Showing posts with label Tami Neilson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tami Neilson. Show all posts

Dec 18, 2020

Farce the Music's Top 20 Albums of 2020

 Voted on by: Megan Bledsoe, Robert Dean, Jeremy Harris, Trailer, Kevin Broughton, Matthew Martin, Travis Erwin, Scott Colvin, and (tiebreakers) Chad Barnette.

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20. Kathleen Edwards - Total Freedom

Welcome back! This first collection of songs from Edwards in 8 years is warm and lush, her music still fitting like a soft leather glove. That’s not to say the songs are all comfy, there’s ample amounts of hard-lived emotion and sharp lines. She hasn’t lost a step! ~ Trailer


Despite everything 2020 was good if only for returning Kathleen Edwards to us. Eight years removed from her last album (Voyageur), Edwards is back with her familiar brand of songs that comfort, caress, and importantly make us smile when it was needed most. ~ Scott Colvin


19. Elizabeth Cook - Aftermath

Cook’s most varied album of her career sees her pulling together threads of country, glam rock, and other genres to create a still-cohesive piece of art that’ll get your feet moving, heart pumping, and mind considering. One of her best. ~ Trailer


18. Margo Price - That’s How Rumors Get Started

I read a lot of reviews for That’s How Rumors Get Started when it came out, and the gist was “she’s not making country records anymore.” To which I say, “so what?” That’s How Rumors Get Started is a great album. Period. Whether it’s country, California country, or Stevie Nicks-esque soft rock is inconsequential. Just put it on and enjoy the ride. ~ Scott Colvin


17. Jesse Daniel - Rollin’ On

America needs many things in 2020. At or near the top of that list is The Bakersfield Sound, and Jesse Daniel delivers both a faithful send-up and a high standard for others to meet going forward. Rollin’ On exudes hope, as you’d expect from an artist who’s emerged on the redemptive side of addiction. The best pure country album of the year.

His was the last real show I saw B.C. (Before Corona), and I remember how excited I was about Daniel’s future. At the turn of a bad year, I’ll emulate his optimism: 2021 is gonna be a great year for this troubadour. ~ Kevin Broughton


16. Ashley McBride - Never Will

When people say the state of mainstream country is beyond repair, introduce them to Ashley McBryde. When they say that women only sing about happy endings and heartbreak, introduce them to Ashley McBryde. When they say that you can only make it big in Nashville if you sell out, introduce them to Ashley McBryde. And don’t give McBryde or this record any qualifiers; she is not the best mainstream country artist in 2020, and this is not the best mainstream country album; rather, she is one of the best artists and this is one of the best albums in all of country music this year. ~ Megan Bledsoe


15. Jaime Wyatt - Neon Cross

For my money, there is not a better straight up honky tonk country album released in 2020 than Jaime Wyatt's Neon Cross. Shooter Jennings produced this album beautifully as well. Jaime's vocals are incredible and the incredibly personal lyrics are deceptively strong and deep. I think this was my most listened to album of the year and I don't think it will be out of rotation any time soon. The title track and "Rattlesnake Girl" are indicative of Wyatt's songwriting and vocal ability. The self-assurance Wyatt sings with draw you in from the beginning and there is no let-up throughout the album.  ~ Matthew Martin


14. Arlo McKinley - Die Midwestern

Everyday on my way to work I pass a small town, crap bar with a sign full of misspelled words and local bands that played the other bars in town last week. Then one day just before this album was released, there it was, spelled correctly and everything. ARLO MCKINLEY with a date he’d be performing. That date, the weekend after Ohio closed all the bars due to rising Covid rates. Thankfully this album was around to play the lonesome sound 2020 demanded, just not live like I wished. ~ Jeremy Harris


Seventeen years is a long time to wait for a follow up album, and beyond that, Payne has a lot to live up given his royal lineage and ties to Outlaw hierarchy. This album lived up to all of it and perhaps even exceeded expectations. ~ Travis Erwin


When Texas Jonny Tyler told me, “That new Waylon Payne album is pretty good,” I thought, “’Waylon Payne?’ That sounds like a great pro wrestling name.” On reflection, (1) this album is damn fine, with sharp lyrics and a honky-tonk sensibility; and (2) the name of the album sounds like a stable of wrestling villains. ~ Kevin


12. Run the Jewels - RTJ4

2020 may not have been an ideal year for most but if there was a soundtrack it’d be RTJ4. A guided tour of struggle and protest, on point lyrics, and some awesome beats. The perfect album for an imperfect year. ~ Jeremy


11. Sturgill Simpson - Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. I

As someone who has never really been a Sturgill apologist, this album made me a believer. It is something special to be able to reimagine an entire album’s worth of one’s work at all, let alone with such fresh, engaging results. It takes something even more special to deliver a bluegrass album with nuance and restraint, and Simpson does just that, proving that bluegrass is not always about instrumental prowess, but sometimes about simplicity and emotion. ~ Megan


