My Top Ten Favorite CDs of 2021

These are my favorite CDs released in 2021. My tastes lean towards Americana, roots, alt-country, and folk. In the case of close calls, I am likely to err on the side of the lesser-known performers who need more exposure.

You Get It All by Hayes Carll

"I can't say I ever sit down with the idea of writing a record. I just generally write to write."

"You Get It All"

All my tame and all my wild
All my man and all my child
All my faults and all my scars
All my sometimes lucky stars
All my joys and my regrets
All my old Guy Clark cassettes
I knew the night we met that you'd get it all

"When I was 14 years old, my grandfather lived in Waco and I was in Houston, but I spent a lot of time with him growing up," Carll recalls. "I remember, I was in his pickup truck, driving around town, and I was in the passenger seat. We were at a stoplight, and he turned to me and asked me where we were. It was a really frightening thing — I had no idea where we were. For the first time, I saw that he was scared and was lost."

"Help Me Remember"

And can you help me remember, I feel like I'm losing my mind
I know there's a story, it's getting harder to find
Did I protect my children, stand up for my friends?
What damage did I do, did I ever make amends?
Did I try to make a difference, did I give a damn?
Was I believer in God and His plan?
Did I light up your life like a full moonlight night in December?
Could you please help me remember?
I need you to help me remember

"It gets better and better, fortunately," Carll says with a slight chuckle as he acknowledges the journey he and Moorer have been on together. "I'm lucky because I enjoy spending time with her, regardless of what we're doing ... maybe with the exception of moving furniture. It's really rewarding getting to spend time doing creative work, because there's a connection that comes from that and it's one of my favorite things."

"She'll Come Back to Me"

It rains all day in the desert
And Elvis is alive
A circle's got four corners
And two plus two is five
I've never been hungover
And there ain't no fish in the sea
And she'll come back to me

"I feel like more than any batch of songs that I've written, these are a combination of trying to tell stories, trying to figure things out, and doing it all in a way that has this sort of classic sensibility," he says.

"If It Was Up to Me"

If it was up to me
The fish would all be biting
The words would not need writing
They'd just fall out of my pen

If it was up to me
My bank account would have more zeros
I'd be friends with all my heroes
And they'd call me now and then

[Chorus]
If it was up to me
I'd be living by the sea
And order extra rum with every single drink
I'd let it and the waves
Drown your memory
If it was up to me



Life and Times of a Handyman by Caleb Stine

Stine is known for his performance, songwriting, and visual art, and has released a dozen albums, opened shows for Jason Isbell and Sam Bush, acted Off-Broadway, and has even drawn story-boards for John Waters. He emerged from the historic Baltimore roots music scene.

“I like wood and acoustic sounds – music that could be made in any century.” The album features members of Baltimore’s roots-music collective and includes longtime collaborator Nick Sjostrom (bass, keys, vocals), the Honeydew Drop’s Kagey Parish (guitar, mandolin, vocals) Laura Wortman (banjo, guitar, vocals), and Audrey Hamilton (upright bass, fiddle, vocals).

"Just One Mistake"

Without mistakes where would I be?
Just a scruffy guy watching TV and drinkin’ beer
With no one here…
All my mistakes they turned out fine
I love my children and my wife
Maybe mistakes have what it takes
To help create our lives

“I think that’s one of the best parts about music, it is so vast and has such a deep history that you could spend five lifetimes getting new inspiration.” 

"Handyman"

Sometimes the part is new
Sometimes you gotta make due
It might take nails
It might take glue
But you can solve any problem if you think that you can
That’s the life and the time of a handyman

“It was like it was preordained,” remembers Stine about his musical start as a child in Colorado.  “My parents are sort of hippies, they are out in the woods, doing their thing. They are lovers of ideas and life.  One summer day when I was twelve I saw a guitar case in my parent’s room and I asked if I could get it out.  My mom who played a bit of guitar showed me four chords.  She left to go to the grocery store and I just kept playing and it just seemed natural to me that I was going to write a song.  It wasn’t even a thought; I just wrote a song with those four chords the way she showed me.  I was just very lucky, it was just there.”

"Colorado"

In Boulder they got the hippies
In Denver, they got the squares
And everybody up in the mountain
Is livin’ like they got no cares

She’s gone to Colorado where she belongs

“I like to produce songs that breathe and spit, and sometimes leave fresh wildflowers on your doorstep.”

