Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2010



By Steve Newton

Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do “Birthday Boy” has to be the greatest rock song of the year, and it’s no surprise it was written and sung by the underrated Mike Cooley. The other main DBT tunesmith, Patterson Hood, does his part as well, especially on the booze-fuelled “The Fourth Night of My Drinking” and the true-life murdered-preacher tale “The Wig He Made Her Wear”.

Buddy Guy Living Proof  On the opening track, “74 Years Young”, the Chicago blues legend shows he’s still a potent force of nature by unleashing a fierce barrage of blues-metal licks that would make Hendrix weep—or at least jam along. Nobody does it better, although B. B. King and Carlos Santana show up to offer some fancy fretwork as well.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Mojo  I don’t know if Tom Petty ever misplaced his mojo, but he’s definitely got it working on this primo collection of bluesy rock tunes that showcase the guitar work of Mike Campbell.

Joe Satriani Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards  Satch didn’t put out an album in 2009, but he’s more than made up for that with these 11 startling tracks of strange and beautiful guitar music, coproduced with Langley’s own Mike Fraser.

Ronnie Earl Spread the Love  His name isn’t as familiar as Clapton, Beck, or Page, but Ronnie Earl is another blues-based guitarist who makes magic whenever his finger touches a fret, as proven by these 14 smouldering instrumentals.

Sora Desire and Truth  I got turned on to local rock-guitar wizard Erol Sora and his Gary Moore fetish when he released his Demented Honour album back in 2005. On his latest release he continues his passionate revival of melodic ’70s hard rock in the company of stalwart Vancouverites Jason Solyom (drums), Brendan Mooney (bass), and Gregory MacDonald (keys).

Black Country Communion Black Country Communion  Rock supergroups come and go, but this one—composed of bassist-vocalist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), guitar hero Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham (son of Zeppelin’s John), and former Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian—has the tunes and talent to last.

Joe Bonamassa Black Rock  Before he joined up with Black Country Communion, Bonamassa made a name for himself as a blues-based artist with guitar skills up the ying-yang. His latest solo release displays his formidable chops via a collection of originals and covers of Blind Boy Fuller, Otis Rush, and John Hiatt. Bonamassa’s idol, B. B. King, shows up to put a soulful shine on Willie Nelson’s “Night Life”.

John Hiatt The Open Road  The 58-year-old songwriting legend goes to town on a bare-bones collection of rootsy rockers and heartfelt ballads. The title track is particularly killer.

The Telepathic Butterflies Wow & Flutter!  Groovy quartet from Winnipeg brilliantly updates the psychedelic British jangle pop of the ’60s.

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