As 2015 kicks off, various WTJU Folk staff look back on some of their favorite 2014 releases (or in a few cases albums which arrived at WTJU in 2014). To see the other lists, including the final WTJU Best of 2014 compilation, click here.
Host: Peter Jones, Folk & Beyond (Thursday, 4-6 pm)
2014 was a banner year for releases. I can’t believe 2015 will have as many great recordings, but I hope to be proven wrong! In no particular order, these are just a few of the many releases I thoroughly enjoyed this past year:
Nate Leath & Friends, Volume 2, Patuxent
This is the album I found myself going back to most often in 2014. Nate is one of the top fiddlers out there, and what a roll call of friends. Rushad Eggleston, David Grier, Danny Knicely, Duncan Wickel, Nick Falk, Andy Williams, Tatiana Hargreaves, Nancy Sluys, Mark Shimick, Michelle Belanger, Sammy Shelor, and Lauren Wasmund. There is not a wrong note on the album.
, Play The Swamp Classics
(EP), Self (Only available on vinyl and digital download)
Only problem is the EP only has four tracks. Can’t wait for the full length album to be released!
, Light The Stars
Found myself down in Lafayette, LA for Festival Internationale last spring, and came home with a copy of this CD in hand. The moment it went into rotation, it started getting serious airplay by a number of us at the station. No surprise, it is up for a Grammy
in the Regional Roots category. And while I am at it…
Kristi Guillory and Anya Burgess, Kristi Guillory and Anya Burgess, Valcour
Members of Bonsoir Catin, Kristi (accordion, vocals) and Anya (fiddle, vocals) “have shared a love of old and crooked Cajun tunes since they first started playing music together in 2005.” This album is I hope just the first of many such releases from this duo.
, The Red Album
A lovely release to celebrate 10 years of playing together. And playing on each of the tracks is Craig Akin, the newest member of…
, Full Head Of Steam
It has been a treat watching this group evolve, and their 2014 release is yet another chapter in what continues to be a must read.
Danny Knicely (w/ Wyatt Rice and Mark Schatz)
Katie Glassman & Snapshot, Dream A Little Dream, Self
When I was out at Folk Alliance last year, I kept finding myself drawn to this group’s showcases led by two time National Fiddle Champion Glassman. And like the Bonsoir Catin CD, their debut release (w/ a guest appearance by Tim O’Brien) got plenty of airplay by lots of folks once I got it back to the station.
, Waltzing Aimee
When a powerhouse trio like this comes together, it is required listening. You never know when the stars will align for another such opportunity.
Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, Avalon, Self
Another blue moon event was the coming together of these two brilliant artists.
Willie Watson, Folk Singer Vol. 1, Acony
The former member of Old Crow Medicine Show puts out an album of traditional tunes produced by David Rawlings (and associate produced by someone named Gillian). Sparse but powerful.
Dom Flemons, Prospect Hill, Music Maker Relief Foundation
Like Willie Watson, Dom got his start with a well known group, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, before leaving to put out an album which more fully reflected his own musical journey.
Buzzard Hollow Boys, Crow Soup & Other Roadside Delicacies, Made Easy, Self
This local group continues to forge its own path, and it is a joy to behold.
Bourbon Barrel Congress, Bourbon Barrel Congress, Self
The Stray Birds
The debut album for this Staunton group, and I can’t wait to hear their next one.
, Best Medicine
, Yep Roc
A young trio who never fail to deliver, and their newest release on Yep Roc, is just further evidence of their immense talent.
, Loving A Fool
Another young trio who with each new release continue to impress.
Haas Kowert Tice
, You Got This, Self
Three incredibly talented musicians (Brittany Haas, fiddle; Paul Kowert, bass, Jordan Tice, guitar) found time to collaborate on this project of Jordan Tice originals. I don’t know that I can pick a favorite, but Grandpa’s Cheesebarn
, Walking Through Clay
, Sugar Hill
The man can do no wrong.
, Beyond The Blue
With Jesse Havey’s return to the group she originally formed with Leonard Podolak, and the addition of new members Kevin Garcia, Rosie Newton and Colin Savoie-Levac, this album marks the return of a great band.
, Med Vanner
The debut album for this young Swedish fiddler, who is currently touring with the Duhks, Anna covers both original and traditional tunes (both Swedish and US).
The Goodbye Girls
, Going To Boston
Four talented young ladies, including Lena Jonsson from Sweden, who met at Berklee College of Music
in Boston, MA. Each busy with her own side projects, I just hope they find time to put out another album in the not too distant future.
Darol Anger & The Furies
, Darol Anger & The Furies
Darol put out a couple great albums last year, including another one titled, E–And’ A
. On both releases, Darol works with a mix of longtime musical friends as well as a number of students at Berklee College of Music, where he has taught the last several years. With the exception of his longtime partner, Emy Phelps, the Furies are an ever changing lineup. But as demonstrated on this album, one thing you are always guaranteed is a great sound.
, Greatest Hits Volume 3
Were it not for Love Canon, I would have long written off the music of the 80s. But darned if with each subsequent Greatest Hits
release, these conservatory trained musicians don’t show me that there was actual music behind those dreadful synthesizers.
Sons of Bill
, Love and Logic
, Thirty Tigers
I have enjoyed each of their albums, but this latest one cements why they are so highly touted; not just locally, but all over the world.
, Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy, Come In
I have long been a fan of Jess and Chris’ work, but this new album is in an entirely different category.
Hot Nut Riveters
, Moustache Girl
, Small and Nimble
Led by Guy Forsyth (Asylum Street Spankers), this group is just pure fun. And the album is perfect evidence of that.