“That is the coolest thing possible,” he says, “to meet and play for even just one person who says, ‘your music resonates with me and I want to buy your album.  I have built my life on playing music – all the time, so I am never going to sacrifice that.”

"Whiskey"

Thank you all
Who love and accept us
And we must thank those
Who seem to reject us
For we know that grace and humor will protect us
When we share whiskey for breakfast

A Horrible Beautiful Dream by Sean McConnell

“This period has forced everybody, internally and externally, globally and socially, to take a good look at our lives and examine it,” he continues. “Everything from our marriages to our workout routines,social injustice to planet politics and religion, spirituality and our internal environment…everything has come to the surface. It’s been the tipping point of so many things right now, so obviously that bleeds over into art and music.”

"I Still Believe"

I still remember when I chose to pull the thread
Unlearning every word that I had ever read
Started a civil war between my heart and head
Oh and I have my days I wish I could go back again

[Chorus]
Nothing is easy now, not like it was before
I built my world around something not there anymore
And when it all fell down I found it was never true
Don't know what I believe but I still believe in you

“My songs were starting to venture into the grit, the gray area of just trying to be okay with not having all the answers,” McConnell says. “In fact, we have very little of the answers and we have even less control than we ever thought we did.

“Instead of that being a bad thing, finding some sort of weird peace in that it kind of takes the pressure off your shoulders in a way.”

"What the Hell is Wrong With Me"

Well, the first thing I remember is hidin' from a storm
They say I've been frightened since the day that I was born
One time they found me cryin', asked me what was wrong
I said, "I'm afraid of Heaven 'cause forever's way too long"
What the hell is wrong with me?

“If there was something to be written on my tombstone, it would be ‘He searched very hard,” Sean muses. "My mom was someone who really nurtured her kids to question and be okay with questions. The quest for whatever this is,” he gestures broadly, “is a major, major drive in my life and also in my music. I think that’s pretty blatantly on display in this record.”

"Remember You're Here"

Coffee cups and cigarettes
Hell, I'll take what I can get
To calm my heart and ease my mind
Don't know how it got off track
Don't know how to get it back
Or if we even should this time

[Chorus]
The world is always going crazy
And we get lost inside the fear
Between the what was and what may be
Don't forget to remember you're here

“It’s only happened a handful of times, I woke up with most of that song written in my mind,” Sean says. “I’m just like every other artist right now…I went from missing shows and audiences and that high to missing a shitty green room, drinking a beer. It’s something that we can easily take for granted and I’m guilty of that for sure.”

"As the Curtain Came Down"

If I would have known
As the curtain came down
It would stay there for years
I'd have turned right around
Told the boys to keep playing
'Til I wore my voice out
Oh, if I would have known
As the curtain came down



The Horses and the Hounds by James McMurtry

“There’s a definite Los Angeles vibe to this record,” McMurtry says. “The ghost of Warren Zevon seems to be stomping around among the guitar tracks. Don’t know how he got in there. He never signed on for work for hire.”

McMurtry recorded the new album with legendary producer Ross Hogarth at Jackson Browne’s Groovemaster’s in Santa Monica, California. Hogarth recorded McMurtry’s first two albums, and Too Long in the WastelandCandyland, for Columbia Records and later mixed McMurtry’s first self-produced album, Saint Mary of the Woods, for Sugar Hill Records.

"To me, it was just about inner demons. You know, horses and hounds are what you use to chase foxes or fugitives."

"Bleed" he calls “a fairly upbeat” number though “it does retain the air of cynicism of a typical McMurtry song.

"If It Don't Bleed"

Looking back down the road from a little ways out
I never had a fear and I never had a doubt
If I'd had a lick of sense I'd have figured that out pretty fast
But I wasn't any smarter than the average kid
Somebody might have noticed but I never did
I never saw the future fading right into the past

“I work in rhyme and meter,” he said. “That’s what I do.”

"Operation Never Mind"

We got an operation goin' on
It don't have to trouble me and you
The country boys will do the fighting
Now that fighting's all a country boy can do
We got a handle on it this time
No one's gonna tell us we were wrong
We won't let the cameras near the fighting
That way we won't have another Vietnam

"I just heard that in my head (losing my glasses) and I needed a chorus and I just stuck it in there as a placeholder for whenever I got the real chorus. Then I played it for the guys and they liked it as is. So that saved me some work, and I thought, I’ll just leave it in."

