Top Albums of 2009

Just like last year, I wanted to write a short post about my favorite music from 2009.   And of course just like last year, this is entirely subjective.  I again found it quite difficult to go down the list.  In fact, after the top 3, I couldn’t pick the next few in order, so I am only going to give a top 3 and then some honorable mentions.

Top 3 Albums of 2009

1.  Avett Brothers, I and Love and You

The Avett Brothers have become my favorite band, and we were lucky enough to see them in Charlotte on August 8th, their home turf.  This is an incredible album.  While musically it is different from their early roots, I am a big fan of bands pushing themselves and growing.  I love the song “Slight Figure of Speech,” which takes a jab at the fans that are complaining about the “New Avett Brothers…”  Lyrically this album is one of the most complete albums I have listened to.

2. Switchfoot, Hello Hurricane

Jon Foreman said they poured their heart and soul into this album, and that they wanted each song to feel like it could be their last, and that they would be proud.  Those sentiments show.  The albums is fantastic musically and lyrically.

3.  Needtobreathe, The Outsiders

One tweet from a pastor I follow said this band was amazing, so I went out and listened to their latest album, and quickly fell in love.  For a long time I thought this might be my number one album for the year, but in the end my two favorite bands released excellent albums that just beat it out.

Honorable Mentions for 2009

In no particular oder:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Night Castle:

An album that many of us thought might not ever see the light of day…  Only their 2nd non-Christmas album.  I have not gotten into this album as much as I did with Beethoven’s Last Night, but it often takes me quite a while to get into Rock Opera.  TSO again blends “classical rifts” with Rock, along with an in depth story that is impossible to follow from the music alone.  You have to read the story they provide with the music to understand.

U2, No Line on the Horizon

Their best work in awhile… I just don’t get into them as much as I used to.  When we saw them in concert this year, many people said it was an amazing show.  I thought it was an ok show, but not nearly as good as a few shows we have seen in the past (Elevation, Zooropa, Pop-mart).

Wilco, Wilco: good catchy music

Andrew Bird, Noble Beast: at first I thought Bird was trying too hard with his words… but it grew on me, and I now consider him a poet set to music

Pearl Jam, Backspacer: I find it hard to get into the heavier music these days, but this takes Pearl Jam back to their glory days

Top albums added to my library in 2009 that were not released in 2009

Some albums that came out in 2008 that I missed last year:

Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes

Blitzen Trapper, Furr

Welcome Wagon, Welcome to the Welcome Wagaon

My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges

Old Classics Added this Year

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper — had many of the songs in my library, but not the entire album.  I tried to teach the kids the concept of an album using this one, and they just started saying “Play ‘The Album’ Daddy anytime they wanted to hear it.  🙂

The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

Top Artists all time

I thought the Avett Brothers might catch Switchfoot, but it didn’t happen…  Some of these play counts include Kelly, and she loves Switchfoot.  🙂

Music Monday: TSO’s Night Castle finally released…


Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s long awaited Night Castle is finally out!  TSO is one of my favorite bands — they #4 in my “top played artist” lists on iTunes over the past 5+ years.  Considering 3 of their 4 albums are Christmas stories, that is pretty impressive.  If you like Rock Opera, go get it today, for $3.99 at amazon (today only at that price).

Music Monday: Needtobreathe

I am really digging the new album by Needtobreathe, “The Outsiders.”  I had never heard of them until I happened to see a tweet mention that they were really good.  So I poked around all the normal places I go to listen to new music (spotify, lala, myspace) and I knew I would like this album.  I’ve listened to it a ton the past week, and it is still growing on me.

Check out this video of the title track:

Music Monday: Avett Brothers in concert recap


On Saturday August 8th, I finally got to see the Avett Brothers live.  Over the past couple years, they have quickly become one of my favorites.  Something about their music is just right for me — combining excellent lyrics (raw, honest, intelligent), with music that you can’t really categorize — blue grass infused with country, rock, pop, folk, etc.  And there is so much energy!

We saw them in Charlotte, which is their hometown, and I think that helped make their live show even more special and more energetic.  There was a great combination of old and new, fast and slow.  I was really surprised by a couple of these — like Left on Laura, Left on Lisa…  I would have loved to see them play my all-time favorite — The Gift for Melody Anne.   But I certainly can’t complain.  This is a long set list (~ 2.5 hours) and it was a great show.


Kelly took a few movies with our point and shoot camera, which I uploaded to youtube:

Here are a few more photo’s:




I Dreamed a Dream

One of my favorite songs from one of my all time favorite musicals, and one of my favorite (top 5) all time books…  After watching this I had to share it here:

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I\’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

Music Monday 2-9-2009

First, I noticed that embedded videos from Vimeo and sometimes Youtube are not showing up in various readers like Google Reader, or when my blog posts are cross posted to Facebook notes.  If you want to see the videos, you are going to have to click through to get to my real blog site.

Kelly and I got to see one of my all time favorites, Dar Williams at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill a couple of weeks ago.  I had never been to the Cat’s Cradle, even though it is pretty famous, and it was a great atmosphere for Dar — very small and intimate.   Jesse Harris opened, and then Dar had a “double bill” with Joshua Radin.  He played first and thought he was pretty good, but have yet to check out any of his music after the show even though we plan to.

Here is the song I most remember — Vegetable Car:

Now here are two videos we took of Dar with a little point and shoot camera:

Great show!