The last few years have been completely devastating to many of us, and I am no exception for sure. It’s taken me quite some time to get everything straightened out and back on track here on the website, however I got it under control now. Mainly due to the sheer volume of material I cover on here on a daily basis, and the amounts of bands and artists that have emerged out of the woodwork.
The influx of non mainstream music based bands that have embarked on the world of the Honky Tonks and festivals of the United States is so intense that it is almost over saturated ( which is not a bad thing ) for fans like me. There currently exists an immense network of male and female artists performing REAL music of many genres, just waiting for people to support, however since the mainstream media doesn’t want you to know about them. Why? Well. let’s explore why.
The mainstream music industry is no more different than any other of the other industries across the nation, like pharmaceuticals and the news, they revolve around money and the brainwashing of what is deemed “normal ” society. These industries depend on the money that regular everyday people pump into what is dumped into their laps by the tools they use to expose them to THEIR products.
These people do not want anybody to learn about the bands that are playing do it yourself music, and recording music on their own terms. They do not want anybody to loose focus on their agenda, and they do not want people deviating from their product, and spending money on something that doesn’t benefit them. You see, if people start spending money on independent music, then their companies make no money, and basically aren’t needed.
The mainstream music companies are trying every possible angle to divert your attention away from the real and honest people playing the music, by creating their own “Outlaw” artists with a crude facade of smoke and mirrors effect. Suddenly, here comes false “real country” artists like Mr. Eric Church and Mr. Aaron Lewis, two of their lamest and most blatantly false entities.
Which cultivated the need for people like me, that were willing to create and form informational sources be those printed media like you are reading here, or podcasts, or digital playlists. Back a few years ago folks like me were few and far between, however now there are so many outlets that exist, that not knowing about these artists is becoming more and more unheard of.
In 2011, I began making my TOP 50 list on a yearly basis, and additionally making a list of essential albums of that same year. Also accompanying this are the many album features I have, and many other forms of exposure we have. So without further adieu, I would like to present to you my favorite 50 albums of 2021.
1. Alan Jackson – Where Have You Gone
This album was hands down my number one album from the moment I heard the first song, “sweet Country Music, where have you gone”? I mean, as I heard this opening song I had to pull over and cry. Mr. Alan Jackson could generate tears from a rock. He doesn’t need bells and whistles to get the job done here folks, and he certainly doesn’t need music row’s approval either.
This album is his latest offering in five years since I last made him my album of the year with his last one called “Angels And Alcohol”. He is the VERY FIRST artist to have 2 different albums of the year, and he is hands down one of the greatest living Legends of Country Music we have left today.
This album is an absolute behemoth of classic sounding slow Country Music that emanate from your speakers like the whiskey that is ever present in songs like the lamenting tale of being “Way Down In My Whiskey”. I think every single one of us have gotten inebriated, and brought out the old memories that burn into your soul.
Producer Mr. Keith Stegall captured all of those haunting and poignant signature Alan Jackson vocals and juxtaposed them with the heavenly steel guitar tone of Mr. Paul Franklin and the fiddle work of the legend himself Mr. Stuart Duncan. I do not think anyone can argue that “Where Her Heart Has Always Been” is not an absolute masterpiece about loosing a loved one, and it is performed in such a manner of integrity and precise love of Country Music.
2.Sturgil Simpson – The Ballad Of Dood And Juanita
This album here was another masterpiece of classic Country Music greatness self produced by Mr. John Sturgill Simpson, it is the seventh album that he self released, and was a concept album about a frontiersman named Dood. The opening song describes the main character here as tough as the nails that held Jesus, and how good of a shot he was.
Juanita was his wife, whom was taken by bandits, which sent Dood into a revenge frenzy to where he saddled up his mule Shamrock and his dog Sam ( who later ends up dying and being buried ) to find his precious Juanita. This album showcased so many different types of music all in one, as he is known to deviate on his albums…hell he released a different genre each time!
This album still touches on many of his Bluegrass aspirations, which in my opinion are some of the best arranged songs he has. His previous 2 volume Bluegrass collection blew my mind as he changed all of his songs into a whole different form!
The only bad thing about this album ( and reason it was not number one ) is that this album is so short, the story did indeed end in a bloody fashion but there could have been some more to the story…however with Mr. Sturgill this simply leaves the door open for future installments to the story, and that’s just how he likes to leave things…open for more later!
3.Legendary Shack Shakers – Cockadoodle Deux
My all time favorite album from this band was the 2002 album called “Cockadoodledon’t” , which was one of the many catalyst albums of the past that initially fueled my love of underground music. When it was announced that there was going to be another continuation of this title, I was enamored about it.
The song “Tickle Your Innards” was actually a re done song off their first album called Hunkerdown ( and originally spelled YORE innards ), which showcased the welcome of the almost all original lineup of the band. This album was designed to be a bookend for the other album, and much like the first one it features so many Legendary players and some heavy hitters that not many people recognize.
Former Dead Kennedys’ lead singer Mr. Jello Biafra, Opry Legend Mr. Stanley Walker and Mr. Chris Scruggs all pitched in to make this album just as integral as the counterpart album, which featured Mr. Joe Buck ( Joe Buck Yourself ) on bass. Even though this band has witnessed many changes, and many lineups, the Colonel solidifies his tenure through all of those changes on the song “Punk Rock Retirement Plan”.
One of the better songs on this album was called “I Told You So”, which is a typical Country song about taking back a cheater that has supposedly learned their lesson. Even though Mr. J.D. Wilkes has less of a Country based voice than he does Roots based, his vocal delivery here is quite compatible with the songs on the album, making it one of my favorite LSS albums to date!
4. Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall – The Marfa Tapes
This album here was nothing short of spectacular while being recorded with only 2 microphones and 2 acoustic guitars on a small secluded ranch, and thusly it has an authentically unpolished feel to it. That fact alone made it one of the top albums of 2021 for absolute certain.
This album didn’t have any bells and whistles, and it didn’t have any spectacular musicians or blockbuster songs on it, except for the re recording of the epic song “Tin Man”, which was originally on the album “The Weight Of These Wings”. The other song “Tequila Does” was on her album “Wildcard”, but in this form, I found the song more enjoyable.
Additionally there was a Marfa Tapes film directed by Mr. Spencer Peoples, and they also performed many of the songs on the popular televised portion of Austin City Limits. The film also contained a few songs not included on the recording, which were called “Tornado” and “They’ve Closed Down The Honky-Tonks”.
I have always been an avid fan of songwriters, especially those of the Country Music genre, and if you equally enjoy that same thing, then this album is one for the books.
5. Vincent Neil Emerson – Vincent Neil Emerson
The opening song on this one called “Texas Moon” is an astounding brushy fiddle tune full of Country warmth and paints a lovely story of a rambling Country Music picker that lives on the road, and is enthusiastic about his return home.
