1. The Corrs - Home
When an artist plays music they love instead of going for the gold the musical world is always a better place. By letting their roots show through with Home The Corrs became the Irish folk-rock band they always should have been from the beginning. By doing so I have a sneaky feeling they also became the band they always wanted to be. I never thought I would love a Corrs CD, let alone place one at the top of my list, but as my original review indicates Home deserves this lofty position.
2. Blackthorn - Push & Pull
I'm not Irish but something about Irish rock always grabs me and the fifth CD by Blackthorn, a local Philadelphia band, is no exception. Despite a major loss created by the departure of Paul Moore, their former lead singer and their best and most prolific composer, Blackthorn not only survived but proved they are as good as ever. Blackthorn's combination of songs about the Irish-American experience, Irish jigs done to a rock beat, and a love of their heritage in general make this CD shine. Blackthorn is a big deal in the five county Philadelphia area and down the Jersey shore, but they are virtually unknown elsewhere. Read more about Push & Pull as well as some history about the band.
3. John Mayer - Continuum
After the release of Try! in 2005 I was expecting and hoping for an all out blues album from Mayer. Therefore I was originally disappointed when I first heard Continuum because that wasn't the case. But repeated listens prove that the singer and guitarist has stopped running through the halls of his high school and has transformed himself into a truly adult artist. Continuum does have some blues and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Bold As Love," as well as studio versions of two Try! songs, "Gravity" and "Vultures." The highlight is the opening track, the low-key, but very catchy, R&B social commentary song, "Waiting On The World To Change." Mayer's combination of R&B and pop-blues make Continuum a really rewarding album.
4. James Hunter - People Gonna Talk
The American debut from this British R&B traditionalist oozes Sam Cooke and Otis Redding but Hunter isn't just an imitator. He truly loves 60s American R&B and it shows up all over People Gonna Talk. The title cut is one of the best songs of the year.
5. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris - All The Roadrunning
Two stalwarts you can always count on teamed together for some pop, light rock, and country to produce the best work either has released in several years. I never envisioned these two artists working together but the results of their collaboration are never disappointing. I still miss Knopfler as a rock & roll guitar god but if he has to play the roll of singer-songwriter instead it doesn't get much better than this. Harris sounds like she is having more fun singing than she has had in many years.
Numbers 6 through 10 in alphabetical order:
Roseanne Cash - Black Cadillac
Los Lobos - The Town and The City
Los Lonely Boys - Sacred
Allison Moorer - Getting Somewhere
World Party - Dumbing Up
Top 5 lists from past years:
The Top 5 CDs Of 2004
The Top 5 CDs Of 2005