· David Wolfenberger — World of the Satisfyin' Place
This album is a prime example of the depth of musical talent coming out of Cincinnati. Even though David has been around for years, I just recently caught him live for the first time. Whether performing by himself or with a backing band, his songs shine. The instrumentation on this CD is top notch. I'm anxiously awaiting David's new release.
· The Shins — Chutes Too Narrow and Oh, Inverted World
I simply can't get enough of The Shins! Someone gave me a copy of Oh, Inverted World and, after a cursory listen, it sat on a shelf for six months or so. For some reason I finally gave it another listen and haven't been able to stop listening ever since. Chutes Too Narrow takes what they started on the debut to the next level. I never thought I'd hear pedal steel on a Sub Pop record!
I tend to listen to both of these on shuffle so they meld together. Listening to The Shins just makes me feel good.
· The Mavericks — The Mavericks
The Mavericks are one of those bands I have known about for years but had never listened to. My co-worker (Chris Mundy of Tonefarmer) borrowed this CD from the library and insisted that I would like it. Two songs into my first listen and I was sold! Raul Malo's voice is like a modern day Roy Orbison, with a Tex-Mex influence. This album exudes great production and performances from the band.
· Calexico — Feast of Wire
When Ruby Vileos opened for Calexico two years ago, I had never heard of them. The show was on a Monday night and I expected the turnout to be terrible. Little did I know the Southgate House would be packed and I would be mesmerized by their set. Someone once described this album to me as a Western movie soundtrack. I tend to agree. Tex-Mex flavors mixed with innovative arrangements and perfectly appropriate instrumentation make this one of my favorites. I can get lost in this album.
· Shelby Lynne — I Am Shelby Lynne
I read a review of this album that called it the best Soul album since Aretha Franklin's 1971 Aretha Live at Fillmore West. That was enough to get me to buy it. This album combines the soul of the Rev. Al Green with hints of Classic Country and '50s/'60s Pop. I think it's safe to say that this is my all-time favorite album. Damn, that's a bold statement!
TODD DRAKE bangs the drums for The Hiders on Friday at the BarrelHouse and for The Waywards on Saturday at the Southgate House. For info on Ruby Vileos, see rubyvileos.com.