The songs on this album from La Honda Records are on another level from his first album especially the one that addresses his father’s suicide called “Learnin’ To Drown” , he even addresses killing himself in his sadness. I know a lot of people will be able to use this song to deal with their own issues in life in a positive manner.
Once you listen to these songs, you will be able to ascertain his affection for the great songwriters like Mr. Justin Townes Earle and Mr. Townes Van Zandt, one of his namesakes. I loved the fact that this album had no fluffy filler songs, and it was so stripped down and easy to interpret. This young man is half my age, and has been through more tragedy than I have by far!
The ballad song called “The Ballad Of The Choctaw-Apache” was written about his own Grandmother, and talks about all of the hardships she faced with life and death. It addresses the forced sale of Native American land by the government in Louisiana, and winds down with the toe tapping song called “Saddled Up And Tamed”.
6.Pine Hill Haints – The Song Companion Of A Lone Star Cowboy
This Alabama outfit has thousands of shows and a plethora of albums under their belt right now. They are one of the many bands that cultivated my affection for the more underground bands ( like the Legendary Shack Shakers up there ), and this new installment is nothing short of stellar!
One of my chief complaints about many of these Roots bands is the lack of growth and stale direction of the actual music over a period of time. This band disproves that theory and brings hope to the table for me at least. They skip around into so many different sounds on one album it’s uncanny.
“Pretty Thing” in my opinion is one of the highlights of this album, and it was an absolute pleasure to get to see them at Muddy Roots last year, where they performed a few of these songs off this album.
They just have such a fantastic way of making such a diverse sounding bunch of songs sound like they were meant to be juxtaposed together into an album lineup like this. They all possess their own identity, yet compliment one another so perfectly!
7. Charley Crockett – Music City USA
There isn’t any other way to describe this man or any of the music he plays as anything other than THE BEST. You can call it Country or Roots or whatever you want…its the BEST. You get some basic and easy to understand songs with everything this man releases.
“Honest Fight” can be taken personally as he has always been very graphic of his struggles within the music industry, or it can be construed as musically as he continues to release HIS MUSIC HIS WAY.
“Are We Lonesome Yet” is a Cajun sounding fiddle tune filled with polished steel guitar and a rounding beat, that breaks up the album quite nicely.
The title track here called “Music City U.S.A.” is an amazing song, that mentions his home state of Texas, and all over America in his travels. But it talks about Nashville not liking his kind, and they got a lot to say…I say this album is gold.
8. Morgan Wade – Reckless
I don’t necessarily believe she meant this album to be declared as 100 percent Country, because I wouldn’t. However the fact that it is embraced by so many different genres, means there is something special about it….and there is!
The very first song called “Wilder Days” spoke to me on a level that my daughter tells me all the time, that she wished she knew me in my wilder days. However I’m glad she didn’t. Partying got me several bouts with drug rehab, and I have 2 years sober now, however I do remember some of my wilder days as being fun at the time.
“Mend” was a song I needed at the time I initially heard it the first time. We have all had breakup periods of life, being in the process of leaving and staying. Being RIGHT ON that threshold of ending it all or giving things one more try.
One of the closing songs that spoke to me was called “Nothern Air”, which was a song of Seperation and longing for a long distance love. I have someone myself that lives quite a ways away, and while I wait to see how it pans out, I felt a lot of the points of this song here.
Altogether, I loved they way that you cannot truly categorize this album into any genre and I like the way she sings. Her vocals are so stunningly unique that it would be a shame NOT to notice her as an upcoming force in ANY genre you want to try to pin on her.
9. Mike And The Moonpies – One To Grow On
This is an easy to understand goof old fashioned Honky Tonk album here, that opens with a song that references all of those Johnny Paycheck songs that influenced us all.
They veered off their well known Country lane on their last album, and I was absolutely elated to hear them return to their mainstay Country sound on songs like “Hour On The Hour”.
This album is full of steady back beats and songs to easily dance to. One of the songs that made me think was the song “Brother”, where he is searching for his long lost brother raised by his mother. He was raised by their father, and the father passed away.
Overall this album was one of their finest offerings in quite awhile, the closing song “Burnout” was one of the best songs on the album.
10. Connie Smith – The Cry Of The Heart
I knew right off the bat that this album was going to a traditional juggernaut of simple and honest Country songs, sung by one of the finest Legends still among us today. Albums like these from the Legends we still have with us are some of the most integral albums that arrived in 2021.
“To Pieces” is 100 percent a masterpiece of a breakup song here. I mean seeing an old love with their new love makes you break down and fall to pieces is a classic meltdown song.
“Three Sides” was a good song that talks about my side, her side…and the truth. You cannot argue with older songs she covered here like “All The Time”.
“Jesus Take A Hold” is a song we all need to adhere to in these end times. With all of these nations arguing at war with one another, and our leaders are such weakling we need to call to Jesus to take a hold and lead us through.
11. Summer Dean – Bad Romantic
Bad Romantic is an apt title for these songs, because most of them are indeed about being a bad romantic, like the second opening song which is a sharp duet with our old friend Mr. Colter Wall called “You’re Lucky She’s Lonely”. It’s a song about how this maiden of misery wouldn’t have a one night stand with a stranger if she wasn’t lonely.
This former schoolteacher took a huge gamble, and left behind her passion of inspiring young minds to pursue her passion of inspiring other minds with her traditional Country sound. She exemplifies what a female solo Country act SHOULD BE within the independent music community, pushing away ” Get married and have babies and a few dogs and die happy, buried next to our husbands”.
“Bad Romantic” is a prominently well written song about herself turning down every chump that puts the moves on a honky tonk princess that took money her mother saved for her wedding, and used it for the studio time required to record this album. She tries to get us all to see life from HER side of things, if you’re truly looking for love then GET OUT and travel from city to city with the boys in the band!
One of the best songs on this album to me was “Three Timin’ Game” which is a toe tapping twangy upbeat two stepping song of honky tonk greatness, filled with that fiddle and steel I love so much. I met her at the Ameripolitan Awards a few years back, and I had the opportunity to write about her set. It was evident then that she was destined to become a formidable presence in the local music community.
12. Flatland Cavalry – Welcome To Countryland
I have always been a huge fan of this band throughout the short years, however I haven’t always liked every album they put out. This one however, was one of their better ones by far. Mr. Cleto Cordero contributes some outstanding vocals with this album, and the direction they take on this installment is different than many.
This album maintains an independent luster, while attempting to appeal to Texas radio with songs like ” A Cowboy Knows How”, which was co written by Mr. Luke Combs. That song was structured to be more radio friendly in sound, however the lyrics are still not “hokey” like the radio country songs are.
