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21 December 2009 @ 12:37 am
Bp's Picks of 2009  
I hope this annual list finds you in good health and all ready for the holiday season! Thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement on the Song of the Week series this year. Thanks also to all the folks who help keep my ears happy throughout the year – it is always much appreciated. This year’s list was compiled from just over 300 albums that I road tested and as always, to be eligible the release had to fall in the 2009 calendar year. Thankfully I started working on drafts of this annual beast in May this time around, which is nice as it’s been a very busy 2nd half of the year.

I’ve been so lucky through the years to experience a number of musical highlights: interviewing Geddy Lee of Rush a day before my 30th birthday; shaking hands with Geddy and Alex Lifeson a couple of years later; interviewing Anna Nalick, members of Marillion, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Live, Styx, Tragically Hip, numerous Lighting Directors; hanging out with Chantal Kreviazuk, standing in the studio and control room where Blue Man Group recorded their two albums; having Photo Passes to photograph TSO, Rush, Queensryche, Celine Dion, Metallica, Phil Collins, Van Halen, etc.; seeing numerous bands perform amazing shows; and also the friendships and bonds that have been built with Rush fans and other groups from around the globe. I have nothing to complain about. I’ve been very lucky and privileged.

But this year might have surpassed them all musically speaking:
• I celebrated 10 years in a job that I love.
• I finally saw the incomparable Tara MacLean live! I even had a request or two played, met her, got a great photo to remember the moment by, talked to her briefly and was able to thank her for what her music has meant to me over the past nine years. Combined with hanging out with some Tara fans and friends, it was one of the most memorable days I’ve had.
• I saw an extremely rare 4-song acoustic Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance at a local radio station, 6-feet from Alex Skolnick’s knee. (Thanks JE!) They do about 5-6 of these per year and to see them in such a tiny room with 30 other people was amazing.
• The normal two December TSO shows went from brilliant to unbelievable as I moved from the 2nd row for the matinee show to a surprise front row dead center seat for the evening show. Words fail me.

But what about the list you’re wondering. Well, it felt like a weird year, while there was a lot of great music I was looking forward to, I feel, looking back on it, that I didn’t discover that much music that was new to me. The list is comprised of perennial favorites, save a few. I spent a great deal of time listening to live recordings of Matt Nathanson, Tara MacLean and TSO, maybe that took up a lot of listening time. Usually though, the list is peppered with artists who are brand new to my ears, but that’s not the case this year, only a couple make their first appearance on the list. I listened to a ton of stuff, but not a lot made an impression as previously for some reason. As always, this only encompasses new material released in 2009, excluding the new CD from Editors which was an import this year, but I didn’t physically get it so it will be qualified for next year’s tally when it hits U.S. shores in February.

But enough jibber-jabber, have a wonderful Holiday, safe and Happy New Year and if you pick up something on this list you’ll definitely enjoy it!

1.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Night Castle [Atlantic/WEA]
Five years in the making, the running joke was would it come out before there was a McDonalds on Mars. The real question though, would it live up to the expectations a drawn-out creation process so often creates? Absolutely! As with previous TSO releases there is a story that accompanies the lyric book that helps intertwine the concept. Without this it is a fantastic album. With the story it is so much better. In a nutshell the tale follows a U.S. soldier fighting and being captured in Cambodia who ends up connecting and reminding his captor of the good that was instilled in him as a boy. Awwwww...shucks, isn't that sweet?! Seriously though, that's a really high level view and I welled up at one point while reading the story. But what about the music? Ok, I'm getting there. It’s dramatic, and powerful, emotional, gripping, hard rock, metal, full choral sections, it’s everything you’d want in a TSO record. While there is a sterility to song of the tracks it definitely doesn’t suffer from a lack of punch and emotion. “Epiphany” is my favorite song of the year and I could go on for paragraphs about Rob Evan’s brilliant performance and the strengths of the song (which I did recently when it was a Song of the Week). Give the record a spin, give it a try and listen with open ears.
"And somewhere on this night / there's a wave on the ocean / that crashes on shores / where no one can see / the tides and the currents / decide every motion / from where they are now / to where they will be / it cradles them all / for they all are its children / if one drop disappears / it is instantly missed / and after each wave / has joined up with the shore line / it returns to the sea / for that is its one wish"
Key Tracks: Tracers, Epiphany, There Was a Life, The Mountain
Epiphany: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNNyPpb2LHI
Tracers (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgZ0oYOJnv4
Album site with stream: http://www.nightcastlealbum.com

