Best CD I've heard so far 2011.........

Sarah Jarosz/Song Up In Her Head
Like a breath of fresh air, just great!
Yes, I like her as well! She also has a new album coming out 5/17/11 called "Follow Me Down"
Bright Eyes - The People's Key
Indeed - that Sarah Jorosz CD is great. It came out in 2009 though. A bit more recent if you like her...perhaps...folksy, alt-country, girl with beautiful voice and string of my favorites of recent is Martha Tilston, Lucy and the Wolves, and Emily Barker, Despite the Snow (ok that one is 2008, but it's just stunning). Also great - and actually released in 2011; Bobby Long, A Winter's Tale. More girls with banjos and amazing vocals - The Wailin' Jennys (any of their albums are great and they do have a new one just out - I like the live one at Mauch Opera House, which you can get in high rez at HD Tracks).
Lucinda Williams-Blessed

Over the Rhine-The Long Surrender
Goran Ivanovic and Andreas Kapsalis guitar duo. Totally blew me off. A duo of virtuoso guitarists even superior to Meola Mclaughlin DeLucia!
I had not heard of Sarah until last Friday when she opened up for John Prine in Denver. What a treat!
> Totally blew me off

That's funny and cute, Marakanetz.

Another vote for the Wailin' Jennys.
Bryan Ferry- Olympia
I'll definitely buy the new Sarah Jarosz CD in May. Never heard of her until I saw her on Austin City Limits.
Jax2-I'll check out some of your suggestions.
Theo-Always liked Bryan Ferry.
PS: New Allison Kraus CD in a week or so.
Rja, if you haven't bought this yet it really takes me back to Avalon. Enjoy.
My recent favorite in the folk gals genre is Po' Girl. "Follow you Bliss" may be 2011. It's good, though I prefer the older "Vagabond Lullabies," and "Home to You."

The Wailin' Jenny's have had serious lineup changes, no? Has any of their later stuff topped the sublime "40 days"?

Stereophile says Lucida's "Blessed" is her best since "Essence." I think she's a genius, but IMO, the stuff since "Essence" has been very uneven, and mostly forgettable (with exceptions like the title track of "World Without Tears"). Is "Blessed" really a return to form?

I have a bunch to list but for now I'll throw out The Unthanks "Last", keeping in line with the twangy folk girls listed above, this one with Celtic roots. Jax you'll dig that one!
Jax...Emily Barker + the Red Clay Halo have a 2011 release titled "Almanac" which I actually prefer to that one. Good stuff. Agree with the Martha Tilson recommendation. "Of Milkmaids and Architects" from 2006 being my personal fave. Of all the Nu Folk ladies, Laura Marling is my favorite. Another from 2011 for the twang chicks, Rachel Harrington "Celilo Falls". Any fan of Gillian Welch will love this one. I sure do!

As for 2011, James Blake's self titled debut sits on top for me. Just a masterpiece from start to finish. Enjoying Josh T. Pearson "Last of the Country Gentleman" a lot and Burial's "Street Halo" EP. One thats coming that I love is Gorillaz "The Fall". Been listening to a prerelease copy and to my ears + brain, this is by far his best effort. Great stuff.

Some disappointments so far in 2011...Iron & Wine "Kiss Each Other Clean", he may have set the bar to high with his last 2. It's good but wanted better. Robbie Robertson's new one. It just sounds dated to me. I do love the title track but as a whole it lands kinda flat. The Decemberists. Can't see why so many love this record. Not a bad album but just does no move my spirit.
Ok...on more I forgot! The Low Anthem "Smart Flesh". Can't see why so many critics ripped this. I really love it. Great mood and passion. Pretty darn similar to "Oh My God, Charles Darwin" if you like the first.

I'm overwhelmed by all the great music being made. I think this is a wonderful time to be a music lover and feel so bad for all those guys stuck in the 70's + 80's....
Black Joe Lewis 'scandalous'
Looks as if the word "Halo" is popular in album titles this year and to continue that theme I'll mention "Smoke Ring Halo" by The Wood Brothers. Great album, similar to their earlier "Ways Not to Lose," with the same great writing but a little more complex instrumentation.
Oh yeah, don't know how I forgot the drive by truckers 'Go Go Boots'

Hiss Golden Messenger (M.C.Taylor) "Bad Debt"...Fantastic folksy americana. Beautify written and played with heart.
JDoris - The Jennys at the Mauch Opera House is wonderful. It's a great live recording that'll make you want to see them live if you have not already. I agree with you that Firecracker is not as strong as 40 Days, but I still like it. I haven't heard the new one yet.

