TOP 3 RECORDS OF 2007
Steve Earle – Washington Square Serenade – (New West)
I’ve been a Steve Earle fan for years, but he hasn’t made an album this strong in 20 years. Steve put aside the politics, piss & vinegar, anger, and edge, and fell in love with Allison Moorer, New York City, and life itself, and wrote an uncharacteristic album of love songs and celebrations of life & love. Not what you’d expect from curmudgeonly Steve, but it works like a charm.
Catherine MacLellan – Church Bell Blues – (True North)
Rarely does a new artist stop me in my tracks like this talented Maritimer did this year. I’d never heard of her before putting on the CD, but within the first 15 minutes I was finding out everything I could about her and wondering why I hadn’t heard of her before. With an utterly gorgeous voice, simple, haunting melodies, and amazing songs, this lady may be new to me/us, but this is surely just the beginning of a long and promising career.
Sunparlour Players – Hymns for the Happy – (Beaudelaire)
When I first heard Elliott BROOD, I thought they were the weirdest, most wonderful, most amazing live act I’d found in years. That is, until I heard Sunparlour Players. The BROOD still rocks my world and still puts on one of the best shows going, but for my money, Sunparlour Players made a more interesting, amazing, unforgettable record which I am utterly addicted to this year.
MOST UNDER-RATED RECORD OF 2007
Jim Bryson – Where the Bungalows Roam – (Kelp)
Bryson is a veteran guitar player who’s done time with Punchbuggy, Kathleen Edwards, The Weakerthans, and many more, but he’s also been making some of the most amazing, underrated albums in Canada for a while now. This year he made a surprisingly low-key album that contains little of his dazzling guitar work, and instead concentrates on haunting lyrics and hushed singing, allowing Bryson’s true genius to shine through. Some fans were a bit put back by this album, but it is truly an underrated gem.
MOST OVER-RATED RECORD OF 2007
Corb Lund – Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! – (Stony Plain).
I’ve got nothing against Corb, I just think there are hundreds of better songwriters and performers who don’t get a fraction of the acclaim he gets. With a dorky title like this, and some of his silliest songs yet, perhaps Corb’s novelty will wear off really quickly.