Thursday, December 23, 2010

Personal Top Five - Jenna Spinelle

2010 was a great year for new music and "new to me" music, mostly discovered through my part-time radio DJ boyfriend. I started tweeting about the things I was hearing; Andy Careaga noticed and was nice enough to ask me about contributing to this blog. I think you'll find that my tastes are a little different than some of the other critics, which is what makes this project so great. Here are my personal top picks of the year:

1. Punch Brothers - Antifogmatic

Chris Thile and his so-called "acoustic super group" push the boundaries of acoustic music and create some very unique and catchy sounds. It's a genre-bender spanning bluegrass, folk, jazz, rock, and more. Every person I've played this album for has loved it, regardless of what kind of music they liked. With tight playing, great harmonies, and creative songwriting, it's by far my favorite of 2010. Take a listen to "You Are" and you'll see why — I apologize in advance if it's stuck in your head from now until New Year's Day:

2. Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More

These guys have so much energy; whenever I listen to this album, it sounds like they want to jump right out of the speakers and into my car, office, living room, or wherever else it's playing. Hopefully this is a promise of what's to come on future releases. These guys are also on my "must see live" list for 2011.

3. Preservation Hall Jazz Band - An Album Benefiting Preservation Hall and the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program

I first came across this album in a little Rolling Stone article and knew it wasn't one to miss. Tom Waits, Ani DiFranco, Jim James, and more contribute their vocals to New Orleans standards to benefit the city's legendary music venue, which The guest vocalists backed by the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band
. Great music made for a great cause, what more could you ask for?

4. Josh Ritter - So Runs The World Away

I'd been a casual fan of Josh Ritter until my boyfriend took me to see him do a solo acoustic set in Lewisburg, WV in October.
To say that I was blown away by the show is an understatement. Ritter's has an amazing stage presence and kept us on the edge of our seats for more than two hours as he chose songs from his extensive catalog. This album does a great job of capturing his live sound and is a nice return to a slightly softer sound after the more electric turn on "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter."

Josh is also really, really funny, as evidenced by this little story he told at the show I saw. Pardon the person with the annoying laugh:

5. Mose Allison - The Way of the World

Of all the "new to me" artists I discovered in 2010, no one struck me as much as this 80-something bluesman from Tippo, Missisippi. His piano playing is simple and every word he sings sounds like it's coming straight through his teeth, so he's definitely not for everyone. But, something struck me when I head "My Brain" on XM while driving to work one morning. Mose teamed up with producer Joe Henry on this album, his first in 12 years, and the result is a modern take on the sound he's been honing for the past 60 years. Here's "My Brain" (pardon the weird sheep):

Thanks again to Andy and the other higher ed music critics for the opportunity to contribute this blog. See you in 2011!
- Jenna

1 comment:

  1. Jenna - Thanks for adding your voice to the mix. It was good to gain yet another perspective.