I've got a couple of 2006 CDs here that I've had around for several months, meaning to say a few words for. I don't know that either one is particularly an all-time classic, but they both show some skills, and fans of their styles would probably be pretty pleased with either of them.
The closer to home for me stylistically is an eponymous debut album by 19-year-old Andrew Collberg. He seems to be a very nice, earnest young Jewish boy. A girl could take this nice fellow home to meet the parents.
Now, this ain't a great album, but I find the tone of it highly agreeable. The basic point is that pretty much all these songs are somewhere in the range of that John Lennon ballad style. Nothing at all plagiaristic, but definitely derivative in the dreamy melodic style, and the Phil Spector effects on the vocals.
None of these songs really strike me as a knockout single, but they pretty nearly all have something to them. The pick of the litter is probably "Dream Tonight." This song starts with the best simple guitar riff and then the best lyrical hook on the album, addressing one who seems ready to "hang yourself from all your journal entries."
That's not entirely a bad thing, being somewhat imitative of John Lennon. None of these songs are going to make you forget "Julia" or "Across the Universe," but they do give him something ambitious to shoot for. The young dude is picking a top guy for a model.
And hey, at this age Ray Charles was basically imitating Nat King Cole. But then Ray wouldn't have been remembered much based on just the pre-Atlantic recordings. We'll see if young Master Collberg has greatness in him. In the meantime, if you really, really like that John Lennon stylistic range, you might likely get some good out of this first album.
Probably the better album though is from an outfit called Ampline out of Cincinnati, a hard charging album of rock guitar instrumentals called Rosary. For whatever reasons, I've rarely been impressed with rock guitar instrumentals. Some vintage surf guitar is good now and again, but even Frank Zappa's highly touted Shut Up and Play Your Guitar albums generally lose me after a few minutes.