Joshua Wallace’s Top 50 Albums of 2020

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Dec 202020
 

By Joshua Wallace

By all measures, 2020 was an insane year, however it was an amazing year for country music releases.  I could have made a Top 100 list this year, but I stuck with tradition and did a Top 50.  With that in mind, some of your favorites might be left off here.  Don’t fret, they’re still good albums, it’s just that there were a ton of good releases this year.  It seemed like every band was releasing their best work even when they weren’t able to fully tour on it.  I could make a case for every record in my Top 10 to be my album of the year, however I went with American Aquarium’s Lamentations.  Lamentations was my most anticipated album going into 2020 and it’s still my favorite album here in December.  It’s no secret that American Aquarium is one of my favorite bands and when they release an album this good, it’s going to be hard to top.  I’ll give my thoughts on each of the Top 20 and provide links to listen to the rest of the list.  I encourage you to check out every record on this list as you might just find something new and that is my biggest goal in doing all of this.

 

**ALBUM OF THE YEAR** 01.  American Aquarium – Lamentations  **ALBUM OF THE YEAR**

When American Aquarium announced late 2019 that they were going into the studio with Shooter Jennings producing, I knew this album would be something special.  I just didn’t know how special it would turn out to be.  Songs like “The Long Haul”, “Starts With You”, “A Better South” and even the tear jerker “Six Years Come September” helped define my 2020.  It is worth noting here that their last album which was 2018’s Things Change was my favorite record of that year too.  I can only imagine that the next album they release will either top or come close to the top of this list in that year.  This band is very consistent in that they keep getting better with every release.  I can’t wait to hear what is next.

 

  1. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

Chris Stapleton has quite possibly the best voice in modern country music.  This album further solidifies that with performances like “Cold”, “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice”, “Watch You Burn” and more.  This whole record is great top to bottom and it came very close to being my number one album of the year.  It features Stapleton’s signature mix of rock, blues and country anchored by his amazing guitar playing throughout.  This record features guests like former Heartbreaker Mike Campbell and the amazing pedal steel player Paul Franklin.  I highly recommend giving this album a good listen as Chris Stapleton is 4 records in and only shows signs of getting better.

 

  1. Charley Crockett – Welcome To Hard Times

There was a period this year where this album was slated as my #1 record of 2020.  It’s that good.  Charley Crockett put out the best record of his career with Welcome To Hard Times and it hit all the right buttons with the psychedelic bend to it’s sound and a neo-western theme.  The title track is one of my favorite jams of the year and I still love that piano riff that opens it.  Check out “Welcome To Hard Times”, “Run Horse Run” and “The Man That Time Forgot”.

 

  1. Muscadine Bloodline – Burn It At Both Ends

I have been a fan of Muscadine Bloodline since “WD40” was making the rounds as a single a few years ago.  This highly anticipated debut full length album delivers on all of the promise the band showed early on and then some.  As for their sound, they kind of straddle the line of being polished for country radio and rough around the edges for the independent country crowd.  It also helps to feature the likes of BJ Barham, Brent Cobb and Adam Hood on your debut record to give you a bit of a boost.  Check out “Ain’t Just A Van”, “Good Chunk Of Change”, “After Midnight” and “Drunk Tattoo” for a few choice cuts from this one.

 

  1. Mike and The Moonpies – Touch Of You : The Lost Songs Of Gary Stewart

Mike and The Moonpies have released another great album with this collection of lost Gary Stewart songs.  While you won’t get a cover of “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinking Doubles)” on this set, you will get some awesome Gary Stewart tunes that have never been recorded before.  You can hear Gary Stewart’s influence on Mike and The Moonpies music and when you do, you will know that they were the perfect band for a project such as this. The band worked closely with Stewart’s daughter, Shannon Stewart, and his best friend Tommy Schwartz to compile the tracks for this project. The finished product is a great Moonpies album that slides in at number five in our countdown.

