From the obscure to the famous - and in between - these artists and events provided a catchy beat.

By Barry Gilbert
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

December 30, 2007

Bottle Rockets (April 3, Lucas School House): A special two nights of Brian Henneman and company unplugged, playing before hometown fans for a live CD that, sadly, has yet to surface. Get down, river, get down.

The Figgs (June 8-9, the Duck Room): Straight from the How Did We Ever Miss These Guys Dept. came three New York State rockers who did double duty at Twangfest, backing up Graham Parker one night, then headlining the next. Guitarist Mike Gent, bassist Pete Donnelly and drummer Pete Hayes put the power in power pop.

John Fogerty (Nov. 30, Scottrade Center): An icon who's still at the top of his game, and an onstage dynamo who's an inspiration to people half his age. We're the fortunate ones.

Darlene Love, "It's Christmas, of Course" (Shout Factory): Thanks to the striking TV writers, we missed Love's annual Christmas Eve visit to David Letterman to sing her classic "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." But this CD was a replacement gift of Love on songs by Chrissie Hynde, Tom Petty, John Lennon and James Brown, among many others.

House concerts (Wood House Concerts, Ranch House Concerts): Intimate shows in folks' living rooms to see artists including Peter Case, John Doe, Rosie Flores, the Redwalls, Jon Dee Graham, Elizabeth Cook, Kevin Gordon; pot luck food and drink, good music, good people; no smoke, no drunks, no parking or traffic hassles, no venue fees and charges; and all "donations" go to the performers. 'Nuff said.

Local musicians: We dream it, they do it. A tip o' the party hat to Mark Chechik and Melody Den, Jimmy Griffin and the Incurables, and Kip Loui and the Transmitters. Three fine bands, three fine CDs and many, many more St. Louis artists who deserve our support.

The Skeletons, (Nov. 9, Wood House Concerts): Saw them 20 years ago in Phoenix, opening for and then backing up Dave Alvin, and they're still a Missouri treasure. Soldier on, Lou Whitney.

Twangfest 11 (June 6-9, Tap Room, Duck Room at Blueberry Hill): The definition of twang has broadened over the years, but the emphasis is still on guitars and music made for the joy of it. Thank you, Twangfest and KDHX-FM (88.1).

United Steel Workers of Montreal, "Kerosene and Coal" (Weewerk Records): This CD of gritty and sometimes spooky blue collar acoustic music - they call it citygrass - was an out-of-nowhere jolt that we still can't get enough of.

Neil Young, "Chrome Dreams II" (Reprise Records) and concert (Nov. 18 at the Fox Theatre): Who else but Young would play old songs, so obscure they were never recorded, to open a show, then later crank out a 20-minute jam on a new song - and close with a surf single recorded by his high school band?