The Bird List
A bird’s eye view of the combined top 20 lists of what we like to call a “loose confederation of like minded bloggers”. This is the inaugural year. It’s been a patchy one! But what we do have is decent idea, and what we feel is an interesting list. So Here it is. The best albums of the year as voted on by 30 of the web’s leading aficionados of twanglike music.
1. Justin Townes Earle – Midnight at the Movies
2. Lucero – 1372 Overton Park
3. Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses – Roadhouse Sun
4. Buddy and Julie Miller – Written in Chalk
5. Dave Rawlings Machine – A Friend of a Friend
6. Slaid Cleaves – Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away
7. Todd Snider – The Excitement Plan
8. Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
9. Band of Heathens – One Foot In the Ether
10. Tom Russell – Blood & Candlesmoke
11. Jason Isbell & 400 Unit – Self Titled
12. Corb Lund – Losin’ Lately Gambler
13. Charlie Robison – Beautiful Day
14. Drive-By Truckers – The Fine Print
15. Steve Earle – Townes
16. Deer Tick – Born on Flag Day
17. Wrinkle Neck Mules – Let The Lead Fly
18. Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine
19. Guy Clark – Somedays The Songs Write You
20. Those Darlins – S/T
20. Miranda Lambert – Revolution
Contributing Blogs: A Fifty Cent Lighter, A Truer Sound, Alt-512, Amber Waves of Twang, Americana Rock Mix, Americana Roots, Beat Surrender, Because Whit Happens, Country California, Country Music Pride, Farce The Music, For The Sake of The Song, Front Porch Musings, Heartworn Highways, High Noon Saloon, It’s Great To Be Alive, Kim Ruehl (No Depression), Juli Thanki, (The 9513), Romeo Sid Vicious, More Cowbelle, My Aimz Is True, Ninebullets, Sounds Country, The Gobbler’s Knob, There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You, This Mornin’ I Am Born Again, Twang Nation, Twangville, Freight Train Boogie, When You Awake
Special thanks to: Truersound, Sounds Country, Romeo Sid Vicious, and David Attaway
For the record here are my choices;
Wonderful début and my choice for album of the year The Duke & The King not a weak-link on the album, great vocals, lyrics, production.
Jason Isbell steps away from his ex-Trucker moniker with his southern blue eyed soul record, a big progression in sound and quality from his début solo album, get it on vinyl if you can, sounds wonderful, the artwork’s fantastic too.
Wrinkle Neck Mules release their best yet, as they Let the Lead Fly, on heavy rotation since it’s release and sounding as fresh at the first spin.
Old/new Drive-by Truckers break free from New West with the DVD/CD combo for ACL – top quality, The Fine Print is so much more than a collection of rarities, don’t forget the Hood solo album & Booker T one too
Israel Nash Gripka and his fantastic début album New York Town a favourite of mine from the first listen, get yourself a copy.
Molina & Co and their
wonderful muse Josephine,
Magnolia Electric Co.
Charlie Robison having a shit year on the domestic front – but one Beautiful Day with his music
Chris Knight serve’s it up
straight and true with more from the
Gina Villalobos – comes up with her best work to date, move over Lucinda, get it for free
Neko Case flying up the Billboard chart
with her tornado album wooing the critic’s on it’s way
The Takers taking country music and serving it straight up
Guy Clark back with another master-class in song writing, Someday’s You Write the Song, Someday’s the Songs Write You
Lucero – horns and all how good it sounds, best Lucero yet for me, despite waiting 2 months for the album to turn up
Austin Lucas – proving old punks never die they just go country, another great Suburban Home release
Hey Negrita – unplug and serve up an “acoustic smoke out” performing tracks from their quality back catalogue.
Tom Russell teaming up with Calexico in an americana master-class that is Blood & Candle Smoke, and not forgetting his collaboration with Gretchen Peters for One to the Heart One to the Head
Sons Of Bill find their stride will a great second album One Town Away
Richmond Fontaine ,Willy Vlautin’s writing shows no drop in form, another great album from the Portland boys
Dave Rawlings takes centre stage from his long time collaborator Gillian Welch this time around and comes up with goods, including a killer dual cover as the albums centrepiece
Some more highlights for me from this year’s bumper crop of goodies, Earle Sr pays homage to the late great Townes van Zandt whilst Earle Jr goes one better than his old man with Midnight at the Movies and between them they nail Mr Gold & Mr Mudd, more Townes on a great unknowns album, a return to form for Farrar in Son Volt guise with American Central Dust and the Kerouac project with Ben Gibbard.
A great collaboration the Pete Molinari enlists The Jordinaires on his EP release Today Tomorrow Forever , no John Prine, but a wonderful tribute album from Jeffery Foucault , great self-titled debut from Those Darlin’s, sweet solo effort from Tift Merrit, quality covers album from Kasey Anderson, clearing up at the AMA’s and chalking one up for the good guys Julie & Buddy Miller, quality follow up to Mescalito by Ryan Bingham.
Eilen Jewell goes all rock n roll covering Johnny Kidd, great album from Vanessa Peters, on Darwins anniversary The Low Anthem wonderful Oh My God Charlie Darwin get’s a full label release, The Hold Steady getting their rockin’ live set onto CD, quality releases from the old guard; Levon Helm, Ray Davies, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson.
Leeroy Stagger keeping it real – with his best to date, big label debut from The Avett Brothers, change of lead vocals for The Barker Band
but the quality remains , the return of The Bottle Rockets and Slaid Cleaves too with an album of originals, in no particular order great releases from American Gun, Betty Soo, Dropkick, Brandi Carlile
, Mat D & The Profane Saints, Yellowhammer, Roger Johnson
, Musikanto, Van Meter, The Lemonheads, Tiny Television
, Angela Easterling, Band of Heathens, Scott Miller, Sarah Borges, Tim Easton, Romi Mayes, Cracker, Great Lake Swimmers, Jim Bryson
, Star Anna, Samantha Crain, Sam Baker, Additional Moog, Madison Violet, John Doe & The Sadies, Chuck Prophet, Ben Kweller, Seasick Steve, Corb Lund, Deadstring Brothers, J Tilman, Jeb Loy Nichols, Jenny Queen, Kristofer Åström,Ronnie Fauss
, The Allendales, Mud Blood Beer,
Do doubt there are many others that have passed me by, or the old grey matter has let me down.