No. 5: "Wrecking Ball,” by Bruce Springsteen. Yeah, yeah, I know. Of course Chuck puts the Bruce record on the list. Well, actually, I pretty much detested the last two studio albums. Both were recorded by the Bruce who tries to write pop songs. But there’s another Bruce, the Bruce we need, the way we needed “The Rising” after 9/11. That’s the Bruce who showed up for “Wrecking Ball.” It’s adventurous, anthemic, and “We Take Care of Our Own” was a perfect fit w/ this year’s election results.
No. 4: "Sing The Delta,” by Iris Dement. It took Iris 16 years to make a new album of original material. This was worth the wait. No one writes songs that draw more poignantly on the trials of real life, and she plays them with that blessed country Baptist piano style that I grew up with. Iris Dement plays and sings what’s in her bones … and nothing else. That’s why I love her.
Quick spin: ‘I Like to Keep Myself in Pain,’ by Kelly Hogan
"Buddy and Jim." Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale. Came out in December of 2012, but I missed it, so I’m including here. This is a country record of extraordinary craftsmanship. If that phrase sounds appealing to you, you’re sure to like this one.