1. The Farewell Drifters- Sweet Summer Breeze
This Nashville-based bluegrass band was recommended by a friend.
2. Blitzen Trapper- Sleepy Time in the Western World
One of my favorite bands from this year's Pitchfork Music Festival.
3&4. Brendan Benson- A Whole Lot Better, Garbage Day
I happened upon Benson, of Jack White's The Raconteurs, during an interview on 93XRT. I was obsessed with this CD and couldn't pick just one song.
5. Brett Dennen- Follow Your Heart
Dennen was a rare blind buy after reading a recommendation in the Chicago Tribune. I liked that his CD was titled “Hope for the Hopeless.”
6. Owl City- On the Wing
Recommended by an old high school friend, Owl City is reminiscent of Postal Service and Mae. You may have heard “Fireflies” on the radio.
7. Alexa Woodward- Spoon
My old roommate learned that her old friend Alexa had put out a CD- good stuff.
8&9. Oren Lavie- The Opposite Side of the Sea, A Short Goodbye
I loved a song in the movie “Prince Caspian” so much that I watched the credits to learn who it belonged to: an Israeli-born musician. That song is only on the PC soundtrack but his first CD is just as mesmerizing.
10. Missy Higgins- The Wrong Girl
I couldn't get her radio hit “Where I Stood” out of my head and was pleasantly surprised by the depth found in her CD
11. The Antlers- Epilogue
The Antlers' dark but beautiful CD is appropriately named Hospice, leading to a profile on Pallimed.com, a palliative care website I follow.
12. Craig Cardiff- Heaven
Cardiff's song “Smallest Wingless” was playing on the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep website, an organization that provides photography services to families whose baby has died. I was so taken with the song that I explored the rest of his repertoire and was blown away. How have I not heard of him sooner?
13. Ben Arthur- Exit Wound
Another case of waiting to ID a song through the movie credits.
14. Rich Price- Empty Glass
Discovered in the indie film “I'm Reed Fish.”
15. Willow Fair- Last Dance
A Christmas gift last year, this CD is the gift that keeps giving. I'm lucky to have met half of the duo through a small group Bible study this past year.
16. August Rush soundtrack- August's Rhapsody
I adored the movie “August Rush” and found this original composition by Mark Mancina to be very moving.
17. Relient K- In Like a Lion (Always Winter)
I can't resist a song inspired by “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”
18. Bebo Norman- The Rebel Jesus
Last year I found this to be the most worshipful Christmas CD I've ever experienced. This Jackson Browne cover cuts to the core of why we celebrate this season and lends much needed perspective.