2.) James Kinne: Aletheia [SC68/James Kinne Music]
This was a late November release and normally something released that late in the year wouldn’t even make the list, but I got into it quickly and James has a place in my heart as my favorite male singer/songwriter. It’s been a few years since his last release and I sadly this isn’t the record that he intended as his third solo release, but as good musicians do, he took pain and heartbreak by the horns and created an amazing piece of work. The difference is that, because he’s an exceptional writer and performer, he took something very close and delivered it in an extremely personal way, that at the same time is universal on multiple levels. If you’ve been in that situation you are moved, you feel and can relate, but also if you haven’t been in that situation you can be drawn in as well. While this is by no means a light album, not for your next dinner party, there is an underlying feeling of hope and as the album comes to a close there is a sense of new beginnings. This wasn’t an album that was made by choice, it was made out of necessity, and what was terrible has now turned into something exceptional.
“I thought I was safe home / 'till world came and ripped me apart from inside / Life changed while I was busy / Keeping head above water while chained to a rock / Tell me all the truths you made up at school, my angel / 'cause truth changes all the time in the depths of your mind / My schizophrenic angel”
Key Tracks: 3am, This Side Of, Better Now
Stream the entire album (purchase it while you’re at it): http://jameskinne.bandcamp.com/

3.) Brandi Carlile: Give Up the Ghost [Columbia/Sony Music]
Each of her previous releases had good songs and strong moments, but they were only moments, the complete album was always much less than the moments. They lacked a consistency and while I tried to get into them as complete pieces, there were songs that were miles above the rest of the tracks on the albums. This release however is brilliant across the board. Nothing reaches the intensity and drama of her best song, "The Story," (from her last album), but that will always stand as Brandi's track to beat. “Looking Out” does come close as the album opens with power and a wonderful vocal performance. Sir Elton John adds keyboards and vocal help on a rolicking and rousing "Caroline" a track which has been stuck in my heads for months.
“I know the darkness falls on you / And it’s just a point of view / When you’re outside looking in / you belong to someone / and when you feel like giving in / and the coming of the end / like your heart can break in two / someone loves you.”
Key Tracks: Looking Out, Caroline, Dreams
Looking Out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMe2ALvUCTg
Dreams (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSBl8zD9J_M
Album EPK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjDt-B5Pil8

4.) Muse: The Resistance [Warner Bros./WEA]
After the first listen I wondered if I had received the keyboard version of the record and assumed that either there was a guitar version or that they'd forgotten to mix the guitars in. Where was my beloved Muse sound? Well, there are guitars, they’ve just ventured into different territory on this record, focusing more on an electronic feel with a strong reliance on keys. It took a couple of listens, but I warmed up to it. They didn’t hide their influences as Queen is all over this record (which isn’t a bad thing). After the initial guitar/keyboard shock I realized that the real elements of Muse that I love, that driving sense of urgency, an apocalyptic frenzy; those were still very much in place.
Key Tracks: Resistance, United States of Eurasia, Uprising
Uprising: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8KQmps-Sog
Resistance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26N-idh6ggw

5.) A Fine Frenzy: Bomb in a Birdcage [Virgin Records/EMM]
A more diverse and upbeat collection than her debut a few years back. Alison Sudol (who is A Fine Frenzy) again captures the heart and mind with well-crafted songs and insightful lyrics. Early in the year I found a radio performance (KMTT or KINK maybe) and was intrigued by the new tracks she played and then when the album finally arrived in August it was such a welcomed treat. She has such a strong voice that can convey a myriad of emotions and inflections.
“And so they sunk every ship we sailed / but we stood up, we stood up / and they fought hard, but somewhere fighting failed...Steel and concrete break / beneath the steady waves / of fearless hope and grace / in kindness there is strength”
Key Tracks: We Stood Up, What I Wouldn't Do, Blow Away, Electric Twist
We Stood Up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH9tNdGEFQw
Blow Away (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtzFGhAyEn0
Live Session: http://www.hulu.com/watch/94087/live-from-the-artists-den-a-fine-frenzy

