[guest post] 2011 in Review, Vol. 8 – Chris Kiehne

Chris Kiehne released two of the year’s most captivating folk albums – the subtly zombie-themed Pray for Daylight and its quick Hank Williams-inspired follow up A Widower’s Kind.  With a new album in the works for 2012, Kiehne took some time to recap his favorite things of 2011:  


I’ve got to start by saying that Have One on Me completely dominated my listening in 2011, just as it did in 2010.  And I’m going to limit myself to saying that-and-only-that in regards to Joanna Newsom.  Otherwise, this thing would definitely become overly doting and probably seriously embarrassing.


Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s some radical stuff that I saw, heard, read, or did this year.  In no particular order:


1.      The conclusion of Friday Night Lights.  I don’t think it’s the best show of all time (The Wire), but it was definitely my favorite. 

2.      I worked with my friend Jeff Alford on his haunting five-part piano suite, The Perpetual Calendar.  It can be downloaded for free here

3.      Although I loved Bill Callahan’s Apocalypse, I absolutely did not in any way love the song “America.”

4.      The Tree of Life.  The most Terrence Malick-y Terrence Malick movie yet. 

5.      On that note, I’ve been listening to a lot of Melanesian choral music, familiar to anybody that has seen The Thin Red Line.  It’s the most ecstatically joyful music I’ve heard.

6.      Getting Pray For Daylight reviewed on DreadCentral.com and receiving a perfect rating.

7.      “Love is Won,” from Lia Ices’ Grown Unknown, was probably my favorite song of the year.

8.      Popheadwound.com and slowcoustic.com

9.      Sonya Cotton’s elegy to her mother, It Is So, is utterly devastating and the most beautiful, honest, and redemptive collection of songs of the year.

10.   I definitely still think Bon Iver is the real deal, and “Beth / Rest” is the  best song on the new album. 

11.  The first 67 pages of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot.  Alexander Maksik’s You Deserve Nothing

12.  Bolano’s 2666 and David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green: neither was published in 2011, but they were the highlights of my year as a reader. 

13.  Everything that Super 8 did so wrong, Attack the Block did so right.

14.  The Bowerbirds are my favorite contemporary band that’s not Joanna Newsom, and “Tuck The Darkness In,” the first single off their upcoming album The Clearing, is so unnervingly amazing that I’m just going to go ahead and call it my-favorite-album-of-next-year.  Which is sort of a bummer, because I was hoping to put out an album next year, too.  So.  Armor up, Bowerbirds.  It’s on.



MP3  ::  The Wind Through Your Wounds

MP3  ::  A Special Providence

(from Pray for Daylight. Buy/download here)


MP3  ::  My Sweet Love Ain’t Around

MP3  ::  I Can’t Get You Off of My Mind

(from A Widower’s Kind. Download here)



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