Lonesome Onry and Mean: This Is Not (Really) a Best-Of-2009 List
Lonesome, Onry and Mean saw a great comment from Dave Alvin on Facebook recently that went something like this: "I do not do Best of lists or End of the Decade lists, the only lists I do are 'crap I have to do' lists." We gladly second that, Dave, as there is nothing other than Christmas shopping that LOM would less rather do than make up a Best-of list. In fact, for the fourth year in a row we didn't submit our choices for either the Village Voice Pazz and Jop list or the Nashville Scene's annual Best of Country Music list. It's just too arbitrary and confusing, and to pretend that you've heard and understood and neatly classified all the music that is coming out is absurd on its very face. Still, the editors scream for best-of lists at this time of year. [Ed note: Sue us. Lists are easy, and we need content.] So as far as we are concerned, what better way to end it than to do what we did last year: with a brief, very unscientific, very arbitrary list of the music LOM played the most in 2009.
1. Randy Weeks, Going My Way: Weeks just may be our favorite songwriter on Planet Earth. He always finds that dark little cancer spot eating away at a relationship, perfectly verbalizing the little dissatisfactions and slights that cause us to either kill our lovers or go to the asylum.
2. The Gourds, Haymaker!: The Energizer Bunnies of the alt-country world, these Austin hipsters hit it out of the park with their latest album. It's got everything we come to the Gourds for: sly humor, brilliant word play, patent absurdity, and poetic vision that goes way outside the box.
3. Miranda Lambert, Revolution: Our favorite East Texas country singer, Lambert is like another kind of Dixie Chick, smart, rocking, off-center and sassy as hell. If her rocking tunes are what we are going to call country music in the future, fine with us. Someone tell Rascal Flatts and Sugarland they won't be needed anymore.
4. Drive-by Truckers, The Fine Print: We may have played this collection of outtakes and rarities more than any album we received last year. From the surprise satellite radio hit "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues" to suicidal songs about the TVA grabbing poor people's farms, Fine Print resonates with spit-in-your-eye feeling and rebellious Southern spirit.
5. Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy: LOM was driving in the wide-open spaces late one night scouring the radio for something to listen to when "Last Call" came on. We immediately assumed it was a country classic until the DJ said it was a new song by Lee Ann Womack. She and producer Tony Brown chose a great suite of songs and made one of the best country albums of the year. Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, our redneck ass.
6. Heartless Bastards, The Mountain: The third album by guitarist/singer/writer Erika Wennerstrom takes the Bastards into rare air. It took a few plays to sink in, but once it did this is one we couldn't get out of our player or our head. It just keeps growing.
7. Slaid Cleaves, Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away: Evergreen favorite Austin folkie Cleaves regained his stride with Everything You Love. The album features all the traits we come to Cleaves for, angst: plaintive vocals, great story telling, blue collar common sense, and haunting beauty.
8. Chuck Prophet, ¡Let Freedom Ring!: We always eagerly await the next Chuck Prophet album. Freedom is certainly the most topical and immediate album of his long career. And his band the Mission Express is one of the tightest ensembles in the land right now. Prophet plays the Continental in Austin Jan. 1 and 2.
9. Betty Soo, Heat Sin Water Skin: Producer Gurf Morlix said it all about this former Houstonian: great songs, great voice, pretty girl, what more could you ask for? Soo not only possess a huge voice, she's got a pen sharp enough to carve your heart out or cut your throat.
10. Gurf Morlix, Last Exit to Happyland: Morlix's writing just keeps getting better and better. We spent countless late-night hours listening to his mesmerizing duets with songbird Patty Griffin. It doesn't get any better than "She's a River."
11. Dustin Welch, Whisky Priest : Made to be played loud, Welch's album hits the air like a mule on a goofball of amphetamines and loco weed kicking in his stall. Every song stomps and shakes a threatening fist in the air. And when Welch, who plays Rudyard's New Year's Eve, gets all Irish on "Green Badge" and "Poor House," he's in that rare place occupied by the Pogues and few others.
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