Here are the greatest country and roots albums of the last decade in Saving Country Music’s estimation. Albums were regarded primarily on quality, and how they held up over the decade, as well as the influence they had on country music, and music at large. These are the albums that should not be overlooked over the last 10 years of music.
If you asked me point blank who I thought was the best songwriter of our generation regardless of genre, scene, commercial or critical success, I would tell you without hesitation that it is Willy “Tea” Taylor from the interior valley cattle town of Oakdale, CA. Willy “Tea” Taylor is an enigma, while at the same time being the most down-to-earth person you would ever meet.
I then thought about how he had left me in stewardship of his old guitar, an instrument that, from my perspective, already has provenance and should rightly wind up in a museum one day. I decided that, to honor that trust he had in me, I would continue to add to the instrument’s already storied life by doing a running portrait series of every musician that plays his old guitar.
Billy Don BUrns, Django Reinhardt, Filthy Still, Hellbound Glory, Husky Burnette, James Hunnicutt, Jared McGovern, JB Beverley, Leroy Virgil, Leroy Virgil's guitar, Liz Sloan, Lone Wolf, Mike Fiedler, Olds Sleeper, Phillip Roebuck, Shore Road Tavern, Stevie Tombstone, Ten Foot Polecats, The Calamity Cubes
I don’t know how this guy does it. Like a quasar, he’s able to endlessly expel creative musical content unfettered from a seemingly inexhaustible source. It’s not always pretty, it’s not always perfect. But if you pay attention long enough and listen, you will invariably witness something that leaves you awe struck.Before And After The Here And Now is a more mellow project compared to typical Olds albums…
This song is about losing yourself, which we’ve all done, and will all do again, and how we all start off life with a firm grasp on who we are that life does its level best to wrestle away from us. But inside “Stranger” there is also a glimmer of hope in how the realization of one’s self can stimulate renewal. And above all of that, the beauty of “Stranger” is its fierce simplicity–the attribute of all excellent country songs.
Billy Don BUrns, Brigitte London, Eric Strickland, Johnny Paycheck, Kacey Musgraves, Merle Haggard, Olds Sleeper, Rusty Knuckles, Stranger, Sturgill Simpson, Tom VandenAvond, Turnpike Troubadours, Whitey Morgan, Willie Nelson
Every year this list stirs a little controversy because people misunderstand that these are not supposed to be the songs you “like” the best, but instead is supposed to be compositions in a given year that have the most impact. They’re songs that make you change the way you see the world, or change the way you see yourself. It is reserved for those few compositions that have the ability to change lives and to change the world.
Bigsky/Flatland, Billy Don BUrns, Chris Knight, Corb Lund, Drinking Whiskey, Eric Strickland, Good Lord Lorrie, Justin Twones Earle, Kacey Musgraves, Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean, Man In Gray, McDougall, Merry Go Round, New Year's Eve At The Gates Of Hell, Olds Sleeper, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sara Watkins, Shooter Jennings, Song of the Year, Stranger, Sturgill Simpson, T Junior, Tom VandenAvond, Turnpike Troubadours, Unfortunately Anna, Wreck of a Fine Man
2012 was a bumper crop year for great albums in the greater country music world, and that necessitates a bolstered lineup of candidates for Saving Country Music’s coveted Album of the Year. 7 total made the list, with others admittedly getting completely screwed by their absence. I already have a bead of sweat forming across my brow brought on by the impossible decision of who I’m supposed to pick off this list.
100 Proof, Bloody Jug Band, Cabin Fever, Calamity Cubes, Cigarettes & Truckstops, Coffin Up Blood, Corb Lund, Eric Strickland, Goodbye Normal Street, Honky Tonk Till I Die, James Hand, Justin Townes Earle, Kellie Pickler, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Lindi Ortega, Mighty Lonesome Man, New Year's Poem, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Turnpike Troubadours
Some confusion always seems to dog my lists of top songs, because I’m not just looking for that catchy tune you can’t take off of repeat, I’m looking for the song that changes your world. For a song to qualify, it must be original, and barring exceptional circumstances, it must be composed by the performer. These are songs that take you somewhere.
2012 so far has been a remarkable year for top flight albums throughout the country world. That compelled me to tweak my regular mid-year format to not just include any album that has received a positive review (though these are all listed at the bottom), but instead highlight the ones that I think have a serious chance to be considered for Album of the Year.
100 Proof, Goodbye Normal Street, Justin Townes Earle, Kellie Pickler, Marty Stuart, Nashville Vol. 1 - Tear The Woodpile Down, New Year's Poem, Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now, Olds Sleeper, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Grifter's Hymnal, Turnpike Troubadours
As the new music reality continues to take shape, where one big mono genre serves the masses and micro genres crop up to serve the rest, the shape of the way live music is delivered to people is adapting as well. House concerts have gone from a kitschy trend to a legitimate way for artists to connect with attentive fans. For the upcoming festival season of 2012, a new trend is emerging: the micro festival.
Black River Bluesman, Christyfest, Cigar Box Guitars, Danny Kay, GravelRoad, Husky Burnette, Hymn For Her, Johnny Lowebow, Last Watch, Lonesome Shack, Lowebow Fest, McDougall, No Brow Productions, Olds Sleeper, Purgatory Hill, Robert Mitchell, Scissormen, Sean K Preston, Ten Foot Polecats, Weber's Deck
Old’s New Year’s Poem opens up a new chapter in his music, and name’s his most complete album yet; at least of the ones I’ve heard. There’s a great balance between his balls-out fuzz jams and heart-straining ballads, and a good flow from stem to stern. Like anything that good poetry comes from, New Year’s Poem is inspiring.
I think at this point it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that in 2012 we’re all going to die of death. You know, that whole Mayan thing. But I thought just to be on the safe side, just in case we all don’t die, we’ll probably want to listen to some music, so wouldn’t it be cool to know what some of your favorite artists have planned for 2012.
Adam Lee, Austin Lucas, Bob Wayne, Derek Dunn, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverly & the Wayward Drifters, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, McDougall, Olds Sleeper, Peewee Moore, Possessed by Paul James, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Roger Alan Wade, Ruby Jane, Slackeye Slim, Sunday Valley, Those Poor bastards, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willy Tea Taylor
So here it is, the list of albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2011 listening. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. And as always, your feedback is encouraged. What are your essential albums? What did we miss? What was released in 2011 that deserves a review?
Bob Wayne, Coday Canada, Eilen Jewell, Gillian Welch, Hank3, Husky Burnette, Jason Boland, Jimbo Mathus, Larry & His Flask, Little Lisa Dixie, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Lydia Loveless, Nick 13, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, The Damn Quails, The Dirt Daubers, The Goddamn Gallows, Tom Waits, Ugly Valley Boys, William Elliot Whitmore, Willy Tea Taylor
Unless you frequent a few small music circles in the underground world, you may have never heard of the artist Olds Sleeper, but that doesn’t diminish the argument one can make for him being one of the best songwriters of our generation. Of course, saying anyone is the “best” of anything is always disputable, but numbers are not, and by the numbers, Olds is indisputably one of the most prolific songwriters out there.