6.) U2: No Line on the Horizon [Island/UMD]
I know many folks on either side of the fence on this one, but at the end of the day it's a great record. Does it match the youthful intensity of War, no. But then again that album doesn't match the songwriting diversity, lyrical strength, and subtleties of this record. Listening to three tracks early in the year in the board room at work, cranked to the gills, “Magnificent” blew me away, hands down. The slow build, the release of the chorus, Edge’s brilliant solo…it was as it was named, magnificent. It’s not their best work, but it’s quintessential U2: Edge’s guitar soundscapes, Bono’s intense and urgent lyrics, Adam Clayton’s bass that holds the song like glue, and the under-appreciated Larry Mullen, Jr. pinning the songs songs down and driving them forward on drums. And the bottom line, it moved me. Seeing it live even intensified that.
Key Tracks: Magnificent, Breathe, I Know I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
Magnificent (Live on Letterman): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEGOb48gIe4
Breathe (live rose bowl): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS61ZFuvnrw

7.) Our Lady Peace: Burn Burn [Coalition Entertainment/ADA]
Back with force and intensity, these Canadians for me pioneered the snowball effect that Muse takes to the bank now. "Monkey Brains" would have fit on the new Muse record easily. From "The End is Where We Begin": "Here I am, waiting for one last chance. Cause this time we got, nothing left to lose. And everything is ruined. But the end is where we begin." Raine Maida sounds better than he ever has and the band it so tight on this self-produced effort. The Deluxe version comes with a DVD including 5-tracks recorded live in Raine's studio (you can see Chantal Kreviazuk's baby grand in the corner) - that DVD is brilliant. "Paper Moon" is one of the best songs of the year.
Key Tracks: Monkey Brains, Paper Moon, All You Did Was Save My Life
Monkey Brains (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NWc1oLfCFE
Paper Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoBu_NpyMxk

8.) Billy Falcon: Roughs [Billy Falcon Music]
Billy had some success in the early '90s with "Power Windows" although he's been writing and recording since the '70s. He now has monthly video stream performances from his home studio and is working on a new record. As a way to self-finance the project he released a CD of raw, acoustic demos of the songs he's working on for the album. I'm not sure how this qualifies as a new album released this year, but again, it's my list and I'll break the rules when I want! And I very much want to with this. This is the Billy Falcon I love, raw, acoustic, and emotionally charged. He is a perfect example of the "heart on a stool with a microphone" reference I like to make. "When" is one of the most powerful songs I've heard in the last decade. It is written about his daughter, Rose, and his wife (who passed away from cancer when Rose was very young) and while it's laced with sadness and grief, there's hope in there as well. It's a real-life catch 22, a realization that his relationship with Rose is so strong because of what they've been through together, but while that is cherished, it's the one thing that he wishes didn't have to happen. We corresponded via email a number of times and specifically about this song after I mentioned how powerful it was and he mentioned that one of his fans was put off by the f-word in the chorus. I mentioned that maybe an edit might be worthwhile for a radio-version if it was ever shopped to radio, but that while the f-word obviously isn't something you just throw around at a whim, in this song, in this instance it contributed so much to the song that there wasn't another word that fit. I haven't taken a poll, but the word is probably one of the more offensive words in general circles I think we'd agree, and because of that it is the right word - what else are you going to use to explain a young girl under 5 losing her mother? I told him that my opinion was to run an edit if you want public consumption, but you have to stay true to what flowed out when it was written. Anyway, this album of demos is just brilliant.
"Sometimes life's so f*ckin' unfair, you should have been there, when, I didn't know what to do, when I needed to talk to you, when, the rain came falling down, when, when, when....life's beautiful I wouldn't change a thing, if you could only hear her sing, sometimes I've made mistakes and I let her down, I sure wish you could have been around, when..."
Key Tracks: When, Something Good, Mama

9.) Joe Bonamassa: The Ballad of John Henry [J&R Adventures/Fontana]
I've followed Joe since he was a geeky teenager with thick glasses (who could still play his way around most guitarists on the planet) and he's put out some great solo albums, but this might just be his best. A super tight band, a raw, live-off-the-floor sound captured by Kevin "Caveman" Shirley (Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, etc.), and some brilliant guitar work that never overshadows the essence of the song. The title track kicks off the album with a punch that just never stops hitting. While he’s a brilliant guitarist though, he never takes his eye off a well developed song. Check out “Jockey Full of Bourbon” for a chorus that’ll stick in your head for weeks. Joe owns the blues charts when he puts out an album, but while that is the case and he’s marketed as blues, I have no idea why classic and modern rock radio haven’t picked up some of his stuff. It’s a travesty that Joe’s not pushing Gold on his records at least. I’d like to challenge Mayer to write something as good as the title track, cause I haven’t heard it yet.
Key Tracks: The Ballad of John Henry, Stop, Jockey Full of Bourbon
The Ballad of John Henry (live studio): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaCjPdtDBxo
Jockey Full of Bourbon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z04uSUKyRLQ