 

  1. Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) & Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 2 (The Cowboy Arms Sessions)

   

I told you this was an insane year.  We got not one, but two great Sturgill Simpson albums this year.  I’m lumping them together here because they’re essentially one long piece split into two.  Sturgill promised fans that if they hit a certain goal on a charity drive he was doing that he would cut 2 albums this year.  He came through with two sets of bluegrass versions of practically every song in his solo catalog.  The only things missing are the covers from each album and “It Ain’t All Flowers”.  He also threw in some Sunday Valley tunes and a new song he wrote with the late Merle Haggard titled “Hobo Cartoon”.  I highly recommend giving these records a spin as a lot of these aren’t just re-recordings in a different genre.  There are some new arrangements of old favorites here that I think anyone would enjoy.

 

  1. Ward Davis – Black Cats And Crows

Ward Davis has finally given us the follow up to 15 Years In A 10 Year Town and it was well worth the wait.  This is a darker collection of songs with lots of heavy guitars setting the mood throughout.  There are a couple of murder ballads on this record that I highly recommend.  We also get Ward Davis’s version of Colorado a couple of years after Cody Jinks released his version on the album Lifers.  Give this album a listen and you won’t be disappointed.

 

  1. Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs

Colter Wall is finally giving us a full band western swing record and I am here for this.  From amazing covers like “Big Iron” to originals like “Henry and Sam”, this record is all killer from top to bottom.  This record puts Colter Wall up there with some of the premier western acts going today.  Check it out.


 

  1. Ashley McBryde – Never Will

Ashley McBryde is back with her second major label album and another major hit with “One Night Standards”.  This album is full of great songs and I highly recommend the murder ballad “Martha Divine”.  Throw in some traditional country cuts like “First Thing I Reach For”, “Sparrow” and “Velvet Red” and you have one amazing album.  I can’t wait to hear what is coming next.


 

  1. Zach Bryan – Quiet, Heavy Dreams EP

I initially had Zach Bryan’s Elizabeth record in this spot, but this EP is Zach Bryan’s first professionally recorded music and I had to include it here.  With songs like “Birmingham”, “Crooked Teeth” and “November Air”, Zach Bryan is certainly going to be around for a long time.  I hope to be able to see him live sometime in the near future, and with albums like this, I have no doubt he’ll be able to tour widely once it is safe to do so again.


 

  1. Joshua Ray Walker – Glad You Made It

Joshua Ray Walker’s sophomore record Glad You Made it improves on the working formula he created with 2019’s Wish You Were Here.  Songs like “Voices” show off his incredible vocal range while deeper tracks like “D.B. Cooper” show a bit of experimentation with the soundscape Joshua Ray Walker is using on this record.  Give it a listen and see why it’s in at number 11 on this list.


 

  1. Hailey Whitters – The Dream

Hailey Whitters album The Dream took a bit to grow on me, honestly.  But it grew on me and I came to really enjoy a few tracks from this record.  Check out “Janice At The Hotel Bar”, “Loose Strings”, her version of Stapleton’s “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice” and her version of “Happy People” which was also recorded by co-writer Lori McKenna on her 2018 album The Tree.  This record is a fun album that deserves to be heard by more people.  I hope I get the chance to see her live very soon.


 

  1. Brent Cobb – Keep ‘Em On They Toes

Brent Cobb has released another great album in Keep ‘Em On They Toes.  I really love the title track and it quickly became one of my feel good favorites of 2020.  Other highlights include the timely “The World Is Ending”, “Soapbox w/ Nikki Lane” and “Good Times and Good Love”.  This album is a nice change in pace back to the slower country and folk songs of 2016’s Shine On Rainy Day.


 

  1. Kyle Nix – Lightning On The Mountain & Other Short Stories

While this year was rough for fans of Turnpike Troubadours, we got a bit of a reprieve in the form of a Kyle Nix solo album.  I had a feeling this one would be special from the moment it was announced and I was right.  Some favorites include “Graves”, “Shelby 65”, “If Ruby Ain’t Happy” and “Lightning On The Mountain”.  This album is highlighted by some great fiddle playing and good songwriting.  I really hope Kyle Nix gets to tour on this one soon as I would love to see these songs live.


