Category Archives: Songwriters

European Reviews of “Collection”

European Reviews of “Collection: 2008-2018”

Micheles Kindh, Blaskans, Sweden: “The Tom Petty of Folk!” Has been epitomized about Jim Patton who, along with his wife Sherry Brokus, releases a record of songs made over a ten year period. An 18-song American record that really flows like a dream with stories, short stories to listen to instead of reading. Musical audiobook that I listen to that has rare luster in the tunes and lyrical lyrics. Shimmering country and folk rock.”

Michael Freerix, Folker, Germany: “Patton describes Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Neil Young as his role models, which is easy to understand. He is a songwriter who prefers to tell stories rather than wallowing in private. His strengths are social and psychological commentary on the state of American society…”

Remo Ricaldone, Lonestartime, Italy “Jim Patton and Sherry Brokus represent the classic folk tradition of which the Texan scene is rightly proud in a record path that over the past ten years has produced four records packaged with care and love for the roots. The look back on these prolific years is now condensed in this “Collection: 2008-2018” which is a bit the summary of their career offering almost an hour of music for the beauty of eighteen songs. This album is certainly the best and most comfortable way to enter the crystalline, clear and inspired world of Jim Patton and Sherry Brokus.”

Wolfgang Giese, Music an Sich, Germany: “The focus of the eighteen songs is on the acoustic alignment, acoustic guitars, mandolins, dobro and cello combine to form a dense sound, with borrowings from folk and bluegrass…but also beautiful country songs traditional way sung by Sherry Brokus “Old Country Road”…when listening it becomes clear that the whole mood moves relatively uniformly through the eleven years, certainly also a guarantee that one has always delivered the same good quality. All in all, the music radiates a very warm mood, a mood that looks like sitting with the musicians and good friends and spending a good time.”

Rootsville, Belgium: “Moving from Baltimore to Austin back then, the folk-rock duo Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus were like coming home because they were lovingly received in the music city of Texas. Berkalin Records is also the home of this duo and after a rich career, a collection is now being released with songs from the past 10 years. This “Collection: 2008-2018” contains 18 songs and with “Mystery Ride” it even contains an unpublished track. Jim Patton and Sherry Brokus have sung together for 40 years. They led the folk rock band Edge City from Baltimore to Austin, where they recorded with Lloyd Maines, the guru of the record producers in Texas. In 2008 they released a fully acoustic album “Plans Gang Aft Agley” with producer Ron Flynt. An album that brought it to the top 30 of the Folk charts… Just like “Mystery Ride’, the demo ‘Hole in His Heart’ has never been released and so the fans on this rich collection also get to hear two scoops. Folk songs like ‘Old County Rd’ are good in the ear. Contributors to the album are Ron Flynt, Warren Hood, Rich Brotherton, Marvin Dykhuis, John Bush, Mary Cutrufello, and Scrappy Jud Newcomb. So don’t worry if you’re a layman in the work of Jim Patton and Sherry Brokus, because with this “Collection 2008-2018” you will be right up there, even ‘After the Dance’ … is over.”

Rootstime, Belgium: “Jim Patton and his wife Sherry Brokus have been releasing four acoustic albums in the ten years period between 2008 and 2018. With their latest album ‘Collection 2008-2018’, they have now selected 18 of their best songs from these 4 albums and thus are providing an excellent overview of their folk and rock songs that have been recorded during that decade.”

20 Most Played Songs on Jim and Sherry’s ITunes, IPhones, etc. 2019

1 Revolutionary Ways Eric Hisaw
2 Listen to Her Heart (Live 77) Tom Petty
3 My Back Pages Marshall Crenshaw
4 I Saw the Light Little Steven
5 Subterranean Homesick Blues Willie Nile
6 King of the Hill (Early Take, 1987) Roger McGuinn and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
7 Rainy Day Women Willie Nile
8 More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers
9 What do You Want Betty Soo
10 Silver Springs Fleetwood Mac
11 Girl in Need Graham Parker
12 I Forgot that Love Existed live Van Morrison
13 Im Not Your Stepping Stone Tom Petty
14 Alive Tommy Keene
15 Let Go live Martin Zellar
16 For Real Tom Petty
17 All this Music Will Fade The Who
18 Dark Night of the Soul Van Morrison
19 Greenville Long Ryders
20 Big Big World Little Pink (Battatia, Mary)

August 2019 East Coast Tour

Our two week East Coast tour was wonderful, gave us a chance to connect with people we haven’t seen in a long time. At 1919 in Baltimore, old pals Craig Hopwood (on sound) and Lew Morris (playing a short set, including the great “Crisis to Crisis”) met with new pal Luke Chohany (on guitar and mandolin) (sent to us by Arty Hill) to turn what could have been a shaky evening into a fun one. And Craig’s friend Larry Dennis ran two blocks to his home to bring back his Telecaster to bring us electric guitar as we closed with 27 Voices.

