1. Laredo - Band of Horses
My 2010 actually began with a trip to Laredo and a "crossroads with myself." I love the dusty, mesquite-smoke sound of this song. It just sounds like all of Texas blended into music: urban, rural, painful, comforting, wistful, gorgeous, grainy, vacant two-lane country roads and gridlocked I-35.
2. Fisherman's Blues - The Waterboys
This song isn't new, but it's new to me. I discovered it over the summer when I was out in West Texas and Glenn Smith and his daughter Katie covered it. When I learn to play an instrument, there's usually a song that grabs me enough to make me want to learn it, even though it's way too hard to play. I've been working on this song on my fiddle, and my mom and I played it (somewhat poorly) over Thanksgiving at the beach.
3. Free - Zac Brown Band
The extended version of this song has some beautiful fiddle work at the beginning and the fact that it devolves into "Into the Mystic" (one of my favorite songs) at the end is just an added bonus. This chord progression of this song also reminds me of some early 90's country song that used to play in the stables when I was eight years old at horse camp, so it stirs up memories of hay bales baking in the summer sun, nighttime trail rides and camp fires.
4. Stay - The BoDeans
I have been listening to this on repeat for a couple of months now. This song is mellow and sweet, just like it should be.
5. Hard Believer - First Aid Kit
First Aid Kit is made up of two sisters from Sweden whose harmonies are stunning. The rest of their debut album is pretty folksy, but I like the strength of this song and their single "Ghost Town."
Bonus: You knew I wouldn't forget F**K You.