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45 "Interesting and Significant" Albums for 45 Years.
This list consists of the albums began as a features on Mixed Bag during April
2003, as part of WVIA-FM's 30th anniversary month. WVIA-FM first signed on
April 23, 1973. George Graham, who turned on the transmitter for the first time
that day, compiled a series of 30 interesting and significant albums, one from
each year of WVIA-FM's existence, and played a track from each on the program
during the month.
The list has been updated to reflect the 45 years of Mixed Bag marked in 2019.
The albums are selected on the basis of their musical qualities, from among the
styles featured on Mixed Bag, which itself dates back to June 1973. Some of the
crteria: commercial hits avoided (What's the point of playing the same old
albums again?), and no artist or group is repeated.
(c) Copyright 2019 George D. Graham. All rights reseved.
1973: John Prine: Sweet Revenge. A great 60-70s generation singer-songwriter at
- 1974: Frank Zappa: Apostrophe'. Zappa combines both his humorous, quirky
outlook, more approachable sound and great musicianship.
- 1975: Ambrosia: Ambrosia. Outstanding American Art-Rock band produced by Alan
- 1976: Joni Mitchell: Hejira. My favorite Joni Mitchell album. Stark and
introspective, as well as musically interesting.
- 1977: Happy the Man: Happy the Man. Superb art rock group from Washington, DC
area. Non-pariel musicianship as well as impressive compositions.
- 1978: Pat Metheny Group: Pat Metheny Group. Debut of the most Grammy-winning
fusion artist's Group. Defined an entirely new electric jazz-rock sound.
- 1979: David Grisman: Hot Dawg. The album that started the New Acoustic music
scene, combining the instrumentation of bluegrass with the musical complexity
- 1980: Steely Dan: Gaucho. The last before the band broke up for almost 20
years. Typically great writing and stellar musicianship.
- 1981: King Crimson: Discipline. Fascinating incarnation of venerable British
Art Rock band, with lineup including guitarist Adrian Belew and bassist Tony
- 1982: XTC: English Settlement. Probably the finest from the venerable and always
creative British band.
- 1983: Chris Caswell/Danny Carnahan: Borderlands. Fine acoustic/Celtic/folk
album with outstanding songwriting.
- 1984: Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak. Very creative early use of sampling,
and interesting musical narratives.
- 1985: Suzanne Vega: Suzanne Vega. Debut by an artist who three years later would help to
revive the singer-songwriter scene.
- 1986: Paul Simon: Graceland. Creative blend of American and World music. Was a
catalyist for the still popular World Music scene in the US.
- 1987: John Hiatt: Bring the Family. An all-around great rock & roll
songwriter album. Still the best by the veteran performer.
- 1988: Tracy Chapman: Tracy Chapman. One of the few "hit" albums on this list, its place is
well-deserved. Impressive debut by another artist who helped to revive the
- 1989: Strength In Numbers: The Telluride Sessions All-star New Acoustic "summit," with Bela Fleck,
Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor and Russ Barenberg. Probably some of
the finest "picking" in recorded history.
- 1990: Rob Mounsey & Flying Monkey Orchestra: Dig. One of the most creative
electronic music albums ever. Excellent compositions, sound design and some
- 1991: Merchants of Venus: Merchants of Venus. Only known recording by one of the best pop-rock
bands since the Beatles. One of the most nearly perfect albums combining great
songwriting, superb production, and a rare combination of the tasteful and
- 1992: Lyle Lovett: Joshua Judges Ruth. Lovett could be on this list several
years, but this his is definitive recording, combining his witty songwriting,
ecelctic blend of jazz and country, and outstanding musicinship. This CD is
also an audiophile masterpiece.
- 1993: Freddie Jones Band: Waiting for the Night. Impressive studio album by one
of the best jam bands of the 1990s.
- 1994: Jeff Buckley: Grace. Impressive recording by an artist, whose career,
like that of his father Tim Buckley, was cut short by a premature death. The
younger Buckley has his father's vocal abilities and wide ranging musical
- 1995: Neal Casal: Fade Away Diamond Time. Outstanding debut by talented rock
singer-songwriter who later would appear on Homegrown Music series.
- 1996: Naked to the World: Pilgrim's Kiss. Fine California folk-rock group with
- 1997: Scott Henderson: Tore Town House. Virtuosic electric guitar in blues,
rock, fusion with some humorous moments.
- 1998: The String Cheese Incident: A String Cheese Incident. Amazing live album
by arguably the best rock jam band of all time.
- 1999: Kelly Joe Phelps: Shine Eyed Mister Zen. Remarkable blend of bluesy slide
acoustic guitar with very interesting songwriting.
- 2000: Nickel Creek: Nickel Creek. National debut by one of the finest young bluegrass bands, featuring a young Chris Thile.
to emerge from the second generation of New Acoustic musicians.
- 2001: Duncan Sheik: Phantom Moon. Pop star creates wonderfully brooding album
heavily influenced by Nick Drake.
- 2002: Cassandra Wilson: Belly of the Sun. Jazz singer does remarkably eclectic
set of folk, blues, and classic rock songs, all in striking versions.
- 2003: Louis Windsberg: Jaleo. A fascinating and invigorating mix of flamenco and jazz-rock fusion.
- 2004: Kila: Luna Park A very creative blend of art-rock and Celtic from a family band from Ireland.
- 2005: Various Artists: Our New Orleans 2005. A great multi-artist tribute to the Crescent City in the wake to Hurricane Katrina.
- 2006: Merrie Amsterburg: Clementine and Other Stories. Distintive Boston areqa singer-songwriter does very creative versions of traditional songs.
- 2007: Marcus Eaton: Story of Now. Idaho singer-songwriter who brings a kind of sophisticated art-rock sensibility to his work. Would later go on to work the David Crosby.
- 2008: Crooked Still: Still CrookedSophisticated and eclectic acoustic folk-influenced group from New England, featuring vocalist Aoife O'Donovan.
- 2009: Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart: the Africa Sessions. Eclectic banjo virtuoso goes to Africa and collaborates with numerous musicians. Great results.
- 2010: Bobby McFerrin: VOCAbularieS A cappella vocal wizard works with dozens of other singers and some amazing arrangements for one of most striking all-vocal music anywhere.
- 2011: Gillian Welch: The Harrow and the Harvest. Ms. Welch and her musical partner David Rawlings managed to create haunting original music that sounds like 100-year-old folk ballads.
- 2012: Weaver at the Loom: Before Now, Was Then Creative semi-electronic pop singer-songwriter, brilliantly executed.
- 2013: Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer: Child Ballads Independent singer-songwriters work together a fine update to the traditional British Isles ballads collected by Francis James Child in the 1800s. Ms. Mitchell would go on to create the hit Broadway musical "Hadestown."
- 2014: The Currys: Follow Two brothers and a cousin create very appealing folky original music with the kind of vocals that comes from growing up together.
- 2015: Tigran Hamasyan: Mockroot. Intensely sophisticated fusion, rock and world music from Armenian born pianist who goes in for intricate rhythms, like 35-beat meters. Heavy listening but definitely worth it.
- 2016: Jacob Collier: In My Room. Brilliant debut by young English multi-instrumentalist, for whom MIT created a special vocal harmony synthesizer.
- 2017: Kronos Quartet: Folk Songs. Veteran eclectic string quartet does traditional songs in the company of four interesting vocalists.
- 2018: Gabriel Kahane: Book of Travelers. A plaintive-sounding solo album with piano accompaniment from a remarkably versatile artist who also creates classical music and works in everything from jazz to bluegrass.
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This page last updated December 30, 2019