"Ft. Walton Wakeup Call (Keep Losing my Glasses)"

She woke up mad, she's trying to pick a fight
Got a phone to my ear 'cause I'm trying to book a flight
And she's crazy as a goddamned loon
And the airline's drowning in the belly of the beast
And they're all bogged down from the weather in the east
And we're not going anywhere soon

“This record has affected a lot of people more than some of my others. I don’t know if it has to do with, you know, they were shut in for a long time. A lot of this material is age specific. It’s Baby Boomer stuff, and those are the people that are really singing along,” McMurtry said. “The nature of any song’s popularity is the listener’s ability to hear his or herself in the song.”

"What's the Matter"

The dryer's broke down and the kids all cryin'
It's pourin' down rain and there's clothes on the line
I don't know what to tell you, don't know what to say
How'm I gonna fix it, I'm a thousand miles away?

I get to travel and you gotta stay home
You'rе gettin' tired of raisin' them kids alone
I know it ain't easy, I know it ain't fair
You keep sayin' I never take you anywhere



Come Around by Rob Lutes

Recorded at six different studios due to COVID-19 restrictions, Come Around represents Rob Lutes' vision for a sort of freedom that can come through struggles large and small. “We had to make adjustments in the way we did this album. We couldn't be together,” Lutes said. “But from across the country, we found a synergy through these songs. It is as if we are in the room."

'Knives' felt very much like a pandemic thing, but I found it in a book of lyrics from years ago. I was sitting in the living room and playing with it a little bit and I said [to my wife Monique], ‘You want to work on it with me?’ She’s written about five tunes with me, and it was just the right time."

"Knives"

This thing is eating away at me
From the inside to further in
Darkness striking at the heart of me
Started like a sliver in my skin
Hell, I don't know
I guess I'd scream if I knew what to say
Tell me that it ain't so
And help me put the knives away

As a press release notes, “Lutes finds hope of freedom in imagination and the natural world.” One good example of that: the sprightly “That Bird Has My Wings,” which shows off his fingerstyle guitar and a lyric inspired by the autobiography of the same name by Jarvis Jay Masters, who has been on death row in California’s San Quentin prison for 29 years for a murder he insists he did not commit.

"That Bird Has My Wings"

Please don't harm that pretty little bird
That bird has my wings
Has my wings while I mend
Holds my wings just like a friend
Knows my wings are gonna bend, but they will never break
I can't pretend to have a clue about the end
But I choose to trust and try everyday
It's a matter of time until love will light my way
When I can barely breathe, I will remember
To raise my little voice up and sing

“If you want to take someone somewhere in a song, you need to work on how to get them there. A certain amount of vagueness is OK in a song, but I think you need to work on your lyrics to the point where people can be touched by it. It’s not about understanding. It’s more about being hit emotionally by it.”

"Shediac Bridge"

I'm going down to the shore
I'm gonna live like before
I'm gonna take that old familiar drive down the 134
Chez Leo for some clams
Flood my memory, break the dams
By the time they bring my order, I'll remember who I am
It's still single file to cross, it's where we learned how to get lost when we were kids
In that slow summer heat, climbing up in our barefeet, and jumping off the Shediac Bridge

“If you’ve worked on writing something properly, then the reader will have an easy time,” he said from his home. ” It’s the same with music. It’s like, ‘hard writing makes easy listening.’”

"Work of Art"

If I was going to tell you what I think, I would have told you long ago
The night we walked out in the snow
I was fumbling but you did not know
If I was going to tell you what I think, I would have told you on that hill
When the night was cool and still
There was a silence dying to be filled
If I was going to tell you what I think, I would have told you something true
But then I had to think it through
What it would mean to me and to you



Ten Thousand Roses by Dori Freeman

She wrote the songs during the pandemic, when, like millions of others, she stayed home and spent more time outside.

She says a common theme in her music has always been "dealing with relationships and breakups, and wanting to be strong and independent, but also wanting to have a partner through things."

"Get You Off of My Mind"

Can't you just admit it
It's grown hard to ignore
I've been barking up your tree
You're knocking at my door

I waded in the water, breathed the mountain air
tried to cleanse my mind of you, but you're still swimming there
Do you find it comfortable roaming through my head
going through the catalogues of things we left unsaid

Now, why can't I get you off of my mind

“I really observed and appreciated nature during that time,” she says. "Natural elements such as storm-clouds, wildflowers, and spiders show up as motifs throughout the record, which examines everything from being deeply in love with someone to realizing that you don’t need another person to complete you."

