• Top of the 2010 charts

    3 jan. 2011, 17h36m

    It's not quite Jan. 1, but here's how I spent my 2010, musically speaking.

    Top Artists of 2010
    1. The Pogues - 160 plays
    2. Robert Earl Keen - 98
    3. The Tossers - 85
    4. Wilco - 81
    5. Steve Earle - 80
    6. Great Big Sea - 73
    7. Jimmy Buffett - 67
    8. Uncle Tupelo - 62
    9. The Avett Brothers - 57
    10. John Prine - 54
    11. Gaelic Storm - 53
    11. Marty Stuart - 53
    11. Reckless Kelly - 53
    14. Lucinda Williams - 52
    14. Jim Lauderdale - 52
    14. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - 52
    17. Dwight Yoakam - 51
    18. Hal Ketchum - 49
    18. The Decemberists - 49
    18. The Jayhawks - 49

    Most of these are long-time favorites who have a lot of songs in my iTunes folder. The Avetts, Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo are more recent discoveries.

    Top Albums of 2010
    1 John Prine – Great Days: Anthology - 22 plays
    2 The Pogues – If I Should Fall From Grace With God - 21
    3 Uncle Tupelo – No Depression - 20
    4 The Pogues – Red Roses For Me - 19
    4 House of Freaks – Tantilla - 19
    6 Jimmy Buffett – Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads - 18
    6 Robert Earl Keen – Farm Fresh Onions - 18
    6 The Tossers – Communication & Conviction: The Last Seven Years - 18
    9 Bruce Robison – Wrapped - 17
    9 Steve Goodman – Anthology: No Big Surprise - 17
    11 Uncle Tupelo – Still Feel Gone - 16
    11 The Flying Burrito Brothers – The Gilded Palace Of Sin/Burrito Deluxe - 16
    11 The Alias Acoustic Band – 1798-1998 Irish Songs Of Rebellion - 16
    11 Deano Waco – Deano Waco Meats the Purveyors - 16
    11 The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You - 16
    11 Radney Foster – Revival - 16
    17 Patty Loveless – On Your Way Home - 15
    17 Miranda Lambert – Kerosene - 15
    17 Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – Rattlin' Bones - 15
    17 The Pogues – Just Look Them Straight In The Eye And Say Pogue Mahone! (Disc 1) - 15

    Lots of Pogues, as could be expected. But there's a good number of relatively new albums as well. The Radney Foster and Chambers/Nicholson ones are two of my favorites from recent years.
  • The 9513 Last.fm update (4-18-10)

    27 avr. 2010, 4h27m

    I know I'm a week late and a dollar short on this, but I had the update written before I got swamped with other stuff, so here it is.

    Top Artists
    While Miranda Lambert (32 listeners) stays on top, some of the recent releases are boosting some people's numbers. Alan Jackson was #2 with 31, and Gary Allan was right behind (tied with Brad Paisley) at 28. Even Blake Shelton, who'd dropped well back in the pack in recent weeks, moved up to #12 with 21 listeners. Maybe more of our group members have a secret hillbilly bone than previously thought. Keith Urban jumped from 9 listeners the previous week to 18 this week, so clearly he needs to perform Radney Foster songs on awards shows more often. Also making some great strides was Kellie Pickler, who made it into the Top 20 for the first time with 20 listeners. If her next album is as country as she's claiming, it won't be her last time.

    Top Albums
    While Jackson and Allan are picking up more listeners, nothing is stopping Revolution, which has basically taken over this category and will hold it until Hank Williams comes back from the dead with a new album, or Lambert releases her follow-up to Revolution. Jackson's Freight Train is at #7 with 13 listeners, so the bloom is pretty much off that rose already. Easton Corbin's debut album is still showing pretty good traction, as it came in at #3 with 15 listeners, behind Lambert and Carrie Underwood's Play On (16). The biggest debut this week was from Laura Bell Bundy and Achin' And Shakin'. It had 9 listeners on release week. The new one from Merle Haggard, comparatively, managed just 6 listeners, which equaled the amount of... Katy Perry.

    Top Tracks
    Laura Bell Bundy is enough of a curiosity piece to dominate the tracks chart this week, with 11 of the 12 songs from her album landing inside the Top 20. “Giddy On Up” led the way with 11 listeners, and “Cigarette,” “Curse The Bed” and “Homecoming Queen” all had 10. Both the “Achin'” and “Shakin'” sides were well represented, but we'll see if either side lasts more than a week at the top. Lady Antebellum managed to get two songs, “American Honey” and “Need You Now,” into the Top 10 with 9 listeners, as did Easton Corbin's “A Little More Country Than That” and Taylor Swift's “You Belong with Me.” Just two of Alan Jackson's new songs – “Freight Train” and “After 17” – ended up in a tie for #20 indicates that the new album may take a few listens before the favorites begin to emerge. Or there's just no noteworthy songs, which seems very un-Jacksonlike.
  • The 9513 Last.fm picks of the month, March 2010