 

  1. The Panhandlers – The Panhandlers

When I first heard about this super group of Texas Country talents, I knew we had something special coming.  All four of these men are great with their own bands, but together they are a force to be reckoned with.  “West Texas In My Eye” and “This Is My Life” are two highlights on this one for me.  Give this one a listen if you haven’t, you won’t be disappointed.


 

  1. Parker McCollum – Hollywood Gold EP

Parker McCollum had a strong 2020 with some great single releases leading up to this EP.  “Pretty Heart” actually got a lot of radio play and I really dig “Like A Cowboy”.  I knew Parker McCollum was one to watch after 2017’s strong Probably Wrong LP.  This EP is so good and it solidifies my opinion that he is destined for bigger things.  Be on the lookout for his next full length as I belive that one will go places.


 

  1. Josh Abbott Band – The Highway Kind

I have been a fan of Josh Abbott Band since 2012’s Small Town Family Dream album and it has been a fun ride watching this band grow.  They get better with every release and The Highway Kind is no different.  Highlights include the title track, “Settle Me Down”, “24-7-365” and “Real Damn Good”.  Give it a listen.


 

  1. Aubrie Sellers – Far From Home

While I wasn’t as much of a fan of Aubrie Sellers’s 2016 record New City Blues, this album blew me away.  I dig the mixing of grungy garage rock and country music and it works here.  Check out favorites like “Glad”, “Troublemaker”, “My Love Will Not Change w/ Steve Earle” and the title track.


 

  1. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen – Hold My Beer, Vol. 2

With Hold My Beer, Vol. 2, Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen have put together two amazing country duo albums.  This record is full of solid country gold.  I love the comedy of “Rodeo Clown” and we finally get a title track for this collection with “Hold My Beer”.  Also check out “Mi Amigo” with Asleep At The Wheel and “Speak To Me Jukebox” for more highlights.

 

  1. David Adam Byrnes – Neon Town

This record from David Adam Byrnes was one of those unexpected gems that you hear about and when you finally get around to listening to, it blows you away.  Neon Town is just good Texas country and I can’t wait yi hear what is next.


 

  1. Corb Lund – Agricultural Tragic

 


 

  1. Waylon Payne – Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me

 


 

  1. Bella White – Just Like Leaving

 


 

  1. Jaime Wyatt – Neon Cross

 


 

  1. Scott H. Biram – Fever Dreams

 


 

  1. Jessi Alexander – Decatur County Red

 


 

  1. Brennen Leigh – Prairie Love Letter

 


 

  1. Lori McKenna – The Balladeer


 

  1. The Wilder Blue – Hill Country


 

  1. Tennessee Jet – The Country


 

  1. Elizabeth Cook – The Aftermath


 

  1. Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started

 

  1. Ray Wylie Hubbard – Co-Starring


 

  1. Dalton Domino – Feverdreamer


 

  1. Zephania Ohora – Listening to the Music


 

  1. Marcus King – El Dorado


 

  1. Sunny Sweeney – Recorded Live at the Machine Shop Recording Studio


 

  1. Brandy Clark – Your Life Is A Record


 

  1. Chase Crawford – The Neon Lights Go On Forever EP


 

  1. Arlo McKinley – Die Midwestern


 

  1. Jesse Daniel – Rollin’ On


 

  1. Rachel Brooke – The Loneliness In Me


 

  1. Caleb Caudle – Better Hurry Up


 

  1. Kyle Keller – All It Does Is Rain


 

  1. Lilly Hiatt – Walking Proof


 

  1. John Baumann – Country Shade


 

  1. Daniel Donato – A Young Man’s Country


 

  1. S.G. Goodman – Old Time Feeling


 

  1. Kody West – Overgrown


 

  1. Katie Pruitt – Expectations


 

2017 Music Festivals: Tumbleweed Festival.

 News  Comments Off on 2017 Music Festivals: Tumbleweed Festival.
Jun 032017
 

This is a very very special edition of my festival article series folks, another mammoth outdoor festival in the Kansas City area so I’ll be researching hotels for this one people. My GOD the absolutely amazing lineup that has become one of the hottest upcoming events of 2017. Once I print you the lineup links you’ll not even need a second opinion before venturing over to the ticket link.

