I am assured that peace will come to me,” Josh Ritter sings on “Lark,” a song that channels his inner Paul Simon on his newest album, So Runs the World Away. Before Ritter penned these tunes, the songwriter from Idaho suffered a case of writer’s block, but you can’t tell that he was struggling on his fifth full-length; because on these 13 tracks, Ritter sounds better than ever.
These days, Cary Brothers has his own independent label and a wonderful new album, Under Control. As you might have guessed, it’s a personal batch of songs dealing with loss and breaking free. It’s Cary Brothers as himself, the real artist—the one who set out to “very intentionally make a record that you could put on and listen to beginning to end.”
I bought my first Bob Dylan album in San Antonio, Texas, in November of 1993. I had taken a train there from Springfield, Illinois with my dad and my brother—a ride that lasted 26 hours each way. We traveled to watch NAIA soccer, you know, the usual things a family does over Thanksgiving. Needless to say, we weren’t the usual family.
Tori Amos has made a career out of being unordinary, and most of her albums are better because of this fact. Here on Midwinter Graces, she’s still giving a max effort, it’s just that not much stands out. The holiday-themed album has a nice overall feel and flow, but it’s probably best served for background music at a party, something that can’t be said of any of Amos’ prior work. If you’re an Amos completist, by all means, get your copy—just don’t expect the magic you’re used to.
25 Singer-Songwriter Albums That Shaped the Decade chosen exclusively by Stranger's Almanac editor – Jason Gonulsen
Well, we did it again. Despite a loud constituency of music fans out there who abhor these end of the year lists for their arrogance, their subjectivity, their self-indulgent ways, we came up with a short list of our favorites from the year. And we have to make one thing clear: these best-of-the-year lists should be more accurately called “the-best-of-what-we-know” lists.
Although she’s a California girl these days, don’t be fooled—Lissie still writes and sings about matters close to Midwestern life. And boy can she sing—her voice has an eerie quality of a transient churchgoer who needs no practice to call the angels down from the sky; her pipes are soothing and quite heavenly. The songs on her EP, Why You Runnin,’ offer a bit of folk, an ounce of soul, and healthy dose of realism that you just can’t deny, no matter what mood you’re in—a stunning and charming debut.