My dear readers I always use the disclaimer EVERY YEAR, and it’s one of the reasons I don’t have a comments section like other blogs. NO ONE ALBUM IS BETTER THAN THE NEXT JUST BECAUSE OF NUMBERED RANK ON THIS LIST. I strive VERY hard to avoid “I thought Hellbound Glory was better than Jason Eady” or other various comments like Willie Nelson should have made your list, Gary. Pretty much in the trailer article I included about 200 honorable mentions on this category and some of them missed my pick by a VERY slim margin, having some very well written songs. I’m ALSO NOT SAYING your opinions aren’t important to me so PLEASE stop the disbelief and just enjoy the great music, these artists poured their hearts into each recording and each album is a part of them.
You see folks, the mainstream “regular” people out there that either are brainwashed into accepting only what the media has them like OR they are just too damn lazy to research for themselves..do not want well written songs. They want easy and simple boring lyrics, not really saying people like Hank Williams wasn’t easy and simple he certainly wasn’t boring or fake. I WANT a song that paints a picture because my brain is a canvas and you paint a picture with your song which is a paint, like the Tillers did with “Willy Dear” or James Hand does with “Old Man Henry”.
So folks I been documenting pages of information and notes ALL YEAR anticipating on unleashing my fury upon you readers with my coveted TOP 50 albums of 2016 and WHY I chose what I did and when. Complete with links right to the artist so you can get to them without further searching for him/her/them. If you like what you see, PLEASE BUY THE ALBUM that’s my MAIN reason for doing all this work. Let’s bring the artists some sales!
Now after the ranking number of the album picture there will be the artist’s name linked, this link will take you DIRECTLY to the purchase page to buy the album. I have researched literally hundreds of websites and lists to bring you this compilation, and this article takes WEEKS to complete so PLEASE buy some albums off the list…it took a LOT of coffee and time. EVERY band, venue, festival and name will be linked so YOU can learn about them ALL.
WHAT OTHER WEBSITE BLOG DOES THIS?
1. Charley Pride Music In My Heart
In 2016, Charley began crafting many new recordings with artist-songwriter Billy Yates acting as his new creative partner and producer. Yates, a highly-acclaimed, traditional Country artist and songwriter, is renowned for penning “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair” and “Choices” for the legendary George Jones, the latter of which helped Jones land a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Yates has enjoyed a few hits himself, but has also contributed songs to many other fellow Country artists including George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Chris Young, Rhonda Vincent and Sara Evans. Mr.Billy Yates wrote one of my favorite songs of ALL TIME in the 90’s, and in 2000 he did what mainstream radio said wasn’t possible…he gave George Jones an FM radio hit with “Choices”.
The magic of their collaboration is self-evident on MUSIC IN MY HEART, an unapologetic traditional Country album that marks a high-level return to form for Pride and features a wonderful array of songs from such highly regarded tune smiths such as the late Merle Haggard, Whisperi’n Bill Anderson, Tommy Collins, “Country” Johnny Mathis, Ben Peters (“Kiss An Angel Good Morning'”) and Yates.
The late Mr. Ben Peters wrote 68 songs for Charley Pride within his tenure and 6 of them became number 1 hits. You know folks, I have often said this again and again…Country Music has three pillar fundamentals to it, and if all three exist you have a platinum album: Producer, Songwriter, Steel Guitarist. THIS ALBUM had ALL THREE. My ONLY regret is that I cannot rate this album ANY higher.
This album came out in July and blew me away, on the way home from purchasing it I heard the song “The Way It Was In 51” and had to pull over and cry. It was tears of jealousy folks, I have researched the 50s and 60s heavily in my life, Linebaugh’s Cafe and the Opry at the Ryman. The relevance of jukeboxes at that time, and their impact on album sales. At that time it trumped radio influence sales BY FAR!
His voice has not been faltered by time in any way, and his vocal expressions are so pure and true to tradition it has become the TOP ALBUM in my collection of the last few years, NOT JUST 2017 folks. I’ll be honest THERE WILL be a follow up album in 2018 from him of all new material but this one will be hard to beat. These 13 new tracks was the first new album from Pride since 2011’s “Choices”. And YES FOLKS Mr. Charley has been VERY active on the road to support this album.
2. Colter Wall Colter Wall
You know this album will most likely make EVERY website’s TOP list of 2017, and BY GOD it deserves to be. I mean when I spoke to Mr. Colter on the phone a few years back interviewing him about this project, and the fact that he was my 2016 Artist Of The Year I found out it was going to be produced by Legendary Dave Cobb.
I got the opportunity to cover his performance at Tumbleweed Music Festival in Kansas City this year, also my partner Mr. Joshua Wallace covered his show in Florida not long ago, and that can be found right HERE. This 11 track album has gathered SO MUCH attention from SO MANY places it’s uncanny to watch how much he has grown, by EPIC live shows and word of mouth.
I’ll tell you what right now this young man from Canada has beyond impressed me with his old time style and his vocal delivery is beyond amazing. Many people often criticize today’s music as being drab and boring, and the fact you cannot tell people’s voices apart. People like Mr. Colter and people the likes of one of my next picks Tyler Childers disavow that theory, with the powerful identity these young men have established within the music world. Their duet of the Bobby Helms classic “Fraulein” proves the theory that there IS a NEW ERA of identities emerging from the corner dive bars….and it’s not on any FM radio or arena show from any clowns in ball caps.
This young man brings your very soul back to a very somber ambiance in the back of your mind, all you need to do is sit back, close your eyes and imagine the stories and tales that spin from this man’s web of misery. His songs are so descriptive and often poignant like the song “Kate McCannon” in which the very tone of the guitar pulls the hairs on your neck stand up. One of the most dark and evil murder ballads I have ever since the Louvin Brothers sang “Knoxville Girl” in the 50’s.
3. Hellbound Glory Pinball
I’m going to admit something, I didn’t really think Hellbound Glory would ever make an album of such grand magnitude. I DID prognosticate that there would eventually be a follow up to the ‘Damaged Goods” album but I never thought it would be THIS good, leave it to Black Country Rock to bring out such an epic project from the Hellbound Glory brand!
I think Mr. Leroy is truly one of the finest songwriters in underground music and I think highly of Kid Rock for bringing them out into the mainstream world in the past, exposing a whole new realm of fans to them. Even though Kid Rock’s music isn’t something I like at all nor do I care for him at all, I think the fact he did that was admirable. Just that the first two albums before Damaged Goods were not produced as well, until now!
THIS ALBUM was BY FAR the greatest project the band has ever released and I am quickly becoming a HUGE fan of Mr. Shooter’s production abilities. Combined with Mr. Leroy’s songwriting and gritty hellbilly vocals you have a DAMN GOOD album of 11 tracks of typical Hellbound Glory debauchery, as songs like “Vandalism Spree” assault you with suggestions of crime and mischief one expects from them.
The cover of Larry Collins classic song “Delta Dawn” was a really nice added bonus to this album, I’ll be honest when I was it initially I wasn’t impressed but his vocals pulled off the higher notes correctly. It had depth and controversy mentioning heavy narcotics, along with the NRA. ALL KINDS of political correctness snubbed and plenty of west coast references abound in this album. Also the remake of “Another Bender Might Break Me” was a masterpiece, this is one of the many Myspace bands that I remember finding around 2006 when I searched for great new bands. One of them I found in 2007 was THIS GAL my number 4 pick!
4. Sunny Sweeney Trophy
Back then in 2006 I was going through my divorce and Myspace was just launched, and I found a TON of good bands from dwelling in with the Hank 3 crowd. Bob Wayne came around, and OF COURSE Wayne “The Train” Hancock was around along with Dale Watson and Split Lip Rayfield. But it was TEXAS MUSIC I was loving as well, and back then it was taking form.
I found Miss Sunny’s music in a chat room about Twang Country, and the first song I heard from her “If I Could”. Also her cover of Tom Schuyler’s “Sixteenth Avenue”, which was originally recorded by Lacy J. Dalton in 1983. But her style and her distinct vocal range REALLY attracted me to her music, and her passionate LOVE for upholding Country Music is something I admire. She plays the Opry more than some members do, and deserves a membership.
This album was BY FAR my favorite of her four BUT I want to say that “From A Table Away” is my favorite song she does, she could have one hell of a greatest hits album. If you dwell on her four albums in succession you will witness growth in her vocally and she begins sharing more personal issues with her last two albums. I blame this on her own personal life and sharing with us as fans how she was feeling. This album wasn’t some manufactured crap in plastic sleeve, it was REAL FROM THE HEART songs by a true road warrior Honky Tonk queen.
She’s coming to my area in spring for a few dates so you’ll be hearing from me about this gal next year already. Mr. David Brainard did an extraordinary job on producing this album, and Mr. Tommy Detamore was amazing on steel guitar, and as I write this she’s on her Hard Candy Christmas tour with three other gals.
She wrote most of the songs on this album save for a few like “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight” made popular by Country Legend Jerry Jeff Walker and another song that Miss Brennen Leigh wrote called “Pills”. I’m telling you folks Miss Sunny is rapidly growing with every album and there’s NO limit to what she can accomplish in music, SHE WILL be a Legend of Country Music one day..you mark my words as truth!
5. Tyler Childers Purgatory
I have covered Mr. Tyler Childers MANY times on here since I was introduced to his music from Mr. W.B.Walker and his podcast the Old Soul Radio Show. Upon the first time I met him he had not evolved into the monster he is now in appearance. His raspy twang whiskey soaked vocals were there, but he had this short haircut can he was clean cut with a bow tie. Nobody would expect those wicked lyrics to emanate from such a man.