10.) David Gray: Draw the Line [Mercer Street/Fontana]
After White Ladder was released in 2000 I was introduced to Gray via a web stream and then Jeff Bayard threw me a copy of the disc thinking I would like it. This album reminds me of what I loved so much about White Ladder, that amazing voice, a stripped down feel and focused songwriting. Post-Ladder he had the money to invest in his records, but they always felt overproduced to me, that he was lost in the production, but not so on this release. That unique and yearning voice is the first hook that reels you in and the songs don’t fail. He’s back at the top of his game on this with some smart piano melodies and that aching and soulful voice. I was really looking forward to this disc and was very excited that it lived up to my anticipation.
“And hey now don’t run and hide / Your little heart away / If it’s gone / We’ll sure never find it / Pining for lost innocence”
Key Tracks: Nemesis, Jackdaw, Fugitive
Jackdaw (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH_-O8jmwoE
The Making of Jackdaw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoVd8gDOldQ
Full Steam (live with Annie Lennox): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO1tWw7Mjrg

11.) The Tragically Hip: We Are the Same [Zoe/Rounder/UMD]
The Hip strays a little further away from the rockin' duel guitar and continues their move to softer, melodic, roots inspired rock on this disc. Bob Rock returns to produce and while it's a solid album, it didn't come alive for me until I saw them live in October. Introspective and brooding, but still while not formulamatic, it's quintessential Hip.
“Sometimes, when we're talking / I feel like yer not even listening / It's then that I clearly remember / Rarely ever seeing you listening”
Key Tracks: Now the Struggle Has a Name, Frozen in My Tracks, Queen of the Furrows
Now the Struggle Has a Name (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WytbLVkqDYE
Frozen in My Tracks (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4sNb0btve4

12.) Dream Theater: Blacks Clouds & Silver Linings [Roadrunner Records/WEA]
I was lucky enough to get into this a couple months prior to its release and for a while it was atop my favorites of the year list, but as time wore on it fell quickly and while it’s still a very strong album, it didn’t last a really long time in the thick of things. James LaBrie sounds maybe better than ever and they are tight as ever, but while it’s a very hard album, there are a few too many mushy parts that don’t seem to fit. The album is bookended with two of their finest tracks, both long 15+ minute epics that showcase them at their finest.
Key Tracks: A Nightmare to Remember, The Count of Tuscany
A Nightmare to Remember (part 1): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOW28D27ybM
A Nightmare to Remember (part 2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAayRXDhk6k&f

13.) Chris Caffery: House of Insanity [Face the Music Records/CC]
A sleeker, leaner approach this time around for the Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist with a concentrated focus on straight ahead classic hard rock and metal (his previous effort was more experimental and diverse). His strengths are his guitar prowess and vocal dynamics and crafts songs around those without flaunting flashy solos at every turn. It's about the song, and he accomplishes that very well.
Key Tracks: Seasons Change, I'm Sorry, Madonna
I’m Sorry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QckjZH-vseU
Seasons Change: http://www.myspace.com/chriscaffery

14.) Lenka: s/t [Epic/Sony Music]
I received this near the end of 2008 from Epic and I tried to get into a number of times through December and January but to no avail – her voice just didn’t do it for me. But when I saw her open up for Missy Higgins & Justin Nozuka in February a light went off and I for some reason suddenly got it. She’s quirky and unique, but she can pack an undeniable melody around that voice and the album features some brilliant arrangements. “Trouble is a Friend” is one of my favorite songs of the year.
“So don't be alarmed if he takes you by the arm / I won't let him win but I’m a sucker for his charm / Trouble is a friend yeah trouble is a friend of mine”
Key Tracks: Trouble is a Friend, Knock Knock, The Show
The Show, Trouble is a Friend, Knock Knock (live acoustic on MTV Canada): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-3qHKovWww
Trouble is a Friend, Knock Knock (live full band): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th3-FUTgRhc

15.) Machines of Grace: Machines of Grace [MOG]
Zak Stevens and Jeff Plate from Savatage/TSO reform the band they were in prior to Savatage - straight ahead hard rock/metal with great vocals, solid guitar work, some nice vocal harmonies, powerful drumming, and tight songwriting. While I’d still love to see Savatage release new material, it is great that as a result of the hiatus that we’ve been treated to so many great solo releases, including this one.
Key Tracks: Fly Away, This Time, Between the Lines
Fly Away & The Moment: http://www.myspace.com/machinesofgrace

16.) Chantal Kreviazuk: Plain Jane [Maple Music Recordings/Universal Canada]
Fittingly, I picked up this Canadian-only release in Toronto in October. Chantal is just an amazing songwriter and vocalist with the unique ability to touch on so many emotions. This, like her past few discs, took a few listens to crack, but now it's just a wonderful trip every time I spin it. Few artists write with such poignancy and the ability to touch universally on emotions.
Key Tracks: The Way, Invincible
The Way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERjOtZfYdxo
Invincible (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ie__DTgd0Og

17.) Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream [Columbia/Sony Music]
The album works best as a whole. It's hard to pick select tracks that are better than another - apart from "Outlaw Pete" which is one his best tracks of the last 20 years. You can sense the energy and intensity of the session and the urgency with which it was laid down. Classic sounding Springsteen, with a more raw edge. Officially the worst album cover of the year though.
“He was born a little baby on the Appalachian Trail / At six months old he'd done three months in jail / He robbed a bank in his diapers and little bare baby feet / All he said was "Folks my name is Outlaw Pete"”
Key Tracks: Outlaw Pete, Surprise Surprise, My Lucky Day
Outlaw Pete: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDqrniE3Uy8

18.) Native Window: Native Window [StarCity Recording Company/MRI/RED]
This is basically Kansas without vocalist/keyboardist Steve Walsh, so it’s a little less progressive and more song oriented. Billy Greer handles vocals masterfully and the violin work of David Ragsdale is absolutely wonderful. Well crafted songs, great harmonies and melodies.
Key Tracks: An Ocean Away, Money
Money: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7HkLuZR8KI

19.) Keri Noble: Keri Noble [Telarc/Concord]
This is actually questionable whether it should be in the running considering about 60% of the material was on 2008's Let Go (released only in Japan) and that album placed in my list last year, but I'm going to allow it because it's Keri and I love her. I still remember the February morning in 2005 when I first heard her, from that moment I fell in love with her voice and have picked up everything she's released from demos to indie released EPs, etc (although I still have to pick up the Zoo DVD). Sadly, my favorite track from Let Go was dropped off this release for some reason ("Imperfect"), granted I have the demo version and I have the version on Let Go so I shouldn't complain, and it enabled space for another new song so it's all good. Her songs and her voice have the wonderful quality to lift your spirits and break your heart at the same time.
Key Tracks: Watch Me Walk, Remember My Name, Last Warning
Watch Me Walk (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeB9_vAIJ0s
Ooh Oh (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ydQkZkDmSQ

20.) Tina Dico: A Beginning, A Detour, An Open Ending [Finest Gramophone/Defend/Ryko]
I hunted down her previous release after seeing her in the Ryko new release book a couple years back and was taken by her. She used to sing with Zero 7 and has an amazing voice and a very poetic way about writing lyrics. She’s hugely popular in Denmark, but virtually unknown here in the U.S., I don’t even know if this was widely distributed here. This is a 3-CD set, comprised of 3, 6-7 track EPs recorded over 2 years in three studio sessions. A stunning release from the packaging to the music, the lyrics, it’s all there.
"Love wasn't nearly enough in the end, please will you tell him again, that I hurt myself more than I ever hurt him, I wasn't as distant and cold as I seemed, I was lost all the way into my bones, I don't think he knows."
Key Tracks: He Doesn't Know, Get To Know You, Quarter to Forever
Get to Know You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drDfxb84MDs
Quarter to Forever (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgOUGY4E37o
He Doesn’t Know/Count to Ten (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fpuX_tw2Bo

Honorable Mention:
Arjen Luccasen's Guilt Machine: On This Perfect Day
Kelly Clarkson: All I Ever Wanted
Lacuna Coil: Shallow Life
Mandy Moore: Amanda Leigh
Mindy Smith: Stupid Love
Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Rhett Miller: Rhett Miller
Roswell Six: Terra Incognita-Beyond the Horizon
Saga: Human Condition
Transatlantic: Whirlwind
Tyrone Wells: Remain
ZO2: Casino Logic


Favorite Overall Show of 2009:

