Voted Albums of 2005



'Top 10 Albums' is the traditional format but NetRhythms is happy to include your DVDs, Gigs and Books too
Email your Top 10 list to sue@netrhythms.com

Mike Davies top 10 albums

In no particular order of merit these are the ones that have sent shivers down the CD this year

1. Rosie Thomas - If Songs Could Be Held (Sub Pop) The Seattle singer-songwriter unpeels her hopes, fears and disappointments on an album questioning self-worth and veined with themes of regrets.

2. Gretchen Peters - Trio (Curb) Recorded live, an uncluttered, achingly lovely stripped down collection of songs about love, loss and leaving, proof were it needed that she’s one of the most gifted songwriters and performers in America.

3. Over The Rhine - Drunkard's Prayer (Liberty) Cincinatti's answer to the Cowboy Junkies took the salvaging of their marriage and turned it into an album of stark pain and fragile beauty.

4. Songdog - The Time of Summer Lightning (One Little Indian) The Welsh trio's third album of stripped back acoustic gothic folk-country and stories of losers and lovers that includes a remarkable cracked soul version of the Clash's Janie Jones.

5. Amy Correria - Lakeville (EMI Liberty) A scratchy, smokily adenoidal voice evocative of Jeff Buckley, Victoria Williams, and Patsy Cline on a marevllous album of jazzy bluesed New York love songs.

6.Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust (Columbia). A stripped back album of despair and loss straddling the landscapes of Nebraska and Born to Run

7. The Volebeats - Like Her Like Her (Torquoise Mountain) A glorious alt-country homage to the reverb heavy 60s pop of Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, The Beatles and The Everlys.

8. Dar Williams - My Better Self (Zoe) Scathing attacks on Bush’s America mingle with wrenchingly emotional snapshots of love and loss, set to ringing guitars and plangent piano.

9. Hem - Eveningland (Liberty) Gorgeously orchestrated pastoral Americana with the cinematic melancholia of a backporch Cowboy Junkies

10. Alex McEwan - Beautiful Lies (Forge) A Glaswegian singer-songwriter with a warm, dust burred voice and a clutch of great forlorn love songs, McEwan should be next year’s James Blunt.

Mike Davies writes regularly for NetRhythms. More of his reviews can be read at

from Barry (Mr Borderline) Everitt

Allison Krauss & The Union Station - Lonley Runs Both Ways
C C Adcock - Lafayette Marquis - Yep Rok
Chris Whitley - Soft Dangerous Shores - Fargo
Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 - Tick Tick Tick - Blue Rose
Tony Joe White - Heroines
John Tams - The Reckoning - Topic
Black Water Gospel - BWG - Fat Caddy
Ry Cooder - Chavel Ravine
Imperial Crowns - Hymn Book
The Band - A Musical History
Special addition.......
A Celebration Of New Orleans Music - Musicares Hurricane Relief - Various - Rounder Records

Barry Everitt
Borderline Promotions
157 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0EN
Barry Everitt is The Music Rhino
Classic Music with an Americana twist
Total Rock Radio
12 - 3am Saturday nights

From Neil Pearson of Fish Records

1 Crooked Still - Hop High
2 Rachel Ries - For You Only
3 Lynn Miles - Love Sweet Love
4 Megson - On the Side
5 Ellis Paul - American Jukebox Fables
6 Kate Rusby - The Girl Who Couldn't Fly
7 Tracy Grammer - Flower of Avalon
8 Signature Sounds 10th Anniversary Collection
9 Dar Williams - My Better Self
10 Michelle Shocked - Arkansas Traveler (reissue)

Fish Records - Suppliers of singer/songwriter, folk & acoustic music, Shrewsbury, England

From Mike Gadd


1 - Fair and Square - John Prine
2 - Red Dog Tracks - Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez
3 - Mercy Now - Mary Gauthier
4 - Master Of Disaster - John Hiatt
5 - S & M Communion Bread - Stacey EArle and Mark Stuart
6 - Straight Down Rain - Greg Trooper
7 - Eye To The Telescope - K T Tunstall
8 - Humming By The Flowered Vine - Laura Cantrell
9 - Wayward Angel - Kasey Chambers
10- Rod Picott Travel Log Live 2005 - Rod Picott

Paradise Hotel - Eliza Gilkyson(Falls a little short of her usually high standard)

BEST GIGS (in no particular order except that John Prine's was so emotional that it made me cry). Come back soon John.

