An Americana artist who mixes the political and personal. This is his fourth album (not including his Christmas album) and he becomes a better lyricist with every release. With the last album he stepped up the production and it’s continued to this one. His voice manages to be uniquely smooth and rough at the same time.
2. Codeine Velvet Club - Codeine Velvet Club
A project started by Jon Fratelli of The Fratellis, a Scottish rock band, who joined forces with Scottish cabaret singer Lou Hickey. The results were fantastic. Also the first in a recurring theme for me this year -- lots of guy/girl harmonies and trading of lead vocals. Unfortunately, this band has already split up, with the two artists working on their own projects now.
3. James - The Morning After The Night Before