“Getting By” is another song that is written to relate to the “regular people” out there in radio land, however we ALL can relate to the lyrics quite well, as we all barely get by. That “can up to the sky” lyric is something we ALL DO, I mean many of us work all week and then cook out on the weekends, and watch the kids play outside.
The fact that seasoned producer Mr. Jake Gear was brought on board to produce this one, and there were more co writers, make this third album stand out a little more than the other two. See, Flatland Cavalry is not really an old band, like many others of their ilk, and I found their second album rather stale in direction. I think when Mr. Cleto married Miss Kaitlin Butts, his inspirations changed as did his leadership skills and that is one of the contributing factors to the success of this album.
13. Blackberry Smoke – You Hear Georgia
And finally, we get to this band’s latest offering here called “You Hear Georgia”, produced by the legendary Mr. Dave Cobb and recorded in historic studio A here in Nashville. This album challenges the common insinuation that everyone in the deep south is a stupid redneck, or all of the same political or religious group.
Even though this band has expanded it’s lineup with two new members, this album continues the signature well known Blackberry Smoke sound, that they are so famous for. This is not a list of songs with deep meaning to make you dwell on breaking down the lyrics, these songs are meant to make you get off your ass and jam!
It was only a matter of time before this band collaborated with Cobb, whom is also from Georgia, to provide us with Southern Rock anthem type songs like “Live It Down” or some damn fine slide guitar songs like “Ain’t The Same”.
Another reason this album has taken just a slightly different direction is the many guest appearances and co writers that adorn this album, like Mr. Jamey Johnson and Government Mule founder Mr. Warren Haynes. Mr. Warren helped co write the song “All Rise Again”, and the ballad song called “Old Enough To Know” which was co written by Mr. Travis Meadows.
14. Charlie Marie – Ramble On
This one was a late addition for me, there were a few of them that almost made it and almost did not. Honestly, this one didn’t get my full attention until after it was released…I just had so much back work piled up! Now, many other websites were boasting about how this was her debut album, they must have not paid any attention to her other 2 EP albums?
Cleverly written songs adorn this album like the song “El Paso” which at first appeared to be a Marty Robbins cover, but it was actually a well written Country song about a cheater. A man cheater….not too uncommon for a Country song to pine over a cheater…but I have never heard one about a man leaving a woman…for another man!
“Lauren” was another well penned Country song about a mountain man that cannot come down to give his heart to her, until it is later learned that that mountain is another woman. She thinks she can love this mountain man like nobody else can, however someone else evidently can. That mountain that is between them is that other woman, she wants to know where she stands!
“Tough Kitty” was the name of a draft beer milk stout that she noticed on a waitress shift in Massachusetts. She thought it was a cool idea for a song, and wrote one about it. Her songwriting skills show vividly on this album here, and she has quickly becoming one of my personal favorite ladies on the independent circuit!
15. Cole Chaney – Mercy
Well, once again my old friend Mr. W. B. Walker has turned me onto one HELL OF A young songwriter here named Mr. Cole Chaney. He represents my beloved home state of Kentucky, and resides in Lexington Kentucky. But he originally comes from Cattlesburg, on the banks of the Ohio river. He is rapidly becoming a household name within the confines of the independent music realm, and is drawing bigger audiences every day!
I mean, you just can’t make up stuff like the song “Coalshooter”. This former welder KNOWS what manual labor is obviously, like I do and thusly he speaks to me as an individual. Now, mind you, I know that his style and his presentation will be likened to Mr. Tyler Childers at first listen. However, the more I listened myself to him, the more he fashioned a complete individuality to me.
He achieves that by his convincing way of belting out these Bluegrass type Appalachian songs of poignant heartache and blue collar woe, while still clinging to his adolescence. He is just what local music needed to breathe a fresh whiff of clean air to a community of music that was slowly becoming stagnant.
“Ill Will Creek” was literally a hell of an opening song, which was a bout a devil that was haunting in the mountains, and if you were caught, you were forced to sell your soul in order to be let go.
16. American Aquarium – Slappers, Bangers, And Certified Twangers Vol 1 and 2
I’ll admit this, it’s not very often that an album of complete covers could make my TOP lists at all, however these two albums, I enjoyed so much that I simply cannot cast these albums aside. They did such a wonderful job of performing these timeless classics like the Mr. Mark Chesnutt hit “Bubba Shot The Jukebox”.
Many of us grew up with these 90’s Country hits, now I was more of a young adult when these songs came out. But I still spent a lot of my time loving these classic songs like Mr. John Anderson’s “Money In The Bank”. I thought Mr. B.J.Barham did a stupendous job of singing these cover songs, and the band did an equally fine job with the structure. They kept the flavor alive, while adding their own spice to the songs, to make them sound like American Aquarium.
“Queen Of My Double Wide Trailer” was one of my favorite Mr. Sammy Kershaw songs off the Haunted Heart album. See, there are so so many classic albums form the 90’s that are vastly overlooked by today’s standards, and I have a goof feeling this album was what we needed to bring songs like “John Deere Green” back into the spotlight.
Even the female songs they covered were spectacular, and I was VERY skeptical about that when I initially began to listen. I thought man, they wont nail the high notes on “Independence Day” or the character that “Heads Carolina, Tails California” had in the 90’s. This band proved me wrong one hundred percent!
17. Sierra Ferrell – Long Time Coming
This is perhaps one of the most powerful albums I have heard all year, like I always say, these albums are not in any particular order of greatness, number 50 is just as well loved as my number 2 album. My TOP ALBUM is usually the only one I loved the most.
What makes this young lady so uniquely stand in front of the other artists on this list, is exactly HOW she rose to the top of the independent music circuit. The YouTube website called GemsOnVHS began posting videos of her playing her originals, and before long the videos garnered thousands of views!
One of those originals was the song called “Jeremiah”, which quickly shows off her old time flavor in her vocals and her style of songs. This young lady is RIGHT IN my neck of the woods…I was born 40 years too late. These breakup songs are just heavenly “She’s gonna put you back on the shelf, cause she does better by herself”, is just one of many lines in this album that make it gold!
“Bells Of Every Chapel” has a PURE COUNTRY tempo and flow, and has some mighty fine guitar licks from Mr. Billy Strings. In fact, this album boasts so much talent within the music industry, which compliments her vocal style tenfold. The song “West Virginia Waltz” is one of the most well written songs I have ever heard in my life. She returns to her West Virginia home to rekindle and old flame..only to find out he is dead. She deserves every accolade that has been bestowed upon her lately.
18. Jason Eady – To The Passage Of Time
I will just start out by saying this, this album starts out with steel guitar licks right in your face! You know, Mr. Jason has always been more of a guitarist and songwriter than a huge solo artist to me. That is NOT a bad thing or a disrespectful thing to say, because the world needs more people like him in it. The respect and love he holds for ALL genres of music make him stand out above the rest of his ilk.