JOHN PRINE - 31/10 - Shepherds Bush Empire
Mary Gauthier - 28/4 - Lock 17 (Dingwalls)
Tom Russell Band - 25/4 - Borderline
Boo Hewerdine - 30/10 - Ronnie Scott's
Slaid Cleaves - 17/10 - Borderline
Eliza Gilkyson - 22/5 - Cabbage Patch Twickenham
John HIatt - 23/10 - Shepherds Bush Empire
Rod Picott - 18/9 - Cabbage Patch, Twickenham
Fred Eaglesmith - 23/2 - Borderline
Laura Cantrell - 20/9 - Islington Academy
Tift Merritt - 15/6 - Borderline
Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez - 26/7 - Lock 17 (Dingwalls)
KT Tunstall - 14/8 - Regents Park Open Air Theatre
Jason Ringenberg - 18/8 - Borderline
Tom Russell - 27/9 - Borderline
Stacey EArle and Mark Stuart - 19/10 - Borderline
Gretchen Peters (not sure of date) - Soul Cafe Maidstone

From Trevor Hards

Heres my top albums for 2005. Unfortunately I couldn't decide between Cold Roses and Illinois as my top album so they get a joint no.1 billing.

1. Illinois- Sufjan Stevens He may not be the worlds greatest musician but he has a finely tuned ear for arrangement and melody and is the nearest thing we have to a young Brian Wilson in 2005. Quite hymnal in places, you rarely find so much beauty on one album.

1. Cold Roses- Ryan Adams Ignore the cynics who claim he lacks quality control, this double album contains very little filler and the arrangements, playing and songs are exemplary. Takes me back to classic country rock like Poco's Cantamos and the Eagles' Desperado.

3. Back To Me- Kathleen Edwards With Benmont Tench involved, I guess it had to sound like a Tom Petty album but it takes real talent to write songs of this quality. A spell binding mix courtesy of Jim Scott brings out the best in the band with Colin Cripps' slide and 12 string and Eric Heywoods pedal steel being the highlights.

4. The Carlton Chronicles- South San Gabriel. Anybody who caught their shows in the UK this year will know that the SSG/ Cento-matic guys are a very talented bunch. Amazing discipline as they sat and played this story of a cat in its entirety with precision and passion. Will Johnson is a genius.

5. Nashville- Josh Rouse Lovely jangly soft- rock, this was a big improvement over 1972 for me and got JR some much deserved radio exposure here in the UK. He seems very comfortable in any genre and his next album which he's promised will be different should be interesting.

6. Ghost In A Spitfire- Peter Bruntell His best set of songs yet with greater variety and colour than Ends Of The Earth , this country tinged pop/rock set which is both uplifting and melancholy in places should be all over the radio. Fans of the Pernice Brothers will not be disappointed.

7. Okemah & The Melody Of Riot- Son Volt I was a bit sceptical when Jay reformed Son Volt with a bunch of new guys but I neednt have worried. Up there with Trace and Terroir Blues as the best album of his career.

8. Winter Pays For Summer- Glen Phillips Much more like his old band Toad The Wet Sprocket than his rather flat previous solo effort Abulum, he's now operating in high quality Finn Brothers/ Crowded House territory.

9. Prairie Wind- Neil Young A real grower, I was initially put off a little by his struggle with the high notes but the songs eventually won me over. A quantum leap up from the banal Greendale and a nice companion piece to Silver & Gold..

10. What Comes After The Blues- Magnolia Electric Company Not as immediate as the first record but an album that just digs deeper and deeper into your head as the months roll by. This one reminds me more of early Fairport Convention and Richard Thompson than Molina's great idol, Neil Young.