The next night was 49 West in Annapolis, the club that comes closest to a house concert for us. A crowded gathering of old friends. Luke Chohany again joined us and the crowd loved him. David Coe and Christina Van Norman ran sound and Christina joined us on “Fortunate Man”. There were people there we had not seen in forty years, and some who come every time.

Jean Leigh‘s house concert in New Jersey had a smallish crowd, which may have worked to our advantage in this case, since we sold more CDs than donations at the door, and we made friends with just about everyone there. It was also just the two of us, and we prefer to be at least a trio, but that too, worked for the circumstances. More magic.

Jamey’s House of Music, just across the Philadelphia line, in Lansdowne, was the smallest crowd of the tour, but we managed to connect with all six of them, only two of whom we knew before, and we love playing the room. Jamey runs great sound, and here, despite the small crowd, it’s a big place and we could have benefitted from a trio sound. We accomplished that twice, when Donna Fala Mcfadden, our friend from Austin 24 years ago, joined us on “Day I Leave This World” and “Fortunate Man”.

Lou and Cindy Etgen‘s house concert was a perfect evening for us: old friends, new friends, and Luke on mandolin and guitar. We can’t thank Lou and Cindy enough for stepping up when we had a cancellation and saving our tour.

And our last stop in Frederick MD at the Brewer’s Alley Songwriter Showcase. Great crowd. Great show, with us, Jeff Talmadge, and amazing Beat poet Rod Deacey. And Ron Goad played percussion with us.

Sherry lost her voice completely the week we started the tour, sang 1 1/2 songs at 1919, had built up to 4 or 5 by the end. So if you caught this tour, you caught Jim singing more than usual, and some songs we don’t usually play.

13 Albums That Changed My Life

(these albums are not necessarily my favorites or even the best albums by these bands, but they are albums that affected me so profoundly that I can actually remember thinking differently before and after I heard them. Listed roughly in the order they came to my attention)

the Beatles – Rubber Soul – I was 15 and had just moved and was at a church dance my parents made me go to with people I hated, and then somebody put Rubber Soul on the stereo and my life changed. I kept putting it on the stack even after somebody said: “Who’s the asshole that keeps putting that album on?” I bought it the next day and I was no longer alone. I like the British version better because it has more songs, but it doesn’t start with “I’ve Just Seen a Face”.

the Beatles –Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band –somebody told us that the Old Beatles were good and the new Beatles weren’t so we talked John Ranes into buying it first and then we went over to his house and listened to it from side one to side two every day for months. Mom said: “Coach is working you extra hard, you’re getting home so late.” We had never heard anything like it. 

Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol 1 – I was part of the “Dylan can write, but he can’t sing” school. Then one day I went to the Naval Academy to get my college physical and this album was in the hospital’s tiny BX for 99 cents. I couldn’t pass it up, and found out I loved just about everything about Dylan. I thought one way before listening to him, and another after.

the Rolling Stones –  High Tide and Green Grass – my friend Larry Prather sat behind me in Chemistry. When I told him I didn’t really like the Stones, he loaned me this to take home. I had bought my own copy by the time I gave it back.

The Byrds Greatest Hits – Still one of my favorite albums. Pure pop with Dylanish lyrics. Great songs, singing, guitars, lyrics, all made for the radio and my heart.

John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band – Unlike the others on this list, I’ve only played this album a few times. Its power is in the statement. Listened to it for the first time with Walt Konetzka, in my room at home and we both were blown away by the sheer honesty of the recording.

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks – I’ve loved this album since I first heard the great “Madame George” on WGTB in the early 70s. It doesn’t have his hits, doesn’t have anything resembling one on the album. What it does have is artistic beauty. Originally made to be a song cycle, his label changed the order, but it still has the feel of a song cycle.

