PRINT December 2003

Music: Best of 2003

Laura Cantrell


1. Linda Thompson (Joe’s Pub, New York, May 20) Sharing the stage with son Teddy, Thompson faltered and blossomed with heart and nerve. The audience remained rapt until the inevitable “Dimming of the Day.”

2. June Carter Cash, Wildwood Flower (Dualtone) The autobiography and family album of a true Appalachian-American princess, completed just before her death in May.

3. Kate Rusby, Underneath the Stars (Pure) British folk buoyed by Rusby’s warm voice and sweetly steely presence.

4. Steve Earle, Just an American Boy, The Audio Documentary (Artemis) In this sound track to his Jerusalem tour documentary, Earle rocks, rants, and otherwise expresses his patriotic urge to disagree.

5. Paul Burch, Fool for Love (Bloodshot) Burch delivers lush and literate country songs for late-night listening. Big dumb twang this ain’t.

6. 39th Charles Wells Cambridge Folk Festival (Cambridge, England, July 31–Aug. 3) An unexpected heat wave made for sweaty sets by Robert Randolph, Roseanne Cash, John McCusker and Phil Cunningham, and the Waifs. Several thousand capered and grooved, combating the dry weather with warm lager.

7. Ray Price, Touch My Heart/Burning Memories (Audium Entertainment) Two ’60s albums reissued together show Price making the turn from master of the Texas shuffle to crooner extraordinaire.

8. Teenage Fanclub, Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds: A Short Cut to Teenage Fanclub (Jet Set) Sunnier than Glasgow in August, sweet guitar pop from these Scottish gentlemen rockers.

9. Shelby Lynne, Identity Crisis (Capitol/EMI) A grand tour of Lynne’s frame of mind via unleashed voice and guitar.

10. Gillian Welch, Soul Journey (Acony) In which Welch finds poetry in the old songs and makes some high lonesome verse of her own.