Submitted by Brian Mayes (President of Nashville Publicity Group)
1. Kevin Max - The Imposter
Everyone else has thought it, but I'll go ahead and say it out loud - Kevin Max is the most talented member of dc Talk. And he may possibly be one of our generation's finest vocalists and songwriters. The Imposter is perfection.
2. David Ryan Harris - Soulstice
Mix Bryan McKnight with John Mayer, and you have David Ryan Harris. Formerly the frontman for the Brand New Immortals, David divides his time these days between performing/recording his own material, and touring with John Mayer. Merging funk/soul with rock, David is a storyteller - and his lyrics and melodies are incredibly well-crafted. If you don't walk away from this record with a chorus or two stuck in your head, then you're dead.
3. Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
Like many, I rediscovered Johnny Cash this year. Not because of the film Walk the Line, which was great, but because of the opportunity to represent Johnny's sister Joanne Cash, who is releasing a CD of her own in January, which features Johnny on 4 songs. After hearing the stories and being among the first to hear these historic recordings, I found myself drawn to the history of this incredibly talented American icon. This posthumous release is among his finest projects. With vocals recorded just months before his death, producer Rick Rubin arranged and crafted a haunting and stirring tribute to his friend, and a fantastic bookend to an amazing career. For those new to Johnny Cash, this would be a great place to start.
4. Altarmotive - What We Have Inside Us
Fantastic debut effort from a fantastic band. These four guys from Texas tapped Fusebox frontman Billy Buchanan to produce their debut, and it was a wise choice. Watch for the song "Blame" - it's a smash. Support independent Christian music, and check these guys out online at http://www.altarmotive.com.
5. Robin Thicke - The Evolution of Robin Thicke
It released in October, and it's been in my player ever since. A handful of people may remember the band Thicke from a few years back. A solid debut and a national Sprite campaign failed to get them the attention they deserved. Fast forward a few years, lose the band, add Thicke's first name, and bring in the Neptunes to give his rock/R&B blend a more urban flair, and you have one of the year's best CDs. Listen to "Lost Without You" and you will swear it's Justin Timberlake singing one in his famous falsetto. Includes guest appearances by Faith Evans, Pharrell, and Lil' Wayne - and incredible production by The Neptunes!
For more information on this series, visit the Most Spun 2006 main page.