He brings forth songs of moonshine and pills and West Virginia coal mine life, he is such a juggernaut in the local club scene that they have to turn people away from his shows nightly. When W.B. Walker had his shows the crowd sang so loud you couldn’t hear Mr. Tyler. His band the Food Stamps are each seasoned veterans in their own right, and they make him sound even more sinister.
Fast forward to NOW where you have a 10 song masterpiece produced by Sturgill Simpson with a re recorded version of “Whitehouse Road”. It does launch off at a sleepy start with a few slower songs but TO ME that’s alright, he is like a folk type Country singer who can howl out some mighty fine ballads, while rabble rousing a crowd from stories within murder songs like “Banded Clovis”. The slower beginning might turn some other people away from this album especially if they are used to big arena shows with all the bells and whistles.
This album is filled with true mountain lore and twisted tales of misery the likes that would interest Dr. Ralph Stanley himself today, I bet he would folks like him would smile with glee after watching the likes of this young man, whom is soon headed to the Ryman with my Number 6 pick Miss Margo Price.
6. Margo Price All American Made
I’m not exactly why she considers this to be her first full length album, as last year’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter was just as many songs but this album was equally impressive in many ways. This time around she goes after politics and equal pay for women, with many witty one liners and hooks hidden within the albums many songs.
I’m pretty sure this album will indeed be met with well critical acclaim in many ways, and I am certain it will be at the top of many lists from websites bigger than mine. However I can easily ascertain why, with songs like “Weakness” because we all have our struggles that overcome us. All of the songs on this album are well written and compliment each other really well, and of course you have political songs too. You aren’t going to have Americana albums without them, so expect that.
Country Legend Willie Nelson shines bright and true in the song “Learning To Loose” and so does his signature guitar Trigger and his own sound. He possesses one of Country Music’s most distinctive tones in all of modern day Country Music, as well as vocals even for his age. As I mentioned earlier, she addresses the unfair work treatment of women in the song “Pay Gap” where she warriors on in proving that women get paid half of what men do in most professions, so if social issues like that offend you…don’t spin this album.
The sudden change in tempo is what grabbed my total attention to this song over the lyrics the first time, but I did enjoy the lyrics and in some cases I can see their point. When it comes to music I can often times relate to the women, and I try to see the world from their shoes when they play their own songs.
The steel guitar work on “Wild Women” is absolutely amazing and her band The Pricetags are right on time as usual, as this songs criticizes the fact that men run around wild and you come to know her life as a mother while balances life on the road. I truly enjoy the farmer’s daughter songs it is truly America in it’s finest form people, and there’s NO doubt that Miss Margo Price is indeed the real deal.
7. Porter Union Porter Union
I first learned about this band from my friend Miss Bridget in Oklahoma, it is a duo formed up of Mr. Cole And Miss Kendra Porter. The video below will give you more of a picture of the entire story of where they came from. And let me tell you folks these two have some of the finest vocal harmonies I have ever heard from a couple in years!
This duo displays a depth of affection for one another the likes of which modern day social media has killed for humanity, nobody knows HOW to interact with each other anymore. THIS couple truly pours out their hearts to one another within their songs and their demeanor on stage. All 11 songs on this album are cleverly written and posses many hidden meanings and hooks like the song “Thief” where Miss Kendra threatens after you think she has stolen everything she will take his last name.
I’m truly looking forward to watching them evolve in the future and see what directions they take their music, because following up on this album isn’t going to be an easy task for them..it’s that good. This band played a truly wonderful performance at Tumbleweed this past spring, where they created quite a huge buzz with the performance contest to play the festival. They will be playing at the 2018 Westport Roots Festival in Kansas City, Missouri.
You know that within Country Music the often touched upon reference of the love that Johnny And June had is so overly used it has become a yawner for me. In fact I USUALLY sigh and frown upon it, however “Walked Away” is a song with a reference to them from a whole different perspective that nobody has yet hit yet. Even I myself was appalled nobody has thought of this line!
8. The Turnpike Troubadours A Long Way From Your Heart
You know what can I say about this band, despite their lineup changes they always stay true to their own form and sound. In my opinion they won’t be able to outdo Diamonds And Gasoline as a whole but this album was truly epic in many ways, in fact they are one of the finest Country Music bands on the road right now…period.
The opening song is so damn cool even though it’s about a tragic house fire it’s just so damn COUNTRY it’s pathetic. There aren’t any political lyrics here just twang and Honky Tonk beats with references to family and the struggles of the working man, which is pretty much what I perceived of “The Housefire”.
“something To Hold On To” has those missing steel guitar intros I regret not hearing on modern country radio for sure, and it has a good shuffle beat to it. This band is growing and evolving into a monstrosity of Red Dirt excellence, and from that Oklahoma scene they ARE the front runner band in my opinion.
“Pay No Rent” was a song me and gal have dedicated to one another, maybe we don’t understand it from the angle they are trying to portray but our angle is understandable to US. The campfire scenario is what we relate to, and how we love each other. I traveled around and nobody beats my gal, she pays nothing in my world. And she loves the fiddle solos and steel within this song, we enjoy this album.
9. Chris Stapleton A Room With A View Volume 2
Honestly when I found out that Mr. Chris was releasing TWO albums in 2017 I was skeptical as to WHY they weren’t a two album set, however as soon as I delved into the two different albums I finally found out why. They are different in some variations, and then they are the same…GOT IT? See Volume 1 (which is my number 10 pick) was the downward spiral into sadness and volume 2 is the upward lift back into recovery. At least THAT’S how I hear it, I suppose that’s the special thing about music WE ALL perceive it from different angles.
‘Millionaire” is an absolute masterpiece in every way, it is a well written uplifting song of beauty, that will make you smile upon listening to it, but then it goes into “Hard Livin” which despite it’s upbeat tempo really is a song of lament. Even the songs that have regret are masterpieces here on this album. You know folks I MISS his absence in the Steeldrivers current lineup, and every time I see them I try to imagine him there singing with them but it is what it is. I recently found this clip of him and his comments on the state of Country Music are why I admire him so much.
“Drunkard’s Prayer” is in my opinion the greatest song on this entire album, even though it is only an acoustic based song it displays total feeling and easily related lyrics for just about anybody really. I’m sure every music website that covers genres like mine has reviewed this album but guess what…HE DOESN’T CARE what you think, he is playing music HE WANTS to play.
10. Chris Stapleton A Room With A View Volume 1.
“Broken Halos” and the next song “Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning” were in my opinion the best two songs on this album. I honestly enjoyed Volume 2 more in every way, both production wise and lyrically I thought Volume 1 was perhaps his weaker link in his discography to date.
Not much farther behind the first two songs was the song “Up To No Good Livin” which was indeed a good song but what made it the best for me was those steel guitar licks on it. However I truly love the bluesy grit that he throws into his songs like “death Row”, and I deem this approach will lure a whole new audience to his music.’
11. Jason Eady Jason Eady
Right now I am extremely adamant on the fact that he will not be able to beat the song “AM Country Heaven” however as a whole this album was in my opinion was his finest offering to date. I am a HUGE Jason Eady fan, and it was truly a blessing to see him play Tumbleweed this past summer.
Also, this past weekend I got the chance to see the man who wrote the song “Black Jesus” Mr. Channing Wilson. His stage presence blew me away this weekend, what a wonderful show. That was one of the better songs on the album…but like I said this entire album just flat out shines, like the song “Waiting To Shine”.
This album is full of soulful ballads like “Not Too Loud” which is about a father and his grown up little girl, I’ll be honest I related VERY WELL to this song. It was totally ME he was singing about, as I’m sure SO MANY daddies can think..and isn’t that what performers do? Yes, I think Mr. Jason totally hit the mark on this song when he delivered those vocals.
Another awesome well written ballad on this album was called “Genie In This Bottle” which was about a battle with alcoholism, and regret. His vocals are very strong on this album, and it was produced very well. It contains a lot of depth and easy to understand lyrics, without becoming hokey or fake. Mr. Jason always delivers quality albums in my opinion and I really enjoy his music.
12. Natalie Hemby Puxico
I’ll tell you what, in today’s direction of the music business, and how things work the term “songwriter” doesn’t always hold validity anymore. For the most past ti does seem that gone are the days of the songwriter that actually makes a living off the income of their craft. Miss Natalie is one of the modern day exceptions having penned many Country Music songs with (what I call) the “Gals Club Of Country” AND pop country as well. In a nutshell allow me to elaborate on what the Gals Club Of Country means.
Miss Margo is at number 6 up there, and the song “Pay Gap” held strong identifiable relevance to me even though I’m a male. I can understand how they feel like pay isn’t always equal, and although I’m not sure if females are paid less than males for music shows, I CAN see their argument of festival lineups. Well this Gals club includes people like Sunny Sweeney (who sits at number 4) and Miranda Lambert, who Miss Natalie wrote songs for (or with) BOTH. She has songs off Miss Sunny’s Provoked album and Miss Miranda’s Weight Of These Wings album.
She also wrote one of my favorite Kasey Musgraves songs on last year’s Pageant Material, the song “good Old Boys Club”. That WAS one of my favorite songs of 2016 by far, and all the while she’s writing pop country smash hits the likes of “Pontoon” for Little Big Town. She’s kind of a Jamey Johnson type double edged sword here!
Puxico was her first attempt at a solo effort, and it immediately grabbed me with the song “Time Honored Tradition”. That was a terrific upbeat song full of great descriptive lyrics, and the song ‘Cairo Illinois” was another well written song. See, she has nothing to prove here because honestly she’s already accomplished so much.
