March/April 2013 “On My Deathbed” winner Nicholas Sumner reveals his prize picks. From Nickel Creek to Tom Waits, read Nick’s ruminations on the picks that helped him win the Martin D-35 Seth Avett Custom Signature Guitar. And enter the May/June “On My Deathbed” contest for your chance to win a Martin GPCPA1 Plus Guitar.
Trouble – Ray Lamontagne
Storytelling so good, I’m convinced he’s a heartbreaking, heartbroken, strung out murderer on the lam.
Babel – Mumford & Sons
Beautifully personal lyrics, gorgeous harmonies, and acoustic instruments that this band somehow rocks harder than most “electric” bands.
Moondance – Van Morrison
A classic album that is wonderfully composed and produced, but “And It Stoned Me” and “Caravan” are particularly special because of the way they conjure up the sense of nostalgia and awe associated with being young.
Why Should the Fire Die? – Nickel Creek
Virtuosic musicianship and contemporary songwriting… Bluegrass with a twist. The lyrics are sad, angry, haunting, and everything else you could think of.
Antifogmatic – Punch Brothers
Virtuosic musicianship to the nth degree. There’s almost a tongue-in-cheekiness to a few of these songs, particularly “Next to the Trash” (one of my favorites off of Antifogmatic) which somehow blends perfectly with the beauty and sincerity of a song like “This the Song [Good Luck]” (one of my other faves).
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – Flaming Lips
I can (and have) listen(ed) to this album from start to finish, on repeat. It’s a concept piece dealing with a slew of emotions through a story about Yoshimi and her battle against man-eating, artificially intelligent robots (whose ability to feel is also brought into question).
2nd Law -Muse
I love this band, and this album is their tour de force. A song used as the theme for the Olympics (which is almost farcical on the surface, but so is not), a song about a love so wrong it’s right, and even a song about an unborn child, using its own in-utero heartbeat that is neither creepy, cheesy, or sappy – it’s amazing.
Rain Dogs – Tom Waits
Everything from the gravelly-throated delivery of his incredibly detailed and cinematic lyrics, to the experimental instrumentation (a chest of drawers whacked with a piece of 2X4), and haunting spoken word, make this, in my opinion, an epic album.
Going Somewhere – Colin Hay
Anyone who listens will hear a musician of exceptional fretboard prowess, lyrical finesse, and songs so laden with emotion that they might be moved to tears, even after repeated listens.
Synchronicity – Police
When I think of The Police, this is the album I think of. Both sonically and compositionally, it’s inspirational; the melding of world music, reggae, jazz, and rock influences shines through all over. Andy Summer’s guitar work, adding chordal flavor at every turn to liven up an otherwise simple progression is an example of how simple it is to make something seem like more than it is (and his tone choices are perfect).