Our January/February 2016 Winner Explains His Picks

Our January/February 2016 contest winner Eli Winter discusses his winning choices for our last issue’s Deathbed contest. Be sure to enter the March/April 2016 On My Deathbed Contest by submitting your top 10 albums for a chance to win.

Videos by American Songwriter

The Band - The Band album

The Band, The Band

You can feel the Civil War history oozing out of this album. I’ve grown up with it.


A Love Supreme, John Coltrane

Got it on an impulse buy along with some other albums on the way home from Tel Aviv during the Gaza War. Blew my mind then, still blows my mind today. That opening sax riff gives me chills.

Neil young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Neil Young

One of my earliest memories is of walking down the street at a local festival to where a band was playing “Cinnamon Girl.” I’d heard this album so much I timed Neil Young’s “whoo!” right at the 2:10 mark. This album (among others) made me want to start to play guitar.

Revolver - The Beatles

Revolver, The Beatles

“I’m Only Sleeping” has stuck with me for a long time. Elliott Smith did an awesome cover.

Five Leaves - Nick Drake

Five Leaves, Nick Drake

It’s the closest thing I’ve ever heard to autumn.

Jackson C. Frank - Jackson C. Frank

Jackson C. Frank, Jackson C. Frank

His voice rings like a bell, and so does “You Never Wanted Me.” One of the first songs I learned.

Walk Away Renee:Pretty Ballerina by The Left Banke

Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, The Left Banke

I used to tell my dad I didn’t like “Walk Away Renee” because it wasn’t the “cool thing” to do. Joke’s on him. It’s a beautiful song, great album. Elliott Smith also did an awesome cover of the song.

We're Only In It For The Money - The Mothers of Invention

We’re Only In It For The Money, The Mothers of Invention

My dad told my brother and I that this was the cool album that we couldn’t listen to for a long time. Then I did, and it was hard to get but still good.

Leo Kottke - 6 And 12 String

6- And 12- String Guitar, Leo Kottke

My dad would put this on as dinner music, and it wouldn’t grab at me. Now I play guitar and it’s huge (quick shoutout to my buddies Dan Bachman, Nathan Salsburg and Will Csorba, who play totally different kinds of solo guitar than Leo, all of which are really warm and rich and easy to enjoy).

Retrospective - The Best of Buffalo Springfield by Buffalo Springfield

Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield

In second grade, “Bluebird” was my theme song. It still is today.

Song Premiere: Natalie Royal, “Supernova”