Archive for the Top 10 Americana Albums: 2000-2009 Category

Top 10 Americana Albums of the Decade: #10 – Back to Me

Posted in Kathleen Edwards, Top 10 Americana Albums: 2000-2009 on November 12, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Released in 2005, Kathleen Edwards’ sophomore effort Back to Me had some big shoes to fill in attempting to live up to her debut album Failer. All that album did was get nominated for “Album of the Year” at the Americana Music Awards (Kathleen lost to Johnny Cash), prompt the AMA to create a “Best New/Emerging Artist” category the following year, and place the Canadian songwriter on the map as a new and important voice in Americana music.

Fortunately, Back to Me was able to live up to expectations and deliver on the promise shown by Kathleen on her debut disc. The album opener “In State” sets the tone for the proceedings by giving us a glimpse at the hard edged persona that is so often present in her songs. This track serves as a warning to the singer’s no good man that he needs to clean up his act before she tells what she knows and gets him locked up in a state pen. As Kathleen puts it, “I know where the cops hang out./I know where you’ll be found./I know what you’re all about./I know when you’re going down.” We’ve all been warned that Kathleen is not to be messed with.
The attitude shows up again on the album’s title track in the form of a scorned lover who is determined to use every trick at her disposal to make her man come back. The attitude turns to incredulousness on “What Are You Waiting For?” (a song I recently featured in my “Songs I Can’t Play on the Radio” post) when the subject of the song tells Kathleen he likes her better in his memory. Her response is classic.
Of course, the album has its tender moments as well. “Copied Keys” is a very heartfelt song about picking up roots and moving to a strange place to be with someone you love. It’s not hard to feel displaced at times in a new town. Kathleen captures those feelings perfectly.
Musically, Kathleen creates an inviting roots-rock sound that brings a sense of warmth to her often confrontational lyrics. I’ve described her sound before as as what you might expect if Tom Petty and Lucinda Williams had a daughter who grew up in Canada listening to Neil Young. Kathleen herself has cited Petty as the biggest influence on her sound. That’s never more apparent as in the guitar solo on the title track. The fact that Heartbreaker Benmont Tench appears on the album certainly doesn’t hurt that comparison either.
I could have easily placed any of Kathleen Edward’s three albums on this list. I love all three. There’s something about this one though that just puts it over the top for me. Here are two of the tracks that I mentioned above.
Kathleen Edwards: In State (Buy Album)
Kathleen Edwards: Copied Keys (Buy Album)

Top 10 Americana Albums of the Decade 2000-2009

Posted in Top 10 Americana Albums: 2000-2009 on November 12, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

It’s getting to be that time of year again. As we get closer to December the stream of new releases starts to slow, and we start to look back at the music of the past year to determine which releases were the most vital and essential. I’ve been paring down my list and will share it with you as we get closer to the new year. Keep your eyes peeled for info on a massive collaborative list that a few bloggers (myself included) will be working toward over the next month as well.

The thing that makes this year unique (as my wife reminded me recently) is that the end of this year also marks the end of a decade. That makes this an excellent time to look back at the last ten years and share my favorites with you. Over the next couple of weeks, I’d like to share with you a few albums from the last ten years that really defined the decade for me musically.
This year also marks the 10th Anniversary of The Americana Music Association. I think it only fitting then… since this is the decade that gave rise to the Americana movement… that my list be limited to the Top 10 Americana releases of the decade. The list will combine my favorite albums and the albums that meant the most to me as I discovered and devoured the sounds of Americana over the last ten years. The only rule is that an artist can only make the list once… no multiple entries from the same artist.
Feel free to discuss and disagree with my choices. I hope to have the first installment posted later today.