Neil Young – Young Man’s Fancy (live bootleg but the recent release of Live at Massey Hall is similiar and almost as good and the sound is great) Lee Cadorette (Daktari to you Austin friends) bought the bootleg and it quickly became the most popular album in the house we were sharing. It’s between After the Goldrush (which we loved) and Harvest and contains the first time we heard most of Harvest’s songs, striking for their purity without a hint of the pop touches that were to come.

Elliott Murphy – Aquashow – I bought this and Springsteen’s Wild, Innocent the same day and they were both a revelation to me that I could write about what I know and the friends I knew. I had done that in short stories when I was in high school, but it never occurred to me to do it in song. I wrote By the Water that same day, an eight minute epic I wrote in about the time it takes to sing it.

Bruce Springsteen – Winterland (live bootleg) – Springsteen’s live shows then were so much more powerful than his albums themselves, and I like this one best, though Passaic Night is pretty great too. We used to have people over and play the entire concert, beginning to end. Sherry and I played this on the way home from our first Edge City show ever, at Wesley College in Delaware, and it sure sounded great driving home at night on empty roads in the dark. We used to play the version of Darkness on the Edge of Town from here before every show, just to remind us what was at stake.

Hank Williams – 24 Greatest Hits – when I bought this I wasn’t a country fan, much less a Hank one. I bought it because I knew he was a great writer and I wanted to study him. I would come home, put Hank on, and cook dinner for Sherry. One day I couldn’t find Hank, and I went crazy, going through all of my records, because I had to hear that album. That’s when I realized I wasn’t studying Hank anymore, I had fallen in love with his music. Once we were at a local club here and our friend Ken Schaffer introduced the next song as “the greatest song ever written”. I laughed out loud and said: “Pretty big claim, Ken.” He smiled and said: “It’s called ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.’” I said: “Oh well, then. Go ahead.”

John Coltrane – Afro Blue Impressions (especially My Favorite Things) – Damian Einstein, on WHFS, possibly the greatest station of all time, played something by the Dead that I liked, followed it with Coltrane, and followed that with the Byrds’ Eight Miles High. And I got jazz, or at least Coltrane, and bought the album the next day. I carried it around with me on tape all summer in case I needed to hear it. Coltrane led me to Miles Davis, pre Bitches Brew, which I never liked.

Leonard Cohen – Live in London – How to grow old gracefully (and powerfully). This is one of the newest records on this list. Cohen combines decades of great writing into one great sound. He didn’t used to be able to sing, now his voice is resonant with character.

Top Played Songs, CDs, and Artists 2015

The Top 19 Most Played Songs on Jim & Sherry’s ITunes, IPods, Iphones, etc. 2015

12341574_10153295201073589_1453186312392572319_n1 End Of The World Jean Synodinos love & blood
2 These Things I’ve Come To Know James McMurtry Complicated Games
3 Wildflowers [Live] Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers The Live Anthology
4 Keep Me In Your Heart Christine Albert Everythings Beautiful Now
5 Picture Jean Synodinos love & blood
6 Among the Believers Darlene Love Introducing Darlene Love
7 You Got To Me James McMurtry Complicated Games
8 This Morning Jean Synodinos love & blood
9 The Damage Youve Done Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Let Me Up Ive Had Enough
10 Real Renegade Jean Synodinos love & blood
11 Aint Got A Place James McMurtry Complicated Games
12 Runaway Trains Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Let Me Up Ive Had Enough
13 Out Of My Mind Buffalo Springfield; Neil Young Buffalo Springfield Box Set [Disc 1]
14 A Wasted Life Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Long After Dark
15 How Many More Days Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Let Me Up I’ve Had Enough
16 The Starry Eyed The Belle Sounds The Belle Sounds
17 Stories We Can Tell Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Pack Up The Plantation: Live!
18 She Doesnt Love Him Anymore (demo) Jeff Talmadge 2015 6 Song Ideas
19 It’s Too Late To Live In Austin Grant Peeples & The Peeples Republik Punishing The Myth

Your questions premptively answered:

  1. Why 19 songs?  Fits on one CD.
  2. Are these the best songs of 2015? No, they’re the songs we listened to the most. Most aren’t even from 2015.
  3. How much music do you listen to during a year?  According to ITunes, over 6500 individual songs.
  4. I’m an artist on your list. How will this help me?  It will give you exposure to at least a dozen people.

It was a weird year listening to music for me. I liked a lot of new CDs, but only two got played consistently at our house and in our cars: Jean Synodinos’ Love and Blood and James McMurtry’s Complicated Games. 