Being from Puxico Mo, you become a little more familiar with who SHE IS as a person with this collection of 9 songs where she touches upon past loves and her old high school that still holds memories of her youth. This album is truly enjoyable and I look forward to many more albums from this seasoned veteran of Nashville songwriting.
13. Hillbilly Casino Red, White And Bruised
This band is the pride of the Muddy Roots Music Festival as they always put on a terrific show, and always have great songs to offer. Honestly this band has such an intense stage presence that it wont be long until they get attention from larger amounts of people. Now to be honest I don’t really think this band even cares about any larger marketing companies, these guys are just happy being “The People’s Band”. Music BY the people FOR the people.
Now I was introduced to many of their new songs early this spring at the Muddy Roots Nashville Boogie wherethey filled their set list FULL of new original songs that had the usual trademark Hillbilly Casino sound like “She’s Got Tricks”. Now to be honest three of these songs first appeared on their LIVE album from the Exit In recorded a while back, so if you feel like you recognize some of these songs that’s where they came from.
One of the more upbeat and crazier songs they play live is “Jibber Jabber”, where Mr. Nic belts out the lyrics like he reached his leg through your speakers and kicks you right in the nuts. It’s loud and obnoxious and rowdy, so yeah It’s pretty much everything you need for a downright good party. This is one of the best live bands within my TOP 50 list to be honest. If I had to pick a band to see any night of the week it would be Hillbilly Casino.
After all of these albums though they finally recorded a down home Honky Tonk song called “Troubles” complete with steel guitar from Steel Legend Tommy Hannum. Mr. Tommy plays for Wynonna Judd on the road, and in his off time he can be found playing with Sarah Gayle Meech downtown. I STRONGLY SUGGEST this album be added to your collection.
14. Jessi Colter Psalms
I’ll be completely honest, accept for number 1 up there,this list has no meaning of order. In other words, just because an album is number 14 instead of number 2 it does not make it less relevant. Ergo this brings me to a very evocative album that is a front runner for my personal collection, Psalms by Miss Jessi Colter.
Apparently, this album was a lifetime in the making and it contains 12 original songs of praise to one of Miss Jessi’s heroes, God. You know, many of us all regard HER or Waylon as a hero for what they have contributed to Country Music. And you know Bill Anderson sang the song “I Wonder If God Likes Country Music”, well, with albums like this one I have NO doubt that he does.
I do not usually openly share my religious or political beliefs on a normal basis however in THIS instance I will, you see I try my BEST to do ALL THINGS to HIS glory, and not try to please other people. And THIS album shines true to that sentiment from Miss Jessi, as she chooses different passages from the mightiest book of the Bible, the Psalms. She’s correct that book emphasizes freedom and strength but also weakness.
It was brought to life by producer Mr. Lenny Kaye, whom was working on the Waylon Jennings autobiography and accidentally heard her playing some of these songs with such joy and admiration for God HE KNEW it was an album,and it’s evident on his production of this album…absolutely FLAWLESS and uplifting. I use this album for positive reinforcement annually in my weekly routine.
15. Bobby Osborne Original
I recently wrote a nice article for his new album that contained so many guest appearances it made it an even more enjoyable album. The fine folks at Compass Records have once again done an outstanding job producing this true gem of an album, pulling from classic songs like the ever popular Hank Cochran classic “Make The World Go Away”.
This album contains 10 songs of Bluegrass beauty and grace from one of Bluegrass finest Legends, who assisted in taking a song that Felice and Bordeaux Bryant wrote called “Rocky Top” and turned it into the Tennessee state song in the 80’s. I point that out because it was released on Christmas day in 1967, and I’m writing this on Christmas day in 2017….50 years later!
Forward to now where his brother Mr. Sonny has retired and long since has hung up his banjo, while Mr. Bobby continues to carry the Rocky Top X Press brand. He continues to uphold the Opry membership for this band as well playing the (once required) performance dates..apparantly the Opry let’s some people slide.
The song “Just In Case” was an absolute toe tapping jam song,as was the rest of this album. Time has not influenced this man’s voice or playing ability in any way, and I strongly urge you to add this album to your collection. This is a MUST MUST MUST have, and I truly hope there will be more road shows in the future however, I can easily understand if there’s not.
16. Joseph Huber The Suffering Stage
This past year I wrote a TON of articles about Mr. Joseph from Moonrunners In Chicago all the way to Muddy Roots in Cookeville Tennessee on Labor Day Weekend. In my opinion he is one of the Roots Music acts that exemplifies more growth than many of the rest, and he is a hard working road warrior.
From the very beginning “Playground/Battlefield” grabbed me on a personal level, not only because it’s a well written song..I LIVED it. You see Mr. Joseph and I were raised in the same close vicinity of Milwaukee Wisconsin, and the area I lived in until my parents bought a farm is an overrun crime ridden bad area now. milwaukee has changed so much in 20 years I have no desire to return to see my old playground become battlefields.
I’m convinced that it will be difficult for him to out do The Hanging Road but this album does indeed show his plans for growth and his plans to continue offering well written songs that contain depth. Mr. Joseph is one of the finest true auteurs of his scene he is usually featured in. But at the same time he is prevalent within Bluegrass festivals as well as Roots Music ones. And songs like “16-10” show his mountain roots sound as well. Here is his appearance at the Blue Plate Special in Knoxville Tennessee.
“You Showed Me” was even better on the album than live with all the wonderful steel guitar licks and fiddle on it. He DOES travel with Mr. Jason Loveall who is a truly awesome fiddle player and Mr.Easton Bennett on the upright bass. So when he comes to YOUR area you’ll be treated to a set list from his 4 solo albums of well written feel good Americana tunes, and some damn fine musicianship.
17. Josh Morningstar Whole Lotta Crazy
From the start this album delves right into a past I share with Mr. Josh and that is drug addiction, we both are recovered addicts, and we met way back in 2013 at Altamont. And in that time period I have had the absolute privilege to witness him evolve to an entire new echelon of greatness. “Whole Lotta Crazy” is an epic Outlaw song complete with double stops and audio references from Jones and Cash. It contains some inventive lyrics and displays a whole new level of clever for him.
The song called “Crying Eyes Of Blue” was on one of his previous albums that is REALLY HARD to obtain because the label no longer exists and unless you ordered it directly you’ll probably not find it anywhere, kind of like Sturgill’s Sunday Valley work. “Miss Bobbie Jo” is a song about one of the bar employees at his home base bar in Leitersburg Tavern, Leitersburg, MD.
“Hangovers And Heartaches” was another wonderfully written masterpiece of poignant lament the likes of which one can relate to in a totally inebriated state of mind. I highly suggest you do not listen to this album unless you can resort to the bottle while doing so, it’s NOT for the weak of heart or the sober individual.
The album closes with the Billy Don Burns song called “Haggard And Hank” and I truly enjoyed his version of this song, the words ring evident within my mind even now. Even in death Merle Haggard and Hank Williams both currently influence and regulate what I enjoy and write about now. There was no music to back him on this song it was mostly ac-ca paella, it didn’t need any to be honest.
18. Jaime Wyatt Felony Blues
This album is another one that will most likely be on MANY TOP 50 lists from many outlets of my ilk,and deserving to be so. Much like my number 4 pick up there Miss Sunny Sweeney and my number 12 pick of Miss Natalie Hemby this gal is part of the Gals of Country Music group, that writes damn good songs.
This album was produced in terrific fashion and the song “Your Loving Saves Me” was an upbeat song filled with steel guitar and Honky Tonk twang that grabbed me right away and made me smile. Even though it’s one of the shorter album on my list at only 7 songs it is still noteworthy to rank on this list, and like I am constantly reiterating JUST BECAUSE it’s 18 makes it NO LESS wonderful as my number 3 on down!
It goes into much slower tempo songs like “From Outer Space” and a really good cover of “Misery And Gin” made popular from Country Legend Merle Haggard. She divulges her influences on this project as well as her personal past issues with addiction on songs like ‘Stone Hotel” which of course is incarceration. She is defiantly tougher than she looks on the outside to still be with us playing music now, and that’s good because WE NEED HER!
I look forward to featuring her more in the future and working on more projects involving her music, I think she is a fantastic artist and I LOVE what she does for us in this music realm. I assure you there WILL BE more of her coming in 2018 and onward!
19. Bobby Bare Things Change
Just like EVERY ALBUM on this TOP 50, this album was an absolute treasure, and one that is a proud part of my collection for damn sure. Mr. Bobby Bare does NOT suffer from stale after stardom syndrome or any of that stuff..no Sir instead he has actually flourished quite well, and after 50 plus years he remains relevant and active.
You know one of the things at 47 I struggle with now, is change. I loathe it and I strive to find solutions within my own comfort zone to combat the change. The title and main focus of this album is indeed ‘Things Change” and and the only thing that hasn’t is the fact his voice is still that signature Bobby Bare growl.
That growl still exists within the song “I Drink” which further exemplifies the struggle with change, and stubbornness of the common man to pick the drinking over his mate. I mean, isn’t that what Country Music is all about? Another high point on this album is the song “The Trouble With Angels” which was a powerful ballad about loss.
Much like my number 1 pick Charley Pride, Mr. Bobby also is planning more new music in 2018 and proudly has been announcing it when he played at The Opry For The Nashville Boogie. THIS WAS an iconic show indeed that was worth every penny paid indeed, and he has been guest starring on the Opry for quite some time now. He still holds true to that old guitar of Shel Silverstein’s and still delivers those old Outlaw songs just as witty as he did 50 years ago..he IS the original Outlaw.
