Hopefully if you’re a regular listener/visitor to this site, you know about Penguin Eggs Magazine, one of the last few magazines worth buying, and one that does a lot to support and promote great folk and roots music in Canada – kindred spirits.
Every year the editor of that fine publication asks folks in the “industry” to list their favourite releases and send them in, and then they tally up the totals and come up with a list of recommended releases. Contributors include the magazine’s writers, managers, agents, music store folk, and some radio dorks like me.
Here’s the list that I submitted:
Del Barber, Headwaters (Six Shooter)
Andrew Combs, Worried Man (Coin Records)
Rose Cousins, We Have Made a Spark (Outside)
JP Hoe, Mannequin (self-released)
Keri Latimer, Crowsfeet and Greyskull (self-released)
Shannon Lyon, Broken Things (Busted Flat)
Christina Martin, Sleeping With a Stranger (Come Undone)
Dale Murray, Dream Mountain Dream (Come Undone)
Matthew Ryan, In the Dusk of Everything (self-released)
Leeroy Stagger, Radiant Land (Gold Lake)
The numbers have been tallied and the full list is published in the new issue of the magazine. Great showing from our buddy Del Barber, who missed out on top spot by ONE VOTE!
Below is the text included along with the results. I encourage you to check out the full lists and much more in this month’s issue, or check out the Penguin Eggs website:
Albums of the Year
Critics’ favourite new discoveries of 2012
Historically the annual Penguin Eggs poll has run in the Spring issue. But March seemed so far away from the traditional time critics take stock of the memorable records created over the course of a year. And so to remain more current we made the switch. Besides, with Christmas just around the corner there are now pages of suggestions for stocking stuffers.
More than 50 individuals with an acute knowledge of what’s current in the folk, roots and world music community in Canada participated in this our 12th poll. And when the dust settled P.E.I.-based Rose Cousins’s We Have Made A Spark was given the nod as Album of the Year by a single vote over Del Barber’s Headwaters. Sandy MacDonald wrote a wonderful, in-depth feature about the making of Cousins’s recording in Penguin Eggs No. 54. He described the album as “beautiful”, “haunting”, “melancholy” and “stunning”.
Canadian singer/songwriters clearly dominated this year’s list, taking nine out of 10 places. Only the wonderful American string band Carolina Chocolate Drops halted an otherwise national sweep.
With few exceptions over the years, the New Discoveries category has always produced a close contest. In 2012, though, Etobicoke, ON’s, Cold Specks won handily. Inspired by the southern field recordings of Alan Lomax, her debut album I Predict A Graceful Explosion garnered widespread critical acclaim. Yet the disparity of our critics’ other choices is so great this year we couldn’t list a third place.
As in years past, we asked participants to list their favourite 10 recordings released in Canada in 2012. Every nomination received one point. The winner gathered the most. For the New Discoveries category, we asked for three nominations. A huge thanks, then, to all who kindly participated. And a hearty congratulations to our winners. In the following pages, you can see how our judges voted. Now go out and discover how wonderful these recordings really are.
– Roddy Campbell
Albums of the Year for 2012
1. Rose Cousins
We Have Made A Spark (Outside Music)
2. Del Barber
Headwaters (Six Shooter Records)
3. Dave Gunning
No More Pennies (Wee House of Music)
4. Maria Dunn
Piece By Piece (Independent)
Danny Michel and the Benque Players,
Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me (Six Shooter Records)
6. Old Man Luedecke
Tender Is The Night (True North Records)
Little Pilgrim (Thin Man Records)
8. Carolina Chocolate Drops
Leaving Eden (Nonesuch)
Old Ideas (Columbia Records)
Le Vent Du Nord
Tromper Le Temps (Borealis Records)
New Discoveries of 2012
1. Cold Specks
2. Sam Lee