(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )
R.E.M.: In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 (Warner Bros.). Rock as feeling, mood, and texture; lyrics as inside jokes, non-sense, and occasionally disarming directness.
Duke Robillard: Exalted Lover (Stony Plain). Shut up and play your guitar, you find yourself saying; then he does, and things still don’t improve.
Salsa Around the World (Putumayo). Music to mourn Celia Cruz by.
Shirley Scott: Queen of the Organ, Shirley Scott Memorial Album (Prestige). The female Jimmy Smith and-or McGriff, both out front and backing Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Stanley Turrentine, Mildred Anderson, et al, circa 1958-1964.
The Songs of Hank Williams Jr. (A Bocephus Celebration) (Warner Bros.). Consistently enjoyable and in the spirit of the original, but too bad Trick Pony got the Monday Night Football theme.