“Back To Normal” goes right into the typical Jason Eady form, both musically and vocally. This album contains no fluff or overdubs, and addresses issues like the recent pandemic on this song. I think this was a direction many people went in 2020, as they all were home writing. You can tell the ones that were busy writing songs instead of doing live streams by the songs they are putting out now.
This album was produced by Mr. Gordy Quist, who plays with the Band Of Heathens, and joins him on songs like “Gainesville” which talks about going back to his early club days. To be honest, these acoustic only songs showcase his talents far better than a full band song does.
The title track was by far the best song on the album here, I mean, its just plain out one hundred percent COUNTRY my friends. With Miss Jamie Lin Wilson and Miss Courtney Patton both adding vocals on this album and song, it adds to the ambiance the steel guitar sets up for you here. Any idiot that continues to say “Country Music is dead” doesn’t listen to this man, I promise you!
19. Jesse Daniel – Beyond These Walls
I met this young man a few years ago in Memphis at the Ameripolitan Awards, and I have been a HUGE FAN of his since his first album. Not only from a musical standpoint, but also as a fellow recovered addict. See us recovered addicts always share a common bond and a common respect for each other’s sobriety.
This album took a new, fresh approach and an opportunity for Mr. Jesse to show us who he is as a person, as captured by legendary producer Mr. Tommy Detamore. It covers everything musically that represents him as an individual, like the duet with Mr. Raul Malo of the Mavericks, performed in Spanish.
One of the high points of the album is the song called “Think I’ll Stay”, which has a wonderful tinge of hardcore Country greatness that I know this young man is capable of, while at the same time he explores many other genres as well.It is always a special thing to me to see a recovered addict thrive like I am…there is no “Lookin’ Back” for him.
One of the things that is evident with Mr. Jesse’s recent explosion of success is the ardent work from his manager ( and jack of all trades ) and the woman that makes him complete Miss Jodi Lyford. All of her work and heart she poured into this album to bring his vocals and music to light, has helped propel this man into the spotlight.
20. Cody Jhonson – Human The Double Album
This man is one of the more mainstream artists that does get SOME limited radio play on that dreaded FM radio, and he is one of the elite handful of artists who get recognition from media sites like mine and those of my ilk.
“Till You Can’t” is by far one of his finest songs to date written by Mr. Matt Rogers and Mr. Ben Stennis, about putting off doing things with your loved ones and falling victim to the looming fact that NONE OF US are promised a tomorrow. Even telling kids that you’ll do it tomorrow isn’t a valid promise at all.
The Texas flavored rocking song called “Son Of A Ramblin’ Man” came form the Vince Gill album from 2006 called ‘These Days”. He puts his signature spin on this song with an upbeat Texas flare that brings forth the rowdy and rambunctious lyrics quite well.
Now, the title track on this album called “Human” really hit me hard as a listener. It basically talks about the ups and downs of being a human being, and this song compliments “Till You Can’t” so vividly, that I would say this is his finest album to date, and he is blazing a trail on both the independent and mainstream fronts.
21. The Ben Jarrell Band – Up And Headed West
I want to say two things about this man and this album. This album did not receive the amount of critical acclimation that it deserved, and was overlooked by too many media outlets, even in the independent world. I have always been adamant on the fact that he is underappreciated as an artist.
The other thing I wanted to touch on was the deep love I have for him as a friend, and as a person. Folks, this man drove all the way up here to bring me back to Smyrna Tennessee to have some arthritis shots in my back, prohibiting me from driving myself. This of course has no bearing on me picking this album, he earned that on his own, with songs like “Chevrolet’s And Angels”.
I’m going to be honest here, that song made me cry as a race fan, and a person who loves the sport of dirt track racing. You can place this song to speak to you in many forms, even using it to speak about your own heroes, like he does for his own lost friend.
This album shows a LOT of musical growth on his part in both songwriting and precise production of the overall album. Much like the above Cody Johnson album, I say that this album is by far his best album of the two he has released. This collection of songs he has offered us here exemplify his growth as Country artist overall.
22. Cody Jinks – Mercy
This album is by far not his finest offering as some of his older albums, but it is a must have in your collection by all means. Mr. Cody Jinks is on the echelon of which he no longer has anything to prove as an artist, and he can afford to release music that HE wants to release. Whatever position he is at in his life, is where you will find him musically.
By all means, this man and his band is by far the most successful independent artists in today’s world, and perhaps history overall. This man has achieved immense overall success with no help from anything but social media, in fact this album didn’t even have a publicist!
This album doesn’t change in direction of a typical Cody Jinks album in any way, and it has that overall well known Cody Jinks vibe and sound with songs like “Feeding The Flames”. Now, that is not by any means a bad thing at all, with the well known steel guitar sound in the song, and it remains stalwart with songs like “I Don’t Trust My Memories Anymore” co written by Mr. Kendall Marvel.
The album closes with some of the best songs on it, which boisterously displays his overall anger with the current state of the music business and society in general. And it goes out with the funky but still Honky Tonk sound of “When Whiskey Call The Shots”. If you still love the classic Country sound of Cody Jinks and the Tone Deaf Hippies, you too will LOVE this album.
23. John R. Miller – Deprecitaed
This is another album I included that I knew for a fact would be rudely omitted by so many TOP lists, and by album reviews overall, and I find it ludicrous to even consider omitting! This album is by far nothing short of absolutely amazing in every way! Now on the Rounder Records label, this man is about to SHINE in the independent circuit and the overall world of music!
This man has ventured a long way from drinkin motor oil, but with songs like “Borrowed Time” he likens vehicles to relationships, both can leave you stranded and frustrate you to no end. This album had a lot of singles released up front, ( which is one of my chief complaints for a later time ), so I knew what to expect in some ways.
The song called “Shenandoah Shakedown” is another one of those hard to understand songs with many meanings, and a poignant tempo for sure. You can easily ascertain that this song is about a relationship gone sour, told by a man on a “trip”. “Lookin’ Over My Shoulder” is about returning home and trying to avoid an old flame and NOT WANTING to be reminded of that one…see the direct transparency there?
Some of the songs here are re recorded from his old album called “Service Engine” from 2014, which first turned me on to his music, and it was really thrilling to hear these songs re done with more production in them. He is currently approaching the top of his game right now, and I think the best work is still yet to come from him.
24. Dallas Moore – The Rain
Summer of last year I had the opportunity to hear some of the new Dallas Moore songs, and I got the opportunity to be one of the first to feature them in an article form. I am going to be up front and honest on this portion of my TOP 50.. and the reason it is on the halfway mark..this one is for you Mr. Lucky Chucky.
We love you, and I miss you VERY MUCH. For so many years, you blessed us music fans with your beautiful guitar wizardry and played alongside Mr. Dallas for his entire career. You made those vocals of his and his stage presence all the more stronger, as the two of you formed such a vital unit to the local Ohio music community for decades.
