Beat Surrender : Best of 2013

It’s that time of year again to try and break down this years favourites into some kind of order, truth be told the #1 choice was the easiest I’ve had to make in recent years, separating #2 through #5 was a little more difficult – they are all great albums, stylistically very different but all have outstanding songs, from #6 onwards the degree of separation reduces and to be honest if I sat down with the final list next week the order could shift significantly, in the tradition of never doing it exactly the same way year-on-year this time around I’ve gone for a more straight forward chart and the number 33 seemed an appropriate choice given the top ten all found their way into my collection on vinyl (no doubt this influenced the final choices). Having already seen a number of fellow bloggers best of’s it evident there are some big name Americana acts missing from the Beat Surrender run down, as ever too much music and not enough time.

1. Jason Isbell – Southeastern

2. Camera Obscura – Desire Lines

3. Danny & The Champions of the World – Stay True

4. Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

5. Caitlin Rose – The Stand In

6. Lindi Ortega – Tin Star

7. Holly Williams – The Highway

8. Sturgill Simpson = High Top Mountain

9. My Darling Clementine – The Reconciliation

10. Austin Lucas – Stay Reckless

11. Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart

12. Chris T-T & The Hoodrats – The Bear

13. Phosphorescent – Muchacho

14. John Moreland – In the Throes

15. Frankie & The Heartstrings – The Days Run Away

16. Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Dear River

17. Star Anna – Go To Hell

“For Anyone” by Star Anna (official music video) from Coalter Digital on Vimeo.

18. Thee Spivs – The Crowds & The Sounds

19. Doc Feldman & the LD50 – Sundowning At The Station

20. Israel Nash Gripka – Rain Plans

21. Shona Tucker – A Tell All

22. The Lucky Strikes – The Exile & The Sea

23. Laura Cantrell – No Way Here From There

24. Possessed by Paul James -There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely

25. Amanda Shires – Down Fell The Doves

26. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

27. MG Boulter – The Water Or The Wave

28 Annie Keating – For Keeps

Annie Keating – All Gone

29. The Handsome Family – Wilderness

30. Paper Aeroplanes – Little Letters

31. Wynntown Marshalls – The Long Haul

32. Slaid Cleaves – Still Fighting The War

33. Lloyd Cole – Standards

Doc Feldman & the LD50 – Sundowning At The Station

Doc Feldman & the LD50

Music has always being my escape, a gateway to a different place, another time, an alternate reality and sometimes all three – when I discovered the music of Townes van Zandt it opened a whole new world of music to me, my musical horizons expanded as I chased down one artist to another to another, throwing away in the process a whole load of preconceptions and ignorance – twenty years on the pursuit continues, though at times it can feel like the hunter has become the hunted.

As a glass half-full kinda guy (some may say a moody bastard) I often gravitate towards the music at the darker end of the spectrum, seeking out a deeper blue to take me on a journey away from my own reality, music with a core of sadness, songs that cry pain, that talk of loss, where hope is all but gone, songs like Doc Feldman crafts. Truth is there’s a beauty in these sad songs, an honesty and integrity and a path to a deeper meaning, superficially Doc Feldman and I share only a ‘language’, but his words and music transcend that and allow me to travel in my mind to another place and time that the Doc is talking to me about, to live in and experience another reality within the themes and through the characters – hitch a ride.



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