    9 avr. 2010, 20h23m

    Artist of the Month
    1. Miranda Lambert: 106 listeners
    2. Gary Allan: 101
    3. Johnny Cash: 95
    4T. Brad Paisley: 89
    4T. George Strait: 89
    6. Lady Antebellum: 86
    7. Alan Jackson: 81
    8T. Dixie Chicks: 80
    8T. Sugarland: 80
    10T. Garth Brooks: 76
    10T. Lee Ann Womack: 76
    12. Dolly Parton: 73
    13. Patty Loveless: 71
    14T. Carrie Underwood: 70
    14T. Martina McBride: 70
    16. Reba McEntire: 69
    17. Kenny Chesney: 68
    18T. Brooks & Dunn: 67
    19T. Taylor Swift: 67
    20T. Trisha Yearwood: 66
    20T. Willie Nelson: 66
    A new album from Allan helped shoot him up the chart, but Lambert still maintains her death grip as the Artist of the Month for the third straight month. Jackson also moved up the list, as he had 73 listeners in February. With a brand new album of his own, he should move up the ranks even further. The biggest drops were from Carrie Underwood (85 listeners to 70) and Reba McEntire (83 to 69).

    Album of the Month
    1. Miranda Lambert, Revolution: 69 listeners
    2T. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now: 49
    2T. Taylor Swift, Fearless: 49
    4. Gary Allan, Get Off On The Pain: 43
    5T. Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum: 42
    5T. Carrie Underwood, Play On: 42
    7. Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy: 40
    8T. Dixie Chicks, Fly: 36
    8T. Dixie Chicks, Home: 36
    8T. Easton Corbin, Easton Corbin: 36
    11. Sugarland, Love On The Inside: 34
    12T. Josh Turner, Haywire: 32
    12T. Reba McEntire: Keep On Lovin' You: 32
    12T. Martina McBride, Shine: 32
    15T. Hayes Carll, Trouble In Mind: 31
    15T. Eric Church, Carolina: 31
    15T. Lady GaGa, The Fame: 31
    18T. Jason Aldean, Wide Open: 30
    18T. Ashley Monroe, Satisfied: 30
    18T. Dixie Chicks, Taking The Long Way: 30
    This is the first month that we've been able to have an Album of the Month, and Lambert won this one, too, in a landslide. She had a cumulative 20 more listeners for Revolution than any other album. Allan's new effort came out with a bang, but the listnership for it has been fairly spotty. Easton Corbin has had a pretty big gain in our group. In January, no one had even heard of him or had played any of his songs. Two months later, he's got a Top 10 album. It's also worth noting that Ashley Monroe snuck in at the bottom of the list without any kind of promotion or singles, just word of mouth. Yes, I'm trying to ignore the fact that Lady GaGa tied with Hayes Carll.

    Track of the Month
    1. Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me”: 42 listeners
    2. Easton Corbin, “A Little More Country Than That”: 38
    3. Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”: 36
    4T. Miranda Lambert, “White Liar”: 26
    4T. Gary Allan, “Today”: 26
    6T. Carrie Underwood, “Cowboy Casanova”: 25
    6T. Gary Allan, “Get Off On The Pain”: 25
    8. Lee Ann Womack, “Last Call”: 24
    9T. Josh Turner, “Why Don't We Just Dance”: 23
    9T. Miranda Lambert, “Makin' Plans”: 23
    9T. Laura Bell Bundy, “Giddy On Up”: 23
    9T. Lady Antebellum, “American Honey”: 23
    13. Gary Allan, “Kiss Me When I'm Down”: 22
    14. Miranda Lambert, “Heart Like Mine”: 21
    15. Jaron And The Long Road To Love, “Pray For You”: 21
    16T. Miranda Lambert, “Virginia Bluebell”: 20
    16T. Gary Allan, “Along The Way”: 20
    16T. Gary Allan, “That Ain's Gonna Fly”: 20
    16T. Easton Corbin, “The Way Love Looks”: 20
    20. 8 songs with 19

    Lambert completes the sweep by winning this category as well, but at least it's opened up a little. Allan had just as many tracks in the Top 20 as Lambert, and Lady Antebellum and Corbin added a couple as well. Two brand new acts, Bundy and Jaron & The Ridiculously Long Band Name, made the charts with their debut singles. Neither artist had any significant plays before this month, so they've built up some decent momentum in a short amount of time. One buzzworthy single doesn't guarantee a successful career, but it seems like they're off to a decent start.
  • The 9513 Last.fm update (3-14-10)

    22 mars 2010, 15h32m

    Top Artists
    With a new album, Gary Allan shot to the top of the charts, with 32 listeners. That's an impressive gain of 10 listeners from the week before. Miranda Lambert (28 listeners) and Johnny Cash (26) ranked #2 and #2, respectively. A few of the perennial favorites who completely fell off the charts last week were back with a vengeance, notably Reba McEntire, who rose from 14 listeners to 23, and Alan Jackson, from 16 to 22. Willie Nelson jumps into the Top 10 with 21 listeners, and Blake Shelton, with 16 listeners, ends up in the Top 20 for the first time this year. Maybe if he had released more than six songs, he would have done better. Ryan Bingham, still riding the Oscar-winning wave, has 17 listeners for the second week in a row, making it a rare occurrence when an Americana artist ends up in the Top 20. Hopefully it won't be the last time, because I'd personally like to see a little bit more of a mix between Americana and country on the charts.