This is going to be a different take on most festivals folks because it’s going to involve more than just the bands and musicians they plan to include many of the fan factions of the artists as well. The festival director plans to include the popular support group of Cody Jinks called The Flockers, tomorrow I’ll be talking with one of their representatives concerning what their role will be in this event. I’ll be adding that conversation on this article as well as updating it many times before my crew and I head down there.

I’m telling you that right there in the middle of America we got Red Dirt meets touring Outlaw acts meets Americana acts all rolled into one big outdoor stage. I’m going to be studying this event thoroughly in the next few weeks, and I’ll be promoting this festival HEAVILY in the next few weeks.

Now folks some of these festivals I do a lot of work for, but this one I’ll be HEAVILY promoting and doing research for this one because this is their second year of operation, and we want to see this festival grow. Additionally I am currently attempting to bring in more Red Dirt Country into my format, so this worked out well on both ends.

Jamey Johnson

Cody Jinks

Roger Creager

Whitey Morgan

William Clark Green

Billy Joe Shaver

Ward Davis

Sunny Sweeney

Colter Wall

Jason Eady

Paul Cauthen

Jamie Wyatt

Courtney Patton

Mikey ML750 Lamantia

Damien Gunn

Best Hotel for Tumbleweed:


Located less than 15 Minutes from Tumbleweed festival grounds:

Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City

ALL IN ONE HOTEL DESTINATION
Located 12 minutes from Tumbleweed festival grounds.
Recognized with the 2015 Certificate of Excellence award by TripAdvisor.
US News Top 6 Hotel in Missouri.

Ameristar Casino and Hotel of Kansas City is your ultimate hotel and closest to Tumbleweed. This award winning hotel has it all; Casino, Restaurants, Views and Room Service and Bars.

Learn More About the Hotel HERE


But Wait, There’s More!

An additional twenty-two hotels are located within 20 minutes from the festival site. They range from budget to four-star accommodations. I was recently out in this area last weekend and I got to see the venue firsthand, there are plenty of hotels and stores nearby.

In time I shall also research area restaurants as well, this article will be constantly added to in the next few weeks.

CLICK HERE for a listing and map of these hotels!

The Tumbleweed Payment Plan enables you to get tickets now and pay nothing for six months. No interest, no payments for six months. You can buy tickets of all types HERE. YES FOLKS for this festival you can purchase tickets on a layaway plan! THIS IS the FIRST festival I have EVER witnessed this happen.

– Camping is a separate ticket (add-on)
– RV Campers must have (1) RV pass for the vehicle and Forest Camping Pass for each individual
– All campers must also have an access pass to enter the festival or camping grounds.
– Thursday night add-on campers must also have a Forest Camping pass

– On Thursday, July 27th, Thursday Night campers have access at 5:00pm. Gates open for early entry and VIP at 4:45pm. Gates close Thursday night at midnight. No access after midnight, so please plan accordingly!
– On Friday, July 28th, campers have access at 1:00pm. Gates open for early-entry and VIP attendees at 12:00pm. Standard entry is at 2pm
– On Saturday, July 29th, gates open at 11:30am
– All attendees must exit by 12:00/noon Sunday

FROM THE WEBSITE, AND FROM MINE:

Welcome to Tumbleweed Country Music Festival. We’re here to answer your questions! Check out the references below and don’t hesitate to reach out via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and however else you can find us!

Receive special offers and be the first to know about special sales, announcements and the lineup! Click here to submit your email!

This is a family-friendly festival along the gorgeous Missouri River bank covered by mature trees with a playground. Kids 10 years and younger are free!