20. Joey Feek If Not For You
This album was originally recorded in 2005, and was called “Strong Enough To Cry” which is a beautiful ballad about being a REAL man. There’s nothing wrong with crying for things when the time comes, in fact I got choked up hearing this purity in her voice. You see Mr. Rory her husband released this album one year after her death in 2016. If not for him and producer Bil McDermott, this album would never have re hit the shelves at all…and NOT under a different name.
“Strong Enough To Cry” was written by her and Mr. Max D. Barnes, who wrote “Chiseled In Stone”, and the God fearing song “That’s Important To Me” is a song people nowadays NEED to listen to. Many of the songs that she wrote say Joey Martin, that’s her maiden name, and this album has more heavy hitters like Paul Overstreet who wrote “Like A Rodeo”. The original release of this album was under Joey Martin, and sadly it garnered almost no attention from the media.
“Southern Girl” was a song that rings true to myself as well, I have lived in Tennessee and Kentucky for 25 years now, I’m no longer a Northerner, in fact I’m truly lost up there when I go back. Its a living a certain lifestyle and having a special frame of mind. Another very high point on this album was “When The Needle Hits The Vinyl” which is an upbeat song about mom and dad dancing to their records…every song on this album was relate able to me as a man, and it WILL remain a permanent fixture in my rotation for years to come.
21. Case Garrett Aurora
I stumbled upon this artist through an incidental situation and I was absolutely blown away by this album, his distinct and different voice made me appreciate his music and want to help support him. I’ll be honest that many more TOP lists need to have this album within it’s ranks. Now, although this album was recorded in several places it does indeed have some strong Nashville power in it.
This album has 8 songs on it total with one of them a cover of “Call Me The Breeze” recorded in his own style. He blends Americana and Roots Music, and the way he delivers the vocals on this album makes this album extremely special in it’s own right. It begins with the self criticizing song of ‘What Can I Say”, the devil has me on speed dial and calls all the time. That’s a terrific line for sure.
This video is from the song “Long Way Down” which was well written and a downright good song in every fashion, in fact I think that about this entire album. It’s one of those that even though it hasn’t gotten much attention YET, I think when word of mouth begins on this album it will indeed become a permanent fixture on many Americana websites. You WILL be hearing MORE about him on THIS website for sure!
22. LeeAnn Womack The Lonely, The Lonesome And The Gone
This album is more of a beginning for her than any album for one reason, because this album has more songs she wrote herself than any of her other albums combined. This album equally boasts many other terrific songwriters the likes of Waylon Payne and Brent Cobb, and a special note of appreciation to Steel Guitar Legend Paul Franklin for his fine work.
This album is a juggernaut at 14 songs total complete with a cover of “Long Black Veil” made popular by so many people I could begin with Cash and go on and on. And you know she does get a lot of negative flack for her pop country early work from many…but honestly who cares WHAT she’s done? If you don’t like it don’t listen to it, I’m not a big fan of her earlier work, but the direction she is now moving in is admirable.
The opening song ‘All The Trouble” written by her and Mr. Waylon Payne is an absolute masterpiece both production wise and vocally. The songs she wrote and chose all contain depth and they compliment one another beyond description. The song “End Of The End Of The World” is about being conciliated after a break up with the return of his presence, like all the grey skies instantly clear to blue!
The end of this album is absolutely wonderful the likes of the songs “Someone Else’s Heartache” which pretty much pawns off your ex onto someone else. It reminded me of an old Derailers song called “Someone Else’s Problem”, although her song is a ballad and the other is upbeat. This album is defiantly aptly named for the roller coaster ride the listener goes on when spinning this album.
23. Dale And Ray Dale And Ray
This past spring I hosted a stage at Westport Roots Festival where one of my headliners was the Legend himself Dale Watson, who recently did a collaboration album with Longtime member of Asleep At The Wheel Ray Benson. This album FOR SURE will be on many TOP lists, because it’s absolutely amazing.
“Feelin’ Haggard” since Haggard is gone was pretty much from the hearts of these two Legends, whom I think one day will have songs of this nature wrote about them, and performed by some of these other TOP 50 picks. I KNOW in my heart one day that Mr. Colter Wall will sing about missing Mr. Dale Watson when (like Mr. Bobby Bare sings) “Things Change”….now you see how change fits all this TOP 50 together? Have I explained my reasons for choosing and writing what I have?
“Bus Breakdown” is pretty self explanatory and funny at the same time, THE TOUR BUS is both the devil and the sanity of many an artist of music in general (accept for the big wigs that have jets), and the stories about the mechanical failures are great. He must have apparently bought a bus from Mr. Ray Benson and they are teasing themselves.
This album is full of Texas twang and upbeat songs like “Let’s Forget About Tomorrow Today” which is pretty much self explanatory, so as Mr. Dale would say DRINK THAT LONE STAR, and do not worry about tomorrow. But honestly the song “A Hangover Ago” was one of my favorite songs of 2017, like I seriously want to call them and tell them I think that it is the masterpiece of the year.
As I referenced Texas music before I loved the song ‘Nobody’s Ever Down In Texas” meaning everybody’s always happy in Texas. I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Ameripolitan Awards GO VOTE NOW!!!!! The steel guitar tone of this song was a true tribute to the state of Texas, and this album is a MUST for your collection…I truly hope many more albums will follow.
24. Alex Williams Better Than Myself
I’m excited about this one, for one reason, and that reason is that NEXT WEEK I’ll be seeing this man for the first time ever with Whitey Morgan, and Ward Davis at the Plaza Theater is Glasgow Kentucky. This album is amazing as well, and I really enjoyed it. All 12 songs on this album were truly well written and I liked the sound of it all, it took me a few times to appreciate this album more. I had to listen to the title track ‘Better Than Myself” a few times to truly…”get it”…I think the reason we still KNOW Hank Williams Sr. is because his songs were better than himself..most people know these artists we adore were personal train wrecks and we overlook that, and love them anyways.
I LOVED the twang on the song “Hellbent Hallelujah”, and the steel guitar solo-intro that went on into the song “More Than Survival”. It took me back to some of my party days and that”s why I listen to the Outlaw Country stuff so much, I LOVE MANY kinds of music and feature it ALL on here…but I adore this type the most.
“Little Too Stoned” was a GREAT well written Country Music song, and the whole sound of it was beyond amazing. This album is one of those I have been looking for, for a long long time, he fits in nicely with the Whitey Morgan crowd. As this song laments the loss of authenticity in the mainstream world today, a common ting both artists often scorn.
Songs like “Old Tattoo” bring us closer to him and his family as this is an ode to his grandfather,and shares the strength his grandmother had in his passing. It’s a touching time when an artist can bring forth these feelings and memories so vividly with listeners, and you can easily ascertain the care and precision he places in his song lyrics.
My ONLY fear is will he be able to follow up on such a nice album with one AS GOOD or better..or has he saved THE BEST for last? Well, we shall see folks..I’m sure 2018 will be an epic year for this young man.
25 .The Country Side Of Harmonica Sam A Drink After Midnight
I stumbled upon these guys on an overseas website one day,and found out that my good friend W.B. Walker also had them on his radar, and we equally admired them. THEN to my suprise I got to actually SEE THEM at the Nashville Boogie this past spring. I’ll tell YOU what, if you like the Bakersfield sound like I DO, you WILL LOVE these fine men from Sweden.
This band is TIGHT folks with many obscure cover songs like “I will” that was also done in 1958 by Ferlin Husky (who also sang under the AKA of Simon Crum). This album is also choked full of Roy Drusky and Harlan Howard tunes, but the entire album is just an absolute JAM. “A Drink After Midnight” has such Honky Tonk bang to it, and Mr. Peter Anderson on that steel guitar will just blow your MIND!
“Cry Me A River” was wrote by Mr. Johan Bandling Melin, whom you’ll see up there playing lead guitars with such intense precision and attention to each note with barre chords it made my own fingers lock up. This band is VERY careful to detail and if you listen you’ll notice very little flaws in their LIVE stuff.
“Even At My Best’ I have heard Mr. Billy Don Burns play this song and when I ran across it I called him and asked him if it was Harlan Howard, he said yes but we cannot find the year. Despite that these men pull it off with their own twist and their own sound, and I wholeheartedly applaud them.
Another stand out cover song was the song “Country Girl” that Country Legend Roy Drusky wrote in 1959 and it was made famous by Faron Young, being the B Side of ‘Alone With You”. These two albums make you dig a little bit for the original releases and THAT is a hidden prize, kind of like cracker jack when we were kids!
26. The John Hord Band The Home You Made For Me
The Texas music is one genre that we brought into our mix about 2 years ago, and you know honestly the Red Dirt and Texas music are a little different, SO IS the Oklahoma music. Mr. John has a more traitional flavor to his songs BUT still maintains Red Dirt staying power..does that make sense? Well I try NOT to label anything it’s JUST DAMN FINE MUSIC is all and it made me happy.
HOME…everybody has one,and everybody has comfort and a special place they feel safe and loved. “The Home You Made For Me” begins off slow and BAM goes into a toe tapper, it got my attention quickly. He does refrence the back porch swing, and cold beer and trucks, which usually make me yawn..but he pulls them off well inside of some well written songs.
Although this album is short at just 6 songs it’s so well produced that I couldn’t pass up on this chance to give him a high five and a nod over here from the Nashville area. It’s about damn time the Nashville cats start acknowledging that Texas music is GREAT, is tangible and can generate sales. I mean with songs like “More Than I’m Used To”, who wouldn’t want this album? Haven’t we ALL fallen head over heals for a gal? I recently have!