Richard_stacy - ALWAYS great to hear your recommendations as you know we are virtually on the same page 90% of the time where this genre is concerned. Funny you mention Almanac as I downloaded it from their site in FLAC last night. I'll give it a listen today at work on. Anyone who strikes of Gillian Welch would be a must-hear in my book. She's another great one to see in concert with David Rawlings (was not as fond of his solo effort). Also disappointed with Frazey Ford's first solo album, Obidiah. As a huge fan of The Be Good Tanyas (and for anyone who has not heard them, run don't walk to pick up their three CD's, especially anyone who like Po' Girl). Frazey has a new solo album I have not heard yet that I'm curious enough to buy as I do love her voice and her writing. I just wish the Tanyas would come out with a new one, but I fear they are no longer as there are no tour dates listed and the site has not been updated in a while. Another good one I'm really warming up to is Cowboy Junkies, Demons (songs by Vic Chestnut). And how could I forget another great recent release by someone I can't get enough of: William Fitsimmons, Gold in the Shadow. If you were disappointed by Iron and Wine's latest, then try Fitzsimmons (any of his albums, really).
I vote for Iron And Wine--Kiss Each Other Clean.

Love the sound, love the songwriting...
One more to look forward to:

The Feelies' (with both Bill Million and Glenn Mercer participating) new CD is due out on Tuesday, the 12th. It's their first new release in more than decade.


Thanks all for the suggestions, I'll be sure to hunt down a few of the "chicks with banjo" recommendations.
Just received Robbie Robertson's new one...played it on my laptop(crappy sound) but fairly sure it's one of my better buys this year.....looking forward to tonight!
Speaking of chicks with banjos; Abigail Washburn's latest is pretty good, but did like her first best.
I'd like to give a big hand to "Blame Sally" a female quartet from San Francisco and "Girlyman" out of Atlanta. Based on many of the posts, I think you'll like them.
I'll maybe say Amos Lee - Mission Bell. He's kind of a folk/soul singer-songwriter. Mission Bell probably requires more listens to get into than his previous efforts, but I'm quite liking it. Guest appearances by Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson.
Josh T. Pearson "Last of the Country Gentleman"

A sort of Astral Weeks meets Blood On The Tracks vibe...

PJ Harvey Let England Shake

Radiohead King Of Limbs
Jax, I'll get the Jenny's live. Have all of the Be Goods. Sounds like I like the solo Frazey better than you; I admit it's not "in heavy rotation," but I enjoy it quire a bit.

I'm enjoying Cowboy Junkies' Vic Chesnutt cover album "Demons" (favorite cut "Supernatural"). But get the original, if you haven't, especially the masterpiece "West of Rome." Much less polish than CJ, much more guts.

People who like girl-with-guitar should check out Sera Cahoone -- lovely stuff.

Arvid Henrikson, this guy plays the trumpet like it's a flute...mindboggling ECM sonics too.
John - I'll have to give the new Frazey some more play time. Sometimes things grow on you after time, but after three plays nothing was really clicking with me. I was wrong about a new solo from her: I had gone to The Be Good Tanyas site and saw the promo for "Firecracker" which made it look like a new solo CD.

I do have Chestnutt's originals and agree with you on the comparison, but still enjoy the Junkies versions of his stuff too.

I will definitely check out Sera Cahoone - thanks!