    Top Albums
    Allan's Get Off On The Pain was good enough to make it to #2 with 14 listeners, but Lambert took the #1 spot with Revolution and its 17 listeners. This category is a bit more balanced that the Artists chart, as it has pop-country like Taylor Swift's Fearless and Lady Antebellum's Need You Now (13 listeners) up there along with more traditional artists like Lee Ann Womack's Call Me Crazy (11) and Easton Corbin's debut (10), with some Americana thrown in by way of Bingham's Mescalito (11) and The Avett Brothers' I and Love and You (9). The other debut for the week, Shelton's Hillbilly Bone, just cracked the Top 20 with 8 listeners.

    Last.fm Top Tracks
    Allan took eight of the top 10 spots, with “Get Off On The Pain,” “We Fly By Night” and “Today” all having 12 listeners to vie for #1. Lady Antebellum's “Need You Now” and Lambert's “The House That Built Me” managed to sneak into the Top 10 with 9 listeners each. Corbin's songs, which had been doing fairly well, got displaced by Allan pretty thoroughly, but “Roll With It” and several others managed 6 listeners. The only song from Shelton's not-at-all-an-EP was “Delilah,” with 7. After that, a couple of modern-era country classics – George Strait's “Amarillo By Morning” and Garth Brooks' “Friends in Low Places” – had 7 listeners. At least they managed to beat “Paparazzi” by Lady GaGa, even if it was by just one listener.
  • The 9513 Last.fm picks of the Month, February 2010

    2 mars 2010, 18h09m

    As befitting a stats geek, I'm taking the weekly chart results from Last.fm and using it to keep track of the top picks for each month. This month, there's just the top artists and tracks. It looks like last.fm finally got the albums chart fixed, so with any luck, I'll be able to add that to the monthly updates as well.

    Again, if you'd like to stay up to date with the weekly charts for The 9513 group and catch up on daily news, interviews and features on country music and all of its offshoots, bookmark www.the9513.com and visit it daily.

    Artist of the Month
    1. Miranda Lambert: 110 listeners
    2T. George Strait: 94
    2T. Johnny Cash: 94
    4. Brad Paisley: 86
    5T. Carrie Underwood: 85
    5T. Lady Antebellum: 85
    5T: Gary Allan: 85
    8. Reba McEntire: 83
    9. Lee Ann Womack: 82
    10. Sugarland: 80
    11. Dixie Chicks: 78
    12T. Martina McBride: 75
    12T. Josh Turner: 75
    14T. Taylor Swift: 74
    14T. Dolly Parton: 74
    16T. Alan Jackson: 73
    16T. Garth Brooks: 73
    18. Trisha Yearwood: 72
    19T. Patty Loveless: 70
    19T. Kenny Chesney: 70

    For the second month in a row, Lambert had 110 listeners to rank #1 on the chart. Cash had a last-week surge with the release of his new and final album to make it to #2. He'd fallen off the mark a bit beforehand, but listeners checking out the new stuff and going back to his classic work might help him challenge for #1. Turner had a bit of a surge with his new album, but it flared out after a couple of weeks. Just from the listening habits of the group members, it doesn't look like Haywire was a release that becomes required listening, week in and week out.

    Tracks of the Month
    1. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum: 44
    2. Why Don't We Just Dance - Josh Turner: 35
    3. The House That Built Me - Miranda Lambert: 34
    4. American Honey - Lady Antebellum: 29
    5T. White Liar - Miranda Lambert: 26
    5T. Hello World - Lady Antebellum: 26
    7T. Our Kind of Love - Lady Antebellum: 24
    7T. Dead Flowers - Miranda Lambert: 24
    7T. Last Call - Lee Ann Womack: 24
    10T. Wild At Heart - Gloriana: 23
    10T. When You Got a Good Thing - Lady Antebellum: 23
    12. If I Knew Then - Lady Antebellum: 22
    13T. Temporary Home - Carrie Underwood: 21
    13T. I Keep On Lovin' You - Reba McEntire: 21
    13T. Use Somebody - Kings of Leon: 21
    16T. I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash: 20
    16T. A Little More Country Than That - Easton Corbin: 20
    18T. Toes - Zac Brown Band: 19
    18T. Bad Romance - Lady Gaga: 19
    20T. Cowboy Casanova - Carrie Underwood: 18
    20T. Love This Pain - Lady Antebellum: 18

