This week’s Folk Roots Radio (Episode 179) featured our favourite albums of 2014. As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy to narrow down all the great albums we’ve played over the past year to just ten, but that’s what we’ve done. If you check out the post about The Best Albums of 2014 we’ve also included the next five as honourable mentions. As usual, there was lots of new music on offer including some original holiday tunes, as well as a new mystery theme and guilty pleasure.
So here they are… my ten favourite albums of 2014. As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy to narrow this list down to the Top 10 which is why I’ve included the next five as honourable mentions. And to be honest, any of the albums in that group could easily have made it into my Best of 2014 on a different day. Indeed, I could easily have included another five after that… and another five after that, but I needed to draw a line somewhere which I duly did.
When Jesse Winchester passed away early in 2014 I think many people thought that the music had died with him. Well, the good news is that is not the case. A new album, “A Reasonable Amount Of Trouble”, has just been released on Appleseed Recordings. The album was recorded while Jesse’s cancer was in remission and features nine Jesse compositions alongside three cover versions.
The self-written songs on the album are all quintessentially Jesse Winchester – songs that cover the whole gamut of life experiences from transient pleasures (“All That We Have Is Now”), to tongue-in-cheek rockers (“Never Forget to Boogie”), and an uneasy peace (the heartwrenching “Just So Much”). Never maudlin, A Reasonable Amount of Trouble is inevitably tinged with an awareness of mortality but not a drop of self-pity. The covers are all sweet oldies, “Rhythm of the Rain”, “Devil or Angel” and “Whispering Bells”. Jesse plays acoustic guitar and keyboard and sings in his uniquely weightless tenor, there’s an attuned rhythm section, and guest appearances by “newgrass” country Grammy winner Jerry Douglas on lap steel and legendary saxophonist Jim Horn, among others. The new album was produced by Mac McAnally (Jimmy Buffet’s producer), who also plays lead guitar. Buffet, a huge Jesse fan wrote the liner notes.
Its an excellent album, one that really grows with you. We’ll be playing songs from the album on Folk Roots Radio. In the meantime, here is Jesse Winchester with the easy on the ear and relentlessly upbeat “All That We Have Is Now” (2014, Appleseed Recordings). For more information visit jessewinchester.com.
Folk Roots Radio on September 13 (Episode 167) featured interviews with British Americana duo Plumhall, who’ve just release a great album of moody British Americana, “Thundercloud” and Guelph-based singer-songwriter Jane Lewis, who releases her new album “Stay With Me” on September 26. We wrapped it all up in lots of great music including a highly topical mystery theme and this week’s guilty pleasure.
Let’s all raise a “Little Glass of Wine” to Jesse Winchester. Rest In Peace, Jesse Winchester (1944 – 2014).