What were your favorite songs?
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, We The Common (for Valerie Borden)
It's factual to say I went to college with Thao. I even remember hearing her play out on the UC patio during some festival or other. But I did not and do not actually know her; I just lovelovelove her music. And her vibe. This one's written for a prisoner she met volunteering in a women's prison - something I did (with great trepidation, and to great formative effect) in seminary. The video's great, too:
Neko Case, Nearly Midnight, Honolulu
I eagerly anticipated Neko's new album in its entirety, and am completely taken with at least three tracks (listen to Night Still Comes. do it.), but this tiny, eerie song is the one that's been haunting me at odd moments since I first listened. It's a moment I would feel compelled to write down, and she did. Then sang it. Disturbing, compassionate, kind of holy.
Jason Isbell, Traveling Alone
Another great album in its entirety - that VOICE. Those lyrics. Isbell's the real deal - his tea's still sweet and his cornbread ain't - and this solo album is the result of sobering up, getting married, and generally sweeping his shit together. There are better songs on the album (Elephant. Cover Me Up.), but this is the one that for me, this year, struck a chord. He can keep me company anytime.