This second and final grouping of albums are not necessarily greater than yesterday’s grouping, but for lack of scientific research these could be considered my #5 through #1 favourite releases of 2011 thus far.
Once again: do you agree, have suggestions, have ridicule?
The Deep Dark Woods – The Place I Left Behind
Okay, I need a bit of flexibility from you folks as this album isn’t even released yet (but it is on Aug. 2nd, 2011 on Six Shooter Records here in Canada) but there is nothing stopping this from being on a top 10 list from yours truly. Despite possibly not listening to it as much as others on the list due to it being new, it is chock full of slow burners with that great DDW sound. The album comes in at 13 tracks with a couple circulating for a while (thanks to a HearYa session that includes 2 tracks from this album) with at least 7-8 of them having serious Slowcoustic styled country.
“West Side Street” – The Deep Dark Woods
Jeffrey Foucault – Horse Latitudes
Foucault has the perfect voice for the slowed down country folk jam – and it really shows on this album. First full new original material from Foucault in a few years and he has hit it out of the park in my opinion. Similar to The Deep Dark Woods above, its the molasses slow ballad type songs that really do it for me and with tracks like Goners Most, Heart to the Husk and Passerines – you cannot lose with this album.
‘Goners Most’ – Jeffrey Foucault
Will Johnson – Little Raider EP
So now you know why I have been saying ‘Releases’ and not ‘Albums’. This EP from Centro-matic/South San Gabriel front man is frickin’ amazing. Coming in at 6 tracks and all of them are at least a 8/10 in my books. This one is a stripped down acoustic session recorded in 2 days this past February in a living room. And it sounds amazing. If you are a fan of the slower Centro-matic and find South San Gabriel more up your alley, then this is the side project from Will Johnson you are all about. A must have – and there are only 29 copies left as you read this.
Frederick Squire – Frederick Squire Sings Shenandoah and Other Popular Hits
East Coast of Canada represent!! That is 3 albums on this top list that are Canadian and that is quite surprising – but well worth it. This album is similar to Will Johnson’s EP in the fact that it was ‘quickly’ recorded with only what was needed and it turned out fantastically. Squire’s honest lyrics and pitch perfect delivery makes this album feel like a classic from the first listen. Quoted from Pigeon Row: “Shenandoah” is a traditional folk ballad of obscure origins. Echoing this classic narrative form, Squire leads the listener through forgotten moral territory with a set of exceptionally written songs primarily about forgiveness”. Well, Squire is not known for penning the most upbeat/feel good songs, but it is the honest beauty in almost anything he creates that brings him essentially to the top of this list. Also note that his previous album “March 12” seemed to make it pretty darn high on last year’s ‘best of’ album list as well….go figure.
“All Things Past Serve To Guide You On Your Way” – Frederick Squire
Josh T. Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen (LP version)
Well, if any of you read Slowcoustic on a regular basis, this will most likely not be too much of a surprise. One note as well is that my vote is based on the full LP version that includes the non-CD title track. This album is an open display of humility and ugly truths that just might be in all of us…just recorded at half speed on a rambling country album. And it is an incredible experience. Sure it has long songs, but that adds to the ‘epic’ sounding and soon-to-be legend of this album. Essentially 10 years in the making, the album makes every listener a sad bastard who hasn’t had the best in life and sits with warming whiskey while staring off to somewhere else…with that somewhere else being our own past.
There you have it. Hope you enjoy the songs and possibly find something that you now love….or at least enjoy…