Best Of 2008

BEST COMEBACK ALBUM: Will Quinlan, Navasota

The former frontman of venerable Tampa alt-country outfit Pagan Saints was in a justifiable funk. Will Quinlan’s mom died of a massive stroke on Sept. 28, 2000. The funeral took place in San Antonio, Texas, on Oct. 1, her son’s birthday. Quinlan then went into a state of creative paralysis. He made “half-hearted” attempts at writing but nothing stuck. In 2004, songs finally started coming to him. It took another four years for them to coalesce into the album Navasota, a finely rendered tribute to his mom, by turns sad and heart-warming, that ranks as the singer/songwriter’s most accomplished and popular work. Back in July, Quinlan bested nationally known alt-country acts like Alejandro Escovedo and the Old 97’s to top WMNF’s playlist tally, a rarity for a local act. His recent live shows have also garnered praise and he’s already recording songs at Steve Connelly’s Zen Recording Studio for a follow-up disc.