"The Storm"

He'll never change, you'll realise it
He'll rearrange just to disguise it
Feel the sun while you still can
Now you're done, you don't need no man

[Chorus]
When you gonna let him go?
Listen to the rain and the rollin' thunder
Honey don't you know
That he's waitin' on the flood to pull you under?
Don't you let the storm win
Don't let, don't let it, don't let the storm win
Don't let, don't let it, don't let the storm win

“This record is more electric and has a grungier feel than my previous albums,” says Freeman.  “I wanted it to be pretty drum and percussion heavy, which is why I asked my husband/drummer Nicholas Falk to produce it.”

"I Am"

I ain't a good girl, though everybody thinks I am
I got a mind that's dirty as the bottom of a coffee can
Untied what a wide-eyed thing I am
I am I am I am

“I don't necessarily love the attention of being on stage, which is pretty ironic, given the nature of the job,” she said. “So that is challenging still, for me. It's gotten easier. I love the songwriting aspect. I love the singing. I mean, those are the reasons that I do it.”

"Almost Home"

Left my home with a fiddle on my back
Buttoned up, put my pennies in a stack
Every night I remember what you said
While layin' in our bed

Empty mind, empty pocket
Empty space to roam
Don’t leave me out of your locket
With you I'm always home

“I play electric guitar on this record, which I’ve not done in the past. I usually just play acoustic. I wrote some little guitar riffs, which is something very out of my comfort zone.”

"Nobody Nothin''"

You don’t owe nobody nothin’
You built yourself right up from the ground
You don’t owe nobody nothin’
Now ring the bell and make a joyful sound.

“Don’t go trying to please anybody
Unless somebody is pleasing you too.



Chasing Old Highs by Ross Cooper

Ross Cooper grew up surrounded by the melancholy of Lubbock, Texas, floating between his love of horses and song. Watching and listening, he developed an alternative western songwriting style rooted in the craft of the great Lone Star writers Robert Earl Keen and Townes Van Zandt, tempered by a Springsteen-style spirit of the lost road – and anchored by a musical soundtrack sparkling like the big, bright stars at night. Never has that sound been more apparent than on his album Chasing Old Highs.

"Chasing Old Highs"

Am I just another fool who thinks he can do this forever
These cheap hotels are starting to feel like home
I got just enough to fill up half a dresser
and the other half reminds me I'm alone

I'm just chasing old highs and hitting new lows
Big bright lights, old rodeos
That thrill, that rush aint brought me much
but scars and broken bones
Chasing old highs and hitting new lows

"Oscar Charles, my producer, inherently knows songs, and I knew I wanted the sound to match the songs above all else. A single-coil Telecaster and that J-50 really defined so much," Cooper shares. "The Tele gave it some of that desert sound, maybe a little retro Romanticism, but it was that old acoustic guitar that set the stage ... We loved the sound of that guitar so much that we let it lead the way."

“I’ve heard Lubbock described as an island surrounded by dirt. And you can’t argue that, but there’s something you can feel in the air. There’s such a rich heritage; it’s one of those things. It’s a hard land, and hard people," Cooper says of his hometown. "You won’t find better folks anywhere. They’re tough, and have learned to outlast the weather."

"South of the Angels"

Well, I come from a wayward wind
Just outside of nowhere
I was born when she blew in
son of an old blue norther

Hoo--oo-oo, they say nobody makes it here
Hoo-oo-oo, this American frontier
It feels like home in a hell
But we're still down here south of the angels

I rodeo’d professionally until I moved to Nashville. In a lot of ways, that feels like a lifetime ago. I can’t imagine doing anything else now. It was always music.  Ultimately, being a real-life cowboy wasn’t the path Cooper wanted to tread. He’s a storyteller at heart, one who found the call of music far more potent than his time on broncs - all thanks to his songwriter mother and an affinity for legendary truthtellers like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.

I’m more creative when I’m motivated. Sometimes sadness fuels inspiration, and sometimes happiness does. It’s not one without the other. I used to think I had to be sad to write my favorite songs, and I’m so glad that I was wrong.

"Hello Sunshine"

Another morning come 'round
Another day above ground
I loaded up the coffe pot
and drained it while it still was hot
and found a brand new sound

I peeled back the shade
and said some thing that I needed to say
good bye darkness, I'll save you for a rainy day
So long sadness, I never liked you anyway

"I’m not a fluff type of guy. There is a time for happiness, but I think the best songs that I have written have come from some kind of anguish or mental despair.  I am really happy, and I love what I’m doing but the songs don’t come as easy. That’s such a funny thing to me. This has been a good year for reflection too."


