Category: Best of 2011

The Year’s Best Coverfolk, Part 2: The Singles
(b-sides, deep cuts, YouTube one-offs, & more one-shot coverage)

December 21st, 2011 — 11:51 am

As we noted over the weekend in The Year’s Best Coverfolk, Part 1: Tribute Albums and Cover Collections, it’s been a good year for full-album coverage. Overall, though, despite the fact that, in terms of sheer mass, covers from tributes overwhelm singletons in my collection, what I’ve found this year is that a significant majority of the songs that lingered, and demanded overplay, came from a mixed bag of borderline genre albums and single shot coverfolk tracks, via the usual sources, from YouTube, Soundcloud, studio appearances, website and bandcamp singles, and more.

Perhaps it is unsurprising to find so much of our favorite coverage of the year outside the album-length folk covers collections. After all, our mandate here at Cover Lay Down is artist-centric; we consider ourselves folkbloggers first and foremost. The point of our biweekly forays into the folkworld is to introduce you to the best of the singer-songwriter, roots, americana, bluegrass, and contemporary folk rock and folkpop canon; coverage is, in the end, a vehicle, to provide an entry into the craft and appreciation of those artists through the comfort zone of familiar song. And artists, knowing this, are increasingly prone to cover a song or two along the way, granting both a sense of their sound and an exposition of their influence.

We eschew ranking for single songs; you’ll not find hierarchies here. But “best of” lists do guide the gift-giving, and I’m not so humble as to enjoy the challenge of creating the perfect mix of coverfolk, circa 2011. And so, this year, we’re offering a two-part compromise: the short, mostly tongue-in-cheek “Best Of” which appeared on Sunday…and here, today, the piece de resistance: a 25-song set of our favorite and most-played tracks from this year’s coverfolk singletons, web-only releases, and off-genre albums, designed to be played in order for maximum emotional impact.

Like so many of the songs we posted in part one of this dual reluctance, every one of them gives me chills. Taken together, subjective though they are, they offer a challenge to 2012 and beyond.

So download the full set, or pick and choose among the singletons. Hit the links beside each track to learn more about these amazing artists, and their output, and their journeys.

May the coming year bring us more joy through shared culture and communion. And may this humble offering grace your ears and raise your spirit, for now and for years to come.

The Year’s Best Singles: A 2011 Coverfolk Mix [Zip!]

Cover Lay Down thrives throughout the year thanks to the support of artists, labels, promoters, and YOU. So do your part: listen, love, spread the word, and above all, purchase the music, the better to keep it alive.

And if, in the end, you’ve got goodwill to spare, and want to help keep the music flowing? Please, consider a year’ end contribution to Cover Lay Down. All gifts will go directly to bandwidth and server costs; all giftees will receive undying praise, and an exclusive download code for a special gift EP-length set of favorite 2011 Holiday Covers otherwise unblogged.

Thanks, folks. May your days be merry and bright.

4 comments » | Best of 2011, Mixtapes