Many years ago I met Mr. Dallas Moore at an outdoor festival benefit show which culminated into a solid friendship between us, and I have always enjoyed his raw, unapologetic approach to his simple and honest REAL Country music. Like the song “Every Night I Burn Another Honky Tonk Down”.
Now, we are indeed dealing with a seasoned road dog here, and Mr. Chuck was many times right along side him playing more than 300 days a year to earn a living. Mr. Dallas Moore has played in more cities than many mainstream artists I can name. They have traveled “On Through The Night” so many times, and to so many beer joints and venues than even he can name.
One of the highlights of this album here is the song called “Blue Jean Jesus” which was about a homeless man that looked ragged and worn, however he was a friend of his that got ran out of town. But to be honest this song is a testament to judging people on their outward appearance, and this song has a hidden meaning and a hidden lesson.
The most special song on this album ( and pretty much any of his albums ) was the song called “In My Last Days” which was all about his right hand man Mr. Chuck Morpurgo. I don’t even have to explain the meaning behind this one, and I’m using it for myself now, because I was recently told in my addiction recovery that I now have cirrhosis of the liver. I’m going to be soon having a biopsy, to determine if I can have a transplant in the near future.
Mr. Dallas if you read this my friend, I love you. You mean the world to me, and it’s a blessing to watch little Miss Victory grow up.
25. Mac Leaphart – Music City Joke
This one I found last year through a publicist, and when I initially heard it, I was just floored by his songwriting power, and his musicianship. Now, like me, you may not have ever heard of him despite him having been around Nashville for years.
With songs like “Blame On The Bottle”, which introduces a unique paradox on an old classic drinking song. This man has that classic gritty songwriter vocal rasp that you would typically associate with folks like Mr. Jerry Jeff Walker and other heroes we all have.
The title track here called “Music City Joke” is one of the finest songs on the album here, and it contains all kinds of amazing references to all of the wonderful legendary songwriters that came before him. The actual meaning of the song pokes fun at his own success of not being as great as those that came before him.
One of the best songs on the album here was “That Train”. This was a mighty fine song about rambling around the country in a typical way that all of these wandering artists that I feature do. This entire album brings you closer to his frustrations of not being able to pin that one song down, that brings in a substantial paycheck.
26. Drayton Farley – A Hard Up Life
Now, this album hit me like a tin of bricks with his vocals and his songs that bring out the laments of the working man. All of the darkness and woes are right here in front of you on songs like “Blue Collar”. This song is an anthem to all of us busted up overtime working son of a bitches with more bills than income.
This album is one of those that make you actually sit back and dwell on the meaning of all of the songs, while at the same time they are right there in front of your face. “American Dream” is a continuance of the last song before it, and it covers everything from covering up the woes of working with pills and accepting the lies society feeds us daily.
“Georgia” is a really good short story about a working class girl with a hard life of not being able to quite reach her goals of big city life. She just cant get out of that small town, and being stuck in that job she keeps on working at.
“Take Me back” was the closing song here, and it spoke to me more than most of the others here, because I have always wanted life to take me back to the simple times of life years ago. I have always been sad that I was born 40 years too late, and I relate so well to history and all of the things that were in the 1950’s and 60’s.
27. Travis Tritt – Set In Stone
This is his first full length album in over a decade, but let me tell you, when he did finally release one he put out one of his best albums in the last 20 years. The title track here “Set In Stone” is one of the songs that describe him as a person, and talks about how his legacy is set in stone.
In the last few years, the stars of the 90’s Country have been re emerging out of their lucid slumbers and have been releasing some of their finest music of their careers. The song that made me cry on this album was ‘Smoke In A Bar”. I miss those days when the world was better off, with more freedoms and everything was less “politically correct”.
Closer to the end are some more of the good songs like “Ain’t Who I Was” which talks about his past, and his wilder days. This song spoke to me very well being a recovered addict and I have 2 years in clean and sober now. It talks about digging yourself a hole and getting out of it because you aren’t who you were back then.
The toe tapping song “Way Down In Georgia” basically proclaims about where he is from and his past. I think this album introduces us to where he is now as an individual, and how he feels about society today.
28. The Flatlanders – Treasure Of Love
With their first album in 12 years finally released this powerhouse trio super group of Texas Country Legends of Mr. Joe Ely, Mr. Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Mr. Butch Hancock have returned with 15 songs of pure thunder stomping Country music.
Now the fact is true that many of these songs are re recorded classic songs that have adorned their live set for decades, however a few originals make the final cut here. The title track is “Treasure Of Love”, which is a Mississippi Sheiks song from the 1930’s that the Flatlanders have been using as a show closer for years.
I mean, who in the Texas music community DOESN’T CALL Mr. Lloyd Maines to contribute to their album? They cover so many classic Country, but what makes this album so unbelievable is the flawless fashion their vocals are captured on these songs. Originally, many of these songs are Johnny Cash and Mickey Newberry songs that the trio have been including in live shows for decades.
The best song on this album was by far the cover of the song “Snowin’ On Raton” which was a Townes Van Zandt song, and it was one of his more obscure songs. you know many of the great legends are so revered when they die, and that is great, but I think it’s time for us to begin clinging on to the ones we still have with us, like these Legends here…..and yes, even Mr. Lloyd Maines!
29. Cory Grinder And The Playboy Scouts – Honky Tonkin Beauty Supreme
Part of what makes this job so very special is the way I get to dig and feature some bands you may not have yet heard of, and this Ohio based outfit is no exception here. They have released a second album here, and it was a spectacular one at that!
The song called “Drinkin’ Lots Of Wine” is just and absolute Honky Tonk beast of a song with steel guitar licks OUT FRONT of the rest of the band, I CANNOT STOP spinning this album here because of steel guitarists like Mr. Tebbs Karney! This album here is one of the closest to a new type of Bakersfield sound influenced albums I have heard in quite some time.
This band is VERY integral to what I do on this website here because they are keeping their band as close to the local Ohio community as they possibly can, with their signature blue school tour bus, they constantly represent their home turf. The title song here “Honky Tonkin’ Beauty Supreme” is just an absolute twang filled jam of a female song.
One of the high points of the album is the old style two stepping song called “Light Headed”. Light headed with a heavy heart is one hell of a song hook, and the musicianship makes this album even that much more over the top. I look forward to seeing them live sometime soon, and these guys are going NOWHERE BUT UP!
30. Wilson Banjo Company – Six Degrees Of Separation
I’m not totally sure exactly HOW I came across this one, but BY GOD ( maybe HE led me to it ) I’m elated that I did find it, because if you purchase ONE unknown album off my list BUY THIS BANGER RIGHT HERE! This album has so many powerhouse names connected to it, you’ll be sorry you didn’t listen to me.
