Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2013

2013

Are you sick of end of year lists yet? Well stay patient because we’ve got one more for you. Our esteemed Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans has picked his top 25 songs of the year.

There were so many amazing tracks released this year and so many deserving songs didn’t make the cut. Check out what 25 songs Gareth picked and then dive back through the Timber and Steel archives for more amazing music from 2013.

1. Melody Pool – “Henry”
This was the song that made me fall in love with Melody Pool when I saw her the Gulgong Folk Festival way back in January. It’s no wonder this song won Pool the songwriter award at the Telstra Road to Discovery – it really is something special. If you haven’t heard Melody Pool’s amazing album The Hurting Scene from which this track is taken then do yourself a favour and pick it up right now.
Read Timber and Steel’s Spotlight on Melody Pool here

2. William Fitzsimmons – “Centralia”
This song is so recent it hasn’t actually officially been released yet (the video is an acoustic version of the track which is due to appear on next year’s album Lions) but it’s just stunning. From the moment I first heard this on Youtube I was in love – I can’t wait until William Fitzsimmons releases an entire album full of music just like this next year.
Read details of the upcoming William Fitzsimmons album Lions here

3. Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer – “Geordie (Child 209)”
Anaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer have made traditional music cool again. Releasing Child Ballads, an album of songs collected by the great Francis James Child back in the 1800s, the two singers are continuing the folk process and reinventing these songs for another generation of music lovers. Sublime.
Read Mackajay’s review of Child Ballads here

4. Mumford and Sons – “Hopeless Wanderer”
I have to admit that “Hopeless Wanderer” was not an immediate favourite of mine from Babel. I initially found its choppy dynamics and rhythm off-putting and to me the song was only redeemed by the harmonies in the chorus. But the song has grown on me throughout 2013 and now it’s a firm favourite – definitely helped by what is probably the best folky film clip of the year.
Read Gareth Hugh Evans’ feelings on the Mumford and Sons hiatus here

5. Vance Joy – “Riptide”
“Riptide” has definitely been a slow burner for Vance Joy but it’s finished the year super strongly and scored him accolades, record contracts and any number of festival spots. And with good reason – this is a really really good song.
Read Gareth Hugh Evans’ review of Vance Joy’s Splendour in the Grass appearance here

6. The Milk Carton Kids – “Honey, Honey”
When I saw The Milk Carton Kids earlier this year I would have to say it was the funniest show I’ve ever been to. In contrast to their sweet, harmonic folk songs that have drawn them comparisons to Simon and Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers, The Milk Carton Kids’ between song banter is some of the driest, rolling-in-the-aisles funny stuff you’ll ever hear. It also helps that they write songs like this.
Read Thom Owen Miles’ Review of The Ash & Clay from The Milk Carton Kids here

7. Emma Davis – “Stand Tall”
I love this song so much. A great song by itself – that chorus is something else – it’s heightened buy the driving percussion and understated harmonies. This song draws you in and wraps you up. Thank you for making music Emma Davis – the world’s a better place for it.
Read details about Emma Davis’ “Stand Tall” video here

8. Tolka – “Dr. Gilbert’s”
I’ve been waiting for a trad band to come along and take my breath away this year, and lo and behold along comes Tolka. These guys are making Celtic music exciting again – and they’re so tight you could bounce a tenor banjo off their arrangments. Lovely stuff.
Read Bill Quinn’s interview with Tolka here

9. Sam Amidon – “As I Roved Out”
No one reinterprets traditional music like Sam Amidon. He deconstructs these songs and builds them up into something new and very very special. This track in particular will astound you – and those drums? I love those drums!
Read Gareth Hugh Evans’ interview with Sam Amidon here

10. Lachlan Bryan feat. Kasey Chambers – “Whistle and Waltz”
This clip made it’s appearance about a third of the way through the year, well after the album that it’s from, Shadow of the Gun, was released and just before Lachlan Bryan started promoting his new album Black Coffee. I love the accordion on this and Kasey Chambers’ backing vocals are superb. But it’s the chorus that makes “Whistle and Waltz” – so simple yet so perfect.
Read details of the new Lachlan Bryan album Black Coffee here

11. Laura Marling – “Master Hunter”
This is one of the first tracks that Laura Marling revealed from her 2013 album Once I Was An Eagle – taking all of the power and sweetness of her previous work and channeling it through a Dylan-esque prisim full of snarling, rhythmic, free-flowing melodies and Bo Diddley beats. She’s one of the most prolific artists we cover and everything Laura Marling produces is better than what comes before.
Read Timber and Steel’s combined review of Laura Marling’s Once I Was An Eagle here

12. Bear’s Den – “Isaac”
Finally Bear’s Den fulfilled they’re promise in 2013, releasing two outstanding EPs – Agape and Within/Without and shining a spotlight on the incredible talents of Andrew Davie, Kev Jones and Joey Haynes. It’s about time boys – keep it up!
Read Gareth Hugh Evans’ interview with Bear’s Den here

13. Rosie Catalano feat. Jack Carty – “Hearts”
Rosie Catalano sent me the unmastered versions of the tracks on her Dreams Are Just Movies EP and even in their raw form I knew this song was a standout. I love the plucked strings in the the verses, the subtle percussion and Jack Carty leaving his falsetto at the door for some pitch perfect backing vocals.
Read details of Rosie Catalano’s EP Dreams Are Just Movies here

14. Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers – “Sea Elephant School”
I think this is Fanny Lumsden’s tightest track to date – dynamic, driving and definitely toe-tap worthy. I’ve liked Lumsden’s music for a while but with “Sea Elephant School” I feel like she’s really finding her stride as a songwriter and a storyteller.
Read Gareth Hugh Evans’ interview with Fanny Lumsden here

15. Boy Outside – “River Runs To The Sea”
The moment Boy Outside added a rhythm section to his dark, alt-country sound something just clicked for me. He writes songs that cry out for a band (even one as restrained as in this track) and the result is beautiful. The video for “River Runs To The Sea”, shot in Western NSW, just adds a depth to the track – really lovely music.
Read Gareth Hugh Evans’ interview with Boy Outside here

16. Volcano Choir – “Byegone”
I love the way everyone pretended they already knew that Justin Vernon had a side project when Volcano Choir released their Reprave album this year. This track snuck up on me thanks to a couple of overseas blogs but I’m so glad it stuck. There’s something epic about this track and Vernon’s voice is in all it’s Phil-Collins-double-tracked-vocals glory here.
Read more details about Volcano Choir here

17. Mustered Courage – “Cruel Alibis”
When Mustered Courage banjo player and lead singer Nick Keeling handed me an unofficial copy of the band’s album Powerlines at the start of the year I lapped it up. These guys are one of the best bands in the country and their latest long player is testament to the amazing music they’re producing. “Cruel Alibis” is a definite highlight from Powerlines and while I’ve seen them perform it live a hundred times or more I can’t help but get excited every time the full band bursts into the second verse.
Read Gareth Hugh Evans interview with Mustered Courage here

18. Arbori – “Polar Bear Swim”
I’m so glad Arbori just completed a successful crowdfunding campaign to put together a new EP next year. The speed at which these guys release music is frustrating (sorry Steve!) – but mainly because it’s so stunning. “Polar Bear Swim” is another Arbori and the contemporary dance heavy video is simply beautiful.
Read about the debut of Arbori’s “Polar Bear Swim” here

19. Boy & Bear – “Southern Sun”
I think a few people expected Boy & Bear to morph into the Australian Mumford and Sons for their 2013 sophomore album Harlequin Dream, but instead they’ve chosen to channel 70s Laurel Canyon, and to great effect. “Southern Sun” was the first single from the album and it still sounds up as one of the best.
Read details of Boy & Bear’s new album Harlequin Dream here

20. Castlecomer – “Forrest”
I think I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – Castlecomer’s “Forrest” reminds me so much of “Life in a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy. Not that that’s a bad think – I love “Life in a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy. I love the African sounds to “Forrest” and just how uplifted it makes me feel.
Read details of the Castlecomer EP Lone Survivour here

21. Sam Buckingham – “Follow You”
In “Follow You” Sam Buckingham has crafted a near-perfect indie-pop song. The melody is catchy, the lyrics are simple yet touching and it’s just so damn catchy. There are so many folky singer-songwriters trying to achieve what Sam Buckingham seems to have effortlessly produced here.
Read Gareth Hugh Evans’ interview with Sam Buckingham here

22. Marcus Mumford & Oscar Isaac – “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)”
I can’t tell you how excited I am by the upcoming Cohen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, set during the 1960s New York folk revival. The film will be in our theatres next year but the soundtrack – featuring the film’s actors Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan along with artists like Marcus Mumford & Oscar Isaac and Punch Brothers – is out now and is very very good. This version of “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)” is probably my favourite track on the soundtrack.
Read details of the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack here

23. Gregory Alan Isakov – “Saint Valentine”
My love affair with Gregory Alan Isakov was solidified this year with the release of his superlative new album The Weatherman. “Saint Valentine” was the first single from the album and has managed to earworm its way into my life. A stunning song from a stunning songwriter.
Read details of Gregory Alan Isakov’s album The Weatherman here

24. The Little Stevies – “Diamonds For Your Tea”
Having gone through a bunch of changes in the lead up to their new album Diamonds For Your Tea and the result is their most mature album to date. The album’s title track and first single perfectly encapsulates the type of music The Little Stevies are producing at the moment and once again demonstrates their beautiful harmonies.
Read Gareth Hugh Evans’ interview with The Little Stevies here

25. Jack Carty & Casual Psychotic – “What Does Your Heart Say?”
When Jack Carty told me his 2013 collaboration with producer Casual Psychotic was probably not going to be folky enough for me I took him at face value and ignored the Predictable Crisis of Modern Life EP longer than I should of. When I finally got around to listening to it I realised what I was missing – and Carty’s trademark storytelling style is all over it. The EP’s single, “What Does Your Heart Say?”, is one of the folkier tracks and is the perfect way to finish this list.
Watch Jack Carty live at The Front in Canberra here

4 Comments

  1. December 20, 2013 at 13:12

    […] Our Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans chose his top 25 songs of 2013. Read the piece here […]

  2. December 25, 2013 at 08:03

    […] good lists from more legitimate sources than me: Paste, NPR, American Songwriter, Music Savage, Timber & Steel and Rolling […]

  3. February 4, 2014 at 09:45

    […] her recent tour with Brian Campeau but her recently released track “Stand Tall” was one of my favourite tracks of last year and gets a regular, almost daily spin on my iPod months after it was released. Her on stage […]

  4. April 5, 2016 at 16:45

    […] Alt-country singer-songwriter Melody Pool has long been a firm favourite of Timber and Steel – we picked her song “Henry” as our top track of 2013. […]


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