Folk & Country 2011: 16 Best Albums

Page 5

5. Snailhouse Sentimental Gentleman (White Whale)
Having put in time re-drawing the boundaries of independent post-rock with seminal Ottawa outfit the Wooden Stars and acting as atmospheric guitar slinger for fellow Canadian acts Kepler and Bell Orchestre, Mike Feuerstack has steadily committed his most personal material to record as Snailhouse all the while. This year's Sentimental Gentleman feels like a culmination of sorts, containing Feuerstack's strongest collection of songs to date. His roots as a folk storyteller inform the basic structure of these pieces, with "Great Storytellers" acting as a kind of statement of intent, careful finger picking and conversational lyrics at the forefront. Elsewhere, Feuerstack builds elaborate layers of psychedelic guitar sounds around sophisticated chord sequences and picking patterns containing hints of classic pop and world folk without straying too far from a roots music base. Graceful slide guitar supports beautiful vocal phrases, with wry wit balancing yearning romanticism in Feuerstack's stories. In some ways, Sentimental Gentleman is most comparable to Wilco at their least pop-orientated. Few artists can so comfortably marry the musical ideals of classic Americana with wildly inventive and exploratory instrumental manipulation and Feuerstack accomplishes that here with aplomb, creating an album of such melodic strength that it should appeal to anyone who loves great songwriting, regardless of genre.
Scott A. Gray

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Elliot Brood's Days Into Years not in the top 16? Someone's not paying attention
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Where's the new Matt Andersen album? Surprised it doesn't make it after two great album reviews!
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I agree with the poseur above. This list should be invalidated for not including Elliott Brood. For shame, Exclaim. They are one of Canada's most excellent bands.
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Has anyone heard of Fleet Foxes ?
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Where is Chuck Ragan??

Sure he isn't playing popular hipster folk like The Decemberists or Dan Mangan, but he not only won over the oft picky punk crowds with his hints of bluegrass & gritty folk, he is also promoting the most interesting folk in the genre with his brilliant Revival Tour!

I would also argue that Trampled By Turtles and Blackie & the Rodeo Kings are obvious exclusions.
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all the bands your talking about suck
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Um, Fleet Foxes? Helplessness Blues? You know, the best album of the year? You may have heard of it?
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I'd also add William Elliott Whitmore to the list.
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maybe bruce cockburn, you know that dude that just won an award for best folk album yesterday. Jenn Grant? Please. I dig Chuck Ragan. I like most of this list though.
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William Elliott Whitmore!!!!! ya!!!!
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Article Published In Dec 11 Issue