Best of 2009 --David Kidney

Wow! Best of 2009! I might have been tempted to just give the Best Re-issue Award to the re-mastered Beatles' albums but I haven't bought them since I'm not sure that I want to hear Paul's bass brought up in the mix, or all those other features everyone's talking about. These are records that define my youth, and I played them, the original vinyl, on a $100 record player. Yep, that's what it was called...a record player. You could hear the scrathes, the hiss, and you turned it up to get the sound of John, Paul, Ringo and George.

So...if it's not The Beatles, what is it? I vote for Nick Lowe's Quiet Please, a 2 disc set which is thoughtfully chosen, and beautifully presented. I bought the deluxe version with a DVD which has some old music videos as well as a recent live, unplugged concert. Great stuff. Best New album, I'd have to give to Lee Harvey Osmond for their brilliant A Quiet Evil. I've been playing this ever since I scored a pre-release copy. Tom Wilson is a local lad, a member of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, ex-Junkhouse leader, and he's helped Colin James write songs for his new album too. I attended a solo show with Tom and was blown away, went to the LHO CD release show at the Casbah and was even impressed by the recent DVD release...this has been a Lee Harvey Osmond year!

Biggest surprise? Not sure if it's Bob Dylan's Christmas album or Ry Cooder's book of short stories. I guess it's a tie!

Best book? Has to be Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. It's a moving, beautifully written true account of faith and love in the horror that was Hurricane Katrina.

Best live show? Richie Havens at Hugh's Room was good, Billy Bragg at the Studio Theatre, Bruce Cockburn solo, all good but the top has to be my invitation to see the taping of Elvis Costello's Spectacle in Toronto. Elvis was the special guest, and it was extraordinary. We sat in the 2nd row, as Elvis played lots of his tunes from a long career, both solo and with the Attractions. He was interviewed by Mary-Louise Parker, who looked great and was obviously a fan even though she didn't provide the most in depth questions. Mr. Costello knew what was expected of him, and gave all the answers her questions didn't address. All in all...a very satisfying year!