    This was the first full month with Lady Antebellum's new album, and it definitely shows. Seven of the 21 songs came from Need You Now, erasing the surplus of Lambert songs that were on last month's chart. The one Turner song that had any lasting impact made it up to #2. Two of the songs (Gloriana and Corbin) were iTunes free downloads, so being featured on the biggest downloading service on the planet definitely helps the cause for up-and-coming country singers. A couple of the songs are pop hits that found a home with country audiences. I would have thought that Lady Gaga fans and country music fans are kind of mutually exclusive, but this proves otherwise. I've always heard about the glory days of AM radio, where listeners could hear Sinatra, The Beatles and Johnny Cash all on one station. It looks like AM radio has been pretty effectively replaced by the shuffle mode on mp3 players.
  • The 9513 Last.fm picks of the Month, January 2010

    3 fév. 2010, 20h24m

    I'm trying something a little new here, so bear with me. The weekly chart updates are run regularly over at The 9513, so if you want to check those out, please head over there. Here, I've played around with a month's worth of charts and came up with the Top Artists and Top Tracks of the month (The Top Albums chart is busted, so I'm ignoring it until it gets fixed.)

    This is a thoroughly unscientific poll taking the most listened-to artists and songs from each week and combining four weeks' worth of data into one chart. The hope is that we'll see some trends throughout the year as new albums are released, and that we can take the monthly data and come up with some good year-end data as well.

    So here are the month-end charts for January:

    Artist of the Month
    1. Miranda Lambert: 110 listeners
    2. Johnny Cash: 105
    3. George Strait: 102
    4T. Lady Antebellum: 98
    4T: Alan Jackson: 98
    6. Dixie Chicks: 93
    7. Carrie Underwood: 88
    8. Brad Paisley: 87
    9. Lee Ann Womack: 85
    10. Taylor Swift: 84
    11. Gary Allan: 83
    12. Reba McEntire: 82
    13. Sugarland: 80
    14. Garth Brooks: 79
    15. Dwight Yoakam: 78
    16. Dolly Parton: 76
    17T. Martina McBride: 75
    17T. Patty Loveless: 75
    19T. Trisha Yearwood: 71
    19T. George Jones: 71
    19T. Keith Urban: 71

    Lambert has been a sweetheart of this group for a long time, and Johnny Cash is the top country artist on Last.fm, so those picks come as no surprise. Lady Antebellum came on late last week with the new album release, but it's hard to tell if it will have momentum past the initial few weeks. "Need You Now" has been remarkably consistent (see below), but it's too early to see if any other song on the album is a must-listen, week after week.

    Track of the Month
    1. "Need You Now" - Lady Antebellum: 43 listeners
    2. "The House That Built Me" - Miranda Lambert: 35
    3T. "Consider Me Gone" - Reba McEntire: 30
    3T. "White Liar" - Miranda Lambert: 30
    3T. "American Honey" - Lady Antebellum: 30
    3T. "Last Call" - Lee Ann Womack: 30
    7. "Me & Your Cigarettes" - Miranda Lambert: 29
    8. "Only Prettier" - Miranda Lambert: 27
    9. "Airstream Song" - Miranda Lambert: 25
    10. "Love This Pain" - Lady Antebellum: 24
    11T. "Highway 20 Ride" - Zac Brown Band: 23
    11T. "Makin' Plans" - Miranda Lambert: 23
    13. "Dead Flowers" - Miranda Lambert: 22
    14T. "Something More: - Sugarland: 21
    14T. "Red Light" - David Nail: 21
    16T. "I Run to You" - Lady Antebellum: 20
    16T. "Strawberry Wine" - Deanna Carter: 20
    16T. "Paparazzi" - Lady Gaga: 20
    19T: "It Happens" - Sugarland: 19
    19T: "Fifteen" - Taylor Swift: 19

    This is what I mean about Revolution. Eight of the Top 20 tracks were from that album, and only two of them were singles, as of now. Lady A had a few album cuts show up, from people that got the album on its release day and a few who snagged advance copies. Another month's worth of plays may tip the scales, if the album continues to impress after a week. It's also interesting to note that the two songs that have dominated the Billboard charts, "Need You Now" and "Consider Me Gone," both charted well here, too. Maybe we're not as counterculture as we thought we are. As for the Lady GaGa song, the less said, the better.
  • The 9513 Last.fm Chart Update (1-3-10)

    7 jan. 2010, 17h02m

    Last.fm Top Artists
    The members of the ever-growing The 9513 group (143 and counting) spent their New Year’s holiday by listening to a lot of the Man in Black, so we must be gearing up for a depressing 2010. Johnny Cash had 28 listeners to rank at #1, with Miranda Lambert (27 listeners) and Dixie Chicks (26) following behind. Lady Antebellum, with 22 listeners, is at #5 with Lee Ann Womack. The trio has been lurking at the bottom end of the Top 10 or just outside of it for the most part, but I suspect it’s going to be one of the top artists of 2010, considering how much of a response the lead single from the new album has gotten. Meanwhile, the artists at #10 include former #1s Sugarland, George Strait and Brad Paisley, all with 19 listeners. One week doesn’t amount to a trend, but the 2010 release schedule may shake up the group’s typical listening habits a bit. Leading the Americana singers is Holly Williams with 14 listeners – I’m assuming two country albums without airplay qualifies as “Americana.”

