I love it when people tell me that there’s “no good new music”. What a crock. That statement literally makes me laugh because there’s tons of it, you just have to dig a little bit. I think 2011 was an amazing year for new music…we were lucky to get great releases from established artists as well a plethora of brand new artists. In no particular order, here are some of the albums that blew me away for 2011 and should make some great listening if you missed them.
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit Here We Rest. Jason is a guitar player, singer, and songwriter formerly in The Drive By Truckers. This is his 3rd album with his band The 400 Unit.
Sarah Jarosz Follow Me Down. The second album from this amazingly young and talented artist. How do you follow up a stunning debut? You top it with songs featuring players like Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan Dan Tyminski and Shawn Colvin.
Gillian Welch The Harrow & The Harvest. Always the perfectionist, Gillian took eight years to craft this beautiful and haunting album.
Mount Moriah self titled. A group that was new to me from North Carolina blending traditional and indie folk sounds. Great stuff.
Tinariwen Tassili The story behind this band is as good as their music. The members came together in the southern Sahara, and were forced into involuntary military service under Ghadaffi.
Laura Marling A Creature I Don’t Know. The third album from this (again) very young and talented singer songwriter. Her confidence soars on this album.
Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire. Ryan returns to his classic singer-songwriter with a touch of country vibe.
Robert Ellis Photographs. Robert is 23 years old and already a veteran of the Houston music scene. His new album is a concept piece…the first half of the album is more singer-songwriter/folk based while side two is his ode to the classic country he grew up with.
The Civil Wars Barton Hollow. Joy Williams and John Paul White’s stunning debut.
The Head & The Heart self titled. Another great debut by a young band from Seattle infusing folk with up tempo elements.
There were so many other great releases from bands and artists that you just knew were going to be good….Red Molly, The Jayhawks, John Hiatt and many more. These were the albums that really floored me, so if you missed them…give them a listen! Feel free to leave a message about the albums that really wowed you too!
Happy New Year, and here’s to hoping 2012 is as good as 2011 (at least in terms of music!).
- Jay Moberg