Johnny’s best cds of 2009

It has long been my belief that music is part of mood, much like temperature and lighting and fragrance. Certain songs or albums fit into a mood like a puzzle piece. Just as Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim fit into a cocktail party, Mazzy Star fits into candle light, Greig’s Peer Gynt Suite matches the dawn and the Drop Kick Murphy’s make beer taste better. We have all had our mood killed by an out of place song blaring like bright lights in a previously dark room. I also know that my opinion of albums depends entirely upon my mood. In light of these views I have decided not to rank the best cds of the year but rather to list the extremely well done albums that I have been recommending all year. On a scale of one to five these cds would all have been a four or better.

-Black Crowes “Warpaint Live” (Best live album of the year)
-Stephen Marley “Mind Control Acoustic” (Stephen channels his father better than any of his siblings.)
-Van Morrison “Astral Weeks Live @ the Hollywood Bowl”
-Built To Spill “There Is No Enemy” (If you like Neil Young you have got to give these guys at least one listen.)
-Ben Harper & The Relentless 7 “White Lies for Dark Times”
-Morphine “At Your Service” (Great alternative to guitar rock)
-Jeff Beck “Performing This Week: Live @ Ronnie Scott’s”
-Mastodon “Crack The Skye” (Metal album of the year)
-Swell Season “Strict Joy” (sequel to the Once Soundtrack)
-Alice In Chains “Black Gives Way To Blue” (one of the surprise albums of the year.)
-Leonard Cohen “Live In London”
-Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood “Live From MSG” (These two make each other better)
-Mark Knopfler “Get Lucky” (mellow morning music)
-George Harrison “Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison” (Best hits collection of the year. I didn’t know how much I liked George Harrison until I listened to this CD beginning to end.)
-John Mayer “Battle Studies” (soft rock in the classic style, I’m surprised I like it too.)
-Neil Young “Dreamin’ Man Live ’92” (No politics, just the music. That’s how I like my Neil)
-Brandi Carlile “Give Up The Ghost” (Excellent follow-up to a super break out album.)
-MV & EE “Barn Nova” (I took it out of a pile of cds and got blown away. They have been described as the combination of Indian raga style composition with Appalachian folk and post-psychedelic electrical experimentalism. I’m not sure what that means but it is very good. J Mascis guests on it too.)
-William Elliot Whitmore “Animals In The Dark” (Power to the common man!)
-Kings Of Convenience “Declaration Of Dependence” (I hate to
describe a band as sounding like another but these guys have the feel of Simon & Garfunkel. The compositions have the benefit of 40 years of music evolution but vocal harmonies beg comparison.)
-David Rawlings Machine “A Friend Of A Friend” (I thought I was done with Bluegrass after the “O Brother Where art Thou” craze but this CD is just different enough to stand out and is exceptionally well done.)
-Jason Mraz “Jason Mraz’s Beautiful Mess: Live On Earth” (Not what I normally like but he is such a cool person and his voice is among the best in music today. He is at his best live, what greater compliment can an artist receive?)
-Phish “Joy” (Once I heard that Phish fans hated this CD I listened to it immediately, I think it is the best CD Phish have ever made.)
-Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions “Through The Devil Softly” (Enjoy with candle light.)
-Black Crowes “Before The Frost” (I was never a huge fan of this band but every thing they have done since Warpaint has been brilliant.)
-Dethklok “Dethalbum II” (Not an every day listen but its a great soundtrack when I have to get stuff done. Far betterthan a soundtrack to a cartoon should be.)
-Iron & Wine “Around The World” (I was forced to listen to CD this at work until I liked it. I liked it long before I admitted to it.)
-Air “Love 2” (A slight return to their Virgin Suicides CD but different enough not to be covering themselves. I don’t know if this one will stand the test of time but for this time it is exceptional.)
-7 Worlds Collide: Sun Came Out (A charity album to support Oxfam, an organization committed to fighting poverty and injustice in the world. Neil Finn got together a lengthy list of artists including Wilco, Johnny Marr, KT Tunstall, members of Radiohead, Bic Runga, Sebastian Steinberg of Soul Coughing and Lisa Germano and in three weeks time had created two CDs worth of music that will keep your interest the whole way through. A must for any fan of the Finns, Crowded House, etc.)
-Bob Mould “Life & Times” ( I was never a fan of Mould’s, I always found him to be boring. I don’t know which one of us has changed but this CD caught my attention right away and I still enjoy it.

Until next time, listen and enjoy.

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