Essential Albums For 2010
Some have criticized that I do not give enough coverage to mainstream traditional country acts. I don’t talk about Miranda Lambert or Jamey Johnson, or even someone like Robert Earl Keen because so many other outlets already do. My charter is to find the more obscure bands that are being forgotten by the mainstream, and shine a light on them. Even then, this year I wrote album reviews for Jamey Johnson and Taylor Swift, and I have more mainstream reviews coming, when I have time. Hopefully next year, Saving Country Music can branch out a bit and cover the more traditional mainstream acts, but it will always be on top of the smaller acts trying to get their music out there, not instead of them.
Oh and since Joe Buck’s new album may not be available to the masses for weeks, we will include it as a 2011 album.
So here is this year’s excellent list of essential albums, most of which you won’t see mentioned anywhere else.
Outlaw Radio – Outlaw Radio Compilation Vol. 1 – (review) – Don’t think of this as your regular ho-hum comp. With original music and some Song of the Year candidates, this album’s guts are as good as any’s this year.
Jayke Orvis – It’s All Been Said – (review) – Perfect example of an album that on any other year might claim the top spot, but got crowded this year by so many great albums. Farmageddon’s maiden voyage is an excellent one, and may contain a Song of the Year candidate itself.
Hank III – The Rebel Within – (review) – Alright, I mentioned Hank III’s name. So half of you tell me how everything he touches turns to gold and I don’t give him enough credit, while the other half tell me he is a washed up hack. T minus 30 days till he is free of Curb and we can actually get a fair assessement of where Hank III stands.
Joseph Huber – Bury Me Where I Fall – (review) – Excellent late-season addition from someone emerging as a premier musician AND songwriter throughout the roots movement.
Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours – Hillbilly Fever – (review) – Lucky Tubb continues to emerge as a top-shelf talent, and with two duets with Wayne “The Train” Hancock, you can’t go wrong with this one.
.357 String Band – Lightning From The North – (review) – Solid album with excellent songs. Don’t believe all the talk that the talent left with Jayke Orvis. You can like Jayke and .357 at the same time. I promise. It’s OK.
Trampled by Turtles – Palomino – (review) – An easy one to look over, but another excellent one that may have battled for the year’s best in other calendar cycles. Super fast bluegrass is like a sugar rush though, and can lack staying power.
Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Agridustrial – (review) – Absolutely brutal music from the dirty South by the best frontman in music and an All-Star backing band. The Shakers haven’t lost anything over the years.
Hillstomp – Darker The Night – (review) – More of an album of good songs than a good album. But man, the good songs are real, REAL good. Might see a Song of the Year Candidate from this one.
Marty Stuart – Ghost Train – Still don’t have a review for this (need someone to get me a full copy), but without question this is a must have. Marty is really beginning to emerge as an elder statesman of country that still has the chops and taste to be relevant. And leads by example, instead of miring himself in bitching about Nashville or country’s direction.
Dale Watson – Carryin’ On – (review) – Surprised I don’t see more talk about this one. Dale’s voice is sublime. The straighforward Nashville production held it back a little bit, but it’s still pure country gold.
Reverend Deadeye – Trials & Tribulations – (review) – If you like the dirty stompy blues and people preaching fire and brimstone, accept no substitutes. Deadeye is gonna make Jesus hip again, or he’s gonna pass out trying.
Whitey Morgan & The 78’s –Whitey Morgan & The 78’s – (review) – Solid album, just lacked a grand vision in my opinion. Still essential though, and you won’t get any argument out of me if you name it one of your favorites of the year.
Other Real Gooduns:
Brigitte London – Bare Bones – (review) – Another that might be easily overlooked but with excellent singing and songwriting. I think of this album alongside Roger Alan Wade’s Deguello Motel, only acoustic guitar and singing, but songs that really speak to you with deep meaning.
Those Poor Bastards – Gospel Haunted – (review) – Not for everyone to say the least, but this might be their best effort to date.
Ronnie Hymes – Unincorporated – (review) – Homemade music for homegrown people. This is a fun album.
Peewee Moore & The Awful Dreadful Snakes – The Leaving Side of Gone – (review) – I put this album in the same category as Whitey Morgan, a real solid country album that I can’t argue against, but one that lacks a grand vision. There’s some excellent songs here.
Shelli Coe – A Girl Like Me – (review) – Another oft overlooked, solid gold country album.
