Musicians Pick the Discoveries of 2006, from WFUV New York-based NPR station WFUV gathered year-in-review lists from an assortment of musicians (Josh Ritter, Erin McKeown, G. Love, Sondre Lerche and Pete Yorn) and veteran station host Vin Scelsa, with an emphasis on both new faces and rediscovered old ones.
NPR logo Musicians Pick the Discoveries of 2006, from WFUV

Musicians Pick the Discoveries of 2006, from WFUV

New York-based NPR station WFUV gathered year-in-review lists from an assortment of musicians (Josh Ritter, Erin McKeown, G. Love, Sondre Lerche and Pete Yorn) and veteran station host Vin Scelsa, with an emphasis on both new faces and rediscovered old ones.

Josh Ritter's Top Musical Discoveries of 2006

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Josh Ritter released a widely beloved album in 2006 (Animal Years), but he spent the year discovering a lot of new favorites by others. Here, in no particular order, are some of the best.

The National, Alligator

This may have come out in 2005, but we spent all of 2006 in the van listening to it. Great album, great words.

Dawn Landes, Fireproof

Dawn Landis is great: I saw her at a U.K. festival this summer, and she blew my mind. This is an album she made herself.

Guillemots, From the Cliffs

This was the soundtrack to my drive to and from my brother's wedding in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. The melodies are almost supernatural.

The Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers

I love this record because it feels so tip-of-the-tongue: It's less a finished, polished thing than the act of creation being recorded in real-time. "Blue Veins" is a classic, and "Store Bought Bones" is hilarious (at least to me).

Thomas Fraser

This guy died in 1977, but I've just discovered him. He lived in the Shetland Islands in the North Sea, 14 hours by boat north of mainland Scotland. At his home, he recorded thousands of songs on reel-to-reel tapes: cowboy songs, reels, Jimmie Rodgers songs, things generally not heard north of Northern Virginia, somehow implanted in the middle of nowhere. It's pretty riveting.

John Prine, Los Angeles, Oct. 27, 2006 (live show)

John Prine is the great Technicolor battleship of modern American rock. He's never been in or out of style; he's just floated through decades of good and bad times, writing songs with lyrics that seem to me like looking through the curve of a half-full Coke bottle. Prine gives me faith that if I do what I do and keep doing it, I can do it for as long as I want. That's hard to do!

Bob Dylan, Modern Times

Love and Theft is my favorite Dylan record ever. Modern Times follows in the same vein, but if Love and Theft was the fighting rooster, Modern Times is the old pasture stud: It exudes experience and seems content.

Hilary Hahn, Paganini and Spohr Concertos

Hilary Hahn put these two rivals on the same album — which I don't think has ever been done — and in the process displays both her brilliance as a violinist and her sense of humor. Hahn is way more rock than most rockers.

G. Love's Top 10 Musical Discoveries of 2006

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Philly-based blues-pop singer-songwriter G. Love, who released Lemonade this past summer, chooses the 10 musicians (and musical phenomena) he's most excited to have discovered this year.

1. Marc Broussard

I recently had the opportunity to record with Broussard, and he's an amazing singer — a young cat from Carencro, La. He takes it to church every time he gets the mic.

2. Shuggie Otis

Son of blues legend Johnny Otis, Shuggie Otis recorded his best work in the '60s and '70s. I've been hooked on his record Inspiration Information.

3. Little Walter

More of a re-visitation of the greatest electric blues harp player of all time. As I progress on the harmonica, I have more and more appreciation for the subtleties of the masters.

4. Slightly Stoopid

These guys continue to impress me with their recordings and live shows — the vibe is so thick — and in true SoCal style, they just don't care. They'll blow up sooner or later.

5. Robert Randolph

I knew Randolph was an amazing guitarist, but seeing is reaffirming. I saw and jammed with him multiple times this year, and he just plays effortlessly.

6. Tristan Prettyman

This young singer-songwriter from San Diego continues to grow as a guitarist and singer due to her busy touring schedule. She's getting better and better.

7. Donavon Frankenreiter

Frankenreiter is currently on tour with Gov't Mule, and hanging out with Warren Haynes every night seems to be rubbing off on him. He sat in with me during the filming of my live DVD and nearly exploded my amplifier. A guitar player.

