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The best music of 2012

This has been a pretty good year for music fans, whether you’re into rock, pop, or country. Below are ten of my personal favorites (in alphabetical order) that have hit the store shelves in the past twelve months…

Best albums, best song on the album
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls, “Hold On”
Flo Rida – Wild Ones, “Good Feeling”
Jim Avett – Second Chance, “Pictures in the Attic”
KISS – Monster, “Back to the Stone Age”
Lynch Mob – Sound Mountan Sessions, “Slow Drag”
Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back, “Ain’t It Enough”
Shooter Jennings – Family Man, “The Deed & The Dollar”
The Steel Wheels – Lay Down, Lay Low, “Rain in the Valley”
Two Gallants – The Bloom and the Blight, “My Love Won’t Wait”
Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth, “Blood and Fire”

I didn’t have time to check out the full releases of every artist from this past year, and there were other records that didn’t measure up to that “hit play and forget the skip button” status. Here are a few songs from those categories. Download the MP3s for these tracks…

Best songs on other albums
Allen Stone – “Sleep”
Alberta Cross – “Money for the Weekend (Pocket Full of Shame)”
Bang Tango – “Our Way”
Hank Williams Jr. – “We Don’t Apologize For America”
Psy – “Gangnam Style”

I also caught up on a few 2011 releases during the past year. Here are five titles I missed when they were first released; check them out, if you are so inclined…

2011 albums, songs
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound – Want More, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”
Primus – Green Naugahyde, “Lee Van Cleef”
Umphrey’s McGee – Death By Stereo, “Booth Love”
Various Artists – This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, “All He Wants is You” by Shawn Colvin
Wood Brothers – Smoke Ring Halo, “When I Was Young”

Finally, Awolnation‘s “Kill Your Heroes” has been in heavy rotation on a new Cincinnati radio station for a while, and it’s a very catchy tune…

Jim Avett – Second Chance (2012)

Jim Avett Second Chance

Jim Avett
Second Chance
Ramseur Records, 2012
30 minutes

Some of my fondest memories revolve around playing guitar with friends. A number of years ago I kept company with a group of “good ol’ boys” that loved to play, and we would spend hours pickin’ and grinnin’. Listening to Jim Avett’s Second Chance took me back to that time in my life with his down-home country style.

Avett touches on themes that are common to everyone: love (“Pictures Of You”), loss (“Holy Ground”), regret (“Decisions”). “Willard” is a great storytelling song about a man who tried to change his lot in life by changing his clothes. All true country songwriters have a few tunes about cheating; “Saying Goodbye” and “I Knew That You Knew” are just two examples on Second Chance.

The booklet that comes with the CD includes liner notes and lyrics, and each song is prefaced with a “writer’s note” from Avett about the inspiration for his songs. At various times he was influenced by legends like Buck Owens, or by overheard conversations, or by people watching. Whatever the inspiration, the result is the same: traditional country music at its best. Avett’s songwriting is stellar, and his performance heartfelt.

1. Decisions
2. Pictures In The Attic
3. I Knew That You Knew
4. Holy Ground
5. Saying Goodbye
6. Leaving Knoxville
7. Willard
8. Yellow Dress
9. Game Of Love

Jim Avett (vocals, guitar)
Jon Shain (lead guitar on 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9)
Ray Morton (lead guitar on 2, 7, 8)
Diane Reed Cox (cello on 2, 3, 4, 5, 9)
John Culbreath (vilon on 3, 4, 5, 7, 9)
Charly Lowry (vocals on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9)
Doug Williams (bass on 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

See a live performance of “Decisions” below:

Learn more about Jim Avett.

Learn more about Ramseur Records.

Purchase the CD directly from Jim Avett via the “Buy Now” option on his website.

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