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17

Jan

2013

Top 20 of 2012: Kezzie Baker

By Kezzie Baker. Posted in Bluegrass, Folk, Rock | No Comments »

I will admit it.  At the end of each year, I attempt to come up with a “best-of” list of my own but struggle to identify even a handful.  This is partly due to the fact that I am so bad about paying attention to the actual release dates of albums that I will invariably include several recordings that are older than I thought.  This time, however, I had no trouble at all.  2012 proved to be a stellar year for releasing good music.  Here are my picks for the best of the best, in no particular order:

 

O’ Be Joyful by Shovels & Rope (Dualtone Music Group).  (AMERICANA)  Shovels & Rope is Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, a husband-and-wife duo.  Their website says they “sing harmony driven folk, rock and country songs using two old guitars, a kick drum, a snare, a few tambourines, harmonicas, and maybe a little keyboard sometimes.”  There’s plenty of that on O’ Be Joyful, plus fiddles, banjos, and some wonderful, slightly off-kilter horns that take the genre to a new level (“Hail, Hail,” and “Tickin’ Bomb”).  Clanky percussion is prominent on most of the tracks.  Songs like “Carnival” demonstrate the duo can dazzle with slow-tempo ballads, too.  It’s just quirky enough that it may not be for everyone, but if you like an old-timey country sound with a rockin’ edge to it, this album just might be right up your alley. ( Listen to samples here.)

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