Quentin & Uriah Benefit Compilation – Y’all Motherfuckers Need Justice – For reasons that are too complicated to go into here, I never wrote a review for this, but this is a great compilation and a great way to sample some of the excellent bands in and around the Farmageddon Records family while helping out a worthy cause. Folks were wronged, and this is a small way you can help make it right while exposing yourself to some great music.
Albums Worth Mentioning, but have not had time to review or listen to yet:
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Buried Behind The Barn
Tom VandenAvond – You Oughta Know Me By Now
And Pete Berwick & The Shivering Denizens have new ones I need to listen to. I’m sure I’m missing some others. This has been an amazing year for music, I’ve done my best to keep up. My hand hurts from typing and link making so I have to draw the line somewhere, and that is right here.
December 1, 2010 @ 2:30 pm
The Rebel Within really has grown on me this year. It’s a really under-rated record with some gems on it that I hope he keeps in the live rotation (Gettin’ Drunk and Fallin’ Down was fun earlier this year). I think my favorite though is Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. As much as I enjoy III and The .357 String Band’s albums, the Shack Shakers is one I keep going back to. Hoboes Are My Heroes is one of my favorites and I was sad when they didn’t play it live opening for Rev. Horton Heat. Dixie Iron Fist was fun live though. This has been a good year for music all around IMO.
December 1, 2010 @ 4:42 pm
The Shack Shakers are the best country based rock outfit out there right now. I have no clue why they aren’t three times as big as they are. It is an absolute travesty.
December 1, 2010 @ 5:41 pm
they’re pretty damn big. They sell out everywhere they play. i am sure they are one of the few bands in this scene making a decent living off there music.
December 1, 2010 @ 2:35 pm
Awesome to see the Y’all Motherfuckers Need Justice comp up there. I’m a bit biased, but you’d be hard pressed to find another compilation of music that good. And all the funds go to a damn good cause!
And for my money, Jayke’s album was the best thing put out in 2010.
December 1, 2010 @ 2:49 pm
2nd that! It’s All Been Said…..
December 6, 2010 @ 10:32 am
December 1, 2010 @ 3:13 pm
I’ll have to check out some of these that I haven’t heard but agree with ya on most. I’d have to add Elizabeth Cook’s Welder album as well.
December 1, 2010 @ 3:55 pm
It’s been a pretty good year. You should definitely get around to that TVA album though, it’s great.
December 1, 2010 @ 4:04 pm
Lots of good picks. The only album missing from where I’m sitting is Caleb Klauder, “Western Country”. I told him to send you one, but I’m guessing he never got around to it. I think a lot of people on this site would dig Caleb Klauder, and his new album might be the best thing he’s done yet. Great traditional country sound. In any case, with the understanding that there are many on this list I have yet to purchase (Dale Watson, Jayke Orvis, Ronnie Hymes) my top 5 of 2010:
1: Hellbound Glory, “Old Highs & New Lows”
2:.357 String Band, “Lightning from the North”
3: Caleb Klauder, “Western Country”
4: “Whitey Morgan & the 78s”
5:Outlaw Radio Compilation vol. 1
With Hank III, Lucky Tubb, and Joseph Huber being runners up. This honestly has been, for me, the most exciting year for new music since I was in high school!
December 1, 2010 @ 4:28 pm
Alright, I’m downloading Jayke Orvis right now. Not reluctantly either.
December 1, 2010 @ 4:44 pm
Yes, Caleb Klauder, missed that one! Have sent emails trying to get a copy.
December 4, 2010 @ 11:49 pm
my thanks to you fellas and others for talkin about this guy. i went and checked this out and i’m already hooked. real good music.
December 4, 2010 @ 11:50 pm
caleb klauder i’m talkin bout.
December 5, 2010 @ 12:31 am
Right on Crook, glad to hear it.
December 3, 2010 @ 2:20 pm
I’m not putting it on my top 5, but it seems wrong not to mention Willie Nelson, “Country Music”. This is my favorite thing Willie’s put out in a long time, and I think it’s a great great album. It’s so awesome that Willie’s still at it, and still got it! We’re lucky to still have one of the elders showcasing to a much larger audience what Country Music really sounds like.
