The Unsung Best of 2013

As we’ve mentioned several times, the big publications and music outlets have spoken regarding their picks for “Best of 2013.”

And I feel they’ve left some really great offerings off the table. It’s a disservice to you to not mention them here, and give you the opportunity to discover some great picks for yourselves. So here we go with the (unsung) best of 2013.

(In no particular order)

Brett Dennen
Brett Dennen
Brett Dennen
Album: Smoke and Mirrors

The voice is iconic, the mood of the album swings from the various shades of romance to personal emotion. Dennen doesn’t struggle to write lyrics that both grab your mind and heart as well as make your day pleasant. Beginning to end, the album is Top Shelf. Favorite picks include “Out Of My Head,” “Don’t Mess With Karma,” and “Who I Am.”

Jenny & Tyler Jenny & Tyler
Album: For Freedom-A Covers EP

We’re suckers for great covers anyways, but when you combine the feel of the male/female songwriting pair to some of our favorite songs, it just pops with savory musical flavors. We didn’t expect a folk version of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” to be so well-rounded (and to some of us be better than the original). Capping it off are other stellar covers including “The Sound of Silence,” and “Dreams.”

220px-Birdy_2012 Birdy
Album: Breath EP
Though her original release contained more than 5 tracks, this short EP allows us to track along with the songwriting maturity of one of music’s best prodigy’s. Still under the age of 18, Birdy has matured from being a folk-pop cover artist into a songwriting genius whose lyrical ballads will make you an instant fan. Favorites of this short album include “Wings (live)” and “Shine.”

Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine
Album: Ghost on Ghost

Continuing to offer his fans more than just folksy songwriting, Sam Beam adds another layer to his storytelling prowess by shuffling through various styles from the 70s. He’s at his best though when it’s mainly him and a guitar, telling a tale of love or a sorrow. Favorites from this album are many and include “Joy,” “New Mexico’s No Breeze,” and “Grass Widow.”

dresses_sun_shy_ep Dresses
Album: Sun Shy EP

The Cinderella band of 2013 is Portland, OR based duo Dresses. Not only is their short EP Sun Shy my favorite album of the year, this singer-songwriter pair found their music heard on more episodes of our program this year than any other artist. Our exclusive interview with them is heard HERE. Be sure to not only check out “Blew My Mind,” and “Tell A Lie,” but also “Friends Are Dead.”

Andrew Belle
Andrew Belle
Andrew Belle
Album: Black Bear

A few years ago we trekked with Andrew on his sophomore tour for The Ladder, and album that showcased his blooming style and songwriting. Following that album, the Ten out of Tenn member took some time off, got married, and started on this incredible new project that incorporated some electronica styles into his normal folk lore. The result is a breath taking album with a rejuvenated sound. Great tracks from the album include “Pieces,” “Sante Fe,” and “I Won’t Fight It.”

More of our picks from this year on are the radio episodes “Class of 2013” and “2013 Picks.” Search for past menus to listen.

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

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