The opening song “When The Crow Comes Down” is such a poignant and haunting tale of a malicious figure in the hills, but it is the amazing musicianship that helps bring this Bluegrass tune up to the forefront. Here in the last couple of years many ardent fans have been complaining about how stale modern Bluegrass has become, and I am extremely sure this album will change those sentiments.
Miss Sarah Logan shows leads many of the songs on this album with the banjo wizardry of Mr. Steve Wilson, and many of the guests on this album make it a hands down choice for anybody’s top album list. With songs that glorify our Savior like “Colors Of My Life”, this album has darkness transitioning into an uplifting middle.
However the album ends on a weakness song called “Long Hard Day” which is a true anthem to any hard working man, with too many bills and too little income. Additionally I enjoyed their new take on the Hot Rize song called “Midnight On the Highway”, originally on their 1979 self titled album.
31. Lukas Nelson And The Promise Of The Real – A Few Stars Apart
His last two albums I liked but I didn’t LOVE THEM like I do this album, and I firmly think that it was the lockdown that made him take a different direction, and release a more in depth album ( at least in my own opinion ). “We’ll Be Alright” was a reassuring and positive way of speaking to my soul, that even if society falters we will still be alright. Technology goes awry, and empires will eventually fall, but strength always prevails.
He wrote the title track “A Few Stars Apart” for a family friend of theirs Miss Nancy Meola, whom they lost during the pandemic. His family was very distraught because they could not travel to see her in her last days, and this album and song both reflect those sentiments. He had said he was standing outside at night talking on the phone and uttered the title to someone.
One thing I have always admired about Mr. Lukas Nelson is the distinct difference that he has from his father both vocally and musically, this album further solidifies his unique personality. Even though songs like “Hand Me A Light” sound like his father in tempo, that is about the only thing it has in comparison.
Many of the closing songs I found very fulfilling and complimentary of each other, and I enjoyed this album overall. This album is definitely one of the ones on my list that isn’t distinctly Country, but who cares?
32. Lucero – When You Found Me
This album I felt was continuation in the Among The Ghosts format, that dark and strong sound that veered off the sound they began with initially. This entire album showcased his love for his family, compared to his single life while on the road. And the title track discusses the rock solid security he has now, compared to that single life.
This album has stories that resonate more loudly than the last few offerings from this band that has changed their sound immensely since their 2001 self titled debut. One of the story songs that adorn this album here is the song called “Back In Ohio”, which talks about a man named Mr. William Morgan, who served by the side of Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution.
The song was actually quite a masterpiece of a backstory for Morgan, who worked for the mob, and the circus, and ultimately was killed by firing squad by Castro for not being in full force with the communist regime of Russia.
You have to be an avid lover of many different genres of music to love all of this band’s albums, because of the wide variety of directions they delve into through the years. They have never really been a Country band by any means, but to say that this band hasn’t opened the floodgates for the masses of Country fans would be dead wrong!
33. James McMurtry– The Horses And The Hounds
I have always liked his music and I love watching his gun totin libtard video, being a staunch Libertarian I always get a laugh out of that one for sure. The album opens with the song “Canola fields”, which paint some warmth and comforting ambiances to the listener.
“Blackberry Winter” was a more rocking tune is more true to his style that I am used to as a fan of his, with all kinds of pictures being painted in my mind as I listen to a story of leaving and the outcome of their departure.
Two of the more amazing songs here were “Jackie” which was a song about a woman who is trying her best to keep a ranch, and her job as an over the road truck driver is one of the ways she is doing just that. The descriptive fashion, and the articulate way he closes with a cross on the side of the road is a prime example of his songwriting mastery.
The last song that grabbed me was “Decent Man” about a story that was inspired by a Wendell Berry short story. It revolved around a man who committed a nasty murder with a .38 revolver.
34. Joshua Ray Walker – See You Next Time
I just flat out this man’s music, and I honestly cannot tell you which of the three albums of his I like the best or the least. He has never really changed his sound or veered off of his initial Honky Tonk sound. With songs like “Sexy After Dark” that are just feel good, love yourself songs, he just releases easy to get, down home COUNTRY MUSIC.
His three albums pretty much make a trilogy of sorts, and tells tales about his rocky relationship with his father which began with songs like “Canyon” ( on his first album ) and finally culminated on the song “Flash Paper”, where he touches on a gift given to him by his father.
You can interpret the song “Cowboy” one of a few ways as well. It can be a woman’s plea for the man she loves to grow up and change his ways, or you can easily use it as an anthem for all of the fake “Cowboys” out there with clean boots and suburban mini vans.
“Gas Station Roses” was another song I really liked on this album here, along with “Welfare Chet” integrate some new redneck characters into his eclectic mix of stories and situations that the three albums encapsulate together.
35. Emily Scott Robinson – American Siren
This album knocked me to my knees! The vocals she possesses are of old time style and reminded me of those classic Emmylou Harris albums I loved so much. This is her debut album on Oh Boy Records, her last two albums were released independently, however they received a lot of attention from people like me.
“If Trouble Comes A Lookin” is one of the greatest cheating songs I have ever heard, and you watch the video you will see how fragile and destructive humans can be. A preacher who throws off his collar, and a married woman who hopes this ordeal will help her husband end the marriage. I’m not going to ruin the huge twist in the ending, what a brilliant song.
“Old North State” is a tribute song to her home state of North Carolina, with a classic Bluegrass sound and feel where she begins to introduce you to her youth and her background.
‘Lost Woman’s Prayer” was a middle song about meeting a woman in a bar, and swapping stories and becoming friends. The meaning of the song is a prayer that is an uplifting message and how a friendship becomes a lifelong event that can happen to people of all types and backgrounds.
36. Hayes Carll – You Get It All
I’m a HUGE HUGE fan of Mr. Hayes Carll, and by that I mean I do so much love every album he put out. The album opens with satire ( which he is known for writing in many of his songs ) about how God would see things on Earth…if HE was a SHE. Everything from our division on social media to our wars is addressed in that song.
This album was produced by his wife Miss Allison Moorer, and he had some co writers as well from the Brothers Osborne. “You Get It All” is a classic Hayes Carll song about loving a woman 100 percent, with clever lines like “From the chapel to the hearse, you get it all”.
My friend Mr. Josh Morningstar is one of the co writers on this album with their song called “Help Me Remember” , which spoke to me as an individual because my father died of dementia, and it sucked. It is a very weird mental condition, and this song is from their point of view. It is perhaps one of the most powerful songs on his many albums.
The duet that he does with Miss Brandy Clark is another amazing song about love lost and how couples have good and bad times, this song is kind of the dark side of the marriage. The fights and the arguing come out behind the facade of a good looking home in this song, I think just about any normal couple can relate to this song.
