I’m sure there are some records that should be on this list that I never got a chance to check out (Lucinda Williams’ West, Bettye LaVette’s Scene of the Crime, Levon Helm’s Dirt Farmer and Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky come to mind), but these are the discs that spent the most time in my CD player during 2007:
1. Tommy Womack - There! I Said it! – Womack lets it bleed all over this record, detailing his existential crisis (or nervous breakdown, depending on your terminology) and scrapes the thin covering of his life wide-ass open. “Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Blood” is this year’s best song.
2. Delta Moon - Clear Blue Flame – Possibly their finest record yet. It’s focused and packed full of dual slide guitar goodness.
3. Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch – Ex-DBT guitarist breaks out with his own roots-rock record. “Dress Blues” is THE definitive song about the human consequences of war, but the rest is sheer Muscles Shoals soulful southern rock.
4. Glossary - The Better Angels of our Nature – Who gives away one of the best rock records of the year? Glossary does. Download it here: http://glossary.us/
5. Todd Snider - Peace, Love and Anarchy -- How many rarities and B-sides compilations make year-end best of lists? This one does because Todd Snider is a singer-songwriter who is hopefully just hitting his stride.
6. Infamous Stringdusters - Fork in the Road – Shimmering bluegrass that’s at once meticulously constructed and loose enough for some white-hot picking in between the lines.
7. Dexateens - Hardwire Healing – Smart pop and rock from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Cracker meets T.Rex and the Faces for bourbon drinks.
8. Tom Waits – Orphans – Sprawling is an overused adjective when it comes to multi-disc sets, but it applies here. Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards are the individual titles of the three discs, the 54 songs are amazing and the sequencing is immaculate. You know what I said earlier about compilations?
9. Mavis Staples – We’ll Never Turn Back – A powerful, moving statement of humanity and freedom courtesy of one of the great soul/R&B voices and producer Ry Cooder.