With all the pressure to list the Best Albums of 2009, Lonesome Onry and Mean is going to go ahead and leap forward and make a prediction about our Top 10 list for 2010. We've already received a number of advances for the coming year, and two have completely blown us away. Irish accordion virtuoso Sharon Shannon'sSaints & Scoundrels
is a mesmerizing mish-mash of styles and lead vocalists that is as charming as a four-leaf shamrock. Shannon, who plays with the likes of Steve Earle and the Waterboys, modernizes traditional Irish music and grafts it most effectively to modern roots and pop forms. The effect is enthralling.
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From the Dixieland cacophony of the opening "Mama Lou" to jumping, mind-locking instrumental vamps like "The Wild West Wagon Train" or "How Ya Horse," Shannon and her band of musical outlaws wail away like leprechauns partying in the moonlight with a barrel of Jameson's. The list of guest vocalists is an impressive representation of the cutting edge of Irish folk, roots, and rock music and includes Waterboy Mike Scott on the beautiful "Saints and Angels" and always-rowdy Pogue Shane McGowan on "Rake at the Gates of Hell" and "The Scoundrel's Halo." Our favorite track? "Go Tell the Devil," featuring new Irish blues sensation Imelda May: "Some say I'm a sinner, some say I'm a saint/ But a lily-white beginner is one thing I ain't." This album is a feel-good mind-blower. Check back tomorrow when we reveal our other bet for a 2010 Best Album possibility.