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Top 10 list of Albums from 2014

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January 2, 2015 by Benji


My friend Terry Bean does an annual list of awards called the beanies. Last year (2013), he almost didn’t do the list, but I busted his chops and made him publish the list. This year (2014) he made the list, and gave me a shutout for keeping the train moving. Which reminded me that I didn’t make my annual top ten albums list (sorry, I’ve been crazy busy)

So on January 2nd 2015, I’m publishing my “don’t miss these albums which were released in 2014 before the year ends” list.  One thing I like to point out is these are ALBUMS, not collections of songs. Remember before ITunes, when you could put on a record, or tape, or CD depending on your age, and listen to an entire album as opposed to that one song you like? These are all albums you can do that with… So – in no particular order…

  • Dirty Basement Blues (Coming Clean): the Detroit based blues band is a scorcher. I did a vlog of the album here. If you like the blues, you will like this album.
  • Ed Sheeran (X): I did not expect to like Ed Sheeran, he appeared to be a pop guitar player which is not normally my cup of tea, but this guy had song writing skills and the chops to play taboot. I really enjoy this album (and its one of the few album my wife and I agree on in the car)
  • Reed Mathis / The Over Overs (Our Thing, Your Words): Reed is a bass player I’ve been a fan of for over 10 years when I saw him play with his band Jacob Fred Jazz Oddity. He now plays with Tea Leaf Green, but also sits in and collaborates with dozens of other musicians and groups every year. This year he played and produced this album of interesting covers in 48 hours (2 full day sessions) – I love this!
  • Umphreys McGee (Similar Skin): It’s no Secret, I am a HUGE UM fan. Their latest album similar skin delivers the jams that fans like me expect, but also a traditional rock and roll thump that allows someone who isn’t into “jambands” but loves rock can appreciate.
  • Israel Nash (Rain Plans): Ok, this one I was NOT expecting. A client and I were talking about music, and he handed me this album, I popped it in while I was working in the office and was BLOWN away. It’s a modern take on simple straightforward American music, with Neil Young’s voice for the early 70’s
  • Hard working Americans (self titled): The band consists of singerTodd Snider, bassist Dave Schools from Widespread PanicNeal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood on guitar and vocals, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi on keyboards and Duane Trucks  on drums – two words… KILLER ALBUM
  • Zion 80 (Adramelech): Shlomo Clarlebach was the Bob Dylan of the Jewish Music scene. He wrote very simple spiritual songs with Lyrics based on classic Liturgy. This band takes his music and plays it in the African style of Fela Kuti… This is genre bending and life changing music.
  • Foo Fighters (Sonic Highways): Haters gonna hate… many FF fans thing this album is nothing to write home about and the HBO Series that accompanied it was self indulgent and ridiculous… Well I loved them both. I cant get enough of these guys.
  • GreenSky BlueGrass (If Sorrows Swim): this bluegrass band from Kalamazoo Michigan is quickly gaining traction as a national acclaimed act in the bluegrass and jamband scenes. Their music is impeccable – their sound is classic and their feel is fresh! (and they played one of my top ten favorite covers ever “light up or leave me alone
  • Jack White (Lazeretto): technically a Detroiter, but I don’t think he likes to be known that way, Jack White put out another great album … no descriptions, trust me – listen to this.
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