As my readers will know, I spent most of 2013 listening to the music of 1973. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate some of this past year's releases. It just means my standards are higher than those who fetishize new music just because it's new. That said, my heart belongs to the artists among whom I've grown up.
10. Mark Mulcahy Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You
Branford Connecticut's Mark Mulcahy first got my attention as the leader of Miracle Legion whose debut EP wore its REM influences a bit heavily before becoming one of the East Coast's most thoughtful bands. Mulcahy's 2013 album , his first since the death of his wife, is an exuberant return to form.
9. Lloyd Cole Standards
On the crowd-funded Standards, Lloyd Cole brings out the rocking side that made his 1990 debut so great. Matthew Sweet, Fred Mahar and Commotions keyboardist Blair Cowan, who all played on the '90 album, join Cole on this expertly crafted effort
8. Neil Finn and Paul Kelly- Goin' Your Way
These two master craftsmen from Down Under shared the stage and reinvented their songs in one of the must-see concert tours of the year. Goin' Your Way is a live document of the duo's achievement and it's packed with pleasurable tunes.
7. Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park
My wife listened to this in the car a lot this Summer. Insightful Kacey Musgraves and her songwriting partners write about life in fly over country with plenty of humor while withholding judgement. Filed next to our Miranda Lambert and Kelly Willis albums.
6. Allen Toussaint, Songbook
Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Allen Toussaint took up a residency at the NYC piano bar Joe's Pub. The lucky people who wandered in got to see the New Orleans legend revisit his most famous songs. Now, with Songbook, the rest of us can at least pretend we were smart enough to be among those in attendance.