- MITSKI: PUBERTY 2: 2016: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Her 4th album and the one that put Mitzki Miyawaki on the map- certainly the previous three albums need to be heard- she started out strong and just got better as she went along but Puberty 2 is the first album of hers to break into the charts- modestly but the critics noticed and this album made all kinds of 2016 best of lists. Eleven outstandingly written and delivered songs. Mitski Fever- Catch it.
- JOHNNY CASH: AMERICAN RECORDINGS: 1994: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Johnny’s 81st album is where the great comeback in Johnny’s cabin, Rick Rubin’s living room and the Viper Room in Los Angeles. Cash’s career had went into the tank in the late 70’s- to this point- he had even been dropped by Columbia Records. Rubin came in and stripped down his sound- and over the next decade selected some songs for Cash that in most cases worked- from music styles Cash would never have been aware of himself.
- HANK WILLIAMS: 24 OF HANK WILLIAMS GREATEST HITS: 1970: I played this album to death as a kid. A great primer for The Hillbilly Shakespeare- but not the end point- 24 songs do not sum him up.
- STEVE EARLE: THE HARD WAY: 1990: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: As Steve was making this album he was fading into deep drug addiction- it would be his final album for 5 years. Steve later said of the album “I defend The Hard Way to the death, because I almost died in the process of making it,” The album was disappointing upon release- I didn’t know the state of Earle’s personal life at the time but the first three albums had given me great expectations- and this album is hit and miss. Billy Austin is the most famous song on the album- I have seen Steve in concert closing in on 30 times and its the only song from this album I have heard live.
- THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS: SOUNDTRACK: 2001: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I started to re-read The Lord of The Rings and thought as I read along I’d play the soundtracks- one of my favorite movies ever- certainly on my Mount Rushmore of movies- the entire series- and the soundtrack is tremendous and of course the book is great as well.