“Blame It On The Whiskey” was actually the first single he released to the media in 2016 which was where I was first turned on to him from Texas Music Pickers which is a darn good resource for me with Texas music in general. The album closes with the song “Cowboy Angel”, I’m quite adamant on the fact we WILL see growth from this young man in the near future.
27. Deer Creek Boys Midnight And Dawn
I stumbled upon this band by accident and I’m not really sure if they consider themselves Jamgrass or Bluegrass or both..I just consider it good music. I thought the opening song ‘High Wire” was a good sounding song, and I loved the banjo work Mr. Andy Lowe did on it. The harmonies on this record is one of the foremost aspects I seek out on Bluegrass records, and I think they were trying to approach Bluegrass with a modern taste of old style.
The title track “Midnight And Dawn” is absolutely amazing complete with spectacular banjo runs and mandolin licks, I have even heard Ricky Skaggs himself mention this band several times. Brothers Mr. Justin and Mr. Jason Tomlin created a brand here that I’m quite convinced will stand the test of time.
“The Real World” is another uplifting song about how the real world gets in the way of us enjoying life. Kind of like work interrupting your fishing. Once again you have absolutely STUPENDOUS harmonies, and the timing is impeccable.”The Cowboy” was about a cheater coming home to a note, and it has a really good line in it, you can’t tame a man with a cowboy inside. He ended up drinking and killing himself. He left a similar note in his hat as they found him dead…MOST good Bluegrass albums have a murder ballad..THIS ONE has a SUICIDE BALLAD!
Towards the end lies the song “Love’s Raining Down” which was another uplifting song about finding new love and how you first feel upon finding it. These boys are certainly one of my favorite new bands that have emerged in the Bluegrass scene in the last few years, I’m excited to see where this band goes next!
28. Ray Wylie Hubbard Tell The Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can..
Mr. Ray Wylie Hubbard doesn’t follow “What’s In” or genre rolls, he just plays some bad ass music. He doesn’t sugar coat anything and he writes some weird lyrics sometimes..like “God Looked Around” which talked about Genesis and creation of man with his signature Ray Wylie style…WHOA Lordy, you done answered my prayers! What is it with Mr. Ray and snakes, they are always messing around in his songs. If THIS album doesn’t slap you in the face sideways, you aren’t listening correctly.
“Lucifer And His Fallen Angels” was raw and gritty song about picking up Lucifer as hitchhiker, he has all the wild story songs full of that signature slide guitar songs on this latest installment to the Ray Wylie collection. His albums are just plain out jamming bluesy, Americana or whatever you want to call it. “Open G” is a really cool chord slide song, which was written with total wit and it’s beyond clever. There’s a guitar called a reverberater because it reverberates…clever!
This video here is the title song with guests Mr. Eric Church and Miss Lucinda Williams, it’s another great jam about life on the road with references to his sunburst Gibson and his hallowed area of Austin. You cannot really place in any genre it’s just downright rough music that makes me stop and think about what it all means. I mean, is he calling Austin the devil, or is there a hidden meaning? YOU DECIDE for yourselves.
Even though this album only has 11 songs the time length of the songs themselves make up for that, and all of the songs are bad ass rock and rolling Ray Wylie jams. his live shows are absolutely amazing he just stands there and bellows out fire and destruction all over. Owww “Old Wolf” is howling at the door folks and he wants to take you to the snake farm to see black betty.
29. Zephaniah OHora This Highway
Mr.Jim Campilongo and Mr. Zephaniah bring us this Honky Tonk gem, which is his debut album although he is defiantly not new to the Honky Tonk Country world playing critically acclaimed 3 and 4 hour sets in the New York club called Skinny Dennis, where he has been the director of music programming there since 2013.
This album for me came out of nowhere and it took me off guard, with the song “I Do Believe Iv’e Had Enough” because it reminded me of my favorite 70’s Honky Tonk stuff like Mikey Gilley. I LOVED the (what I call) the piano tonk, music from the late 70’s. It had high pitched guitar twang and those beautiful steel guitar solos, and little pops at the end of the lyrics.
“Songs My Momma Sang” was another terrific song here just easy to understand and relate to, just like those golden oldies that this fine man relishes. I can easily tell that he TRULY LOVES the same classic Country Music that I do, just from the arrangement of these songs. This whole entire album is nothing short of a masterpiece, and deserves to be on EVERY TOP list in existence.
“I Can’t Let Go” Even Though I Set You Free, is perhaps the finest song on this album in my opinion and I haven’t heard a song of greater lament since “Chiseled In Stone” until now. This song grieves like none other I have heard in 2017, and I was taken on a total roller coaster ride here.
‘He Can Have Tomorrow” was one of those classic two step waltzes that I remember Paycheck and Ray Price doing that I TRULY adore. The timing and arrangement on these songs are just beyond anything I can write in words on here, and every song is better than the last. But in the end I just kept “I Can’t Let Her Go” on repeat for a long long time.
This album was released this spring =as a part of Mr. Shooter Jennings ever popular Record Store Day tradition, that Mr. shooter enjoys doing for us. It’s more of a thing he does to remember the late Colonel Jon Hensley, who was taken from us too early. Thus they have been ending shows with “Good Time Charlie”, on this album it’s a short medley after ‘Fourth Of July”. As most of you know that was Shooter’s most commercially embraced song.
But honestly the reason I included this live album and not his recent “Live At Billy Bob’s” was because of the vision I receive when I spin this record. The ambiance is just….THERE, and I feel a great connection with the event. THAT IS what a LIVE album is supposed to encompass with you, they make you feel like YOU are rail riding alongside those that really WERE!
It begins in the usual fashion of Waymore’s Outlaws playing their beloved classics many of which drummer Mr. Richie Albright wrote and produced. Alas, this album was produced by Mr. Shooter’s current manager Mr. Adam Barnes and I thank him religiously for what he does for BCR. Songs like “Are You Ready For The Country” and “Good Ol’ Boys” set the mood and whet the appetite for Mr. shooter to bellow out the lyrics for “Outlaw You”, which scolds fake music. You see to be honest Mr. Shooter does NOT crusade against pop country, IN FACT he has given props to Eric Church and others for apologizing for things..and for honesty. I have TOTAL faith that I could say something negative about Shooter Jennings (with TACT) and he would respect me, because he appreciates HOW YOU FEEL as a FAN, he HONESTLY CARES about YOU. This video is from their song “Don’t Wait Up I’m Playing Possum”…
The album goes into songs the likes of which were on his latest studio album called ‘Countach” and the song was “I’m Left,Your’e Right, She’s Gone”. Also included was another commercially embraced ‘Gone To Carolina” which is my daughter Meghan’s favorite song off of the Put The O Back In Country album. This LIVE album has all the bells and whistles one could ask for.
31. Old Salt Union Old Salt Union
Once again we encounter this “genre” argument and it’s JUST DAMN GOOD MUSIC and this is “Where I Stand”. A song that has some wonderful fiddle solos and it is followed by the song “Feel My Love” which possesses terrific harmonies and a tight melody. This 10 song masterpiece with stupendous harmonies on every song.
They released a video for the song “You Can Call me Al” and I will embed that in this article but you can read more about that HERE, I have featured this band on this website MANY times. I LOVE their music, and they are prevalent at MANY of the 175 festivals I cover every year!
“On My Way” was another of the middle songs on this album that I enjoyed, it has great tempo and was a well written song. I guess what I love the most about new Bluegrass music is the harmonies all of these bands have. Much like the steel guitar on the Country albums, I listen for the fiddle and banjo work here, and those harmonies warm my soul indeed. This song does just that for me, Good Heavens!
This album closes with a terrific instrumental and then the song “Here And Off My Mind”, which was a great upbeat song about the want of a loved one. I had one myself it took a long time for her to realize she was loved here. I think all in all what amazed me about this album was the versatility of the band as a WHOLE, as two of the members take over the lead vocal duties, and fill that position with so much feeling and poise.
32. Sons Of The Palomino Sons Of The Palomino
This spur of the moment created band that was the brainchild of Mr. Jeffery Steele, who has created so much pop country like my number 12 pick Miss Natalie. These 13 songs are JUST LIKE Mr. John Anderson…”Authentic” Honky Tonk Country. In fact, when many of his collaborators heard the first song “Running Round” they exclaimed YOU CANT SELL KENNY CHESNEY OR LUKE BRYAN THIS…and that’s EXACTLY what he was shooting for!
He named this band after the famed Palomino Club in California (which was featured in Every Which Way But Loose) that is now closed. And all of these songs are fashioned in the likeness of those old classic songs that lived in this club. Mr. Paul Franklin brings classic steel guitar twang pieces to this album, and he enlists a HUGE array of talent.
The first recruit was steel guitar legend Paul Franklin, who helped line up bassist Glenn Worf, pianist Gordon Mote and other exceptional musicians. Their input helped Steele focus on the finer details of each arrangement, making sure that they were consistent with the way the masters who had headlined at the Palomino would have done it.
“We were working on a ballad,” Steele points out. “I had this idea to do a little figure atone point. After I played it, Gordon said, ‘We can’t do that. That’s not how they would have played it.’ He was right. My brain was trying to make it my thing, the way I’d do it. It was good to have these ropes on me, so I could get more creative within them.”
I NEVER thought I would EVER feature Mr. John Rich on this website, but DAMMIT this song is SO GOOD…I also never thought I would praise Kid Rock for anything but I did..ugh… this song is just an absolute JAM and makes me miss the fact I can’t drink no more. This is for SURE a superstar band, like the Eagles or Traveling Willburys of Country Music.
33. Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit The Nashville Sound
I’ll be honest the politics that Mr. Jason usually contains in his songs steer me away from much of his music, BUT Dave Cobb did a wonderful job producing this album. And the songs on this album were well written, in my opinion this is some damn fine work here. I wonder if he is indeed ‘Last Of My Kind”?
He hasn’t really struggled to maintain any presence in Americana music since his breaking off from the Drive By Truckers (which is my favorite period of them). I think he has gained more popularity by going on it alone, and I LOVED the song ‘Tupelo”.
Politics or not, I LOVED this album and it made me delve into his music even more. I watched endless amounts of specials and you tube videos on this man. He has surely had his demons and got himself out of a pretty deep hole as an individual and for THAT I commend him. Alcohol and drugs are seductive bastards for us human beings, and I also commend him for singing about his beliefs. “Anxiety” is a song I can TRULY relate to, we all have things that hount us, even with my lover sleeping close to me, I’m wide awake and I’m in pain….what a powerful line!
“Something To Love” was a good closing song to this album, a visionary song of his youth and what life was like back then. He hopes I find something to love…How about MUSIC? Yeah I think I found “Something To Love”, something to heal me when I feel like giving up.
34. The Eskimo Brothers Hands And Knees
I LOVED their 2015 album “Two” however when I heard this album I saw TOTAL GROWTH, from the first song “Two Miles High” which was a good jam along with the song “Liquor To Like Her”. Very inventive play on the lyrics there, every song on this album was well written.
If you look the up the meaning of the name of this band you will find it amusing I’m not going to divulge that information on here, but if you know what an Eskimo Brother is then “The 1 For Me” will be a funny song. You WILL enjoy it very much! The title track “Hands And Knees” is another jam song, in their signature rockabilly (sort of) sound..they just have a sound all their own. They don’t really march to anybody else’s beat.
“Every Curve And every Edge” was a really beautiful ballad with Miss Lillie Mae, it has really good line I remember the dress I first saw you last. This is BY FAR the finest offering by this band YET, and honestly if they can outdo it I’m excited to hear it. These guys are a REAL DEAL fixture of my local scene on Lower Broadway, and if you buy ANY ALBUM on this TOP 50 list…BUY THIS ONE DAMMIT!
35. The Legendary Shack Shakers After Youv’e Gone.
This band absolutely blew me the HELL away in 2017, and to be honest I am not going to explain why….YET.. I will NOW let a secret out, Mr. J.D. Wilkes IS MY ARTIST of 2017, I don’t think he knows it yet, but if you are reading this you can expect an email or a phone call Sir. I want you to know I have a HUGE amount of admiration for your knowledge and your stage presence Mr. J.D. I’m not going further divulge my thought until the article!
This new album takes us in separate direction than the last album The Southern Surreal, and even though I like all the music they put out, I loved the jams on this new album. ‘Sing A Worried Song” pays homage to the old timey black and white cartoons with little “Posie” the main character girl whom is styled after Betty Boop type era.
JD Wilkes vocals and piano, Fuller Condon upright bass and vocals, Preston Corn drums, Rod Hamdallah guitar and vocals and Gary Siperko guitar. With Liz Brasher backup vocals, Shane Pringle saxophone and Chloe Feoranzo clarinet bring forth the ambiance in this video and song. They bring so much respect to tradition and history it is a downright sin NOT to love this man for his brain, and the Legendary Shack Shakers brand.
“After Your’e Gone” is a song I could relate to as well, because I was raised in Wisconsin and my childhood home is gone too. My old bedroom is a Subway restaurant, age and time are cruel cruel to your mind. I miss my youth and the memories I have are all that’s left..I don’t have to wish I AM A “Single Boy” now Sir. Please don’t make this your last album the world of music NEEDS the Legendary Shack Shakers.
36. Jon Wolfe Any Night In Texas
“Any Night In Texas” is in a whole a 14 song masterpiece Red Dirt album that grabbed my attention by mistake, I was looking through Texas Music lists for another artist and this guy hit me right in my face. HEY I found Mr. Jon Pardi by accident years ago, so I don’t know what it is about guys named Jon, but they find their way on this website by accident. That title song was a great descriptive song about dating at a young age.
“Baby This And Baby That” is the one that found it’s way to my email box, and I’m glad I found this album. I enjoyed these songs so much you know women can mess with your head when they start that baby this crap. Although this album could be deemed a little closer to commercial pop country in SOME aspects I think it’s really well arranged, and REAL.
“Drink For Two” is a great duet with the Ol’ number 4 pick the Sweener Queen herself Miss Sunny Sweeney, it’s a darn good song they did together. I thought it was a good break up song with some twang steel guitar work. I thought they sounded good together, with well hit high notes by both of them, if you are a Sunny Sweeney fan check this song out!
“That’s What A song Will Do” is the absolute truth, you know that’s WHY I DO THIS WEBSITE, because music is EVERYTHING TO ME. It has consumed my life, and he is correct songs and music can make you happy and uplift you..and on the other hand they can make you cry. ‘Crush Me’ was a great three quarter time type song that tells you what those sad songs do to you until those three minutes are through, this album closes with great well written songs like the more lengthy song “Long Song” about falling in love. Not being sure about this gal he met as being someone he will meet up with again down the road or not.
37. The Josephines Sober Up
You know folks this website has always been a voice for the smaller bands on the block, but to be honest many of them are small on the block for a VERY short time. This band is one of them, it won’t be long before they become a household name with our scenes.
This band has their own different style and sound, and to be honest I couldn’t describe it in a genre label, as anything but different. I ran across them live finally as they opened for the Steel Woods (who is also on this list). I was absolutely astounded by their stage presence and their horror based songs like ‘So Much Blood”. If Slayer went Americana they would be the Jospehines.
Man I run into these goofballs grilling hot dogs outside of the record store on Black Friday Record Store Day to get those Shooter releases, and these guys are like DAMMIT GARY EAT BUDDY. I’m like deud I’m diabetic watch it…LOL EAT THIS GARY! I guess they loved that big bag of deer sticks I gave them at the show? These guys are true friends and if you greet them at the show, you are instant family to them, trust me this band is the real deal shit.
That video is from the song “Fireball” but this album contains some powerhouse songs like “Maggie’s Bones” and BY GOD you aren’t going to find this masterpiece on Spotify OH NO this one you’ll have to order right from the band,because sadly, I’m not certain of this band’s continuation..I haven’t caught up with them as of late.
38. Nikki Lane Highway Queen
Spring of 2017 was an exceptional part of the year for new music, and this album was no exception in any way. From the opening Yippie Ki Yay “700,000 Rednecks” this album took me by storm. I thought this third album was her finest offering to date, and I thought New West Records knocked it out of the park here.
She is defiantly a “Highway Queen” playing an exhausting amount of live shows in 2017 to support this project. Miles and miles of blacktop has been traveled by this Highway Queen that don’t need no king. So place your bet’s if you ain’t folding folks because this young lady isn’t stopping in 2018.
‘Jackpot” was another popular video that was released from this album in the summer. This song was a good twangy riverboat song that kept up the tempo of this album, and brought out her best vocals of any song on the album in my opinion. As a whole I thought her vocals were the best on this album of the three she’s offered To date.
Another pinnacle here was ‘Foolish Heart” I just enjoyed the tempo and feel of the song, it had depth and a good beat. Many songs have hanging by a word, and they make me STOP and think to understand them. I’m telling you if you happen to catch ANY acts during Americanafest YOU MUST CATCH HERS! She’s gonna ‘send The Sun” your way and wake you up.
39. Andrew Pope Stoned On The One
From the VERY FIRST SONG this album related with me I can tell you from following these people around for five years, that the MEN AND WOMEN both become a “Honky Tonk Tragedy” what an amazing song. I been feeling like a broke down washing machine run through a million cycles and the clothes ain’t clean…GENIUS.
“I Wish I Was In Austin” is about as Country as Country can be I mean HOLY CRAP..this entire album just has more twang than many others on this list of his ilk. But the ballad song ‘Even Ramblers Get The Blues” was a terrific song from a picker that continuously plays in different cities every night. The line about Hampton hotel halls all the same, and they don’t know I’m winning at a loosing game are MORE lyrical breakthroughs!
I’m going to give it to you straight if you don’t cry during the song ‘Redneck CEO” you aren’t COUNTRY…you aren’t anything if this song doesn’t give you goosebumps. Old school values and honest traditions ring true here and you suit and ties business people and political big wigs need to LISTEN UP HARD.
Change, I HATE change and the song “everything’s Changing But Me” was written about ME for sure, wow It’s precisely how I feel here. These kids have all this crazy language and normies watch all this crap on TV, they wear clothes that say LOVE PIN….and they aren’t pink? I cannot grasp change..PERIOD. I hope in 2018 and on THIS MAN changes NOTHING about his music.
40. Billy Strings Turmoil And Tinfoil
This album is one of the many Bluegrass albums that crosses my desk this year, and I was amazed by his mastery of the very thing that is his name…the strings. The song “Meet Me At The Creek” is a banjo masterpiece of precise notes. Muddy Water ALWAYS takes the pain away folks, always…
This young man is the MASTER of Bluegrass festivals having performed (or is booked in 2018) at more of them than ANY Bluegrass act or Jamgrass act (or whatever YOU call him) than anyone I could name. HOW DO I KNOW…WHY this website writes about 175 festivals yearly! The instrumentals on this album just absolutely blow me away… and many are over 6 minutes long as the result. “All Of Tomorrow” is one of the older sounding songs that had lots of tradition tied to the sound.
