25 Essential Singer-Songwriter Albums Of The Decade

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There are times when I listen to an album for the first time and I’m convinced it won’t get better than the song that just finished playing. Then the next song plays, and I’m dumbfounded—how can an album possibly be this grand? Well, I’ve been lucky enough to experience this kind of greatness many times during this decade—a decade in which singer-songwriters had my full attention. I hope you’ve had a chance to listen to a few of 25 albums listed below (in alphabetical order), or least listen to a few of the songs I’ve listed under each respective artist. Here’s to an even better decade ahead!

Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker  (2000)
The Best of Ryan Adams (2000-2009): “My Winding Wheel,” “La Cienega Just Smiled,” “New York, New York,” “Firecracker,” “In My Time of Need,” “Come Pick Me Up,” “To Be Young (Is to be sad, is to be high),” “Cry On Demand,” “Oh My Sweet Carolina,” “Call Me on Your Way Back Home”

Tori Amos – Scarlet’s Walk (2002)
The Best of Tori Amos (2000-2009): “Cars and Guitars,” “A Sorta Fairytale,” “Bouncing Off Clouds,” “Big Wheel,” “Maybe California,” “Taxi Ride,” “I Can’t See New York,” “Amber Waves,” “Gold Dust,” “Your Cloud”

Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha (2007)
The Best of Andrew Bird (2000-2009): “Dark Matter,” “Fake Palindromes,” “Imitosis,” “Plasticities,” “Heretics,” “Tenuousness,” “Fitz and the Dizzyspells,” “Anonanimal,” “A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left,” “Fiery Crash”

Brandi Carlile – The Story (2007)
The Best of Brandi Carlile (2000-2009): “The Story,” “Downpour,” “Follow,” “Before it Breaks,” “Turpentine,” “Pride and Joy,” “Fall Apart Again,” “Again Today,” “That Year,” “Looking Out”

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (2009)
The Best of Neko Case (2000-2009): “I’m an Animal,” “South Tacoma Way,” “The Pharaohs,” “This Tornado Loves You,” “Porchlight,” “Deep Red Bells,” “Stinging Velvet,” “Thrice All American,” “Hold On, Hold,” “Star Witness”

Bob Dylan Love and Theft  (2001)
The Best of Bob Dylan (2000-2009): “Workingman’s Blues,” “Mississippi,” “High Water,” Thunder on the Mountain,” “It’s All Good,” “Red River Shore,” “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum,” “Summer Days,” “Honest With Me”

Steve Earle – Transcendental Blues  (2000)
The Best of Steve Earle (2000-2009): “I Can Wait,” “Jerusalem,” “Transcendental Blues,” “Over Yonder (Jonathan’s Song),” “City of Immigrants,” “Days Aren’t Long Enough,” “The Galway Girl,” “Down Here Below,” “Oxycontin Blues,” “I Don’t Want To Lose You Yet”

Tim Easton – Ammunition (2006)
The Best of Tim Easton (2000-2009): “Carry Me,” “Hummingbird,” “Black Dog,” “Oh People,” “Next To You,” “Watching the Lightning,” “Poor, Poor L.A.,” “Back to the Pain,” “Before the Revolution,” “News Blackout”

Kathleen Edwards – Asking for Flowers  (2008)
The Best of Kathleen Edwards (2000-2009): “Alicia Ross,” “In State,” “Copied Keys,” “Hockey Skates,” “Buffalo,” “Asking for Flowers,” “Six O’clock News,” “Mercury,” “Good Things,” “Scared at Night”

William Fitzsimmons – Goodnight (2006)
The Best of William Fitzsimmons (2000-2009): “It’s Not True,” “Mend Your Heart,” “Passion Play,” “Funeral Dress,” “Mend Your Heart,” “Please Don’t Go,” “Afterall,” “If You Would Come Back Home,” “We Feel Alone,” “Everything Has Changed”

David Ford I Sincerely Apologize For All the Trouble I’ve Caused (2005)
The Best of David Ford (2000-2009): “Go To Hell,” “Decimate,” “I’m Alright Now,” “Song For The Road,” “Laughing Aloud,” “I Don’t Care What You Call Me,” “State of the Union,” “Cheer Up (you miserable fuck),” “What Would You Have Me Do?,” “Katie”

