Album Cuts

If you were alone on a desert island which five CDs would you most want with you and why?

Rigby Summer: Geez, this is NOT an easy question! Can I cheat and make two lists?? One of heroes and one of friends? Because I think I would want to have both if I were all alone!

1. Stones in the Road - Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin is the #1 catalyst for me becoming a songwriter. I always loved music and dreamed of performing, but when I started absorbing all of her music when I was about 12 or 13, I realized that some women WROTE THE SONGS THEY WERE SINGING!--and the women she writes about largely informed the kind of woman I wanted to learn from or become. I have really personal associations listening to this album with my mom when I was in high school and it is just such a beautiful ALBUM, start to finish, so I thought I’d choose this one but honestly, I could have any five of her albums with me and be happy as a clam.

2. Asking for Flowers - Kathleen Edwards

I think this is a near-perfect record. I have zero recollection of how or where it was put in my path, but her vocal delivery on these songs is so vulnerable, I almost blush listening to it. It’s like she’s telling us all her secrets. Also, I had it on repeat in my car the second winter I lived in Los Angeles and when I listen to “Goodnight, California” I am transported back to late night drives with the windows down watching the lights on the Santa Monica bay as I drove home from hanging out with friends in Malibu.

3. Shine - Daniel Lanois

I remember when my friend Alice loaned me this album right after it came out. I simply could not stop listening to it. I had never heard pedal steel used in quite that way and I was hooked. It is a beautiful collection from start to finish and the sound feels very narrative to me, the way an album should be. There are also a lot of songs on the album that feel really meditative and it was put in my life at a time when I was really finally starting to go deep and sort out what I really wanted in my life and small, positive changes were happening. I was just starting to write music. The songs on this record take me back to that fall that felt like the first time I was really awake.

4.Fitzcarraldo - The Frames

Because sometimes you have to rock. I was a huge fan of The Frames long before Glen Hansard starred in Once and this album blows my mind every time I listen to it. It feels so raw and fresh that it could have been released last week, but they release it more than 25 years ago. So good.

5. Weightless - Katie Herzig

If Mary Chapin Carpenter made me want to write songs when I was a teenager, Katie Herzig locked that passion for me right about the time I started writing in earnest. I bought this album on one of my first trips back to Nashville the summer after I’d moved back to Kansas City. My plane landed and I drove straight to a club on 4th where most of my friends were going to hear Matthew Perryman Jones play a show with this new artist, Katie Herzig. Her live show blew me away. I bought the CD and played it on repeat the rest of my trip...and for the rest of the summer. I love everything about her writing and even her newer stuff--which tips away from the folkier, singer-songwriter feel of her early solo work and towards a more electronic pop sound--her lyrics, vocals and production are just next level. I just adore her.

I’m breaking your rules and giving honorable mention to The Highwomen, as well as Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch, The Story by Brandi Carlile, Between These Waves by Bill Scorzari, Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball, and Time Out from Dave Brubeck Quartet.

by G.M. Burns