All the lists of top books, songs, albums, etc. are permeating the media right now, so I thought I’d weigh in on some of mine.
Favorite Concert: Smokey Robinson at Barbara B Mann in April.
It is hard to choose when having been to Nashville for some shows, but Smokey’s concert was a real standout in my mind. His smooth vocals and dynamic stage presence marked me for life!
Runner Up: Grand Ole Opry with Vince Gill, Chris Janson, and Bobby Osborne
Favorite Museum: The Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, Tennessee.
A totally engaging experience for the five senses.
Runner Up: The B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi.
Favorite Historical Site: Dockery Farms in Sunflower, Mississippi.
The land, the buildings, and the very sky are soaked with the sound of the blues.
Runner Up: Robert Johnson’s grave, along Money Road north of Greenwood, Mississippi
A place where fans of the blues pay their respects to the enigma.
Favorite Event: Sanibel Island Writer’s Conference
Surpassed my expectations which were pretty damn high!
Runner Up: Women’s Writing Retreat at Lover’s Key Resort
Favorite Book: Chinaberry Sidewalks by Rodney Crowell
Not a new book this year; an exceptional memoir that is hard to forget. Right up there with other favorite memoirs: Glass Castle, Angela’s Ashes, and Wild.
Favorite Movie: Woman in Gold
Fine acting by Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds as they re-enact this true story of stolen art
Runner Up: The Intern
Favorite Television Show: Catastrophe on Amazon Prime
The main characters Sharon and Ron are my new favorite couple.
Runner Up: The Grinder
Favorite Restaurant while traveling: Blue Biscuit in Indianola, Mississippi
Out of this world barbecue and beignets
And now for the music, which was incredible this year!
#1 Favorite Album: The Blade by Ashley Monroe
Largely overlooked, but maybe finally getting some recognition with the Grammy nomination, I have not been able to stop listening to this fine collection of lyrical perfection and musical production. I continually recommend it, yet I don’t think anyone listens to me! (Hear title song below.)
#2 Cass County by Don Henley
If I’m not listening to Ashley, I am probably listening to Don. I figured his album would be good, but I had no idea it would be this good! Lots of competition for my listening time, yet Don wins out over others time and time again.
#3 Angeleno by Sam Outlaw
Another overlooked artist. Love the Mexican influences in the very SoCal sounding album produced by Ry Cooder. (Hear one of his selections below.)
#4 Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves
One of my favorites back with a fine collection of her wit and cynicism and yes, even some hope.
#5 Traveller by Chris Stapleton
If you haven’t caught on by now, there’s no hope for you.
Other artists with great collections worth checking out:
Coming Home by Leon Bridges (Sam Cooke reincarnated…lots of soul. Hear him below)
Something More Than Fine by Jason Isbell (just as good as Southeastern)
25 by Adele (needs no explanation)
Daytime Turned to Nighttime by Patrick Sweaney (not even sure how I found him…Ohio boy…country blues…listen over and over)
Heartbreaker of the Year by Whitney Rose (just discovered last week. Sweet voice, old time sound like Patsy Cline with some other influences.)
Favorites who never disappoint in no particular order:
Before This World by James Taylor
The Traveling Kind by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell
Hoody by Dan Bern (Hear him below)
Django and Jimmie by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
Here are some choices for your listening pleasure: