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Looking Forward…Looking Back
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

Yes, it is that time of year again. After a hurried year of worldly and personal events, it is time to pause and reflect on what music pleased for 2010. And in a year that saw much of a muchness, there were a few albums that made the listening worth while. Here are a few of mine. Why not drop us an e-mail at CSO and share what delighted, excited or annoyed you musically? We’d love to hear from you.

And now, in no particular order…


Jason Kemp:

First off, this album nearly never made the list. Jason Kemp, after an absence of many years, has released Evolution. The album only arrived in the mail day’s ago. Despite the timing, this is a knockout album from a knockabout guy.

Kemp, an Aussie larrikin, has delivered an album he was proud to make and as fans, we are equally proud to have spinning. It’s obvious from the first play Kemp has served his apprenticeship well. The astute troubadour has over the last six years travelled, toured and then done it again, as he made his way to the far-flung gigs, the low-paying rodeos and the out–of-the-way fairs and festivals. Along the way he’s seen things, met people and shared experiences that all find their way to the images and lyrics crafted here. It’s been a journey. This is the result. It’s been well worth the wait. It’s well worth the purchase.

Doug Bruce:

Another Aussie, Bruce, likewise, has toiled and travelled, resulting in an album that has fast become a local radio and fan favorite. Bruce, a former Texan, has now settled into music and family life in Melbourne, Australia. Well known around country music, the talented singer/songwriter shines on A Good Place. Packed with twelve neat tunes (and the bonus cut “Close Enough”), it’s as easy to spot as a foaming Fosters why the album and Bruce are currently riding high on nominations for an album of the year and entertainer of the year.

Taylor Swift:

Like or loathe her, you can’t deny her. She seemingly appeared out of nowhere, but the girl on the charts proved fairly quickly a woman’s viewpoint came strongly in her writing. Speak Now only validates the zillions in sales, and the ever growing gal force Swift is and has become.

Hank 111:

He has the impressive genes. The family linkage may have helped initially, but Hank 111 is his own man, with his own music, played out on his terms and in his own defiant way. It’s the markings of a confident performer…or maybe a cocky cowboy who doesn’t really care for public acceptance. Either way, garner an audience he has. Rebel Within is a hell-raiser designed to annoy the neighbors, excite the faithful, while proving good looks and CMT aren’t the only way to claim interest.

Alan Jackson:

Everything old is new again. The lanky, “aw-shucks” flaxen haired singer and song writer always delivers. The recent release of Alan Jackson’s 34 Number Ones – a double disk of hits – proves, and convincingly, just what a mega star this good ol’ boy from Newnan, Georgia is. Packed with favs, hits, memories and chart-toppers spanning his career, simply, it’s a gotta get. And what about “Ring of Fire?”

Easton Corbin:

Roll With It” and “A Little More Country Than That” established, and quickly, Easton Corbin. Follow the singles with an album of country forged twang, and the rest is a signposted promise Corbin is a man to watch and listen out for in 2011.

John Mellencamp:

The Farm Aid founder and former denim clad rocker has evolved. It’s a musical maturity not embraced by all, as there are those who still sky punch for the familiarity of “Rain On The Scarecrow”, “Small Town” and other remembered hits. But those days are gone. No Better Than This is acclaimed Americana, proving, just like the times, everything changes; often, for the better.

Looking Forward:

In the coming year I want to hear more music from Billy Joe Shaver, Chris Wall, Lee Ann Womack, John Anderson, Marty Stuart, Dixie Chicks, Hank 111, Hank Williams Jnr, Richie Allbright, Mark Chesnutt, Kelly Kenning, Billy Don Burns, Randy Travis, Kat Moore, Nick Verzosa, Scott Hisey…and John Fogerty.

Have yourself a safe, happy and prosperous 2011.




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