December 1, 2010 @ 4:24 pm
It’s all been Said, and the Outlaw Comp. I still need to get Huber’s album, what I have heard so far is outstanding. But Huber and Orvis were the reasons I listen to 357.
December 1, 2010 @ 4:49 pm
The Rickness is the best stand up player out there right now.
Plus he was making time with Rachel Brooke for a while. Can’t get any more badass than that.
December 1, 2010 @ 5:21 pm
Check out Joe Fick. He is a Nashville stand up player. I just saw him play with Travis Mann in Chicago last week, and he is amazing! Best part of the band for sure. He is up there with Rick. You can youtube him.
December 1, 2010 @ 9:07 pm
Ahem… Johnny Lawless son.. He is one bad dude on the standup.. And ole Huck is no slouch either.. I could probably keep going but Im going to stop..
December 1, 2010 @ 9:16 pm
And have they ever dated Rachel Brooke?
Nuff said. 🙂
Actually I was really hoping to see Johnny Lawless with JB when they play here soon, but he’s not gonna be with them 🙁
December 1, 2010 @ 9:23 pm
Lawless’s work with Junkrod Joe was real good but his skill really came out when he went of his element a bit and did the album with Kelly Carmichael on the Queen Fareena album.. Which BTW was one of my top favorites for 2009.
December 2, 2010 @ 6:23 pm
Johnny Lawless is a doghouse bass playing animal!
December 1, 2010 @ 4:31 pm
a coupla other good albums from TBT’s neck of the woods
Charlie Parr-When The Devil Goes Blind
White Iron Band-3rd Rate Country Stars
December 1, 2010 @ 4:49 pm
Thanks, I’ll check them out. Heard the Charlie Par was good.
December 1, 2010 @ 5:12 pm
Great list Triggerman. I know I sound like a broken record but I have to say it again. The Carter Family III – Past & Present
December 1, 2010 @ 5:20 pm
What is your song of the year candidate off of Jayke’s CD?
Empty Bottles, Gone Forever More, and Feelings Like This are my favorites….
December 1, 2010 @ 8:11 pm
Shady Grove Gypsy Moon and Streets are my faves.
December 1, 2010 @ 10:29 pm
Streets is pretty much my favorite song, period, for the time being. We did a Farmageddon Family show a couple weeks back in Milwaukee with myself, Jayke, James Hunnicutt, and Highlonesome, was the highlight of one hell of a great evening for me to get to go up and sing that one with him.
December 1, 2010 @ 11:16 pm
Streets is my song of the year also. It’s nothing short of brilliant.
December 2, 2010 @ 6:22 pm
I just finally downloaded “It’s all Been Said” last night, and “Streets” is already my favorite song off there. It was stuck in my head all night. You know when you wake up a little but fall back asleep, and then in the morning you realize you had the same song running through your head? Great great stuff!
December 1, 2010 @ 5:31 pm
Simply put, 2010 was an amazing year for our kind of music.
December 1, 2010 @ 5:44 pm
Calling Trampled By Turtles bluegrass is like calling Taylor Swift Traditional Country. With that out of the way Caleb Klauder’s last outing was fucking great. Was actually straight as shit no bull country music. None of that scream about whiskey garbage that makes its way on here a lot.
December 1, 2010 @ 8:14 pm
OK so what do you call it? And don’t give me a bunch of expletives with the word “hipster” thrown in the middle. It has to be something.
Love Kaleb’s stuff. Sent two emails trying to get a review copies and had totally forgotten about it until someone mentioned it here. I’ll get a copy one way or another and get a review up here.
December 1, 2010 @ 8:34 pm
Trampled by Turtles not Bluegrass? She must be an ubber fan with her own special description of them.
December 1, 2010 @ 8:53 pm
Pretty sure Uncle Mary has male plumbing, and is a bluegrass purist. I don’t always agree with him, but I think it is healthy to have him around. Keeps us all on our toes.
December 1, 2010 @ 9:03 pm
Poor girl you speak of has quite a beard… 🙂
Uncle Mary is a traditionalist when it comes to Bluegrass and for the most part so am I. Im guessing he doesn’t seem them fit as “traditional” due to the lack of the High Lonesome sound or maybe the progressions. I dig the band alot but the sound doesn’t remind me of the Big Mon sound. Is there a such thing as Alt-Bluegrass? 🙂 great.. another sub-genre..