Other things affected our listening: Lee (Daktari) Cadorette told me he thought the Buffalo Springfield Box Set was overrated, which led me to spend a lot of time with the Springfield, to see if he was right. (I played my edited 37 song version of the box set over and over and I felt no pain.)

I spent the first half the 2015 writing a novel, and I spent a lot of time listening to the music of the late 60s, early 70s, where much of the story takes place.

And there’s no special reason for Tom Petty to get so much play, except we must be Petty fans. I especially liked the Live Anthology, the disc of outtakes on the box set, and Let Me Up I’ve Had Enough, which I underrated when it came out.

Also Jean Synodinos’ album didn’t come out until September or she would have been higher up on the CD list.

Top 10 most played CDs

1 Buffalo Springfield Buffalo Springfield Box Set, vol 1
2 The Who Thirty Years of Maximum R&B, vol 1
3 James McMurtry Complicated Games
4 Buffalo Springfield Buffalo Springfield Box Set, vol 2
5 Tom Petty Live Anthology
6 The Long Ryders Best of the Long Ryders
7 Jean Synodinos Love & Blood
8 The Rascals The Ultimate Rascals
9 Tom Petty Playback, disc 6
10 Donovan Donovan’s Greatest Hits

Top Ten Most Played Artists

1 Tom Petty
2 Buffalo Springfield
3 The Who
4 Bob Dylan
5 The Rolling Stones
6 The Byrds
7 The Beatles
8 Bonnie Raitt
9 James McMurtry
10 The Long Ryders
top 25 included Jean Synodinos, Jeff Talmadge, and Jimmy LaFave

Neither of us realized we had played the Long Ryders as much as we did, but we’ve been Sid Griffin fans for a long time.

If you don’t know who the Belle Sounds are, check out last year’s post. The Starry Eyed is that rare song that makes our top list 2 years in a row. Great song, great band.

The Jeff Talmadge song is a co-write with Jim that we played over and over for friends. (One said: “That’s the saddest song ever written!”) Our version, with Sherry singing lead, is on our new, as yet unreleased CD.  You can pre-order The Hard Part of Flying here.

The picture of Jean Synodinos above was taken by Ron Baker at the fundraising/birthday party we had at NeWorlDeli to master our new CD, where 9 great songwriters joined us.



How Do You Listen to Music?

How do you listen to music these days?

I mostly listen to downloads or, if I have a CD, I rip it into my computer and listen on Itunes or through my IPod. The difference in the sound doesn’t bother me. I fell in love with music on a transistor radio and nothing can ever sound better than that music did to me.

When I get a CD by someone I’m eagerly anticipating (a James McMurtry or a Steve Earle) I usually play it all the way through. But even then, I’m already looking for the best songs to pull off and keep in my Itunes jukebox. When I purge, I’m often happy with an album that has three or four songs worth keeping.

I have two main databases for music: one, that I consider my jukebox, has my three thousand favorite songs plus a few hundred to decide about. The other is more eclectic, has between 10 and 14 thousand songs, depending on when I purged Itunes last.

It’s a singles world for me, only it’s singles of my own choosing.

So why don’t I listen to more albums all the way through? Well, first, I grew up in an album world where one side of a record was 20 minutes or less. More than that seems long to me, and I’m ready to move on to something else. Second, most albums don’t have great songs all the way through. I’ve digitalized many if not most of my thousands of records, and it’s great to eliminate that song I never liked anyway.

The great thing about the modern world is that anyone can make CDs, no longer tied to the whims of large corporations. The bad thing is that anyone can make CDs, and there are a lot of bad ones out there. If I’m not already familiar with what I’m listening to, I’ll admit I’ve gotten to where I listen to pieces of the first 3 or 4 songs and if they don’t grab me, that’s it. CDs by friends go into a box in my garage because I know I may not have given them a fair chance and I’m more than willing to have my mind changed. Others that don’t grab me go to Goodwill.

I learn about new CDs from friends: Jeff Talmadge came over one day last year, handed me The Belle Sounds new album and said: “Put this on”, and it became my favorite album of the year. I learn from the radio (though less and less these days): mostly Sun Radio from Dripping Springs and Tom Petty’s show on SiriusXM, which sounds to me like an alternate Jim Patton, spinning discs and saying things like: “But have you heard the B side?” And I learn from hearing great songs by songwriters who inhabit the same world we do. It just takes one great song for me to be interested.

