I don't normally post lists like this. I'm not a music critic or reviewer, I have neither the skills nor the inclination for that. But a casual mention on FaceBook that my top ten list for 2010 seemed to have a lot of banjos in it, brought a couple of requests for the list so what the heck.
This isn't a list of music from 2010. It is a list of my favourite albums that I bought in 2010. Some of that music is decidedly older. It also, with the possible exception of banjos, has no particular theme to it. I have eclectic tastes in music, fitting I suppose with my lack of focus. I simply like what I like. With almost 8000 songs on my iTunes you get that sort of thing.
Now these are also just from the albums I bought, I also downloaded some single songs. I tend though to get complete albums of things, a throwback I suppose to my early years when one bought either a 45 or a LP (vinyl album), and I fell firmly into the LP camp. I've also included only one album from an artist, even if I bought more than one, and they would each make the top 10.
So, the top ten, the order of which (and make up for that matter) would probably change with the exception of the top one.
10. Soundtrack to Black Snake Moan - Various artists. I like soundtrack albums. In fact it was a toss up between this one and another one for the tenth position. Really good Delta Blues, including some passable songs from Samuel L. Jackson, who I understand learned Blues guitar for the movie.
9. My Aim Is True (Deluxe Edition) - Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Definitely not made in 2010, and its age is all that keeps it this low. This version (I own a vinyl one) includes a lot of bonus tracks, live versions and demos.
8. Sigh No More - Mumford & Sons - The first album on the list with banjos. A very cool album, although I'm not as fascinated with it as I was a couple of months ago. Just try to keep Little Lion Man out of your head.
7. The SteelDrivers - The SteelDrivers - A band out of Nashville, and the second banjo album. Bluegrass, but so much more.
6. Wake Up! - John Legend and the Roots - Soul but so much more. A fairly recent addition to the playlist. The cover of Bill Withers' I Can't Write Left Handed alone is worth the price of the album. Surprisingly though, there are no banjos.
5. Genuine Negro Jig - Carolina Chocolate Drops - Whew, back to banjos. One of two of their albums I bought this year, it was a toss up which one made the list. Old time mountain music done right. Beware though, your friends might wonder why you are singing "Cornbread and Butterbeans" over and over.
4. No Fool For Trying - Madison Violet - Yes! Banjos. A band I was surprised that I had never heard of before. Again with a bluegrass flavour to them, and thoroughly lovely harmonies. They are a Canadian duo to boot, and one half of the pair (Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac) is Ashley MacIsaac's sister.
3. Band Of Joy - Robert Plant - I know what you're thinking. Thank god, its Robert Plant, he of Led Zepplin fame, at least there won't be banjos. Well your thinking is flawed. There are banjos. A very strong, surprising album. It would probably be number 2 but for sentimental reasons. It is a album of mostly covers, but of covers that you might not be familiar with. From Los Lobos to Townes Van Zandt. Perhaps not that surprising if you are familiar with Raising Sand, his collaboration with Alison Krause.
2. The Wind - Warren Zevon - Warren Zevon is hands down my all time favourite artist. This was his last album before his death, an album he made while he was very much aware he was dying. That knowledge adds so much to an already strong Zevon album. Not that recent of an album, it released in 2003, shortly after his death. If you only know Warren Zevon from Werewolves of London you owe it to yourself to change that quickly. He was a bad boy (think Hunter S. Thompson bad), and a musical genius.
1. Oh my look at the time. I should finish this up tomorrow. Kitchen renovations to work on and what not.