Tara MacLean - 10/29 Hugh's Room, Toronto, ONT. - A dream come true to finally see Tara live after 9 years of wanting to see her. An amazing experience hearing her, seeing her, meeting her, and hanging with friends. One of the most magical nights of my life. Check video at http://www.youtube.com/squintyt4e

Favorite Club/Theater Show:
1.) Tara MacLean - 10/29 Hugh's Room, Toronto, ONT. Video at http://www.youtube.com/squintyt4e
2.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra - 11/16 WPYX Performance Studio, Latham, NY - 6 feet from Alex Skolnick's knee for a 4-song set. Video at http://www.youtube.com/squintyt4e
3.) Missy Higgins - 3/8 Revolution Hall, Troy, NY - She is mesmerizing.
4.) The Tragically Hip - 10/15 The Egg, Albany, NY - great venue, great band.
5.) Justin Nozuka - 3/8 Revolution Hall, Troy, NY - great venue, great new talent

1.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra 12/13 TU Center, Albany, NY, 7:30pm show – front row dead center, need I say more?
2.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra 12/13 TU Center, Albany, NY, 2:30pm show
3.) U2 - 9/20 Gillete Stadium, Foxboro, MA
4.) Matt Nathanson - 8/9 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY
5.) Heart - 9/2 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY
6.) Bruce Springsteen - 5/14 TU Center, Albany, NY
7.) Def Leppard - 7/3 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY
8.) REO Speedwagon - 7/4 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY

Favorite Live Songs:
1.) “Child” – Tara MacLean, 10/29 Toronto
2.) “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo (12/24)” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra, 12/13 7:30pm show Albany, NY
3.) “Sugarcane” – Missy Higgins, 3/8 Troy, NY
4.) “Prince of Peace” – TSO, 11/16 WPYX Studios, Albany, NY
5.) “La Tempete” – Tara MacLean, 10/29 Toronto
6.) “Christmas Canon Rock” – TSO, 12/13 2:30pm show Albany, NY
7.) “Detroit Waves” – Matt Nathanson, 8/9 Saratoga Springs, NY
8.) “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak – Def Leppard, 7/3 Saratoga Springs, NY
9.) “Crazy On You” – Heart, 9/2 Saratoga Springs, NY
10.) “Outlaw Pete” – Bruce Spingsteen, 5/14 Albany, NY
11.) “Golden Country” – REO Speedwagon, 7/4 Saratoga Springs, NY
This list could go on for days….

Well, that’s a wrap! As always, here is a look back at what topped my chart for 2008 and keep your eyes peeled for the Best of the Decade list coming very soon!

Bp’s Picks of 2008:
*Tara MacLean: Wake (Nettwerk) - not eligible as 70% was released on an EP the previously year which charted then. Had it been eligible in 2008, it would have been #1.

1.) David Ford: Songs for the Road (Original Signal/RED)
2.) Missy Higgins: On a Clear Night (Reprise/WEA)
3.) Justin Nozuka: Holly (Glassnote/RED)
4.) Def Leppard: Songs from the Sparkle Lounge (Island Def Jam/UMGD)
5.) Ayreon: 01011001 (InsideOut/SPV/Ryko)
6.) Marillion - Happiness is the Road [2-CD set] (Racket/Intact - UK)
7.) Keri Noble: Let Go (Purple Records/Victor - Japan)
8.) Great Big Sea: Fortune's Favour (Great Big Sea/Red Eye)
9.) Brooke Fraser: Albertine (Wood & Bone/Redeye)
10.) Duffy: Rockferry (Mercury/UMGD)
11.) Circle II Circle: Delusions of Grandeur (Locomotive Records/Ryko)
12.) Kate Rusby: Awkward Annie (Pure Records/Koch)
13.) Brian Vander Ark: s/t (2nd Motion Records/Redeye)
14.) Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (Sugar Hill/EMD)
15.) Steve Reynolds: The Carnival Papers (429 Records/WEA)
16.) Snow Patrol: A Hundred Million Suns (Fiction/Geffen/UMGD)
17.) Alanis Morissette: Flavors of Entanglement (Maverick/Warner Bros.)
18.) Raine Maida: The Hunters Lullaby (King Noise/Nettwerk)
19.) Jack's Mannequin: The Glass Passenger (Sire/Warner Bros.)
20.) Primal Fear: New Religion (Locomotive Records/Ryko)