Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Suggestions 2008

Blues:   My favorite music released in 2008:
  1. Asking For Flowers by Kathleen Edwards. As mentioned in my post from May 21, Kathleen is a very talented singer songwriter from Canada. Asking for Flowers is her third album and it is a good one. Anyone on your list who likes Lucinda Williams would enjoy this CD.
  2. Just Us Kids by James McMurtry. As covered in my post of May 30, this is a terrific new album from one of the best songwriters working today. On this new disk, McMurtry spins his unusual tales of modern life with a quick wit and a cynical eye. A good choice for any rock and roll fan on your list. Another idea is his 2002 masterpiece Saint Mary of the Woods, which includes the high spot, Choctaw Bingo. It is sweet tune about family and vacations.
  3. The Unreleased Recordings Hank Williams. I just got my hands on this recently and it is incredible. For anyone who has gotten confused by today's Nashville, this is wha real country music sounds like. The words are honest and the backing is great. Somebody please send a copy to Rascal Flatts.
  4. Pretty World by Sam Baker. Although this was actually released in 2007, I only started listening to it this year. A remarkable effort from an under rated Austin musician. See my post from September 9 for more details.

Booze:     I have been drinking a lot of good wine lately. What else are you going to do while watching the sky fall? Much of what I drink comes from Karen Williams and Davis Stevens at Acme Fine Wines in St Hellena California. As I mentioned in my post on April 27, they have a real talent for finding great California wines that are made in small quantities. I have never been disappointed by any of their recomendations. Check them out at

Books:    I have read a lot of fiction this year as usual. Most of it has been good entertainment, but not remarkable. Here are a few exceptions:
  1. A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre. As reported in my post on November 11, this is another great effort from the master of the spy genre, Le Carre. It is excellent.
  2. The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus. When I wrote about this book in a post on June 12, I took a lot of heat from some of my readers. I guess a book about strippers and terrorists doesn't have universal appeal. I stand by my recommendation. It is a very intriguing novel.
  3. The Finder by Colin Harrison. Harrison has written several novels in the last 10 years that I have enjoyed very much. He has a good eye for descriptions and his characters are well turned out. I still think that Afterburn, which was released published in 2000, is his best effort, but The Finder is quite good as well. 
  4. Lush Life by Richard Price. Although it is a little hard to follow at first, Lush Life has some great moments. Price is certainly one of our best American authors writing today.

Bobs:     I have been wanting to write a post about Dylan's Tell Tale Signs, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Naturally, any new look into Bob's unreleased catalogue is a joyful occasion for all of the faithful BobCats. This might be a tricky Christmas gift, because any real fan will have a copy already. It would be a good present for some one who should be a bigger fan. It contains some great outtakes from his recent albums.


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