8. "Chicken Noodle Soup"

This is a hot new underground hit song out of Harlem. Just goes to show you that a good idea and simple production is all it takes to have a hit.

9. Edan

I bought two of his mix tapes at the Bodega sneaker store in Boston. They've been keeping us grooving on the tour bus and are full of old-school hip-hop classics.

10. Brooklyn Dawn and DJ Scott Melker

An unlikely crew I recently recorded with in New York City. Melker is a solid but not flashy DJ who can mix with the best. Brooklyn Dawn is a young woman who's in love with combining blues and hip-hop.

Erin McKeown's Top 10 CDs of 2006

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Folk-pop singer-songwriter Erin McKeown, who's about to release another fine CD (Sing You Sinners) in early 2007, picks her favorite music of 2006 — listed in no particular order.

Sean Hayes, Big Black Hole and the Little Baby Star

Never the same thing twice, an old friend makes his masterpiece.

Tortoise & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, The Brave and the Bold

A covers record that blows other covers records out of the water in terms of song choice and creative interpretation.

Bob Dylan, Modern Times

Dylan makes a record for the Dylan skeptic. Sink into the long forms, the repetition, the sly humor.

Old Crow Medicine Show, Big Iron World

A bright and sharp racecar of a record that leaves straw burning in its wake.

Todd Sickafoose Group, Blood Orange

A record of both whimsy and haunting… your re-entry to planet earth with trombones.

Sarah Harmer, I Am a Mountain

A rock-solid source of beautiful melodies, delicate wooden instruments, and songs with hidden teeth.

The Decemberists, The Crane Wife

Producers Tucker Martine and Chris Walla combine for a whole new take on The Decemberists' sound.

Kris Delmhorst, Strange Conversation

New and vibrant readings of old and vibrant poems from the likes of Whitman, Rumi, Virgil and Eliot.

Juana Molina, Son

It seems as if Molina met Missy Elliott and Al Green. Deeper and groovier — and, even though it's unclear what she's singing about, sexier.

Kaki King, Until We Felt Red

A guitarist finds that six strings aren't enough to say everything she needs to, so she expands her palette to get her point across.

Pete Yorn's Six Discoveries of 2006

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Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn had a good year in 2006, releasing an excellent pop record (Nightcrawler) and touring extensively. Here, he picks his year's half-dozen best musical discoveries.

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio has developed a unique sound, so it's tough to compare the band to anything else out there right now. All I know is I like it. I'm hoping to catch the live show sometime soon, because I hear it's great.

Wanda Jackson

She was the first female rock 'n' roll singer: She was a contemporary of Elvis and a mean guitarist, and she has this amazing voice... She sounds like a snarling kitten. Listen to "Funnel of Love" for rockabilly at its craziest.

Cult Cargo: Belize City Boil Up

There's this small record label called Numero Group that's been putting out amazing reissues over the last few years, mostly of the soul variety. This is a compilation of music from Belize from the '60s and '70s, and it's kind of soul, kind of funk, kind of reggae... the ultimate soundtrack for a late-night tour-bus party.

Patsy Cline, "Why Can't He Be You"

It's about a woman dating a guy who treats her really well, but she's in love with someone else who doesn't want her. I think we've all been there. I heard it in the bathroom of a Cracker Barrel, and I really responded to the honesty of it.


I saw this band on Top of the Pops and was really impressed. I couldn't tell what they were doing (lip-synching, playing live?), but it didn't really matter. They've got an exciting stage presence and beautiful melodies, keeping up the legacy of other awesome British bands.

Bob Dylan, "Blowin' in the Wind"

With Dylan, I was mostly just into his Blonde on Blonde/John Wesley Harding-era stuff. Then, this year, I was asked to perform "Blowin' in the Wind" at the Songwriters Hall of Fame for the induction of Peter, Paul & Mary. When I went back to examine the song and go through the lyrics, it hit hard. It's unfortunate how relevant those words still are.

Sondre Lerche's Top 10 Albums of 2006

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Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche, who plays smoothly likable pop music on his forthcoming Phantom Punch, chooses his favorite music of 2006.

Vin Scelsa's Top 10 Discoveries of 2006

WFUV host and New York radio veteran Vin Scelsa lists favorite musical discoveries of 2006 — personal favorites that he feels deserve wider attention.