10. Tami Neilson - Chickaboom!

I am such a sucker for female fronted garage rock. I got into Tami Neilson a few years back with Don’t Be Afraid and enthusiastically devoured Chickaboom! when it was released. I don’t have this on vinyl...but I will…and hopefully soon. ~ Scott


9. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Reunions

There's a real late-80s/early-90s undercurrent to most of Isbell's latest release from the production with high-hitting snares, slight reverb-laden vocals, and high-flying guitar solos. But, this works well for Isbell who creates brand-new sounds within the old sound. Isbell's voice is about as good as it's ever been. It's remarkable to hear him sing a murder ballad so beautifully - I had to listen to the song "River" a couple of times to clear the dissonance between the beauty of the song and the darkness of the lyrics. But, that is what Isbell is so adept at doing. He shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. ~Matthew


8. Futurebirds - Teamwork

Futurebirds have always been road dogs. Their show has always been one that seems just about ready to go off the rails in the best possible way. Their albums have always been really good, but with Teamwork, Futurebirds put in what feels like their most personal set of songs which includes the Futurebirds' best songs: "Broken Arm," "Rodeo," and the absolutely incredibly raw emotional gut-punch "Waiting On A Call." ~ Matthew


7. Ruthie Collins - Cold Comfort

The album’s opening track might be my favorite cut of the year. “Joshua Tree” was inspired by the relationship of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Other favorites of mine were “Dang Dallas,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “You Can’t Remember.”  ~ Travis


I remember the first time I listened to Cold Comfort. I put it on as background music and then “Joshua Tree” started playing. The background music was brought to the forefront and the world became the background. Starting at that moment my least productive physical moments were hidden behind the sweetness of Ruthie Collins. Wasted time is a thing to relish. ~ Jeremy


6. Ward Davis - Black Cats & Crows

The title track was the first track I heard here and was strong enough to have me digging in for more. “Sounds of Chains” keeps the murder ballad alive and in gritty capable hands. The fourteen tracks here take you for an emotional ride and the collection feels traditional, without ever coming across as cliché. even on the Alabama cover, “Lady Down on Love.” ~ Travis


5. Chris Stapleton - Starting Over

I look on Stapleton as the Miles Davis of country music. Seems like he can show up in a studio and just churn out high grade stuff. (Sturgill is a lot like that. But Sturgill didn’t release any new material this year.) This record dropped in December and re-ordered my top 10. Stapleton’s a beast.  ~ Kevin


4. Zephaniah OHora - Listening to the Music

It was a high bar to cross, but Ohora’s sophomore effort exceeds 2017’s lofty This Highway. On Listening to The Music, Zeph channels Merle Haggard, both vocally and spiritually. I’m not sure what was more 2020 about the song “All American Singer: (a) that it’s genuinely courageous in woke America to say “not everything has to be about politics;” or (b) that some p***y at No Depression put Zeph on blast for NOT being political enough, smearing Merle Haggard in the process. ~ Kevin


3. Tennessee Jet - The Country

A cinematic masterpiece from a Renaissance man, Tennessee Jet draws on the likes of Sergio Leone and William Faulkner to craft his characters. This is literary songwriting combined with punchy production and execution. The crown jewel on an album of gems? A grungy, scary, 3 ½-minute movie soundtrack about the creepy death of Johnny Horton. And of all the covers of “Pancho and Lefty,” -- I’ll plant a flag right now – none equals the four-headed monster version here by TJ, Jinks, Elizabeth Cook and Paul Cauthen. ~ Kevin


2. The Wilder Blue - Hill Country

A mashup of The Damn Quails, Flatland Cavalry, and The Bellamy Brothers - but with their own blood pumping through this vital music, this probable side-project may have garnered enough attention to become a front-street project soon; at least I hope so. This is a fantastic album full of great lyrics, killer harmonies, and memorable melodies. ~ Trailer


A late add to my list, but wow. There’s a lot of purity here in these harmonies and spot-on acoustic guitar licks. A half-dozen of these songs should be on mainstream radio right now, but what can you do?  ~ Kevin


1. American Aquarium - Lamentations

No one speaks their mind like B.J. Barham and that is why his music tends to be so provocative.  ~ Travis


With American Aquarium's latest album, BJ Barham has turned in his most poignant and pointed set of songs of his career. With the incredible production by Shooter Jennings and the tighter than ever musicianship, American Aquarium have released their hands-down most mature and best album to date. This is officially the highwater mark for American Aquarium. The opening, title track sets the tone for the album and it takes off from there. ~ Matthew


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(Top Others Receiving Votes: Brandy Clark - Your Life is a Record; Marcus King - El Dorado; