Best of 2011, So Far

Wrapping up Christmas in July

Best of 2011, So Far

Despite the myth that I hate everything, I’ve been making these mixtapes for years. The past few have come semi-annually, usually with 20 to 40 of the songs I wanted to remember and share with friends.

The first half of 2011 didn’t seem that impressive until I sat down to make this. Then I discovered I had enough music for almost two discs. While favoring Austin artists, there was still room for the Cars, Emmylou Harris, Ha Ha Tonka, and Abigail Washburn, while leaving off such favorites as Sarah Jarosz, Jim Lauderdale, the Drive-by Truckers, and Ralph Stanley.

What’s surprising to me is the amount of banjo on the tracks I’ve chosen. At this late date, it’s proving to be a remarkably versatile instrument. Who knows what the rest of the year will sound like. Let’s just hope the good year we’ve had so far continues. The download link is here.

1) Ha Ha Tonka, "Usual Suspects," Death of a Decade (Bloodshot)

2) Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, "Livin' in the Jungle," Scandalous (Lost Highway)

3) Suzanna Choffel, "Racecar," Steady Eye Shaky Bow

4) The Cars, "Hits Me," Move Like This (Hear Music)

5) Emmylou Harris, "New Orleans," Hard Bargain (Nonesuch)

6) Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, "Heart on a String," Here We Rest (Lightning Rod)

7) MilkDrive, "Soho," Road From Home

8) Hot Club of Cowtown, "Osage Stomp," What Makes Bob Holler (Proper American)

9) Abigail Washington, "Chains," City of Refuge (Rounder)

10) Matt the Electrician, "Long Gone," Accidental Thief

11) The Greencards, "Make It Out West," The Brick Album (Darling Street)

12) Foster & Lloyd, "Lucky Number," It’s Already Tomorrow (Effin Ell)

13) Carter Doster Sexton, "Let This Heartbreak Begin," CDS (CDS)

14) Ponderosa, "Pistolier," Moonlight Revival (New West)

15) The Band of Heathens, "Gravity," Top Hat Crown & The Clapmaster’s Son (BOH)

16) Ocote Soul Sounds, "Primavera," Taurus (ESL Music)

17) Carrie Elkin, "Jesse Likes Birds," Call It My Garden (Red House)

18) Centro-matic, "Solid States," Candidate Waltz, (Undertow Music)

19) Ron Sexsmith, "Late Bloomer," Long Player Late Bloomer (Thirty Tigers)

20) Shannon McNally, "Memory of a Ghost," Western Ballad (Sacred Sumac)

21) Michael Fracasso, "Elizabeth Lee," Saint Monday (Little Fuji)

22) Erin Ivey & the Finest Kind, "Sorrow No More," Broken Gold (Mixtank)

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