    Last.fm Top Albums
    See what I mean about Lady Antebellum? Their self-titled debut album had 17 listeners for the week, tying it with Lambert’s Revolution as the #1 album. The Dixie Chicks are #3 with Taking The Long Way, which had 16 listeners, and two of their other albums also landed in the Top 10. Womack’s Call Me Crazy was next with 15, and Taylor Swift’s Fearless tied with Carrie Underwood’s Carnival Ride, both with 14. The Americana contingent placed a few albums at #12, with 11 listeners for Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson’s Rattlin’ Bones and Justin Townes Earle’s Midnight at the Movies. Also with 11 listeners is LeAnn Rimes‘ Family, which may rank as the most inappropriate-in-hindsight album name. At the tail end of the charts, with 6 listeners, we have Old Crow Medicine Show’s Tennessee Pusher tied with Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed A Dream. If you’re someone who listened to both albums last week, kudos on your schizophrenic music collection.

    Last.fm Top Tracks
    There are five tracks at #1 with 9 listeners: Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” Lambert’s “The House That Built Me,” Reba McEntire’s “Consider Me Gone,” “Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces” and “Cowboy Take Me Away.” Lady A, the Chicks and Reba have the #6 songs as well, with “I Run to You,” “Goodbye Earl” and “Maggie Creek Road,” respectively. As further proof that the men of country music have completely dropped the ball, there isn’t a single track in the Top 10 (17 songs) with a male solo performance. The see-saw between male dominance and female dominance has definitely tipped heavily in one direction. If the Hat Act and Bare Navel eras are any indication, it could stay that way for a few years.

    Billboard Country Songs
    Now that McEntire has a #1, she’s not willing to let go. “Consider Me Gone” spends a second week at #1, with “Need you Now” still at #2 and Dierks Bentley’s “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes” moving up to #3. Darius Rucker’s “History In The Making” moves up a couple spots to #8, and Josh Turner enters the Top 10 with “Why Don’t We Just Dance.” The most movement came from “Temporary Home” by Underwood, which moves to #19, and “Highway 20 Ride” by Zac Brown Band, which moves to #26. The biggest non-holiday debut goes to Rascal Flatts with “Unstoppable” at #56 – what a way to start a new year.

    Billboard Country Albums
    Fearless is Still #1. Though for once, the sales gainer went to a different album, in this case, The Foundation by Zac Brown Band at #5. Perhaps “Highway 20 Ride” is giving it a justifiably strong sales resurgence. Furthermore, Revolution sneaks back into the Top 10 at #9, putting Miranda Lambert ahead of the blasted Hannah Montana soundtrack that refuses to go away. The purchasing power of the teenage female demographic is downright frightening. God help us all if Taylor Lautner decides to release a country album. Without any debut albums this week, the movement on the charts comes courtesy of current albums like Toby Keith’s American Ride, moving four spots to #12, and Strait’s Twang, which moves up five to #13.

    Freebie of the Week
    The Americana Music Association is apparently taking a couple weeks off with its chart, so here’s some free stuff from one of the perennial Top 10 bands, The Band of Heathens. They have a deal on their Web site where you can send a free song to as many friends as you like. There are multiple tracks available from the Band’s two studio albums, as well as some live cuts. I’m not suggesting that you e-mail yourself almost two dozen free songs, but if you were to do that and liked them so much that you decided to buy their albums, they probably wouldn’t mind that. Try “Cornbread,” “Jackson Station” and “L.A. County Blues,” for starters.
  • Favorite Albums from 2009

    24 déc. 2009, 20h41m

    10 .
    Sara Watkins - Sara Watkins
    You had to figure that with all the talent bubbling over in Nickel Creek, that each member would go on to make some pretty special music after it disbanded. Sara Watkins was the last one to come to the table with new music, but it was well worth the wait. From the choice of covers, to the instrumentals, to the original songs... this is the stuff we only started to see at the tail end of Nickel Creek's time.
    Favorite songs: "Long Hot Summer Days," "Same Mistakes," "Give Me Jesus"

    Steve Martin - The Crow: New Songs For the Five-String Banjo
    The thing I like most about this album is that it doesn't seem like an "event" record. It's a special occasion, sure enough, as it's Martin's first album of pure music. It's not a Hollywood big-shot's vanity project; it's a talented musician and a group of friends making a good bluegrass record. Martin spends as much time in the spotlight as he does turning it over to the other singers and musicians, resulting in a very enjoyable and cohesive whole.
    Favorite songs: "Late For School," "Pretty Flowers," "Saga Of The Old West"

