’s a few recommendations in case you missed them too.
- JAMES MADDOCK, Sunrise on Avenue C [★★★★/4.462]
A comeback album for the former Wood member who gained some notoriety with a song placement on the first Dawson’s Creek compilation. Ten years later Maddock emerges with a masterpiece. If Rod Stewart and Jim Boggia made a baby album together it would sound an awful lot like Sunrise on Avenue C. Standouts: Prettier Girls, When the Sun’s Out, When You Go Quiet, Ruins, Dumbed Down, Yours Again
- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, The Promise [★★★★/4.381]
Epic! Includes 21 songs left behind from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town recording sessions. Springsteen himself allegedly says these songs could/should have been released after Born to Run and right before Darkness On The Edge Of Town. If this doesn’t define a fertile period I don’t know what does. Standouts: Outside Looking In, Because the Night, Wrong Side of the Street, Rendezvous, Save My Love, Ain’t Good Enough For You, Fire, Talk To Me
- THE AVETT BROTHERS, The Avett Brothers Live, Volume 3 [★★★★/4.375]
You haven’t experienced The Avett Brothers unless you’ve seen them live. I wouldn’t have believed this until I saw them play Ruth Eckerd Hall in Tampa, FL. These guys are true showmen and the fans LOVE them. This album set in Charlotte, NC can’t substitute the real thing but it’s about as close as you’ll get. Standouts: Talk on Indolence, The Ballad of Love and Hate, I and Love and You, When I Drink, Head Full of Doubt / Room Full of Promise, The Perfect Space, Kick Drum Heart
- RYAN ADAMS, III/IV [★★★★/4.143]
Released quietly in December this double-album features songs from the Easy Tiger sessions according to Paste Magazine. To me these songs are like sketches in a sketchbook. In other words, there are moments of brilliance but as a complete set it’s a little random. Big chords, quirky lyrics, and pure energy harken back to the 80s. Totally awesome in that way. Standouts: Breakdown Into The Resolve, Wasteland, P.S., Death and Rats
- MY JERUSALEM, Gone For Good [★★★★/3.583]
After touring with different bands as a singer-songwriter, Jeff Klein assembled this talent collective from various members of such notable bands as Twilight Singers, Bishop Allen, Midlake, and Polyphonic Spree to name a few. I was turned on to them after John Anderson’s glowing review upon return from SXSW ’11. This, their debut album, was recorded in New Orleans. I’m left pining for more. Let’s hope a follow up is already in the works. Standouts: Bury It Low
About the author: Washington, D.C. area web designer by day. Certifiable music freak by night. Husband and father of two by the loving grace of God.