The best CDs I bought or borrowed and listened to this year. Unlike the lists from critics it is not restricted to albums issued in 2008.
B. B. King's One Kind Favor, probably the last CD I bought in 2008 and one of the best.
Neo-soul was one my trends this years. From Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Betty Lavette and Alice Russell to Ray Charles tributes from David Sanborn and John Scofield and Do the Boomerang, Don Byron's tribute to Junior Walker.
There's not a revival of Southern rock, nowadays it's called alt country rock, red dirt or who knows what. But there's some fine music being made that might remind you of the Allman Brothers. Drive-by Truckers Darker Than Creation's Bright further cements that band's critical reputation. Cross Canadian Ragweed isn't the same darling of the critics but they do some great music with a social consciousness.
In jazz, Bobby Watson's From the Heart is a fine piece of post-bop with a nice romantic touch. Jerry Hahn has an album of Christian hymns. Terrence Blanchard's A Tale of God's Will Carla Bley is known for her big band work, but I really liked her small group, The Lost Chords Find Paulo Fresu. Casandra Wilson did her first album of song book standards in twenty years ahead jazz album in years, Loverly, and it was really nice. Melody Gardot is a newcomer with a dramatic personal story Her Worrisome Heart is a standout. Allmusic says she "straddles the line between lounge jazz, folk, and cowgirl songs." Thanks to a friend at work, I listed to lots of Chase and Maynard Ferguson.
In the department of how did I everlook them, I enjoyed John Mellencamp's 2004 two-CD greatest gits collection Words and Music and his 2007 Freedom Road. Don't know why I never listened much to Nina Simone, but I finally got around to her High Priestess of Soul.
Seeing Merle Haggard at the Cotillion was really nice. I took a teenager to see Weird Al at the Cotillion. Bobby Watson's concert with student big bands and combos at Friends University was great. Jimmy LaFave at the Bartlett Arboretum was enjoyable music and finally got me to that regional treasure.
I'm glad I saw Commander Cody at the Sedgwick County Zoo summer series, but wish he had a bigger combo. Soulstice, Friends small group combo, had a CD release party at the Broadview. I heard Steve Hatfield and other jazzers at the B-Side--and bought his excellent CD Just Be Wally-- and Craig Owens and Bodo Ensemble at the Blank Page. The Wichita Historical Museum had a great Final Friday event to conclude their electric guitar exhibit. Cliff Major, Rachel Coba, and Jerry Hahn performed. Dropped by Artichoke's annual Fish Fry to benefit the Kansas Acoustic Arts Association and spent a day at the Walnut Valley Festival.
I made several Wichita Blues Society events, including the Guitar Showdown. And close to the end of the year attended a Riverside Perk concert by friends Aaron Fowler and Laura Dungan celebrating their wedding anniversary.
Even as I've been continuing to convert my massive LP and cassette collection to CDs, I've entered the digital era, with a Iphone and a Sansa Clip.
The Clip comes with a 30-day trial of Rhapsody, a nusic subscription. You pay a monthly fee and get access to their vast music, but you have to pay every month. It will be fun trying it, could be a wonderful way to try out new music. I downloaded Bela Fleck's Christmas CD and some of Alice Russell's CD.
So I wondering if I should put (as much as possible) of my music collection on one of those massive external hard drives. How much sound quality do you lose with MP3s and if you can't tell the difference does that mean you need to upgrade your sound system.
Making use of playlists strikes me as one of the exciting things to do with digital tunes. How about Monk tunes, blues tunes and rock covers.
I like the Social Tunes on Facebook, but don't always keep it up to date and have than one-fourth of my collection entered
Another technology I'm going to try out in 2009 is Shazam the music recognition program for Iphones. My brother and his wife told me about this, but they didn't know the details. I thought it must be based on some sort of tagging, but it's not.
Arkansas holds State Senate elections next month in 18 districts. In 17 of those districts, only one person is on the ballot. Only the 30th district has a contest, which is between a Democrat and a Republican. Although the Green Party is ballot-qualified, it didn’t run any candidates for the State Senate.