I don’t give songs more of a chance because 1) I already have a great collection and it’s tough to break into; and 2) because I’m a songwriter, I don’t want to listen to mediocre material. Garbage in; garbage out.

So two ways I listen are through shuffle play, either my ‘jukebox’ or the larger database. I also form miscellaneous playlists with whatever is new I’m hearing and want to hear again. For years I made miscellaneous tapes for my friends. This is like having a collection of them, eliminating the songs I didn’t like anymore. I also listen to short, 6-8 song versions of new CDs. And I make playlists for all my favorites, my own personal ‘best ofs”. Two years ago I listened to a David Broyles song where he claims all the best Kinks albums were the first ones, so I had to listen again (and again) to see if he was right. Three years ago I decided to study the underrated works of Paul Edward Sanchez, so that’s all I listened to for weeks. Last year, Lee Cadorette said he thought the Buffalo Springfield was overrated, so I listened to them a lot to see if that’s true. Or sometimes, like with The Belle Sounds or K.C. Clifford, I just fall in love with the music and that’s all I play.

I doubt that anyone listens to music the way I do. But because I listen so differently than say, even 15 years ago, I’m curious as to how you listen. Especially since we’re in the process of making our next CD. Do you take the time to stick with a new album all the way through? Do the first few songs make the difference? When we sequence a CD, I always think back to how I would sequence a record. That’s what I was raised on. I made my first homemade tape almost 45 years ago, and there was a side one, and a side two, and I’ve been making them ever since. I remember a lot of records that I didn’t discover the greatness of side two for months. Now I have to ask: do you even get to the songs that are on what would have been ‘side two’? We know that the sequencing still needs a flow, even while we try to make sure our best stuff is up front. And then of course: what’s the best stuff? How do we know?

How about the length of CDs? I like a 30-40 minute album, straight to the point. But CDs can hold as much as 80 min. Do you feel cheated?

And, just out of curiosity, who are you listening to these days? You can find most of what I listen to by checking out our top Itunes lists each year since the beginning of this blog. I’d like to know who you listen to and how you found them.

Your thoughts, please.




Recently at a show on the road, an old friend came up to tell me he was sorry about my brother. I didn’t know what he was talking about until he said: “You know, the drugs, ‘Son of My Father’,” which is a song of mine in which “my” brother ends up in the housing projects because of his addiction to drugs. Never happened; not to my brother. In that same song, “my” father goes to jail, something else that never happened.

I once sent my mom a clipping from Bar Harbor ME, thinking she’d be pleased to see us getting articles that far away. But the article ended by saying that the songs, especially “Son of My Father”, were clearly drawn from my own life. After that Mom wanted to follow me around the country, jumping up each time I played that song, shouting: “His father did not go to jail! His brother is not a junkie!”

Once we opened with “Son of My Father” here in Austin and afterwards one of my favorite songwriters said to me: “Is that first song about you? Because it would explain so much.” It might, if it was about me. It’s someone’s story, but not mine.

That doesn’t mean I’m not in it somewhere. Who, growing up, hasn’t sworn they’d never be like their parents? And the bridge, where the character asks what’s the difference between him and his addicted family, well I’m in there too, I guess, though talking to my friends, not my family.

But the point is that even in my most personal songs, everything is a story. I don’t think you can get much more personal than “Ballad of the Oxbow Inn” but even in that mostly true story, I take liberties with events, combine characters, and put in some things that just never happened because they make a better story. A song like “Another Pretty Deep Hole” combines several friends and events into one character.

I’m cautious about explaining too much here because it’s like a magician showing his tricks. In the best songs you do believe the singer and I don’t want to take that away from any of our audience. And it’s what the song means to you as a listener that matters.

Jeff Talmadge and I have a new song that illustrates one way we write and one way we push a song into new dimensions. It’s called “My Hometown’s Not My Hometown Anymore”, and it combines our different hometown experiences into one. Jeff’s small town is literally gone. He showed me pictures of closed and shuttered doors and windows, and tumbleweeds blowing down Main Street. My town, which I usually refer to as Swan Point in my songs, was a small town when I moved there that has been overrun by the suburbs, to where you can’t tell the difference between the suburban landscapes as you drive down Ritchie Highway.