Best gigs:
REM- Old Trafford Cricket ground, Manchester
Crosby & Nash- QEH , London
South San Gabriel- Borderline, London

From Theo Oldenburg & Johanna Bodde ALT.COUNTRY COOKING

Theo's choice:

1. Chatham County Line: Route 23 (Yep Roc/Sonic RendezVous)
2. Heather Waters: Shadow Of You (Redd Fogg)
3. Liz Meyer: The Storm (Strictly Country)
4. Cary Swinney: Big Shots (Johnson Grass)
5. Ad Vanderveen: Fields of Plenty (Sonic RendezVous)
6. Robyn Ludwick: For So Long (Late Show)
7. Alastair Moock: Let It Go (CoraZong) 8. The Believers: Crashyertown (Bona Fide)
9. Adam Carroll: Far Away Blues (Blue Corn/Lucky Dice)
10. C. Gibbs: Parade Of Small Horses (Eastern Spurs/Dren/Rubric)

Johanna's choice:

1. Steve Wynn: "What I Did After My Band Broke Up/Visitation Rights" (Blue Rose Records/Sonic RendezVous)
2. Joel Zifkin: "Zifkin" (Self-released, www.cdbaby.com/cd/zifkin)
3. Lynn Miles: "Love Sweet Love" (True North Records/Rounder Europe)
4. Firefly: "Made Me Glad" (Night Time Down Records, www.firefly-music.com)
5. Billy Bob Thornton: "Hobo" (Big Deal Records/Bertus)
6. Various Artists: "Stand-Ins for deciBels - A Tribute to the dB's" (The Paisley Pop Label)
7. Angel Dean & Sue Garner: "Pot Liquor" (Trocadero Records/Sonic RendezVous)
8. Karen Hudson: "Hudson River View" (Self-released, www.karenhudson.com)
9. Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks: "Selected Shorts" (Surfdog Records/Suburban)
10. DeSoto Rust: "DeSoto Rust" (Self-released, www.DeSotoRust.com)

Theo Oldenburg & Johanna Bodde ALT.COUNTRY COOKING
Radio Winschoten
On-demand webcast
www.realrootscafe.com Member of the Dutch Roots Radio Ring

From John Graveling (JEG Artist Management) - Here's my Top 10 for 2005.

1. James McMurtry - Childish Things
2. Eric Taylor - The Great Divide
3. Joy Lynn White - One More Time
4. Son Volt - Okemah & the Melody of Riot
5. John Prine - Fair & Square
6. Daddy - At The Womans Club
7. Neil Young - Prairie Wind
8. Kate Campbell - Blues & Lamentations
9. Eliza Gilkyson - Paradise Hotel
10.= Rodney Crowell - The Outsider
Jon Randall - Walkin' Among the Living


From Alan O'Lear (Copperplate Distribution) - My Top 10 Albums of 2005 - Given that I don't receive/hear every album released during the year. These are my personal favourites from those I enjoyed.

1. Danu: When All Is Said & Done
2. Christy Moore: Burning Times
3. Kate Bush: Aerial
4. Andrew Murray: Hell or High Water
5. Gerry O'Connor: Journeyman
6. Bruce Springsteen: Diamonds & Dust
7. Ry Cooder: Chavez Ravine
8. Rory McLeod: Brave Faces
9. James McMurtry: Childish Things
10. The Mulcahy Family: Notes From the Heart


From Adrian McNally, RabbleRouser Music, Record Label for Rachel Unthank & The Winterset
Booking Agent for Flook, Uiscedwr and Rachel Unthank & the Winterset

  • 1 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (album of the decade, let alone 2005)
  • 2 Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch
  • 3 Ray Lamontagne - Trouble
  • 4 Chris Wood - The Lark Descending
  • 5 Anthony & The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
  • 6 The Books - Lost and Safe
  • 7 James Young - Joanna
  • 8 Kate Bush: Aerial
  • 9 Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
  • 10 Sigur Ros - Takk
  • Cruel Sister by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset would have been No. 2, but I can't vote for that!