    Ryan Bingham - Roadhouse Sun
    I'm not sure how a guy younger than me ends up with the voice of a hard-core 70-year-old smoker and drinker, but the songs that he writes fit the voice. Gritty, dark, songs that pretty much require a thorough reading of the lyrics to know what the hell he's singing about. I'm probably in the minority who prefers this album to his debut, Mescalito, but this batch of songs stand out more to me instead of blending into one long drone. Incidentally, Bingham may very well pick up an Oscar nomination for best original song, so remember the name.
    Favorite songs: "Day Is Done," "Tell My Mother I Miss Her So," "Hey Hey Hurray"

    The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
    With every new album, I think that Collin Meloy has finally done it. He's put together an album so overly ambitious that it collapses under the weight of its own pretentiousness. Surprisingly, he writes a convoluted story about nature queens, star-crossed lovers, shape-shifting creatures and killers and pulls it off. Some fine playing by Decemberists Chris Funk (anything with a string) and Jenny Conlee (anything with keys) and some great guest vocals help make this project work. And kudos to Meloy for writing the catchiest song about a triple infanticide that you're ever going to hear.
    Favorite songs: "The Rake's Song," "The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid," "Isn't It A Lovely Night?"

    Miranda Lambert - Revolution
    I hate what's happened to mainstream country, where any artist who's the least bit interesting gets watered down or shoved off into Americana World, but there are some bright spots. Lambert has developed into a solid songwriter with a real idea of what it means to be an artist and not just a singer. There's a few ass-kicking songs here, which is what she's most known for, but the quieter ones are where she really shines. "The House That Built Me" is one of the best songs you'll hear all year. Plus, she covers Fred Eaglesmith and John Prine, which shows she's got great taste in songwriters.
    Favorite songs: "The House That Built Me," "White Liar," "Makin' Plans"

    Corb Lund - Losin' Lately Gambler
    This was technically Lund's U.S. debut, though he's been recording in Canada for years and making inroads in Texas and elsewhere. It's a fine introduction to Lund and hopefully sent many Americans to look for the rest of his catalog. Lund is one of the few songwriters who can write humorous songs that can still put a smile on your face after hearing it for the fourth or fifth time. The light-hearted songs about veterinarians and the province of Saskatchewan make the serious songs like "Alberta Says Hello" and "This Is My Prairie" even more jarring.
    Favorite songs: "Horse Doctor, Come Quick," "This Is My Prairie," "Devil's Best Dress"

    Justin Townes Earle - Midnight at the Movies
    I don't know what's scarier about Earle: that he can take on multiple genres and do them so well, or that he probably hasn't hit his artistic stride yet. Maybe some hard-living early years have matured him faster than most, but he's come farther with two solo albums than most people do with five or six. Sometimes he sounds like a throwback from the 1930s or '40s, sometimes he's very contemporary with a voice that sounds a bit like his dad, but it all fits together well and makes you wonder what he'll be capable of five or 10 years down the road.
    Favorite songs: "Mama's Eyes," "Poor Fool," "Someday I'll Be Forgiven for This"

    Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
    She's been teetering on the edge for a while, but this is the album that knocked her our of the Americana genre and solidly into rock. Or indie rock, however you want to define that. She's got one of the best and strongest voice sin music today, so she can pretty much do whatever she wants, in my book. I miss some of the countrier touches on this album, but songs like "People Got A Lotta Nerve" are great no matter the genre. As an added bonus, there's the Neko Case drinking game: take a shot ever time she mentions an animal. You'll be passed out before the album's half-way done.
    Favorite songs: "People Got a Lotta Nerve," "Don't Forget Me," "This Tornado Loves You"

    Radney Foster - Revival
    With all he's done in his solo career and in Foster & Lloyd, I think Foster's put together the best album of his career here. He tackles some pretty serious subjects here -- spirituality, death, relationships, etc. -- but he does so with an incredible knack for melody and lyric. There's no faking anything here. He's singing with his heart on his sleeve, and he's struggling for answers just like everybody else. "Angel Flight," about soldiers whose job is take their fallen comrades to their final resting places, and "I Know You Can Hear Me," a song Foster wrote about his late father, are beautiful. Heartbreaking and tear-inducing, but beautiful.
    Favorite Songs: "A Little Revival," "I Know You Can Hear Me," "Angel Flight"

    The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You
    Other albums on this list have moved up and down, depending on my mood, the time of day, etc. This one, however, has been a solid #1 ever since I first heard it. The mix of bluegrass, folk and hard rock, sometimes within the space of a single song, just works for me, as does the simple-but-effective lyrics of Scott & Seth Avett. The title track is my favorite song from the year, and if we'd waited a few months, "January Wedding" would have been a perfect wedding song. There's a modern folk movement at work with bands like the Avetts, Fleet Foxes, Chathem County Line, Iron & Wine, etc. leading the way with some tremendous music. With the rest of the music world stagnating pretty badly, it could very well be that these acoustic-leaning, banjo-loving bands give the industry the kick in the butt that it desperately needs.
    Favorite songs: "I And Love And You," "The Perfect Space," "Kick Drum Heart"
  • The 9513 Last.fm Chart Update (12-20-09)

