These are the CD's that I couldn't stop listening to this year.
1. Fiona Apple -- Extraordinary Machine I want so badly to not like Fiona Apple. It really isn't music I would normally go for. But I think the fact that her signature sound is so unique draws me to it. This cd is fun and the lyrics are so much more complex and creative then most of the yawn-inducing lyrics that come out these days. Make sure you listen to -- Not About Love.
2. Damien Rice -- O This is the best soothing acoustic folk CD that has come along in years. I love folk music. This CD fulfills that need for soft music and beautiful melodies. Damien Rice has a soothing tenor voice that matches the subtle guitar work. Make sure you listen to -- The Blower's Daughter, Delicate, and Cannonball.
3. Amos Lee -- Amos Lee Soul music is back! This is a truly brilliant album. Amos Lee has a great soul/folk sound that is rare. Go out and buy this album. It's an innovative sound. You know it's a good album when you have Norah Jones playing back up on a few of the tracks...they make a good combination. Make sure you listen to -- Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight and Seen It All Before.
4. Josh Groban -- Closer I can't help it, I love a great sounding voice and Josh Groban has just that. Some of the songs on here are corny but the majority are just beautiful melodies and great arrangements. Make sure you listen to -- Remember When It Rained and You Raise Me Up.
5. Fernando Ortega -- Fernando Ortega What can I say? I have been a fan of Fernando Ortega for a long time and he never disappoints. He has that smooth sound and gentle piano style that eases the mind. My favorite part about Fernando's albums is that he always puts a few standard hymns on there. The hymns are always done in the style that they were written and not dumbed down to try to appeal to a modern audience. Make sure you listen to -- All That Time, More Love To Thee, and Rock Of Ages.
6. David Gray -- Life In Slow Motion His last CD was over produced and boring. So he decided to totally redeem himself with this album. It's the best album out of Briton this year and the best folk/pop album this year period. Make sure you listen to -- Hospital Food and Ain't No Love.
7. Shane & Shane -- An Evening With Shane & Shane I can honestly say that modern day Christian worship music is close to bankruptcy. Most of the time the lyrics could be written by a 1st grader and the music is so void of substance that it's hard to get into a worshipful attitude even in church. This album restores my hope in worship music. Shane Bernard is so talented. His voice is pure sounding and his guitar skills are top notch. Most of the lyrics for the music that Shane Bernard brings are straight from God's word. In fact a lot of them are Psalms. That's what worship music needs. Truth comes from the Word. So often young songwriters rely on overly simplistic and repetitive lyrics...Not so with Shane & Shane and for that I'm grateful. Make sure you listen to -- Yearn, Psalm 13, Psalm 145, and Name Sake.
There were more CD's this year that I enjoy but I'll leave it at a top 7. Let's hope 2006 brings more good music.