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.
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.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.