    23 déc. 2009, 22h20m

    Last.fm Top Artists
    For the first time this month, Brad Paisley made it up to #1 with 32 listeners, three more than the #2 artists – George Strait and Miranda Lambert – could manage. Lee Ann Womack (27) and the collective of Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride (all with 26) round out the Top 5. Joe Nichols had 16 listeners for the week, an improvement of 7 from the previous one. Shania Twain also gained some ground, moving up to 17 listeners from 12. Perhaps all of the talk about the best and worst of the ’00s had people reminiscing about when she was the hottest thing in music. Justin Townes Earle had 15 listeners to lead the Americana artists.

    Last.fm Top Albums
    This week, Lambert’s Revolution shares the #1 spot with Carrie Underwood’s Carnival Ride, both with 15 listeners. Fearless from Taylor Swift was #2 with 14. The 9513’s Album of the Decade, That Lonesome Song by Jamey Johnson, had 10 listeners to put it at #9 with a host of others, including the Dixie ChicksHome, Sara Evans‘ Real Fine Place and Sugarland’s Enjoy The Ride. They were all behind Kellie Pickler’s Small Town Girl, which had 11 listeners. Hopefully those 11 listeners are all regular fans and not Superfans who will leap to her defense for even the slightest little criticism. Only the cult of American Idol generates these kinds of Superfans; I could write one line stating that Justin Guarini wasn’t fit to sing in subway stations, and I’d get a response saying that I’m deaf and he’s twice the singer that Kelly Clarkson ever will be. Speaking of, Clarkson was at #17 on the list, as All I Ever Wanted tied with 13 other albums, including some of the best from this year: Earle’s Midnight at the Movies, Rosanne Cash’s The List and Strait’s Twang. At least it’s an improvement over Lady GaGa.

    Last.fm Top Tracks
    Like most other places, Lady Antebellum is at #1 with 11 listeners for “Need You Now,” with Womack’s “Last Call” and Lambert’s “White Liar” right behind with 9 listeners. “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood makes it up to #4 with 7 listeners. While it’s miles better than “Cowboy Casanova” (damning with faint praise, admittedly), it’s tied on The 9513 chart with 10 other songs that are better than it. That would include “Welcome To The Future” by Paisley, “Toes” by Zac Brown Band, “Someday I’ll Be Forgiven For This” by Earle and “Dead Flowers” and “Time To Get A Gun” by Lambert. While it’s not exactly a traditional Christmas carol, five people did listen to Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December.”

    Billboard Country Songs
    Lady Antebellum continues its dominance on the Billboard charts, with “Need You Now” staying at #1, while Reba McEntire moves up a spot to #2 with “Consider Me Gone.” There was quite a bit of movement in the lower half of the Top 10, as Tim McGraw moved from #8 to #6 with “Southern Voice,” Lambert moved from #10 to #8 with “White Liar,” and Jason Aldean and Darius Rucker entered the Top 10 with “The Truth” at #9 and “History In The Making” at #10. “Temporary Home” jumped 10 places to be at #26 after 3 weeks, and Easton Corbin has his first Top 20 hit, as “A Little More Country Than That” moved up to #19. A couple of holiday songs also are moving up the charts quickly, with Rodney Carrington’s “Camouflage And Christmas Lights” jumping from #52 to #39, and Rucker’s “Candy Cane Christmas” moving from #60 to #47.

    Billboard Country Albums
    Fearless is still #1. And it was also the sales gainer for the week, which means that Taylor Swift has figured out a way to improve on being #1. It’s likely to hold that place for the next few weeks, with Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now being the biggest release in January. In the meantime, the band moved up to #3 with its self-titled debut. Frighteningly, the biggest chart jump was Rascal Flatts‘ Unstoppable, moving from #21 to #13. Not bad for a band whose latest single stiffed. Perhaps they’ve picked up that all-important CSI demographic.

    Americana Music Association Chart
    Rosanne Cash’s death grip on the #1 spot with The List is about as strong as Fearless on the Billboard charts. It had 430 total spins this week, more than 50 over its closest competition. The only change in the Top 5 is that Yonkers NY by Chip Taylor moved to #5. While it stayed at #4, The Band of Heathens did reach a milestone with 5,500 total spins for One Foot In The Ether. That makes it the most-played album on the chart. John Fogerty’s The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again had a bit of a resurgence, moving up to #7 after a couple weeks of backsliding. Mountain Soul II by Patty Loveless also jumped up a couple to #12.
  • The 9513 Last.fm Chart Update (12-6-09)

    10 déc. 2009, 17h35m

    Last.fm Top Artists
    A slew of additions has The 9513 group up to 135 members, we’ve sent a familiar face back to the top of the Top Artists chart. George Strait is at #1 with 31 listeners and is the only artist with more than 30 this week. Brad Paisley drops from #1 to a #5 tie with Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack and Carrie Underwood, all with 23 listeners. Sugarland isn’t getting much of a boost from its Christmas album, as the former perennial #1 artist sits at #9 with 22 listeners. Coming in at #10 is Sara Evans, who had 21 listeners, along with Dwight Yoakam. Evans has normally ranged between 14 and 18 listeners. Ryan Adams had 15 listeners to lead the Americana artists. For those looking for a little more traditional country, Jamey Johnson had 15 as well, putting him between Jennings (14) and Jones (also 15) — and Rascal Flatts (15), which definitely doesn’t fit with the song.

