I listen to a lot of music while I’m in the shop.  I have some great in-ear, noise canceling headphones that protect my ears from the noise of the tools and also allow me to listen to things that help inspire me while I work.  I also listen to audiobooks and podcasts, but that’s for another post.  I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite albums from this year which is quickly coming to an end.

I’m not very good at cutting lists down to, say, a top ten.  I just can’t bring myself to limit my favorites that narrowly.  With over 100 albums in my iTunes from 2009, I think cutting that down to my favorite 20 is pretty good frankly.  I’m very picky in what I listen to and buy anyway, so I tend to not purchase much blindly.  I guess some would call me a snob about my music tastes.  I guess if an intense dis-like for the trite bubble gum pop that has taken over all aspects of popular music makes me a snob, so be it.  I prefer the music to which I listen to have substance beyond just a catchy beat or a scantily clad singer.  I could care less if my favorite song had the hottest video on MTV during the 5 minutes that they actually showed a video.

As woodworkers, we tend to turn our noses down on the watered down quality coming out of places like IKEA or the particle board junk cabinets that are sold to unsuspecting customers at big box lumber yards.  Why would we accept watered down, low quality music?  Hopefully you can find something in this list that inspires you creatively like it did me.  So, without further ado, the following is my favorite albums of 2009, in alphabetical order:

  1. Aaron Strumpel, “Elephants”
  2. The Antlers, “Hospice”
  3. Antony and the Johnsons, “The Crying Light”
  4. The Avett Brothers, “I And Love And You”
  5. The Cave Singers, “Welcome Joy”
  6. Deer Tick, “Born on Flag Day”
  7. DM Stith, “Heavy Ghost”
  8. Elvis Perkins In Dearland, “Elvis Perkins In Dearland”
  9. The Felice Brothers, “Yonder Is The Clock”
  10. Grizzly Bear, “Veckatimest”
  11. Heartless Bastards, “The Mountain”
  12. J Tillman, “Year in the Kingdom”
  13. The Low Anthem, “Oh My God, Charlie Darwin”
  14. The Mountain Goats, “The Life Of The World To Come”
  15. Muse, “The Resistance”
  16. Neko Case, “Middle Cyclone”
  17. Paper Route, “Absence”
  18. Patrick Watson, “Wooden Arms”
  19. Slaid Cleaves, “Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away”
  20. Sleeping At Last, “Storyboards”

Honorable mentions: The “Dark Was The Night” compilation is one of the best Indie compilation albums I’ve ever heard. Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain, and Edgar Meyer’s “The Melody of Rhythm”; David Bazan, “Curse Your Branches”; Joe Henry, “Blood From Stars”; Monsters Of Folk; We Were Promised Jetpacks, “These Four Walls”; Dave Rawlings Machine, “A Friend Of A Friend”

Anything you think I missed?  What music inspired you this year?  Feel free to share in the comments!