But the experience the character has going back is neither of ours. In one line I sing: “No one knows my name” which is nowhere close to the truth for us. We’ve been playing to sold out crowds in Annapolis (Harbortowne in my songs) mostly to people who went to the same high school around the same time I did and it’s been wonderful.  We love them all. When I sing “Everybody here has gotten out or gotten old” , it doesn’t apply to my life at all. But the song is more complicated than that. The place names are from “Swan Point”, but those places have been gone 40 years. The character feels to me like he’s in 1994 or so (the year we moved from Maryland), bemoaning the loss of a world he professed not to care about anyway, wondering if the kids he’s watching will figure it out earlier than he did. And that’s how you get to something new, or one way, anyway.

There are other dangers in taking what songwriters say too literally. I write from memory a lot; those experiences will never die inside me. When I was 22, my closest friend was killed in a car wreck and my first love broke up with me, all within a few months. I don’t need to have more tragedy to write about tragedy. I know what it feels like to be brokenhearted and lonely. In the paraphrased words of Chuck Berry, “I may be old, man, but I can remember!”

And as a songwriter I feel no compunction to be fair. I see each incident as a circle that I move around, writing songs from a different angle, moving on to the next one. Maybe I’ll get to ‘fair’ in the next song, but my latest is called “My Heart’s Turned To Stone” and I didn’t worry about being fair at all.

Top 10 most played CDs on Jim & Sherry’s ITunes/IPhones/IPods 2014

1 The Belle Sounds The Belle Sounds
2 Gene Clark Here Tonight: The White Light Demos
3 Bob Dylan Basement Tapes Sampler
4 John Fullbright Songs
5 The Byrds The Byrds [BOX SET] [Disc 1]
6 Buffalo Springfield Buffalo Springfield Box Set
7 Garland Jeffreys Wild In The Streets (Best Of 1977-1983)
8 Jimmy LaFave Trail 2
9 Paul Kelly Spring and Fall
10 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Playback

The Belle Sounds new CD plus their newer EP dominated our listening through 2014: gorgeous, shimmering pop music. Gene Clark’s CD was released a couple of years ago, I think, and is a collection of demos for his great White Light album from the early 70s. John Fullbright is hard to categorize, except as great young songwriter. The Garland Jeffreys CD was gifted to us by Eddie Walker, who wrote “Ordinary Life” on our The Great Unknown CD. Jimmy Lafave’s Trail CDs are his version of the Bootleg Series.


The Belle Sounds
The Belle Sounds

Top 20 Most Played Songs on Jim and Sherry’s ITunes, IPods, IPhones, etc. 2014

1 The Starry Eyed The Belle Sounds
2 Rockingham Lane The Belle Sounds
3 Until You Were Gone John Fullbright
4 Company of Friends Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt
5 Never Cry Again John Fullbright
6 When We Were Young The Belle Sounds
7 100 Different Ways of Being Alone BettySoo
8 Early Days Paul McCartney
9 Just In Case K.C. Clifford
10 Get In Line Ron Sexsmith
11 Sleeping Dogs C. Daniel Boling
12 Little Aches and Pains Paul Kelly
13 Not Dark Yet Jimmy LaFave
14 White Light Gene Clark
15 Im On Your Side Paul Kelly
16 Highway to Hell Bruce Springsteen
17 Pacing the Cage Bruce Cockburn
18 If I Was a River Willie Nile
19 Sweet Marie Hangdog
20 Odds and Ends alt take 1 Bob Dylan & The Band

Your questions preemptively answered:

1. Why 20 songs?  Fits on one CD.

2. Are these the best 20 songs of 2014? Some of them aren’t even from 2014.  No, these are the 20 songs we played the most, which means they’re mostly our favorites. But “Sleeping Dogs” was on this list in 2012, though with a live version, and “Just in Case” is a repeat from 2012 just because we like it a lot, especially in this year we lost so many Austin friends. “Get in Line” is on for the second year in a row.

3. Where’s Christine Albert’s fine new album?  Didn’t get it until too late in the year to make an impact on this year’s rankings. Look for 2015.

4. How much music do you listen to in a year?  This year, over 7,000 individual songs. We listen less to CDs these days than IPod/ITunes where we dump everything and then edit out what we don’t like or want to hear anymore.

If you don’t have any of these incredible songs or CDs, we’ll be glad to point you in the right direction. Obviously we can listen them over and over.

*one caveat: We don’t count CDs played (because there’s no easy way to do it) and we don’t listen to CDs themselves that much anyway). But if we had, Bettysoo’s Little Tiny Secrets, from several albums ago would have been at the top, all of the songs, because for about six months that’s all Sherry listened to in her car.