Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2001



By Steve Newton

Cranky bugger that I am, I often use my allotted space to vent my displeasure with the popular, live music–killin’ DJ scene, but this year I don’t feel like it. Oops, what’s that down there in my Strokes entry?

John Hammond Wicked Grin  The acoustic-blues veteran hooks up with Tom Waits and Waits’s ace band for a gritty excursion into the deathless songs of Tom.

Buddy Guy Sweet Tea  Chicago blues legend tries his hand at the North Mississippi hill-country style, and comes up with feverish reworkings of gems by Junior Kimbrough, James “T-Model” Ford, and Robert Cage.

Greg Koch The Grip!  Move over, Satriani and Beck—my new guitar hero is Milwaukee’s Greg Koch, whose debut on Steve Vai’s Favored Nations label is an astounding fusion of rock, blues, jazz, and country. As he puts it in the liner notes, “Imagine Chet Hendrix meeting the Kings (Albert, Freddie, B.B.) at the first annual ‘Zeppelin/Holdsworth Coffee Guzzler’s Hoedown’.”

Graham Parker Deepcut to Nowhere  It’s been nearly 20 years since “Temporary Beauty”, but the British singer-songwriter-guitarist can still cut to the quick with razor-sharp lyrics and hook-filled tunes.

The Strokes Is This It  Finally, a straightforward guitar-bass-drums act comes along to steal some of the thunder from DJ Jerkaround and MC Moronic. Thanks, New York.

John Hiatt The Tiki Bar Is Open  The deep-voiced tunesmith reunites with his old band the Goners—including slide-guitar ace Sonny Landreth—for a magnificent roots-rock rave-up.

Don Ross Huron Street  The Canadian acoustic-guitar wizard retools some of his previously recorded works and comes up with a passion-driven testament to the beauty of the unplugged axe.

Weezer Weezer  Singer-songwriter Rivers Cuomo is a nerdy grunge-pop genius—as “Island in the Sun” attests—and having the Cars’ Ric Ocasek in the producer’s chair doesn’t hurt, either.

Pete Yorn musicforthemorningafter  The 27-year-old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from New Jersey makes a wonderful impression with his debut CD, which brings to mind the lyrical sincerity and melodic jangle of ’80s college rock.

Bob Dylan Love and Theft  His voice sounds as rough-hewn as his craggy face, but Dylan hits the mark with a blues-laced disc that’s his best since Infidels.

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