This is him playing “Turmoil And Tin Foil” the title track ot the album at Music City Roots which is where I think I first heard of his music, this album defiantly has some great sound effects. It has odd way of “Spinning” and working together before going into “Dealing Despair” with a down home rolling sound, and older style harmonies. Also has some downright amazing guitar solos and to be honest this all makes it one fine album.
41. The Old 97’s Graveyard Whistling
“Bad Luck Charm” was a terrific song from one of the forefather bands of Roots Music, much like Split Lip Rayfield the Old 97’s are one of the beginning bands for me. Even before the Myspace era where I found a HUGE list of the bands I feature on here, they were in my life. Their live sets are absolutely amazing in every way and I highly suggest you go check them out.
This is an album I feel should be on EVERY TOP 50 list but might get overlooked, because it’s “COOL” to include all the albums everyone else is including, it’s not WHAT THEY FEEL inside. I LOVED this album not just to go with any crowd, I thought the songs like “Good With God” with Miss Brandi Carlile were true. I hope I’m good with God, am I I guess I’ll have to wait and see.
All the songs on their latest effort were rocking usual Old 97’s tunes delivered in the fashion I come to expect from this band, “Nobody” was a good song as well with great guitar riffs and a deep flow. Overall the length of the album was beyond good and the vinyl in different colors was gorgeous! I LOVE COLORED VINYLS..it has 4 different color schemes!
“Those Were The Days” is a terrific gallop type song about the old partying days, it kind of took me back to my old party days..which are LONG gone. Those WERE the days indeed, I recently gave up drinking, never got into the acid where the trees were breathing but yes I miss the days!
42. Jordan Lee And The Revelry Jordan Lee And The Revelry
This album began with a song called “100 Proof” which addressed WHAT ELSE than alcohol and courage from your hat to your boots, it possess the look and the sound that encompasses a true Honky Tonk album. ‘The Kid” was a truly great ode to the Legendary outlaw Billy The Kid. It even has fine mentions of the Lincoln County war in the lyrics.
Folks, I’m not going to lie this is damn fine tight band that plays like a well oiled machine from Texas, and much like many of the choices on this TOP 50 I’m sure you’ll find a few YOU LIKE. With albums like this coming from Texas I’m confident that that genre of music will live and evolve forward for years to come.
Another good song was ‘Drive Myself Sane” and also “Love Drunk Night” which had more of a modern Red Dirt sound to it, some of this album began with more of an Outlaw sound to it..does that make sense? It’s NOT a critical remark in ANY way, in fact I kind of enjoyed the sound of this album overall. The steel guitar on the song “Ghost Town” was very enjoyable.
“Horse Collar” was a slower song at the beginning and turned out to be a rocking song that was well written and very fun to listen to, let those bullets fly. This is one of more exciting albums in my TOP 50 list, that I wanted to share with you.
43. Evan Bartels The Devil, God And Me
Can you feel that fire, burning through my prison walls? “Widow” opens this fine album that takes you on a roller coaster of Americana ups and downs with your ‘Demons” slapping you in the face at every turn. This album makes you stop and think about the songs at moments during the 11 song offering. Most of the songs are a nice bit time wise with one 6 minute song that was well written, and another which is the title track. That song I have included in the video.
This band is really tight folks, you aren’t going to find any loose ends or under produced crap here. In fact the vocals on “Wish They Would” are as smooth as fine expensive bourbon whiskey. Just because he was a late addition to my list he does not fall short of substance in his songs.
“The Fine Things” was a song I sent to my girlfriend, she LOVES it, said it was from the heart. I truly agree, this is a darn fine ballad song here that would flow very well with Americanafest or various folk festivals. This act needs to be paired up with countless acts I could mention. “Run Like The Devil” closed out this album here with a mellow ambiance that evolved into a steady beat. Getting pulled over with something in your pocket is not good, outlaw songs abound on my TOP 50 list this year for sure!
44. Justin Payne Coal Camp
At only 6 songs I might catch some flack for including this album, but I don’t care this is my list from my heart..heart..let’s dwell on that for a moment? I mean I could easily include a bunch of albums that everybody else does or I could include some REAL albums that have more heart, like a man that shows up to play a gig straight out of a hospital.
If you try to come over here and tell me Mr. Justin isn’t a real man I’ll laugh in your face. This album and the songs he spins on this album have more soul in them than 100 FM radio songs. “Growi’n Old” is straight out of those hollers from Appalachia where i get to visit once a year when our buddy W.B. Walker has his annual anniversary show. He turned me on to this young man several years ago, and this year he released a DAMN FINE EP.
If you are a father like me, you’ll come to appreciate “Make A Little Time” because they sure do grow up so damn fast, and if you don’t make time you’ll regret it harder than Cats In the Cradle. One of the finest songs on this album is “Miner’s Soul”, it is extremely poignant as it describes a burial from a ghosts perspective. Initially he is witnessing his own funeral from heaven, this song about made me throw up when I first heard it..it was powerful of a strong nature.
45. Thomm Jutz Crazy If You Let It
You know folks this man is one of those that likes to hide behind the producer curtain, and bring OTHER artists to light. He’s also a longtime well renowned guitarist for others within the Bluegrass realm. But this album here is SO BEAUTIFUL I HAD to bring it onto this list. “Crossing Over Black Mountain” is absolutely amazing and riddled with traditional mountain sound.
“Confederate Jasmine” was the song that turned me onto this treasure from an internet Bluegrass radio stream. I HAD to STOP what I was doing to write down notes to come back to his album, I knew about him from Germany. I had known his name but had no idea he had an album out. If you’ll remember I wrote about The new Mac Wiseman album that he is on.
“Old Railroads” is an blockbuster song that painted such a vivid picture in my head I didn’t need a video. It’s that gorgeous of a song, and it has such a fine melody. The guitar work on this album is beyond amazing on songs like “Sometimes What Glitters Is Gold”. The harmonies on the song “Coast Of Carolina” the song talks about preparing for a storm.
46. Glen Campbell Adios
Country Legend Carl Jackson produced one of 2017’s finest album here in the (now late) Glen Campbell and his last album aptly titles Adios. This was actually recorded some years ago back when he was able to sing, as he suffered from Alzheimer’s much like what took Mr. Jack Greene from us. It contains a wonderful rendition of Arkansas Farmboy” which Carl Jackson wrote but perhaps one of the highlights of this album is the “Am I All Alone Or Is It Only Me” with an intro by Country Legend Roger Miller, and also has Vince Gill.
The ever popular Dickey Lee song “She Thinks I Still Care” is on this album delivered in that signature gentle Glen Campbell vocal tone while the musicianship that accompanies him makes him shine all that more. Many of those wonderful classic songs are on here like “Postcard From Paris” and finally the powerful “Adios”.
This album truly was the finest fashion this Country Music Legend could possibly leave behind to be remembered by and he truly embellished Country Music when he was finally called home to be with God.
47. Jenny Don’t And The Spurs Call Of The Road
This young lady’s howl on the first song (and the title track) “Call Of The Road” is one of the qualities that attracted me to this album. It was sent to me by press company as part of a combo EPK with some other albums, and I LOVED IT. It remains a permanent fixture in my constant rotation, no matter what.
“My Only Desire” is a funky and rootsy song full of twang, JUST like I LOVE. “Sunset on the Alamo” is another good song where she’s been dreaming of the outlaw life out there in their desert region where they hail from. They play about that scenic sunset over the Alamo.
This band is absolutely full blown badassery and if you purchase ANY ALBUM on this list make this one of your two..did you catch that? “Nobody’s Cryin Over You” has some more mighty fine guitar work on it folks, and is a terrific addition to this album combined with “she’s The One To Blame” because that song has some mighty fine steel guitar work on it.
Epic songs of jealousy and heartbreak along with steel guitars, sassy front women and desert Honky Tonk, can a person ask for more in a TOP 50 album? How about a haunting ballad called “Ghost Of His Love”, now this one is a truly different and cool way to close an album out. Though his body is gone, the ghost of his love rides on….
48. The Steel Woods Straw In the Wind
“Straw In The Wind” is a very powerful album from a band that has been around Nashville for a little while now, just awesome kick ass Southern Type rock- country, or whatever YOU want to label it. I just call it good music, I recently went to see them and you can read that HERE.
“Della Jane’s Heart is another good song off this album, which is a double album on vinyl and a single CD. Their live set contains many of the songs off their album like “Uncle Lloyd” a tale about their wayward friend of their father’s friend, who drank away his wife’s leaving him. 57 is one hell of an age to start over as a single man, and this song hits home.
Vocally one of the better songs on the album was called “The Secret” which was really well written song and one of the album’s high point offerings to me. Also the high volume rockin song called “Wild And Blue” which is one of the songs they closed with both times I went to see them, is one of the better songs that close out this album.
The album closes with the song called ‘Let The Rain Come Down” you can interpret this entire album any way you want, and I’m quite certain it will be included on a TON of TOP 50 lists for 2017. As for me I just enjoyed this band so much that I look forward to more music from them soon, I’m sure I included a TON of surprises so far!
49. Casey James Prestwood And The Burning Angels Born Too Late
Yeah the title of this album even got me, because I WAS Born too late for sure. NOW FOLKS THIS ALBUM has all the bells and whistles of a REAL Honky Tonk album for sure. I have so many “Beer Tear Saturday Nights” that I lost count after 30 years old. I JUST LOVE his vocals on “King Of All Losers” , I mean he wrote that song about me..at least that’s how I feel.
Now folks this is one of my local area bands that is vastly overlooked by most media outlets, and SHAME ON THEM, I mean HOW just how can anybody pass up this wonderful Honky Tonk music? Songs like “Blue, Lonely And Wasted” are beyond those beer drinking songs that haunt the back of your mind, and make the radio people cringe. This album has some of the best damn songwriting on it than I have heard all year.
