What follows are my favorite CDs of 2008. Are these the best? I suppose it is all subjective. I know that in the top group, these were the CDs I couldn't get enough of throughout the year. If you have been enjoying The Promise this year, these are the best of the best, and I'm sure you will enjoy owning your own copies of these excellent CDs. Truthfully though, all of the CDs on this page are worth owning.
So, we start with the very best, in alphabetical order...
The Very Best CDs of 2008
Mike Doughty - Golden Delicious
On the list because, like the others, I just couldn't put it down. A fun CD that has no real weaknesses.
Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal
On many "Best of" lists, this CD started out as a favorite and just kept growing and growing on me. If the world were fair, Alejandro would be a mega star by now. The best rockin' CD by just about anyone in years.
Sam Phillips - Don't Do Anything
Yes, I'm sure I'm not the most objective reviewer here, but this is a superb CD and I played it more than any other this year. A nice move forward for Sam.
Teddy Thompson - A Piece of What You Need
This is just a pop rock classic. Again, very heavy airplay on my CD players and IPODs.
Carolyn Wonderland - Miss Understood
There is just too much talent here to ignore. It is only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on.
The Very Best CDs 2008 Part 2
Eliza Gilkyson - Beautiful World (2008)
My favorite of hers so far. Beautiful songs. Beautiful lyrics. Beautiful World.
Ray LaMontagne - Gossip in the Grain (2008)
I was hooked from the opening notes. Wish I had had more time with it this year.
James McMurtry - Just Us Kids (2008)
I just find myself wanting to hear more and more of James McMurtry. I have started buying the old stuff because I can't believe he just suddenly got this good. The rock poet for those of us who are watching the world age.
Randy Newman - harps and angels (2008)
The lyrics alone put this near the top. One of America's great songwriters with an excellent CD.
Kym Tuvim - Nothing Sweet Nothing (2008)
A mix of jazz, blues and folk, I guarantee you will be hooked within 2 minutes into the first song of this excellent CD. She sings in a lower register not unlike Tracy Chapman or Joan Armatrading and it just sounds so good in front of her solid backing band.
Natalia Zuckerman - Brand New Frame (2008)
I really enjoy folk meets, well, just about anything. With Natalia, it is folk with jazzy vocals. There is a smoky sound to her vocals that can make most any song thrilling.
Other Excellent Releases this year
Peter Bradley Adams - Leavetaking
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Cardinology
Shauna Burns - The Moon and The Fire Circle
Calexico - Carried To Dust
Elvis Costello and the Imposters - MomoFuku
Sean Costello - We Can Get Together
Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Tina Dico - Count to Ten
Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
Kathleen Edwards - Asking for Flowers
Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning
Collin Herring - Past Life Crashing
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Anne Mccue - East of Electric
Mudcrutch - Mudcrutch
Shawn Mullins - Honeydew
Luke Powers - Texasee
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Paul Thorn - A Long Way From Tupelo
Martha Wainwright - I know you're married but I've got feelings too
The Watson Twins - Fire Songs
Lucinda Williams - Little Honey
Best Vinyl Issue
Harold and Maude Soundtrack (Finally!) Those of us who own this limited edition disc, should get down on our knees and thank Cameron Crow for making this happen. It only took 35 or so years.
Best Guitar Solo
This was the easiest call this year. Tom Morello stepped out onto the Honda Center stage in Anaheim, CA and proceeded to blow Bruce Springsteen's fans away with his guitar solo at the end of Ghost of Tom Joad. All nicely documented and available on ITunes (audio and video).