PROHIBITED ITEMS

NO coolers inside Main Stage area (permitted only in camping)
NO Loitering, drinking or grilling in the parking lot (enforced by police)
NO sleeping in cars in the parking lot (enforced by police)
NO outside food or drink (permitted in camping)
NO weapons of any kind (includes pocket knives, pepper spray, fireworks, guns, tasers)
NO drones

Contained fires are permitted until 2:30am and must be in a 36″ metal fire container with a screen on top (standard at all retailers). If you bring a fire pit, you must also have a 10lb fire extinguisher with it. We’re camping in a forest!

Grills are permitted.

MUSTS TO BRING

– Printed off tickets. We will not accept electronic versions off of your cell phone, receipts, etc. Your ticket must be a hard copy printed off on paper. If your ticket does not scan you will not be granted access.

– Credit Card/ATM Card/Cash- some vendors accept cash only, parking is cash only (see parking info below), liquor/beer sales will accept credit cards in some locations. Please CARPOOL! Parking is $30 per vehicle (except for RV’s) to encourage car-pooling and funds go to the city for the facility usage and cleanup.

– Your ID, a SMILE and some killer boots!!!

GENERAL FAQ

WHEN CAN WE ARRIVE? WHEN DO WE HAVE TO LEAVE?

On Thursday, July 27th, Thursday Night campers have access at 5:00pm. Gates open for early entry at 4:00pm.

On Friday, July 28th, campers have access at 1:00pm. Gates open for early-entry attendees at 12:00pm. Standard entry is at 2pm.  On Saturday, July 29th, gates open at 11:30am. All attendees must exit by 12:00/noon Sunday.

I NEVER GOT MY TICKETS AFTER I PURCHASED THEM – I NEED MY TICKETS RESENT TO ME?

Please visit www.Ticketfly.com or call 877.435.9849

Pets: Allowed with Service Animal or Companion Pet documentation

Grills: Allowed

Open Camp Fires: Not Allowed (must be contained in metal fire pit container with mesh cover)

MY CREDIT CARD IS BEING DECLINED.

Please make sure your address is imputed EXACTLY as your address on file with your credit card company. Please contact your CC company or check your statement to verify address on file. Any error no matter how small will decline your attempt. This is put in place to reduce fraud associated with purchases.

IS THIS AN ALL AGES FESTIVAL?

Yes, all ages are welcome. Kids 10 and under are free!

HOW CAN I CONTACT CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT TICKETS?

For all ticket concerns or questions please call Ticketfly at 877.435.9849. Please note that ALL SALES ARE FINAL. No Refunds for any reason. We will not respond to refund requests. Thank you.

HOW DO I CONTACT CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR ALL OTHER QUESTIONS?

Please email tumbleweed@bordaproductions.com. Please allow up to 48 hours for a response. Please note that ALL SALES are FINAL. No refunds for any reason. We will not respond to refund requests. Thank you.

ARE THERE ANY CELL PHONE CHARGING STATIONS?

Only in VIP.

CAN I LEAVE THE FESTIVAL AND RETURN?

Yes, you will be able to come and go as you wish. Please note that you will be subject to search each time you enter the festival grounds. This is purely for the safety of our guests. PLEASE, there is ZERO loitering in the parking areas and will be strictly enforced for safety reasons.

IF I AM STAYING OFF SITE, CAN I LEAVE AND COME BACK?

Yes.

WILL YOU BE POSTING SET TIMES IN ADVANCE? WHERE CAN I FIND EXACT SET TIMES?

Set times will be posted closer to the festival dates. Please take the time to explore Tumbleweed, as there are some things happening that will not be posted, and will be exciting to find on your own.

I’M A PHOTOGRAPHER. WHO DO I ARRANGE A PHOTO PASS THROUGH?

Please complete a media form located on the Contact Us page.

WHAT TYPES OF VENDORS WILL BE ON HAND?

There will be a variety of food/beverage/alcohol/arts-crafts/apparel/ and more.

Motorcycle Parking?

Motorcycles will park on the concrete parking lot near the entrance gate. Limited space available: first come, first reserve!

