Not only were the recordings below a delight to play on The Village, but they were my soundtrack to 2013. It was a great year for folk music – contemporary and traditional alike – and we ended the year with a folk movie by the Coen Brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis. Could I ask for more? I think not.
1. Wassiac Way – Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion (Rte 8 Records)
Songwriting is always strong from this duo and this time the recording and production put this album over the top with the help of Jeff Tweedy & Patrick Sansone of Wilco– repeated listening with complete delight.
2. Child Ballads – Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer (Wilderland Records)
This record was a revelation for me – the tight harmonies and ancient, tragic folk songs are catharsis to perfection. Hats off to producer Gary Paczosa.
3. Inside Llewyn Davis – Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Marcus Mumford, Punch Brothers and more (Nonesuch)
I am now a life-long fan of Oscar Isaac! The heart and skill he puts into his craft is riveting. Sign me up!
4. The Ash & Clay – The Milk Carton Kids (ANTI Records)
The awesome harmonies can almost be a distraction to the compelling songwriting and filigree guitar work – these guys are great! I look forward to more from this Grammy-nominated duo, Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan. Hard to believe they started out in early 2011!
5. Shadows of Blue – Donovan (Donovan Discs Music)
What an amazing record –Donovan is still going strong! This one was recorded entirely in Nashville, TN and John Sebastin adds his magic to it! It was a complete pleasure to meet him in our studios this year. What a guy!
6. Tooth & Nail – Billy Bragg (Essential Music)
This year’s surprise! Billy made a folk record and I am proud to play it in The Village. He has always reminded me of the late Woody Guthrie – it was great to meet him in our studios this year.
7. The Barn Birds – The Barn Birds (Waterbug)
Who knew? This duo, Jonathan Byrd and Chris Kokesh, is bursting at the seams with songwriting and musical talents. This was recorded at one of my favorite studios, Blue Rock, in Texas.
8. My Favorite Picture of You – Guy Clark (Dualtone)
In an interview some years ago, Guy Clark told me he preferred the folkier side of things. A Master songwriter that goes beyond genres.
9. Love Has Come For You – Steve Martin & Edie Brickell (Rounder)
Refreshing! My CD player has memorized this one. I hope another record is in their future.
10. Some Part of the Truth – Brother Sun (Brother Sun Music)
All heart and truth with three part harmonies! Love these guys – Greg Greenway, Joe Jencks & Pat Wictor.
11. Build Me Up From the Bones – Sarah Jarosz (Sugar Hill)
Stretching her wings – Sarah continues to amaze us all!
12. Murphy Beds – The Murphy Beds (self)
Sublime. Completely. Eamon O’Leary & Jefferson Hamer. They will be supporting Beth Orton on an East Coast USA tour this February.
Compilations of Note:
1. The Music Is You – A Tribute to John Denver (ATO Records)
This album proved what we already knew – John Denver wrote great songs! Everyone from Mary Chapin Carpenter to My Morning Jacket on this album – a delightful listen!
2. Live at Caffe Lena (San Francisco’s Tompkins Square Label)
Three discs of historical recordings from a legendary folk venue. Loved it!
3. Woody at 100 at The Kennedy Center (Sony Legacy)
I was there – it was a fantastic live show and this CD proves it!