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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Wildy's World Top-12 for 2012!

I try to do a countdown each year of the best albums I've reviewed.  The blog hasn't been as active in 2012, as I have been working on some other things.  Nevertheless, there were some incredible albums I did get to cover this past year that deserve recognition.  So without further adieu... the Wildy's World Top-12 of 2012.

12 - Rob Morsberger – Ghosts Before Breakfast
Morsberger is stunningly personal, and prophetic, in an album that explores mortality, legacy and all the emotions that swirl around these two concepts.  Written before Morsberger’s diagnosis with terminal brain cancer, Ghosts Before Breakfast transcends humanity and every day experience for simple truths on deep and dark thoughts.

11 – Mara and the Bitter Suite – Unspoken
An actress/Broadway singer and a composer/musical director venturing into alt/folk/rock would generally be an omen for disaster, but Mara and the Bitter Suite find a bit of magic in Unspoken.

10 – Meghan Cary – Building This House
Eight years might seem like too long to produce an album of songs, but for Meghan Cary it was apparently just right.  Highly personal and evocative, Cary takes a craftsman’s approach to storytelling, weaving each scene and story to perfection against minimal yet striking arrangements for a listening experience you won’t soon forget.

9 – The Hollyfelds – Title Stealers
The Hollyfelds might keep a low profile nationally, but they shine in their home market of Denver, Colorado.  In fact, they shine so bright on Title Stealers it’s hard to imagine them staying just a regional band.

8 – SethGlier – Things I Should Let You Know
Seth Glier’s first album earned him a GRAMMY nomination.  His second, Things I Should Let You Know, is even better.  Glier is more nuanced and personal than ever, and maintains the intense musicality that has always made him such an intriguing listen.

7 – Nate Kimball – Warrior’s Journey
By far one of the best collections of classically oriented original jazz have ever heard.

6. Jodi Shaw – In Waterland
Jodi Shaw writes from the heart and lays it all on the line.  She lays out her stories and characters in wonderfully robust and ethereal musical arrangements.  The imagery peppered throughout In Waterland is nothing short of brilliant.

5. The Do Good Assassins – Rome
The Do Good Assassins are the latest outgrowth of Ron Hawkins’ personal muse. This time out he is helped and supported by good friends in creating one of the best and most divergent double albums of the last several years.  Personal songwriting, amazing lyrics and an organic feel make this a can’t miss listen.

4. Cara Luft – Darlingford
Cara Luft is one of the darlings of Canadian folk music.  A former Wailin’ Jenny and Juno Award nominee, Luft delivers one of the most compelling singer/songwriter turns of 2012 with Darlingford.

3. Rob Morsberger – A Part Of You
Morsberger manages two albums in the top-12.  A Part Of You is a song cycle written to Morsberger’s youngest son; a collection of songs to see his son through the times when Morsberger anticipates not being there.  This intimate collection is full of laughter, hope and the joy of discovery.  There is also a hidden sadness; a melancholy of the artist who is envisioning all that he might miss out on.  This is what songwriting is all about.

2. Jason Plumb and the Willing – All Is More Than Both
Jason Plumb takes his prodigious writing/singing talents and his crack backing band (The Willing) and puts them all to work under the watchful eye of Canadian super-producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda.  The result is Plumb’s most soaring collection of songs since his days with The Waltons.  In almost any other year this would be the winner.

1. Delta Rae – Carry The Fire
There are great albums, and then there are albums that transcend their time.  These are the albums that people look back on two or three decades later as benchmarks of their era.  I fully believe that Carry The Fire is just such an album.  From the alternating lead vocals of Eric and Brittany Hölljes to the alternative folk-rock arrangements that soar one moment and lie down beside you and rock you to sleep the next, Carry The Fire is the sort of debut album that only comes along once or twice a generation.

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