Well this is the second part of my post. If you haven’t read part 1, then go read it first. Not that they are in a particular order from most influential to least, its just that I wrote them this way, this is my blog, so thats how you should read it.

Finished reading part 1? Ok good. Lets move on to part2.

Ryan Adams is a phenomenal songwriter. It seems like hes putting out an album every year, and always impresses me with them (except for 27). I have to say that I have always enjoyed one of his first Solo Albums, “Heartbreaker”. What I love about it is that its a throwback to a real country/folk/bluegrass. Not to discredit most country artists, I just think that everything from the lyrics to the instrumentation has this real authentic sound. The kind of like the country you would hear played from a porch of an old man during the 1920s or 30s, you know? There are some bluesy country songs, like “To be Young” and “Shakedown on 9th Street. There are country/ bluegrass songs like “Winding Wheel” and still more downbeat songs like “Bartering Lines” and “Come Pick Me up”.

The real talent in all of this is that Ryan Adams finds a way to combine these sounds, sound unique, and still have a modern, catchy tone to it. This is the first album that turned me on to Ryan Adams, and since then my wife and I have bought about 8 or so of his albums (counting Cardinals).

My last artist I would like to name is Damien Rice. I think for a musician to rise from a country like Ireland, where there is little room for employment as an artist, you have to have an amazing talent (this statement excludes 90s girl group “B*Witched”). The songs Rice writes simply overflow with emotion. From infatuation to love, to heartbreak, to the strongest vitriol you can conjure, Damien Rice’s gruff, imperfect voice expresses them. This manic-depressive album will take you on an intense emotional rollercoaster from the first song to the last. I also have to give props to Lisa Hannigan, who does more than her part in not just backing up Damien, but in singing as his equal.

I have to thank my old friend Matt for introducing me to Damien Rice. He has a second album “9” out too, which is different in content, but still ripe with emotive lyrics and music (and maybe even more vitriol).

So those are my top 5 most influential albums. It was hard picking, so I had to make another list for honorable mention.

Counting Crows “Films About Ghosts”. I have a bad habit of only liking half of every Counting Crows album, so when “Films About Ghosts” came out, I loved having a compilation of all the songs I love.

Barcelona “Absolutes”. This is one of my favorite bands I have listened to in a long time. They are amazing. I can literally hit play, and listen to the entire album. Then I hit play again.

Death Cab for Cutie “Transatlanticism”. This is the album that made me like Death Cab. Its another album that is great from start to finish. I mean this guy knows how to write lyrics. I feel like a couple of sentences doesn’t do this album justice, it makes me want to change this post to “6 Most Influential Albums” just to include it.

DC Talk “Jesus Freak”. When I was a kid, all I listened to was Christian music. I’m pretty sure that this album rocked my world.

Ryan Adams “Love is Hell” I mean listen to Wonderwall or The Shadowlands, and you will love this album too.

The Decemberists “The Crane Wife”. Amazing band that I am pretty sure was cryogenically frozen from the 1800s and released a few years ago.