Departing from chicks with strings, and going more into the melancholic male singer/songwriter...I've been really mesmerized by the sparse and haunting arrangements on the lone solo effort of Mark Hollis that someone introduced me to a few weeks ago (though it's an older release). It the self-titled CD.
Elbow, Adele, Brian Ferry, Cold War Kids, Warpaint,PJ Harvey, the Watson Twins, Doobie Brothers
Agree with Sfar, Smoke Ring Halo by the Wood Brothers is an awesome album!! They are also one of my favorite bands that I have discovered in the last few years. I saw them live and they put on a fantastic show! All of their albums are top notch.
I really like REM's new one "Collapse Into Now" It is closer to their earlier works with jangly guitars and good harmonies. Eddie Vedder and Patty Smith sing background vocals. As far as new artists go, I have enjoyed The Big Something out of North Carolina. Their cd "Stories From the Middle of Nowhere" was chosen as the Homegrown Music Network's new artist of the year. It is fantastic.
"All you need is now" by Duran duran seems interesting. I like most of the tracks on it.
G Love.. Fixin' To Die (produced by the Avett Brothers)
Justin Townes Earle Harlem River Blues, a great great record
Adele - 21.... My best of 2011 so far

Rpeluso, if you haven't already, make sure you pick up a copy of Midnight At The Movies. If it's not as good, it's certainly close to Harlem River Blues.
Agree w Rpeluso. Only thing wrong w Harlem river Blues is its length. After 33 minutes, I am left wanting much more.

The new Paul Simon is just tremendous. I bought it yesterday and cannot stop listening to it. Great music, great songs, and a great recording, too.

The Feelies new one is very good, very mellow and acoustic-driven, very similar to "The Good Earth."

Also good releases by Drive-by Truckers, Lucinda Williams, PJ Harvey, and Buddy Miller. Not sure yet about the new Alison Krauss, but there is a great cover of Richard and Linda Thompson's "The Dimming of the Day" on it. I think the album as a whole is at least pretty good.
Sia "Some People Have Real Problems". Listen to the cut "Beautiful Calm Driving".

She has got to have, hands down, one of the finest, sexiest, purest voices I've ever heard. Someone else mentioned this CD and I looked at it and said, no way am I going to like this. I was wrong. Best female vocalist CD since Joan Osborne "Relish". I want more Sia.
Lucinda Williams - Blessed As good as anything she has ever done.

Cold War Kids - Mine is Yours Great songwriting, vocals and performance.

Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde Heard them live at recent Austin music festival. Very dreamy and melodic sound. An undiscovered gem.

I read in a review of Harlem River Blues that all the songs are about a contemplated suicide. Is this true or just literary embellishment?
Another 2011 gem to add!

The Mountain Goats "All Eternals Deck"

On the LP format...

The Cave Singers - No Witch
Yes....yet another great 2011 release...

Bill Callahan "Apocalypse"

So far this has been a great year for music.
The title song, which opens the album could be and it has a brief reprise to close the album, but I can't imagine that Christchurch Girl is.
Post above in response to Rja.
Richard, Bill Callahan has evolved into one of most original voices out there, but perhaps Apocalpse is too far out there for most in here. His last one, "Rough Travel for a Rare Thing"(live) is just as great & more accessible.

God I love threads like this, such a fun way to discover new music!
Dgarretson....Maybe so but it is really a record that encompasses all of what is special about him...stripped down and poetic, reminiscent of his finest stuff like 1997's Smog "Red Apple Falls" or 2005 "A River Ain't Too Much To Love"...all with more maturity, confidence and in a way, more gentle. Folks will get him or they won't I'd guess. I just wanted to put it out there because it is not something that many of these guys would be exposed to without digging a bit.
Dgarretson....Maybe so but it is really a record that encompasses all of what is special about him...stripped down and poetic, reminiscent of his finest stuff like 1997's Smog "Red Apple Falls" or 2005 "A River Ain't Too Much To Love"...all with more maturity, confidence and in a way, more gentle. Folks will get him or they won't I'd guess. I just wanted to put it out there because it is not something that many of these guys would be exposed to without digging a bit.

That'd definitely be my speed, as you know, Richard. The two Smog titles you mention are probably my two favorites, with "A River..." being on top. I believe I have you to thank for introducing me to those! What a great sense of wit, and a wonderful use of language he has. In that same vein, and I might have mentioned him before in this thread, but there's a paralell in the starkness of the music, though, so I'll echo it once again - Mark Hollis solo, self-titled effort is just beautiful. Probably more austere than any of the Smog titles mentioned though, but with a very similar starkness and intelligence. Since then I've been checking out some of his stuff with Talk Talk and the much later titles from their efforts speak a similar language. The solo album (Mark Hollis) is my favorite though.