"A Long Way From a Long Way Home"

They pull the gate
when I gave the nod
for another eight
Well, I prayed to God
And what goes up, I guess it comes down
'Cause it's an awful long fall from grace back to the ground
And the tatse of blood mixed-up with dirt
Them broken bones never used to hurt



Never Too Late to Call by Paul Thorn

"A little over a year ago my sister passed away from cancer, but one of the things that I loved about her was any hour of the night I could call her, and she'd be awake. I would often apologize and say, 'Deborah, I'm sorry I'm calling you so late.' More than once she said, 'Don't worry, it's never too late to call.' Such a comforting thing to have somebody that you can reach out to at any hour. I miss my sister, and I think about her, and this song is for her memory. This song will live forever."

“I actually had finished the album before COVID hit,” said Thorn. “Everything was put down and we were done with it but once COVID hit and we couldn’t tour, there was no reason to put it out right away. And then personally, I had COVID twice and the first time was really bad. The second time I had it was only a couple days and not so bad. But I survived and I am thankful for that, because a lot of friends and fans I knew didn’t.”

"What I Could Do"

What I could do, if I didn't love you
What I could do if I didn't hurt you
If I wasn't dying from this broken heart, I'd be as good as new
Oh, what I could do, if I didn't love you

Thorn is a former professional boxer who retired with a 10-3 record as a middleweight, and fought Roberto Duran in Atlantic City (losing by TKO after the sixth round). After that Thorn worked in a furniture factory for years before his musical abilities led to his debut album in 1997.

"Sapalo"

We got in some trouble, we did a little time
It's good to be free, but we don't a dime
Ain't no time to sit around feeling insecure
The band's back together we're going on a tour

“Well, "Breaking Up" is just about the struggles you have in any marriage,” Thorn said. “You can love each other but still get into it and need a short break. When I was writing it, she kept hearing what I was writing and singing along to it, so I thought, ‘Why not have her sing it with me? What better partner could I have for that duet?’

"Breaking Up for Good Again"

We've been here before, that slamming door
ain't nothing new
You'll stay with a friend, I'll pout some gin
to forget you
We both try to move on, but we don't stay gone
too long

Chrous
We're just breaking up for good again
It's over but it never ends
We both want out, then we want back in again
We're just breaking up for good again

Thorn regrets he didn’t get a chance to do more duets with one of his role models, the late John Prine.

“I had this song ‘You Mess Around and Get a Buzz,' and I’d been talking to John down in the Dominican Republic when we were both there and he said he’d sing on my album,” Thorn said. “But then COVID got ahold of him and we lost him. There’s a reason John Prine was so beloved: He was the kind of character, like Muhammad Ali or Mr. Rogers, who made everyone feel special. I didn’t want to do a duet with him because he was better than me but just because we both felt it would be a fun moment.”

"Apple Pie Moonshine"

I am not gonna lie, your lips taste good to me
It is impossible to kiss you moderately
You keep me coming back for more time after time
You're sweet and addictive like apple pie moonshine

chorus
I think too fast, I drink too much
I cannot seem to get enough
You burn like whiskey, you're sweet than wine
Damn you apple pie moonshine



River Fools & Mountain Saints by Ian Noe

Ian Noe claims John Prine gave him the best advice: Write about what you know.  Noe knows about Lee County, Kentucky, the everyday objects in his songs, and the despair and hopes of the characters who populate most of his songs. .

"I can see the image clearly because I grew up around it. It’s fulfilling to write about something you know, and you can get a feeling out of it. My home is precious to me. All that stuff I grew up around is precious to me. It means a lot, and I want to do it justice. And that’s really it."

"Mountain Saint"

She lays her head
In the Blue Ridge mountains
Covered up in the yellow pine
Running trails where there ain't no traveling
Up to the brush creek line
20 miles down a dead-end holler
To meet a man
For the whole year's haul
Through the mud and that sulfur water
Down where the panthers bawl

“That title did absolutely everything to me, it was the fuel,” the 31-year-old Noe told Rolling Stone. “I could split up two sides of the record. It was the same concept as Between the Country, which was literally everything between all the places I’ve lived. But it’s a more updated version, and it was broader.”

Noe completed and recorded the album during a pandemic. “I wanted to start the record off with the words ‘stranded inside a madhouse,’ just like we all were for the longest time,” he says.  The song "Pine Grove (Mad House)” is a nod to that.