YOU KNOW that just because an album is 49 on here it is NO LESS integral to my heart than number 2 and TRUST ME this man and his band are the real deal here. I listen to this album over and over again, “Bury The Bottle” is awesome and oh my goodness so is “Jailbird”. Honestly I could elaborate on this album for many paragraphs but I’ll post a video here.
The Honky Tonk shuffle sound continues with “Don’t Let It Die” and another great closing song called “100 Dollar Bar Tab” I’m glad that people like Mr. Casey and his band “Don’t Let It Die” because people like me just absolutely love this sound and BY GOD we need some younger folks pumping out the Honky Tonk shuffles like this!
50. John Moreland Big Bad Luv
I will always enjoy Mr. John’s gritty voice and his raw unkempt lyrics, he has his own style. Hell, I don’t even categorize his music when I listen to it. It’s NOT Country but it’s all over the grid for sure. I was ready to get bruised and battered with songs like “Sallisaw Blues” and my favorite on this album was “Old Wounds”. Can you take away the mess that’s been building in my chest is just an amazing way to describe love.
Mr. John is a true visionary when it comes to writing songs, and his albums all become evident that he is a lyrical genius. “Amen,So Be It’ was a great upbeat song that I enjoyed off this album as well. I honestly enjoyed High On Tulsa Heat a little more, but dog gone it this was another fine album from one of the best artists in the Americana scene.
“Slow Down Easy” was a graceful display of his more bluesy side, which his vocals accompany quite well. I think at times we are all hauling heavy souls, and this album will heal the weariest of souls with tales of heartache. Perhaps some will find that others are going through worse than they are?
FROM THE DESK OF MY PARTNER MR. JOSHUA WALLACE:
2017 was a great year for real country music. I could have likely made a Top 100 albums list if I wanted to. This Top 50 list has a bit of everything though. I was blown away by every album in my Top 5. Whether it was someone I already knew about or someone I was just discovering this year like Alex Williams. This year reminds me of 2010 when we had so many amazing releases it was hard for me to pick a favorite. Here are my top 50 albums in Country Music in 2017.
Top 50 albums of 2017
1.Colter Wall – Colter Wall : This album blew me away the moment I heard it. From Colter’s deep rich voice to his unique guihttp://garyhayescountry.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=7884&action=edittar style to his amazing songwriting. This is the record that kept me coming back all year. Shout out to W.B. Walker for a great radio interlude too.
2.Tyler Childers – Purgatory : Tyler Childers is an amazing talent. His voice is incredible and when he was paired with the production talents of Sturgill Simpson we got an album that had an amazing range in styles from folk to bluegrass to pure honky tonk. Tyler Childers is one to watch out for.
3.Sunny Sweeney – Trophy : Sunny Sweeney has always impressed me, however Trophy is her best record to date. This one has amazing songwriting and production and two of my favorite Sweeney songs in “Pass The Pain” and “I Feel LIke Hank Williams Tonight”.
4.Kendell Marvel – Lowdown & Lonesome : This album was a sleeper that delivered. Kendell Marvel is a songwriter just like Chris Stapleton and he delivered a mind blowing debut album this year. I can’t wait to see where he goes and look forward to seeing him live at some point in the future.
5. Alex Williams – Better Than Myself : I wasn’t sure what to think of Alex Williams’s debut album on Big Machine. It had all the makings of a great outlaw country record, but on a major label. Whoever is handling Alex Williams at Big Machine is doing a good job. He has made new fans every night on the road with Blackberry Smoke and seems like he will continue to make new fans playing with Whitey Morgan and The 78’s.
6. Erin Enderlin – Whiskeytown Crier : Favorite Tracks “Caroline” and “Baby Sister”
7. Parker McCollum – Probably Wrong : Favorite Tracks “I Can’t Breathe” and “Hell Of A Year”
8. Chris Stapleton – From A Room : Vol. 2 : Favorite Tracks “Millionaire” and “Nobody’s Lonely Tonight”
9. Hellbound Glory – Pinball : Favorite Tracks “Vandalism Spree” and “Pinball”
10. Josh Morningstar – Whole Lotta Crazy : Favorite Tracks “Whole Lotta Crazy” and “Damn These Birds”
11. Chris Stapleton – From A Room : Vol. 1 : Favorite Tracks “Up To No Good Livin’” and
“Second One To Know”
12. Zephania Ohora – This Highway : Favorite Tracks “High Class City Girl From The Country” and “He Can Have Tomorrow (I’ll Take Yesterday)”
13. The Texas Gentlemen – TX Jelly : Favorite Tracks “Pain” and “My Way”
14. Dale Watson, Ray Benson – Dale & Ray : Favorite Tracks “The Ballad Of Dale and Ray” and “A Hangover Ago”
15. Jonathan Parker – Back To Earth : Favorite Tracks “Hard Time Blues” and “A Honky Tonk Song”
16. Jeremy Pinnell – Ties Of Blood and Affection : Favorite Tracks “Feel This Right” and “Different Kind Of Love”
17. Bob Wayne – Bad Hombre : Favorite Tracks “Still Truckin’” and “The Last Breath You Take”
18. Casey James Prestwood – Born Too Late : Favorite Tracks “$100 Bar Tab” and “Local Bar”
19. Turnpike Troubadours – A Long Way From Your Heart : Favorite Tracks “Sunday Morning Paper” and “Pay No Rent”
20. Charley Crockett – Lil G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee : Favorite Tracks “You Must Be Drunk Again” and “I Just Don’t Like This Kind Of Living”
21. Steve Earle – So You Wannabe An Outlaw? : Favorite Tracks “If Mama Coulda Seen Me” and “So You Wannabe An Outlaw?”
22. Margo Price – All AMerican Made : Favorite Tracks “A Little Pain” and “Learning To Lose (w/ Willie Nelson)
23. James Carothers – Relapse : Favorite Tracks “Back To Hank” and “Can’t You Feel That Spirit”
24. The Drugstore Gypsies – The Drugstore Gypsies : Favorite Tracks “Black Label Boogie” and “Drugstore Gypsy”
25. Blake Berglund – Realms : Favorite Tracks “Crooked Old Earth” and “Jesus in a Backbeat”
26. Ned LeDoux – Sagebrush : Favorite Tracks “Some People Do” and “This Cowboy’s Hat (w/ Chase Rice)”
27. Jason Eady – Jason Eady : Favorite Tracks “No Genie In This Bottle” and “Black Jesus”
28. Bruce Robinson – Bruce Robinson and The Back Porch Band : Favorite Tracks “Rock N’ Roll Honky Tonk Ramblin’ Man” and “Paid My Dues (w/ Jack Ingram)
29. AJ Hobbs – Too Much Is Never Enough : Favorite Tracks “Shit Just Got Real” and “Waylon & Merle”
30. Lilly Hiatt – Trinity Lane : Favorite Tracks “Trinity Lane” and “Different, I Guess”
31. Porter Union – Porter Union : Favorite Tracks “Thief” and “Out Of Spite”
32. Chris Shiflett – West Coast Town : Favorite Tracks “I’m Still Drunk” and “Tonight’s Not Over”
33. Ray Scott – Guitar For Sale : Favorite Tracks “Put Down The Bottle” and “Soberin’ Up”
34. Jamie Wyatt – Felony Blues : Favorite Tracks “Your Loving Saves Me” and “From Outer Space”
35. Justin Payne – Coal Camp EP : Favorite Tracks “Growin’ Old” and “Holler Home”
36. David Vaughn Lindsey – Next EP : Favorite Tracks “Love 2 Hate” and “Taste Of Rain”
37. Barnyard Stompers – Outlaws With Chainsaws Part II : The Pay Back : Favorite Tracks “Truck Drivin’ SOB” and “Outlaws With Chainsaws Part II”
38. Tony Martinez – Everybody’s Buddy EP : Favorite Tracks “Help Me Up (So I Can Get Down)” and “Try”
39. The Reeves Brothers – King Of Country Music : Favorite Tracks “King Of Country Music” and “Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels”
40. Lee Ann Womack – The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone : Favorite Tracks “Bottom Of The Barrel” and “Long Black Veil”
41. Gethen Jenkins – Where The Honky Tonk Belongs EP : Favorite Tracks “Where The Honky Tonk Belongs” and “Hot Rod Roller”
42. William Matheny – Strange Constellations : Favorite Tracks “Out For Revenge” and “God’s Left Hand”
43. John Moreland – Big Bad Luv : Favorite Tracks “It Don’t Suit Me (Like Before) and “Ain’t We Gold”
44. Channing Wilson – Live At Eddie’s Attic : Favorite Tracks “Centerline (Live)” and “Beer For Breakfast (Live)”
45. Kyle Keller – I’ve Known Love EP : Favorite Tracks “Susannah” and “I’ve Known Love”
46. The Rhyolite Sound – Desert Honky Tonk : Favorite Tracks “I Think Too Much When I Drink Too Much” and “Next Drink”
47. John Baumann – Proving Grounds : Favorite Tracks “The Trouble With Drinkin’” and “Lonely In Bars”
48. Andrew Pope – Stoned On The One : Favorite Tracks “Country Congregation” and “Honky Tonk Tragedy”
49. Kayla Luky – Back To Dirt : Favorite Tracks “Living With Your Ghost” and “Pour Me A Strong One”
50. The Local Honeys – Little Girls Actin’ Like Men : Favorite Tracks “Freight Train Blues” and “The Junkman”