Best Of

WXPN Radio

The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe

XPN2 - XPoNential Radio

24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

World Cafe Archives

Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

2005: A Notable Year in Music

It's always about the list of the best albums of the year. See what some of the XPN hosts thought were the best of the year below. 2005 was a notable year in music for two primary reasons - 2005 was a big year for the veteran XPN artists, but it was also the year that a handful of incredibly talented indie artists broke out into the mainstream.

Paul McCartneyIf one walks in to a record store in the last four months you'd think it was the Seventies. Not only did Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones split back-to-back covers of Rolling Stone magazine this year, but their new albums sat next to each other in the record bins. Robert Plant, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young and Eric Clapton (and Cream) weighed in with respectable new albums and XPN faves including David Gray, Dar Williams, Beck, Coldplay, Dave Matthews, Buddy Guy, John Hiatt, Sheryl Crow, Richard Thompson, Sinead O'Connor, Ry Cooder and Rodney Crowell all put out records worth adding to your collection for the year.

Death Cab For CutieThe big story of 2005 was the breakout of some very creative and exciting indie bands and artists including Austin's Spoon, Sufjan Stevens, Connor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes), The Arcade Fire, Death Cab For Cutie, Feist, and The Decemberists. The indie-rock singer-songwriter and rock scene are flourishing with even more great musicians you'll be hearing soon on XPN.

Other notable music notes for 2005 include:

  • Singer-songwriter Joe Henry added his producer's magic touch to terrific records from Ani Difranco, Susan Tedeschi, Aimee Mann, R&B legend Bettye LaVette, and the "I Believe To My Soul" project featuring Allen Toussaint, Billy Preston, Irma Thomas, Ann Peebles and Mavis Staples.
  • Solid sophomore releases from Kathleen Edwards and Jamie Cullum.
  • The comebacks of the year deservedly went to John Prine, Son Volt and Gang of Four.
  • Jam band highlights this year included albums from Trey Anastasio, Garaj Mahal, Soulive and The John Butler Trio.
  • The most overexposed artist of the year? Hands down, this one goes to John Mayer, however much we love him. Mayer showed up singing on new albums from Herbie Hancock, Buddy Guy, Common, the Sly Stone tribute album, John Scofield, BB King and an import single with the North Mississippi All Stars. Mayer plays guitar on the Eric Clapton album. All this plus putting his new power trio together which toured opening for the Rolling Stones and still managed time to record a new album.
  • It was an excellent year in World Music including albums from Ali Farka Toure with Toumani Diabate, Amadou & Mariam, the electronic-congo sounds of Konono No 1 and the Kronos Quartet.
  • We're excited about newcomers including KT Tunstall, The Magic Numbers, Danielia Cotton, Laura Veirs, and Matisyahu (look for a new studio album from him in February 2006).
  • Amos Lee was introduced to the world with his excellent Blue Note Records debut in March and he toured around the world to audiences who became true believers to his cause.
  • It was a great year in music. But we're still waiting for a new album from Alexi Murdoch...

Thanks for listening,
Bruce Warren, Program Director