"As Lonesome as It Gets"

No more fire to raise the crane
No more track to hold the train
Everything that I thought was love
Is looking like regret

And I used to have some sense of self
But I don't know where it went
Feel like a clown 'neath a paper crown
Juggling in an empty tent
I've wore my feet up a many street
And still ain't found it yet
Ain't that about as lonesome as it gets?

"One of the main journeys I tried to force myself to get on between ‘Between The Country’ and ‘River Fools & Mountain Saints’ is starting out a song in a standard chord, no minor chords. I have a habit of wanting to go to a minor chord if I’m starting to write a song. I love minor chords, I love fingerpicking’ minor chords, there is no end to the dark shit you can get to when you start out in A minor. I consciously tried to stay away from that this time around."

"Road May Flood"

This road may flood tonight
If I heard the weatherman right
I ain't seen a cloud in sight
The whole damn day

There ain't a soul in this old coal town
It's quiet on the courthouse grounds
Just empty cars with windows down -
I guess it's on its way

Noe lists Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and John Prine as his "Big Three" for getting him in and trying to figure out how to write a song in three and a half minutes.

"Ballad of a Retired Man"

They spent the night on the front porch
Weighing every chance
He said that old clock's ticking
Better learn to dance

They drove him out to the desert
Seeking nothing new
He tried the cures in the valley
And rеligion, too

According to reports, Noe had to cancel and postpone the later part of his tour for this album because of a fall which caused a broken wrist and some other injuries.  Recuperation and convalescence  have taken longer than expected and may have caused mental health issues as well.  Hoping for a full recovery and bounce back for this awesome young artist.



Lately by Lilly Hiatt

Hiatt grew up in Nashville on a farm with her father, his third wife Nancy Stanley Hiatt, older brother Rob, and younger sister Georgia Rae.  Lately is her fifth solo album.  It was born out of the isolation imposed by the 2020 pandemic which cancelled her tour for her previous album, Walking Proof.

"Loneliness was a way of life,” She says. “I have always felt lonely, but never gone to the depths of solitude that I had in 2020.”

"I cleaned my house a ton — I had a really clean house,” she recalls.

"Been"

And if you ever come out with me
You'll love all that you see
Not meant to stay in one place
Stillness just steals my grace
I say a little thank you
To every reverie
Cleaning up the counters
And wondering who to be

"As a means of keeping sane, I started to write songs," Hiatt explains in a press release. "Some of them sucked. I kept doing it though, because I had nothing else to fill my cup."

“I was writing because I love to and I was bored, which I realize is a luxury, but I had to do something with myself,” says Hiatt. “To go from being all over the place and then to not, it just felt counterintuitive to me. I like to move around and, really, I was irritated that I couldn’t enjoy this space that I had to just be. ’Cause you don’t always get that.”

"Stop"

I can't stop
I couldn't even if I wanted to
Look out the window, my van's in the driveway
All I do is dream about you

There's nothing unique
About what I'm gonna speak
I think you're perfect
And you deserve it
Everything I ever wanted
Dream about you
Everything I ever wanted
I see you every night, I really do

“I think that I put the majority of my energy into my musical life and I still give a lot to that, of course, and I always will,” she says. “But my eyes opened to the fact that the things that feed that musical life … there’s a lot more to it than just the songs themselves or the albums themselves. There’s a whole world outside of it that needs nurturing. Finding a place there is liberating, cause you’re like, ‘It’s here, it’s always here and I don’t need to put all these parts into place to make anything happen. I just have to live.’”

“(Her dad) has had a lot to say,” she says. “But usually he emphasizes the importance of the music, and kind of keeping that at the forefront of things, regardless of where everything else is in the world.”

"Peach"

I can't believe that I let it win
And you were always there saying “try again”
But I can't be the only bruised peach
Sometimes you were hard to reach

[Chorus]
Orange sky tonight
Creepin' through the branches, I'll still fight
And you won't do anything
You say, “I hope you find peace”
And that'll mean nothing

“It made me excited about my own songs again,” Hiatt says of the song, "Last Tear."

"Last Tear"

I read some letters that I shouldn't have seen
I didn't tell anyone anything
Should I just throw 'em out or put 'em in a drawer?
It's nothing that I haven't wondered before

[Chorus]
I see you far away
But we don't talk about it
What else is there to say?
Already heard about it
Reliving every night does nothing at all
When will the last tear fall?


Honorable Mention:

The Day the Earth Stood Still by Willie Nile

The Departure by Henhouse Prowlers

Sharecropper's Son by Robert Finley

Treasure of Love by The Flatlanders