- VAN MORRISON: THE HEALING GAME: 1997: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I see recently a 3 cd re-issue of The Healing Game has come out- will need to check that out. My favorite song on the album Rough God Goes Riding was taken from a W.B. Yeats poem. Overall one of the better 90’s albums by Van.
- STEVE EARLE: EXIT 0: 1987: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Steve’s second album-he was at this album still considered a country artist- there are two Top 40 country songs here- Nowhere Road and Sweet Little 66- the third album Copperhead Road a rock album would change all that . Again the key is strong songwriting. As much as Steve goes on about Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark- he has now done tribute albums to both artists- and they are both great no question- Steve is even greater.
- STEVE EARLE: COPPERHEAD ROAD: 1988: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Copperhead Road would become an anthem- played on rock stations to this day and the album changed the course of his career no doubt- no longer pigeonholed as a country artist- I don’t see how that was going to work for long anyway -Steve’s political views make the Dixie Chicks seem right of Barry Goldwater. He has gone on to make blues, bluegrass, a country styled album or two, rock and folk. Saw him back in December playing this album from start to finish. On his Mount Rushmore of best albums.
- SOLOMON BURKE: DON’T GIVE UP ON ME: 2002: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A late life comeback by one of soul musics founders. Produced by Madonna’s brother-in-law- it won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album- his first Grammy win. They picked some outstanding songs to record- Van Morrison, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Mann-Weil and Burke delivers. Favorite song on this is the title track- written by Madonna’s brother-in-law- Joe Henry.
- TAYLOR SWIFT: TAYLOR SWIFT: 2006: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Swift was only sixteen when this her debut was released which is impressive. She wrote or co-wrote every song- the album went to #1 on the country album chart and #5 on the Top 200 albums chart. 5 Top 40 hit singles- Tim McGraw #40, Teardrops On My Guitar #13, Our Song #16, Picture To Burn #28 and “Should’ve Said No” #33.
- SON VOLT: TRACE: 1995: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: One of my favorite albums of the last 25 years. After Uncle Tupelo – Jay Farrar formed Son Volt and released this album- which seemed to confirm to everyone that Farrar’s post Tupelo career indeed would overshadow Jeff Tweedy’s- turns out this has been Son Volt’s best album. Love every track on this album-one track that got radio play back then was Drown- but as good as it is- it’s not the best song on the album- that goes to the opening track “Windfall” which is spectacular and should have been a huge hit. This albums has been called by at least one critic- Farrar’s “All Things Must Pass” where he looks back at the past while also looking forward to new adventures. This album is in my all-time Top 50 albums list.