37. Moot Davis – Seven Cities Of Gold
OH BOY I am finally on the part of the list where I get to this man. In my opinion he and Mr. Ags Connoly are two of the most overlooked Country singers out there right now. Many of you may be already scratching your heads saying “Who is this guy”? Well let me enlighten you on just WHO and WHAT Mr. Moot Davis is.
“Hey Hey” has that hard driving twang that sounds like a jamming Dwight Yoakam influenced heavy hitter about loving all night long and shuffling the legs to a steady beat like this one here. The guitar riffs make this opening song a gateway to this man’s world of women and booze. From what I do know about him, that song had been banging around in his books for many years before he recorded it.
It goes into “Lassoed And Lost” which talks about taking a chance in a romance, and not being exactly sure of the outcome in any way. It then goes into a cover of the song “Crazy” from Mr. Willie Nelson, but it’s the song called “Turn In the Wind And Burn” that grabbed me most.
I think that is perhaps his take on where he is musically, and how solid he feels in his own shoes, as others fall by the wayside and some make more waves than he does in the music business. I feel that it symbolizes the hope he has for his own music while applauding the success of others of his ilk.
38. Henhouse Prowlers – The Departure
They are one of my personal favorite Bluegrass bands by all means, and I was extremely excited to get out and buy this album, and enjoy it. They have been around since 2006, and they were one of the bands I initially found when I was delving into the independent music world.
“Short Branch Saloon” is a story about a tragic happening at a venue in Neenah, Wisconsin and after watching the videos about it, I did understand the song to the full extent of it. A robbery and a man shot in the chest four times, a whole town at the service, and the person that committed the crime was caught from the law finding a cigarette butt.
Overall, this album once again secures their place within the ranks of Bluegrass because after all of these years they have not deviated from their initial sound, and they still play those wonderful story songs they have.
The opening song called “Rich Man’s Dream” makes fun of how they envision rich people envision the lives of traveling road musicians and bands. The song also contains a story about them returning to their home of Chicago, when all of their gear was stolen from their van. Every band and artist has a theft story, and this is one of those classic ones from a classic band.
39. The Dead South– Served Live
The Dead South….man what can I say about them that I already haven’t said? This live album captures the depth and the ambiance of their show better than any other recording I have heard from them. This giant banger of 17 songs was recorded at 17 different shows during their 2019 tour, before the pandemic shut the world down.
On this live album, they delve into all 3 of their albums quite evenly with songs from their 2014 debut such as “Banjo Odyssey” and their self titled anthem we are “The Dead South”. However the one greatest song from that album ( and I’m sure you’ll agree ) was “In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company”.
I had the opportunity to see them live and cover them in a festival setting in the past, however it was the brief period of not having Mr. Crawdaddy playing banjo. Not to say it was a bad show by ANY means, but this original lineup is the best overall, and I am glad things returned to that format.
The bad point I want to make here is if you are like me on this band, you will notice they only played a small few from their second album Illusion And Doubt. Most of the show was taken from the newer albums, and many of the older and obscure songs ( which are better ) were excluded. Overall I still LOVE this album, and I LOVE this band!
40. Dallas Burrow – Dallas Burrow
This album from this Texas native is a different direction from his last album, in the forward fashion of life. He opens the album with a song called “Country Girl” which lures the listener in to his personal life, and his family life. You can listen to this album one time, and easily ascertain that this is a very personal album for him.
This album celebrates sobriety and also revels in the love he has for being a family man, and a father, in lieu of being youthful and wild like he previously was years ago. The song “American Dream” takes you back to his youth, and dwells on his ups and downs of his typical American Dream past.
His unique approach to Country Music makes this album stand out above many of the other albums released this year, and his smooth yet rough around the edges vocal style make this album earn a spot on my TOP 50 list.
The song “My Father’s Son” is a song that is symbolic with many Americans, about the struggling past of this own father and his grandfather. Alcoholism and partying run rampant in his past, where he speaks of his father living in a car when he was born, and this album was by far his best release yet, I see him going nowhere but up!
41. The Steel Woods – All Of Your Stones
These guys have gone through some extremely tough years here as of late, and have been the subject of many people’s discussions that have so much free time to worry about whether or not the audience has masks. What this band DOES NOT mask is their sound and their style.
The death of their lead guitarist Mr. Jason “Rowdy” Cope just absolutely devastated me as a fellow diabetic like he was. The few times we met, we talked about various health issues like insulin usage. Then, their original drummer Mr. Jay Tooke left the band, and they replaced him with Mr. Issac Senty and Mr. Tyler Powers has taken over guitar duties.
This album fits closely into the stories of the tale of Della Jane and it is a three song murder trilogy stretching over the three albums. Even the album covers exemplify the story further with the “Lady in red” and the newspaper articles.
However the song “Ole Pal” came out right after I lost one of my last childhood friends to cancer. I am the last of my childhood gang, and I didn’t think I would be alive at 30 let alone 50. Over the years, this band had some great guests appearing on their albums, embellishing the top notch songwriting and musicianship.
42. Ray Scott – Cover The Earth
Mr. Ray Scott is one of the most overlooked Country artists around right now, and it their loss! This man sings the most down home REAL Country that you will ever witness right now in the independent music scene, along with the fact that he is one of the most real and friendly artists on social media now.
His North Carolina background emanates forth on the title track, which touches on the adventures of a Country singer who wants to travel everywhere and cover the Earth until he is dead and the Earth is covering him.
One of the more well written songs was actually one with a heavy rock tempo called “8 Ball”, about the struggles of a working man and how hard it is to get ahead in the world today. There are two halves of life, in front of and behind the 8 Ball, this song was one of the most relatable to me as a working factory rat in my 50’s.
Forgiveness and coming back together seem to be the focus of the closing of this album here, “Old Memory” is a great song about rekindling an old fire of a relationship. It is Followed by the song “Forgivin’ Him”, a classic song of a typical woman staying with an abusive or absent lover, sung from the point of another man that actually loves her. I been there, and many times you end up wasting your time.
43. The Michigan Rattlers – That Kind Of Life
This album was only an 8 song ordeal, and although it is only their second album, it makes one hell of a statement for a band that isn’t really Country to be covered by so many media outlets that are. The reason is simple, this outfit is the real deal. In a world full of mediocre music this band is the bee’s knees.
The title track is pretty much what you get when your plans in life do not end up the way you had any of them planned. So, basically you have to figure out how to adjust and adapt to the changes that life throws at you.
This band has evolved and changed so immensely in a short period of time, and all for the better, and that is why I felt the need to include it on my list here. In the next few albums I feel will solidify a distinct sound that Country fans will be able to identify with as well as many other genres.
I haven’t studied this band’s history as ardently as other bands I have reported on with my website here, but I think that in the next few months you will be reading more about these gentlemen.
