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Bruce Springsteen – Devils & Dust – Great songwriting will never go out of style. The title song ‘Devils & Dust’, ‘Jesus Was An Only Son’ and ‘The Hitter’ are as good as anything Springsteen has ever written. This record has been compared to Tom Joad but it’s far more musically rewarding. The love songs, ‘Leah’, ‘Maria’s Bed’ and “Think About You’ have an irresistible up tempo groove. Soozie Tyrell takes every song she plays on to another level. Best sounding record I’ve heard all year.

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Mindy Jostyn – ‘Coming Home’ – Mindy passed away March of 2005. Mindy had spent the last two years of her life working on this record. ‘Coming Home’ is a collection of non-denominational “folk hymns” (a term that Mindy coined). My wife will tell you Mindy was an angel God lent us for a short period of time to play us His music. I don’t disagree. I’ve been going to see live music for 35+ years and Mindy Jostyn was the greatest musician I ever saw.

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     Buy new or used through Amazon

      Buy new or used through Amazon
Ryan Adams - ‘Cold Roses’,     ‘Jacksonville City Nights’, ‘29’ – All 3 were released in 2005. ‘Cold Roses’ and ‘ ‘Jacksonville City Nights’ are with his group The Cardinals while ‘29’ is a solo record. Each record is loaded with great songs. Reviewers talk about Adams needing to edit himself but I don’t hear too many weak cuts on any of these records. I’m glad he found his country music heart again. If I had to choose one, it would be ‘Jacksonville City Nights’, but ‘29’ continues to grow on me.

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Bright Eyes – ‘I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning’ – In my house we couldn’t stop playing this CD during the winter of 2005. Released last January, it was great healing music after the disappointment of the 2004 Presidential election. Fantastic harmony vocals by Emmylou Harris.

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Neil Young – Prairie Wind – Easily the most satisfying Neil Young since Harvest Moon. Written and recorded in the week between being diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm and going under the knife, these songs are as emotionally charged as any Neil has written. A welcome return after the over blown Greendale. Emmylou Harris sings great harmony on ‘This Old Guitar’. Long may he run.

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Dar Williams – ‘My Better Self’- The originals like ‘You Rise and Meet the Day’, ‘ Beautiful Enemy ‘and a river song called ‘The Hudson’ are very good. She’s come a long way from “Our Babysitters Here”. Great covers of ‘Everybody Knows This is Nowhere’, ‘Echoes’ (you have to love someone who covers Jules Shear) and a duet of ‘Comfortably Numb’ with Ani Difranco that is wonderful.

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Ani Difranco – ‘Knuckle Down’ - This is Ani’s strongest record in years but I miss “The Little Folksinger” who wrote the big song like ‘Not a Pretty Girl’ or ‘to the teeth’. Her writing is much more personal and introverted now. Still, Ani could make the phonebook sound good and I wouldn’t trade her for a million Fiona Amos’s and their ilk.

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James McMurtry – Childish Things - ‘We Can’t Make it Here’ is the best song I heard all year. The rest of the record is vintage McMurtry

Bob Dylan – Live at The Gaslight 1962 – Now that’s a folksinger! However, if you already have the bootleg, this short version isn’t needed.
The Waterboys – Karma to Burn – My favorite Waterboys lineup. Mike Scott is amazing.
Jackson Browne - Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1 – Jackson and his songs are aging very well.
Bright Eyes – Motion Sickness – Contains the great ‘When the President talks to God’
Wilco – Kicking Television - Live in Chicago – If you can get past all the noise, some great songs to hear. Still, I think they peaked during the ‘Being There’ time frame.
Richard Manual – ‘Whispering Pines’ – ‘Live at the Gateway 1985’ – An updated version of the Japanese release. Great memories.

The Band – ‘A Musical History’ – A masterpiece. The Band is to rock and roll what Koufax is to baseball.
Bob Dylan – ‘No Direction Home’ (The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7) - So many highlights including great versions of ‘This Land is Your Land’ from 1961, ‘Chimes of Freedom’ from Newport 1964 and a slowed down blues version of ‘Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat’. If you’re a big Dylan fan, the Bootleg Series releases are as essential as any of his other classics.
The Concert for Bangla Desh – George Harrison and Friends - The first and still the best. The addition of ‘Love Minus Zero’ is much appreciated.
Joe Cocker – ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’ – One of my all time favorite shows. The adds include a great version of ‘The Weight’
Rick Danko – ‘Cryin’ Heart Blues’ – A very pleasant surprise. Some high quality songs Rick did with Blondie Chaplin are included. Also includes 4 live songs Rick did with the band he put together with Chaplin and Butterfield in 1979. More great memories.
Bruce Sprinsgteen – ‘Born to Run 30th Anniversary – As far as I’m concerned 1975 was the greatest year for music. This is one of the reasons for that claim.
Patti Smith – ‘Horses’ – This is another one.

Musical Highlight of 2005
Bob Dylan – ‘No Direction Home’ documentary directed by Martin Scorcese. – For those of us who grew up listening to the Dylan Columbia releases & bootlegs from the 60’s, to see so much footage of that time frame is an absolute delight.

Favorite Live Performances in 2005
Mindy Jostyn Tribute – Colony Café, Woodstock
Bruce Springsteen – Pepsi Arena, Continental Airline Arena
Lyle Lovett – The Bardavon
The Wallflowers – The Chance>ance