December 2, 2010 @ 12:35 pm
I appreciate the Bluegrass purists, but to claim that a band with Bluegrass instruments and picking is not Bluegrass is silly. Sure, they are not completely traditional, but that is what makes them special. And, sorry for saying “she”, the Mary caught me off guard.
December 2, 2010 @ 1:36 pm
There are many bands taking bluegrass and bastardizing it. But Trampled by Turtles is not the problem. It is OK to try to progress in a style.
December 2, 2010 @ 3:31 pm
No need to be sorry man.. I was just foolin’.
You know in retrospect I don’t think im much of a traditionalist. Do I love and appreciate Traditional BG? Yes. But im not going to get my panties in a bunch anymore when someone calls Old Crow Medicine show BG. And in regards to Trampled By Turltles if someone who had never heard them before asked me what kind of sound or band they were I probably wouldn’t say “Outlaw Country”, I would probably describe them as BG. I guess I’m getting to the point to where I don’t care what its called as long as it sounds good . I’d rather direct my energy elsewhere I suppose.
December 1, 2010 @ 5:48 pm
What a lineup! So much soul it’s burstin’ at the seams. Great blog Triggerman.
December 1, 2010 @ 11:16 pm
I have heard and loved so many, but yet so many more to hear. Excellent list hoss. My christmas list will be constructed accordingly. What’s your thoughts on the upcoming Waylon tribute album? Will Nashville’s B list pay tribute to the hoss? or will it be a pandering sham of a tribute like I imagine? I only say B list because there is only one A list country star that represents all of us, Taylor Swift. My lord if that ain’t country I will kiss your ass 🙂 Joking and crying at my previous statement. If it weren’t for this site my favorite artist would be Dead Air featuring Hooty and the Blowfish. FML.
December 2, 2010 @ 9:36 am
Trying to reserve judgment on it till it comes out. Yeah, some of the artists on there make me cringe, and I’m not much for tributes or compilations anyway, but I’ll give it a listen and an honest assessment.
David Lee is a goddamn State Line Warrior
December 2, 2010 @ 8:24 pm
That reminds me, that Loretta Tribute album has just come out. Haven’t listened to my aunt in law’s song or seen the roster and I won’t comment on what I suspect of them. Gonna look now outta curiosty.
December 2, 2010 @ 4:54 am
What about Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues? It’s a frickin classic!
December 2, 2010 @ 8:23 am
Midnight at the Movies was my 2009 Album of the Year. Harlem River Blues got a mixed review from me:
Then I was the one that broke the story that JTE was arrested in Indianapolis for assault, and now him and Bloodshot hate.
Am seeing him in two days in Austin. Review coming.
December 2, 2010 @ 12:36 pm
Harlem River Blues is a bit of a let down. Not even in my top 10 this year.
December 2, 2010 @ 8:24 am
Rev Peyton’s Big Damn Band – The Wages
Are you too cool to mention Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses, since Junky Star is the After The Gold Rush of 2010?
Eden Brent – Ain’t Got No Troubles
Crooked Still – Some Strange Country
December 2, 2010 @ 8:34 am
Rev Peyton is another band who deserves more attention here, I will check that out.
As for Ryan Bingham, he went out of his way to say that he isn’t country, and has no idea why anybody would even consider him country, while he uses country infrastructure to further his career. So if he isn’t country, why would Saving Country Music bother with him?
Still, if someone wants to get me a copy, I’ll try to find time to review it, but I’m not opening the SCM coffers for it.
And yes, I’m too cool, but that’s beside the point! 🙂
December 2, 2010 @ 12:37 pm
“The Wages” is a great album, kinda forgot about that one. Only thing about this album is that it is very similar to there debut album, and it can get a bit repetitive at times. Although the Rev. is one of the best pickers out right now!
December 2, 2010 @ 2:10 pm
I just saw them twice in one week live. I can’t say enough about how amazing it is to watch The Rev play that guitar. It’s like watching magic hands. I told him so before the second show. I was in the green room with them hanging out and I could see his fingers up close. It’s like they move independent from each other in a way that my fingers can’t. Pretty awe inspiring. Doesn’t hurt that they are some of the nicest folks I’ve met in a long time.
December 2, 2010 @ 2:19 pm
They are great people. Breezy is super sweet, and yes, it is a great live show.
December 2, 2010 @ 3:45 pm
Yes Karen, it does hurt.
