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Lists : 10 Records You Should Know

Recently I went to a friend’s house for a game of  “have you heard…” and I found that he hadn’t heard a lot of what I thought he should have and vice versa. So I began formulating this list in my head.

As always I came up with some completely trivial rules to govern the list : One album per artist, has to be someone that doesn’t get a lot of radio play or fill big venues across the country and a record that I often find myself playing for other people. Some of these albums I’ve covered before on the site, some I have not, so I will just include links to some of them.

Here’s the list in no particular order:

1. Graham Weber: Beggars Blues (2006) : The second record for this Austin based, Ohio native is a good starting point for getting into Weber’s music. He really began to come into his own on this album as a songwriter. Track Highlights: “Love and Money”, “Avenue A”, “Talia”

2. Rod Picott : Welding Burns (2011) : You can read my thoughts on this album in detail here. Track Highlights : “410”, “Sheetrock Hanger”, “Rustbelt Fields”

3. Jonathan Byrd : This Is The New That (2007) : Some people write good songs, Byrd writes phenomenal ones. This is my favorite of his records, but you should own them all. Track Highlights: “Cocaine Kid”, “Jesus Was a Bootlegger”, “Learn to Rock n Roll”

4. Tommy Womack : There I Said It (2007) : I’ve said it before, but I will say it again, some folks show a little bit of themselves when they write a song, some show a lot and Tommy Womack rips his heart out and places it on the table in front of you when he plays one of his. This album is full of those songs. Track Highlights: “Nice Day”, “Alpha Male”, “I Want a Cigarette”

5. Larry Hooper : Rust (2005) : This Texas songwriter only has two records to date and Rust is his debut. Hooper weaves his way through country, folk and bluegrass and delivers some damn fine tunes. Track Highlights : “Locomotive Man”, “Background Music”, “Outwork the Sun”

6. Greg Klyma : Rust Belt Vagabond (2008) : Born and raised in Buffalo, Klyma lets his hometown and all the cities like it be heard through his amazing storytelling on this album. Track Highlights : “Two Degrees in Buffalo”, “Roll Me Away”, “Helen Rose”

7. Roger Hoover and the Whiskey Hounds : Jukebox Manifesto (2007) : Hoover has been through a couple of backing bands since this record came out, but his songwriting and singing is always a constant. I think everything came together for this incarnation of the band on this record. Track Highlights : “Cobblestone Road”, “Please Pick Up, I’m Calling”, “Drifter”

8. Cory Branan : Mutt (2012) : I largely ignored Branan’s previous two releases. That is, until I heard Mutt, and now I love them all, which is a testament of how great this album is. You can read more of my thoughts on this one here. Track Highlights: “Survivor Blues”, “Yesterday”, “Bad Man”

9. Kelly Pardekooper : Haymaker Heart (2005) : I love the combination of folk and rock on this record, it’s not like he really blended the two, but more just smacked them together a few times and see what fell out. Track Highlights : “Tell Me (I’m the One)”, “Folk This”, “21st Century Trailer Park”

1o. Mark Jungers : More Like a Good Dog Than a Bad Cat (2011) : The latest release for Texas based, Jungers displays his songwriting and unique sounding voice in a way that makes you want all of his albums in your collection. Track Highlights : “Show Me a Sign”, “Tired of Being Lonely”, “Drive”

That’s it for the list, which really could have gone on forever. Do yourselves a favor check all of these albums out, go see these artists in concert and thank me next time you see me.

Lists: Early HoF Bids

I was thinking about my favorite songwriters, and how so many of them had very long successful careers, i.e. Dylan, Waits, Prine etc. Then I began to think about how other artists with shorter careers may someday join that list. … read more