    Last.fm Top Albums
    Miranda Lambert managed the top two albums on the chart, with Revolution having 20 listeners and Kerosene having 13, along with Underwood’s Play On. Evans charted very well here also, with Born To Fly landing at #7 with 11 listeners, tied with Paisley’s Time Well Wasted. Evans’ four other albums had 8 listeners each, so her fans in the group had an all-out listening party last week. Womack also fared well, as Call Me Crazy had 12 listeners, I Hope You Dance had 10 and There’s More Where That Came From had 9. Of course, Underwood managed to get 100 percent of her discography in the Top 10, so I guess she wins. Let’s see her try that when she’s 10 or 20 albums into her career, though.

    Last.fm Top Tracks
    Of the 11 songs in the Top 10, only three are by Lambert, which is low for her. Of course, “White Liar” and “Dead Flowers” were #1 and #2 with 10 and 9 listeners, respectively. Lady Antebellum also had 9 listeners for “Need You Now.” Three of Womack’s finest songs, “Ashes By Now,” “Last Call” and “I May Hate Myself In The Morning,” all had 7 listeners. Maybe people needed a change of pace after hearing “There Is A God” or something. Trisha Yearwood’s “This Is Me You’re Talking To” had 7 listeners who can tolerate poor grammar when it’s sung well. Just outside of the Top 10 sits Lady GaGa with “Bad Romance” and its 6 listeners. Look, it’s bad enough “Cowboy Casanova” is #4 with 8 listeners; I don’t want to have to start writing about too many pop divas at once.

    Billboard Country Songs
    Reba McEntire moves up to #3 with “Consider Me Gone,” and she’s going to have to bump “Need You Now” and Luke Bryan’s “Do I” off to get her 23rd #1 single. David Nail moved up a couple spots to #8 with “Red Light,” and it looks like the country stylings of Dave Matthews couldn’t give Kenny Chesney a chart-topper, as “I’m Alive” slips from #6 to #9. “White Liar” keeps climbing the right way, making it to #11. Unfortunately, so does “that’s how country boys roll” by Billy Currington, which enters the Top 20 at #18. The big gainer for the week was Paisley’s “American Saturday Night,” already at #21 after five weeks. Underwood’s new single, “Temporary Home,” starts its climb to the top by debuting at #48.

    Billboard Country Albums
    Taylor Swift and her legion of Grammy nominations moved back to the top spot and was in fact the sales gainer for the week… meaning there were still some people who hadn’t owned Fearless. Now that’s been remedied and we all have a copy or two, it can drop off the charts, right? Her self-titled album also had a bump from #10 to #7 after 162 weeks on the chart. Underwood’s Play On falls to #2 after a three-week run at #1, and Sugarland continues to see its Green and Gold album move up the charts, entering the Top 5 this week. Diamond Rio, who’s still on the country charts for some reason, saw The Reason take a big jump from #56 to #42, just one spot behind its peak position. The big debut of the week was Jimmy Wayne’s Sara Smile, which showed up at #32. First Dave Matthews can’t score a #1 hit, and now an album with a Hall and Oates lead single can’t debut inside the Top 30. So much for star power.

    Americana Music Association Chart
    Last week’s Top 4 is this week’s Top 4, with The Avett Brothers moving into the Top 5 with I and Love and You. Rosanne Cash’s The List had an add this week, meaning that we’ve found the world’s slowest Americana program director. It had 454 spins overall, giving it nearly 4,000 plays to date. New to the Top 10 is Yonkers NY by Chip Taylor, in at #8 from #14, and Circles Around Me by Sam Bush, from #13 to #10. Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie) debut at #33 with One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur, the music for a Jack Kerouac documentary. The lyrics are taken from Kerouac’s Big Sur novel.

    Freebie of the Week
    Talented folk/Americana singer/songwriter Mando Saenz is giving away his 2008 album, Bucket… provided you help him gain some new fans. Go to www.mandosaenz.com and submit your e-mail address, as well as the e-mail addresses of three friends, and you can download the album for free. If you’re feeling generous, you can download a digital copy by paying what you want, starting at $1. This strategy worked pretty well for Radiohead, so it would be nice to see Saenz do well with it. Two of the songs from Bucket, “Come Out Tonight” and “Candy Red,” are also available for download on his Reverb Nation page.