.44. Wanda Jackson – Encore
Now, these next two albums will be some legendary bangers that strengthen my saying that just because albums are at the bottom of my list does NOT MEAN they are ANY LESS integral than the number 1 album. These two albums here are precious gems from two precious ladies of Country we still have with us now. It is VERY VERY important that we acknowledge and love them now.
Rock Legend Miss Joan Jett produced this album here with Mr. Kenny Laguna, and features Miss Angeleena Presley from the Pistol Annies on the song called “Good Girl Down”. It was originally released on her album “Wrangled”, and they co wrote this song.
This final goodbye album from the Queen Of Rockabilly captured her soul and her legendary vocals perfectly in every way, and the songs were even more perfect, and recorded in a new and modern way, while at the same time they maintained a nostalgic sound we associate her with.
“Treat Me Like A Lady” was one the greatest songs on this album, and at her age, she can still pull off a sexy song like she could 50 years ago. It’s believable and strong and shows no flaws at all, she is still without a doubt the Queen of this game!
45. Loretta Lynn – Still Woman Enough
My whole heart goes out to this Legend of Country Music and to the true Queen of Country Music here. This album boasts mostly re recordings and cover songs, however that makes no bearing on how I feel about this album and what it means to Country Music.
“Still Woman Enough” is the opening song done with Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood, and was one of the new songs on the album here, and also shared the title of her latest book. It set up the anticipation and mood for the entire album for me.
Her re make of her very first hit called “Honky Tonk Girl” was amazing song to hear and to be honest I cannot stop listening to it over and over again. This album means the entire world to me, and I think it is one of more integral and important albums of 2021 by far.
I also enjoyed the re make of “One’s On The Way” with Miss Margo Price, the way they both did the vocals to her classic song made this song amazing and upheld the fact that these songs haven’t lost their luster in any way. None of her songs have lost their relevance or authenticity in any way.
46. Tennessee Jet – South Dakota
I found out about him through some of the bands that are linked to Mr. Cody Jinks, and his songwriting and one man band style turned me onto his music. He has heavily evolved in his years, as well as his music. Going from his raw and stripped down format to a full band extravaganza then back to a one man band type deal like this album here.
Many of the songs were about his home state of South Dakota, and the album includes many songs that he wanted to bring to a more personal level with us as listeners. He has created a character “Josephine”, whom (if I am correct) is from his “Girl In Blue” . Much like the Steel Woods and Turnpike, this album makes a story in multiple songs.
Another good story song was “William Faulkner” which did not have as poignant of an ending as many of his other songs, and this album also included one of my favorite tunes he does called “Bury my Bones”.
However, the absolute highlight of this album is the song called “Judas To John”. This was a song about the two apostles where Judas was asking John to baptize him, as he was dealing with the guilt of turning in Jesus.
47. Erin Enderlin – Barroom Mirrors
This young lady is another one that is vastly overlooked by Nashville and by the Opry alike. Sadly, many folks don’t even know who she is, or how she has embellished Country Music with her songs she has written. She brings out the best in the Legends and Country stars from the 90’s as well.
I have been on my high horse on this website for the last few years about gals like her and Miss Sunny Sweeney, and Miss Elizabeth Cook, and how they all deserve to be inducted into the Opry respectively, for their constant dedication and passion to proliferate it.
Even though this album only had six songs on it EVERY song on here was outstanding, and they sound so COUNTRY. Her songs are very easy to understand, yet they all have complexity to them in their own way. The title track “Barroom Mirrors” never lie folks, the Honky Tonks always knows what’s inside of you.
“If There Weren’t So Many Damn Songs” is another one of the songs I talked about under Mr. Travis Tritt there this one brings out that beloved 90’s sound and style that I miss so much. I’ll be honest here folks, she is hands down one of the best in the business today.
48. Steve Earle – J.T.
Mr. Justin Townes Earle was one of my favorite artists I knew of, and I honestly enjoyed his albums so much. I am a equally big fan of his father Mr. Steve Earle, and when I found out that he was going to record an album of his son’s songs, I knew I was going to enjoy it.
The death of Mr. Justin Townes Earle sent a shock wave through the music community that rivaled no other death I remember. His 2010 album “Harlem River Blues” is one of my most influential albums of my musical love.
He only picked a few songs that were from the 2 albums I enjoyed the most overall from Justin Townes Earle, and so I enjoyed different portions of this album overall. However it is ultimately a very special album, and as a father myself I cannot fathom having to be in that position.
The album clearly shows the mindset and the ambiance of the entire situation, as he offers us 11 of his favorite songs from his son’s legacy.
49. Charles Wesley Goodwin – How The Mighty Fall
I was waiting for this one for some time, and this man has been on my radar for many years. Simply for the fact that the song called “Needle Fall Down” was from a 2015 and 2016 band called Union Sound Treaty. But I will be honest, I enjoyed this version of the song more than the last.
This is a really good album folks, and if you buy one album from this list, it needs to be this one hands down. Songs like “Over Yonder” adorn this album with an opening feel of that Appalachian sound that independent music is seeing a revolution of as of late.
“Lyin’ Low” was a good song about life on the mountain, it mentions coal mining and ginsing growing, What I enjoyed about it the most was that it painted such an intense picture in my head as a listener, and that is exactly what I feel good songs need to do.
This album here goes in a variety of directions and introduces a few characters that make up a rural town, and it gives you a very good album to dwell on, and to listen to and allow it to speak to you as an individual.
50. Abe Partridge – Live In The U.K. Agony Is Alright
So, as I conclude my last favorite album in this list, I wanted to once again state the fact that number 50 is no less loved than the first ones up there. This man’s music is nothing short of amazing, with songs like “Out Of Alabama” and other poignant, uplifting messages of love.
Now, this is another artist that some of you may have never heard of, but hey, you have been wrong before haven’t you? The stories and scenarios this man can weave into your brain, is uncanny with songs like “Colors”, you will get a wonderful paradox about him wanting to be a preacher, and asking God for forgiveness for bringing so much darkness into the world.
“Get Thee Behind Me Hippie” talks about his anger toward what exists of his local music scene from his hometown. Many of his songs contain such witty and clever lyrics, that I was ecstatic to listen to this album for one reason…
I knew without a doubt that the pre song stories and his audience interaction would make this album an absolute masterpiece, and trust me, it is just that in every form. The last song is a comical story of how he met his wife, not a truthful story, but a comical one.
As always my friends I have a plethora of things going on at once on my webpage, I have information on well over 200 festivals going on in 2022, with an extensive list with links to the festivals Major List Of 2022 Music Festivals.
Another project we feature on here is a constant list of live local shows in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama and you can see the list with links List Of Local Shows In Kentucky, Tennessee And Alabama.
Now, if you would like to see a list of albums I thought were essential for 2021 I have included a huge list Long List Of Essential Albums Of 2021.