Patty Griffin – 1,000 Kisses (2002)
The Best of Patty Griffin (2000-2009): “Rain,” “Nobody’s Crying,” “Heavenly Day,” “Useless Desires,” “When It Don’t Come Easy,” “Long Ride Home,” “Be Careful,” “No Bad News,” “Trapeze,” “Up To the Mountain (MLK song)”

Emmylou Harris – Red Dirt Girl  (2000)
The Best of Emmylou Harris (2000-2009): “Red Dirt Girl,” “Tragedy,” “I Will Dream,” “Michelangelo,” “The Pearl,” “Strong Hand,” “Bang the Drum Slowly,” “Boy From Tupelo,” “My Baby Needs a Shepherd,” “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It Now”

Ray LaMontagne – Trouble (2004)
The Best of Ray LaMontagne (2000-2009): “Hold You In My Arms,” “Jolene,” “Trouble,” “You Are the Best Thing,” “Empty,” “Within You,” “Hannah,” “Shelter,” “Let It Be Me,” “Burn”

Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue (2008)
The Best of Jenny Lewis (2000-2009): “Acid Tongue,” “Rise Up With Fists!!,” “Black Sand,” ‘Jack Killed Mom,” “Born Secular,” “Happy,” “The Big Guns,” “Next Messiah,” “Carpetbaggers,” “Sing a Song for Them”

Tift Merritt – Another Country (2008)
The Best of Tift Merritt (2000-2009): “Keep You Happy,” “Stray Paper,” “Another Country,” “Broken,” “Something to Me,” “Bramble Rose,” “Wait It Out,” “Supposed To Make You Happy,” “Hope Too High,” “Plainest Thing”

Matt Nathanson – Some Mad Hope  (2007)
The Best of Matt Nathanson (2000-2009): “Bulletproof Weeks,” “Come On Get Higher,” “Car Crash,” “Bent,” “All We Are,” “Gone,” “Still,” “Suspended,” “Curve of the Earth,” “Bare”

Cat Power – You Are Free (2003)
The Best of Cat Power (2000-2009): “Free,” “I Don’t Blame You,” “Good Woman,” “The Greatest,” “Living Proof,” “Willie,” “Lived in Bars,” “Speak For Me,” “Fool,” “Maybe Not”

Josh Ritter – Animal Years (2006)
The Best of Josh Ritter (2000-2009): “Here at the Right Time,” “Girl in the War,” “Thin Blue Flame,” “Snow is Gone,” “Wolves,” “Monster Ballads,” “Kathleen,” “Good Man,” “Right Moves,” “To the Dogs or Whoever”

Matthew Ryan – Matthew Ryan Vs. The Silver State (2008)
The Best of Matthew Ryan (2000-2009): “3rd of October,” “Jane, I Still Feel the Same,” “Return to Me,” “Devastation,” “Your Museum,” “Sweetie,” “Dulce Et Decorum Est,” “Sadlylove,” “American Dirt,” “It Could’ve Been Worse”

Bruce Springsteen – The Rising (2002)
The Best of Bruce Springsteen (2000-2009): “Lonesome Day,” “You’re Missing,” “Radio Nowhere,” “Leah,” “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” “The Rising,” “Into the Fire,” “My City of Ruins” “The Wrestler,” “Magic”

Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (2005)
The Best of Sufjan Stevens (2000-2009): “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.,” “Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother!,” “Jacksonville,” “Chicago,” “Casimir Pulaski Day,” “The Predatory Wasp of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us,” “Concerning the UFO sighting near Highland, Illinois,” “The Seer’s Tower,” “Say Yes! to M!ch!gan!,” “Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid)”

Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (2001)
The Best of Gillian Welch (2000-2009): “I Dream a Highway,” “Orphan Girl,” “One More Dollar,” “Revelator,” “My First Lover,” “I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll,” “Elvis Presley Blues,” “Everything is Free,” “Look at Miss Ohio,” “Wrecking Ball”

Lucinda Williams – Essence (2001)
The Best of Lucinda Williams (2000-2009): “Blue,” “Lonely Girls,” “Those Three Days,” “Fruits of my Labor,” “Steal Your Love,” “Essence,” “Ventura,” “Little Rock Star,” “I Envy the Wind,” “Righteously”

Neil Young – Silver and Gold (2000)
The Best of Neil Young (2000-2009): “Bandit,” “Razor Love,” “No Hidden Path,” “Good to See You,” “Distant Camera,” “Living With War,” After the Garden,” “Families,” “Silver and Gold,” “The Restless Consumer”

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