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Top 21 Music of 2010

There is so much good music happening today that I just cannot contain my list to a Top 10 or even a Top 20.I had to go with 21. And I love all of the albums so much that I couldn't rank them. So here they are in no particular order, all of them great pieces of art that gave me hours of listening pleasure. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some other great records, so feel free to point them out.But these were the ones that stuck with me the most, and I hope that you’ll check them out…A perfect Sunday morning record.Patty Griffin’s voice is church.Come Around Sundown-Kings of LeonHere’s another one I loved to drive to.The songs “Back Down South” and “Mary” are just as good on the five hundredth play as the first, and I ought to know.Both of these are the kinds of songs that go on my permanent “to-write-to” playlist. In fact, "Back Down South" became one of the central songs on the soundtrack to the novel I'm working on, Evona Darling.Infinite Arms-Band of HorsesThis whole a…

Love and Shame

Lots of people have written to tell me that they are very disappointed in me for making my Facebook status “Silas House has never before been ashamed to be a Kentuckian” last night, when election results were coming in. I meant for my status to be intentionally inflammatory and hyperbolic, to properly express my disbelief that someone I find to be a laughable candidate could be elected. Perhaps it was a poor choice of words because now that I look deep into myself, I realize that I am not ashamed to be a Kentuckian.
But in that moment I was, and I cannot deny that. I am not ashamed to be a Kentuckian, but I am embarrassed (and yes, ashamed) that we put someone like Rand Paul into office. I am embarrassed that my state will be represented by Paul for the next SIX years.
I’m embarrassed because of things he has said like this: "I don't think anyone’s going to be missing a hill or two around here,” about mountaintop removal, an issue that is absolutely dividing the Appalachian…

End of Summer Music Playlist

There is so much good music right now that it awaits us like a feast. Here are some of my current favorites. After the jump you'll find embedded videos of some of the songs. Let me know what songs you're listening to these days.

Playlist (in no particular order)

1. Old Before Your Time-Ray LaMontagne
2. Save Some Time To Dream-John Mellencamp
3. Wise Woman-Caroline Herring
4. Evening Kitchen-Band of Horses
5. Golden-My Morning Jacket
6. Sweet Marie-Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee
7. Whispering Sea-Eilen Jewell
8. Holding On-David Gray
9. I Miss You-Courtyard Hounds
10. The Cave-Mumford & Sons
11. Kind-Cheyenne Marie
12. Still-Great Lake Swimmers
13. Smoking From Shooting-My Morning Jacket
14. Swept Away-Avett Brothers
15. Lantern-Josh Ritter
16. Broken-Chely Wright
17. Easy in the Summertime-Allison Moorer
18. Cindy Gal-Carolina Chocolate Drops
19. For the Summer-Ray LaMontagne
20. All Creatures Of Our God and King-Patty Griffin

















Recommendations

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There are so many mediocre (or downright bad) books, movies, television, and music that it's sometimes hard to remember that there is so much great art being produced these days. So, a list of things I've enjoyed very much recently.
Books
Little Bee by Chris Cleave. This is the most powerful book that I've read in a long while. The plot is so intricate and wonderful that I hate to even describe it for fear of giving something away, so I'll describe it as being about a young Nigerian refugee who is living with a British journalist and the way their relationship is formed and how it blooms into a profound friendship. The novel is about much more than that, and opened my eyes to atrocities being committed around the world that I had absolutely no idea about. I loved Little Bee especially because it is that rare thing: a literary page-turner. The language is precise and beautiful and the pages fly by due to the feverish plot-driven pacing. I can't recommend this …

The Sufferings

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President Obama recently toured the Gulf to see firsthand the massive oil spill that has been plaguing us for more than a month now. He also convened a long press conference about the spill. We see coverage of the spill at the top of the news, often accompanied by a live shot of the oil pumping out into the ocean from a camera situated a mile below the surface. I can’t imagine the president doing a flyover of a mountaintop removal site, or holding a press conference about it.And I’ve certainly never seen a mountain blown up on national television—not even once, much less every morning on the Today show.Yet I would venture to say that mountaintop removal (MTR) is as devastating as the oil spill in the Gulf. I don’t mean to compare suffering.What I’m saying is actually the opposite of comparison: they’re equally as bad, yet everyone is outraged about the spill while very few people even know about MTR.Both the oil spill and MTR are environmental, cultural, economic, and healt…

Best of 2009: My Picks

Once again, I have two albums as my top album of the year because they are both so masterful that I cannot choose between them:Golden Apples of the Sun by Caroline Herring and Give Up the Ghost by Brandi Carlile.These are the two albums of 2009 that anyone who really loves great music (read:that which is most likely not on contemporary mainstream radio) must buy right now.Last year Caroline Herring topped my list (in a tie with Ben Sollee’s Learning to Bend) with her album Lantana, a record that I believe to be as packed with as many keen observations about humanity and the Gothic South as the best of Flannery O’Connor or Lucinda Williams.The standout track on that album, “Paper Gown,” a modern murder ballad about Susan Smith, is among the best songs I’ve ever heard in my life.I didn’t think she’d ever be able to outdo herself, but then she goes and records the best album of 2009, and a modern masterpiece:Golden Apples of the Sun.If there was any justice in this old world (and childre…