2010 was an interesting year for me, music-wise. For the most part, a lot of my favorite albums were things from years past – not anything new. I dug way into 70’s-era Beach Boys, discovered the beautiful Dennis Wilson solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, finally realized that The Doors really are as amazing as everyone has said they are for the past few decades and rediscovered the beauty of vinyl records.
Throughout the year though, there were also a lot of great new releases. In particular, albums like Sleigh Bells’ Treats, Yeasayer’s Odd Blood and Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach pushed music forward another couple of steps and were quite impressive.
For me, this year, however, really was the year of T. Bone Burnett. His production was all over some of the year’s best music, including Ryan Bingham’s (of “The Weary Kind” fame) Junky Star, the revival-of-the-genius-everyone-forgot-about duet album The Union from Elton John and Leon Russell, the first record on his own label from the this-is-real-country-music duo of The Secret Sisters and, my personal favorite album of 2010 – Jakob Dylan’s Women and Country.
Back in the 1990s I had been a moderate fan of Jakob Dylan’s band, The Wallflowers, having picked up their first two albums. They were decent, but really hadn’t been anything remarkable (which is probably why they no longer exist). I’d heard a few years back that Dylan was putting together a solo album, so I took a listen and promptly forgot about it. So, when Women and Country came out this year I really didn’t pay much attention – until I saw that T. Bone Burnett was producing – then my interest was piqued.
So, I gave it a listen and fell in love. With the sparse arrangements, Dylan’s songwriting and singing really get to be showcased here and the influences from his father are beginning to show through. This, along with some great backing vocals from Neko Case, pushed this album to the top of my stack time after time, and every few weeks I’d have a new favorite song from it.
I’d shelved the disc finally a few months ago after I kind of overdosed, but brought it back out the other day and fell right back in love. If, like me, you’d written Jakob Dylan off years ago, or if you just skipped over this release, do go back and give it a listen or two. You’re probably not going to find it on many (or any) major “Best of 2010” lists this year, but if I were still running Music-Critic.com it would have been our #1 pick for 2010.