It's that time of year again where everyone who thinks their opinions matters to everyone else produces their year-end Top 10 list. Well, we also think our opinion matters so here is Barr's Music 101s' Top 10 list of the best albums of 2011:
10. JOHN WAITE...Rough And Tumble
When a record has one of the best classic rock tracks of the last ten years (Rough and Tumble), one of the best power ballads since the eighties (If You Ever Get Lonely) and one AC hit written all over (Evil) this mean that this is a winner!
9. PAUL SIMON...Songwriter
Paul Simon has written some of the most memorable songs in his lifetime, both as a member of Simon And Garfunkel and as a solo artist. This is quite an impressive setlist here and Simon's acoustic guitar playing is remarkable. A very nice listen
8. WARREN HAYNES...Man In Motion
Perhaps the hardest working American songwriter/guitarist Warren Haynes bringing forward a great sounding rhythmn and blues solo project collection of original songs with an interesting group of hand picked players behind him. The album was recorded live in studio to capture all of the emotion, passion and spontaneity on two-inch tape with vintage tube microphones. Simply fantastic.
7. JOE BONAMASSA...Dust Bowl
The gritty, blues-based playing of Joe Bonamassa is in full force on this record.
Firmly rooted in the Blues, but definitely explores the outer reaches of the genre - this record showcases Joe's amazing virtuosity with his lengthy and blistering guitar solos.
6. QUEENSRYCHE...Dedicated To Chaos
A stellar effort from Queensryche as it seems like Geoff Tate's voice is stronger than ever. The single "Get Started" ROCKS!! However, this is a bit of a departure for the band. If you are expecting hard rock song after another you'll be somewhat disappointed. Looking for a record from a classic band that is experimenting and spreading their wings here's a good one for you
5. THE CARS...Move Like This
A new release from Ric Ocasek and company - their first album in 24 years. Move Like This recalls the sound The Cars are so well known for, yet at the same time, maintains significant relevance to the music of today. Will appeal to all long-standing Cars fans and open the door to a whole new generation of listeners.
4. JIMI HENDRIX...Winterland
We were reluctant to put this on the list as 1. it isn't anything newly recorded, obviously, and 2. most of this material has been released before on previous releases. However, this is digitally remastered and was released by the Hendrix estate. The music here is outstanding, as expected. Hendrix was a genius at his craft. Winterland is drawn from six stellar shows recorded over three days (Rocktober 10, 11 and 12, 1968) at San Francisco's historic Winterland Ballroom
3. RUSH...Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland
All those fabulous familiar tracks from Rush LIVE. All of the live albums released by Rush are great listening experiences. The only drawback to this album is Geddy Lee's vocals as he doesn't have the range he used to have (most of the older rockers don't) but he's Geddy Lee, he can be easily forgiven. Another great live listening experience
2. ROBBIE ROBERTSON...How To Become Clairvoyant
Can a 67 year old rocker still make music that moves you? The answer is a resounding affirmative. This record is a masterpiece from a master musician made with the help of many others, most effectively with Eric Clapton writing, playing and singing on several tracks. It took 10 years between records, but it was well worth the wait.
1. BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION... 2
Just when you thought the genre of blues rock had been exhausted and could ever be ignited again, along comes this vibrant and refreshing album. And from a bunch of old and experienced music hands. All musicians excel on this album and have grown into an extremely tight unit. Jason Bonham is brilliant on the drums, Joe Bonamassa is a genius. Glenn Hughes is singing and playing bass as well as ever. A must have for all those rockers out there that still crave for the days of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and something new. Absolutely brilliant.