December 2, 2010 @ 10:24 am
Thanks SCM for highlighting independent honkytonkers! Glad you included my record. The new record “Beneath The Cold Cold Ground” will be coming out in Spring 2011 so stay tuned for that release date along with customary barn burning.
December 2, 2010 @ 12:17 pm
Excellent man we’ll be looking forward to it, and now that I’m in A-town hopefully i can catch a show soon.
December 3, 2010 @ 12:12 pm
That would be great. I’m heading East in a few weeks for some shows but will be back in January. I have a big West Coast Rnun in February and sure would appreciate a shout out when I have everything firmed up.
December 2, 2010 @ 12:29 pm
Thanks for the list man
December 2, 2010 @ 1:12 pm
love your picks man..i do think rebel within is a lot better than some see it for…i think if it was somebody other than III ppl would consider it a great album..but for HIM no its not an A+…but u know come january he’s gonna be puttin out the best shit yet…..and jayke orvis for sure best album
December 2, 2010 @ 1:34 pm
Hank III is saving his A stuff until after Curb, and I don’t blame hi. Why give Curb his best stuff after they’ve dicked him for so long. And yeah, just because this isn’t Straight to Hell doesn’t mean it’s complete garbage.
December 2, 2010 @ 1:28 pm
couple other albums I’d like to give attention to.
Cletus Got Shot- Unamerican
Steppin In It- Live at The Green Door
December 2, 2010 @ 1:37 pm
Like what I’ve heard from Cletus Got Shot.
December 2, 2010 @ 1:46 pm
Was Unamerican 2010? Thought it was last year, but I could be wrong. I feel I’ve had it for a long time.
December 2, 2010 @ 2:58 pm
Unamerican came out in Jan, I believe. Thier Self Titled Album came out the in 09.
December 2, 2010 @ 6:22 pm
That sounds right. It’s hard to remember when an album is released in January.
December 2, 2010 @ 5:25 pm
Otis Gibbs – Joe Hill’s Ashes is my album of the year more folk style but it has traditional country and bluegrass elements and Otis is one of the best songwriters around today anybody who does’nt know him should check him out.
December 3, 2010 @ 12:13 am
Helluva list Triggerman…and all those who are adding to it! Buncha names here I havn’t heard before but I will check out, Thanks. Ya’ll are killing me on your down grading of REBEL WITHIN though…and to who ever is saying HANK III is “a washed up hack”, I whole heartedly respond with a ” GO FUCK YOU!!!”.
December 3, 2010 @ 9:17 am
I for one think “Rebel Within” is a great album with a lot of great music on it. I like it better than DRRP myself. The only reason it’s not on my top 5 is because there was so much other good music out this year, and that’s a think to celebrate. I almost made my #5 position a tie between “Rebel Within” and the Outlaw Radio Compilation, but that didn’t feel right to me.
December 3, 2010 @ 5:04 am
If your into Trampled by Turtles, you should check out The Fox Hunt.
December 3, 2010 @ 2:31 pm
I just played them on Episode 122. I am digging them quite a bit! Good stuff.
December 3, 2010 @ 3:36 pm
to quote Trigger “You can like Jayke and .357 at the same time. I promise. It”™s OK.”
I cant stress that enough. Theres plenty of room for all of us and any fan of them is welcome at all of my shows. I shared a lot of road with them through the years.
Now on the other hand, if you like that Calamity Cubes band, stay home hahahah.
Ahhh, we have fun.
Love them boys!!!
December 6, 2010 @ 9:42 am
Nice list. I love that Trampled by Turtles album. There’s a lot of stuff here I’ll have to check out. Are you not a fan of the new Jamey Johnson? or Hellbound Glory?
December 6, 2010 @ 9:43 am
Duh, i see your comment about the JJ record now.
December 6, 2010 @ 12:47 pm
Hellbound Glory is nominated for SCM Album of the Year with a few others:
December 14, 2010 @ 12:58 pm
Just realized this morning that there’s been no mention of The Folksinger soundtrack. Sure it’s a soundtrack but I’ll be damned if every song on it isn’t at least just as strong as the preceding track.
December 30, 2010 @ 1:37 pm
what about ‘when the spirits move me’ by adam lee & the dead horse sound company? a damn fine drinkin’ album. have you listened to TVA’s album yet trig? fuck, that guy is gonna be a legend!