TW Motorcycle

TICKET FAQ’s

ACCESS TO THE MAIN STAGE?

Yes, all ticket levels will have unrestricted access to the front of the stage. No special pit tickets or similar exists.

I NEVER GOT MY TICKETS?

Please visit www.Ticketfly.com or call 877.435.9849

I CAN’T GO ANYMORE +  I WANT A REFUND.

Just like any event ALL SALES ARE FINAL. When purchasing your ticket you agreed to our ticketing terms. We do not offer refunds for any reason. We will unable to respond to refund requests. Thank you.

CAN I BRING MY KIDS? DO THEY HAVE TO PAY?

Yes. Everyone is allowed in the event with a ticket. Kids 10 and younger are free!

DO I NEED TO PRINT OFF MY TICKETS?

Yes, you MUST print off your tickets on to paper. No other form will be accepted. We will be scanning printed off tickets only. If your ticket does not scan you will not be granted access.

WILL TICKETS BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE FESTIVAL GATES?

Yes, at higher ‘gate’ prices.

CAN I GET A SINGLE DAY PASS?

Single Day passes to Tumbleweed are not sold.

GETTING HERE FAQ

PLEASE USE THIS GOOGLE MAP LINK!! IOS MAPS CAN LEAD YOU WRONG!

CLICK HERE FOR GOOGLE MAP

 

CAMPING FAQ

HOW BIG IS MY CAMPING AREA?

It’s open first-come-first reserve camping with a recommended space of 10ft x 15ft per person, but you can camp with friends, family, etc. No true restriction on a reasonable camping area :).

CAN WE LEAVE AND RE-ENTER THE CAMPGROUND AREA?

Yes, as many times as you want.

WHAT ARE THE GENERAL RULES FOR BUYING A CAMPING SPOT?

A camping pass is required to enter the camping grounds. One Camping Pass = One Entrance to Camping.

You cannot camp without a festival pass.

CAN WE BRING IN ALCOHOL?

Only campers can bring in beer and/or liquor to the campgrounds. No outside food/drink in the main stage area.

WHAT WILL YOU BE PROVIDING AT THE CAMPGROUNDS?

There will be 24hr security. There will be water and ice for sale, as well as ATMs and a variety of vendors within the venue.

WHAT EMERGENCY SERVICES WILL BE AVAILABLE ON SITE? WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I NEED EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE (MEDICAL, POLICE, TOWING, LOCKSMITH, ETC.)?

There will be medical assistance available throughout the campgrounds and festival site. You can stop any officer you see, or any staff member you see, for assistance.

WHERE SHOULD I GO IF I LOSE MY KEYS, MY WALLET OR MY FRIENDS?

Go to the Tumbleweed information/ticket booth near the main entrance of the festival.

WILL SMALL CAMPFIRES BE ALLOWED IN THE CAMPING AREAS? WILL YOU ALLOW FIRE BINS?

There will be no campfires of any kind allowed. Burn it down on the dance floor! Grills are permitted.

WILL THERE BE ANY ELECTRICITY IN THE CAMPING AREA?

No.

ARE SERVICE ANIMALS ALLOWED IN THE CAMPSITE?

Yes.

IS THERE CELL PHONE SERVICE AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE FESTIVAL SITE?

Dependent on crowd size. WiFi connections may be available for a small fee.

ARE WE GOING TO BE ABLE TO CAMP NEXT TO OUR CARS?

No. Upon arrival, you will be directed into the main parking area. Camping is located within the park therefore no cars are allowed. Please walk your belongings to the camping area which is very close to the parking lot.

VENUE FAQ

CAN WE BRING WATER INTO THE MAIN CONCERT VENUE FROM THE OUTSIDE?

No. You can purchase water and/or refill at FREE water stations.

WILL WE BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE FESTIVAL AND COME BACK?

Yes. No loitering in the parking lots.

WILL CHAIRS BE ALLOWED IN THE CONCERT VENUE?

Yes.

WILL THERE BE ATM MACHINES INSIDE THE VENUE?

Yes.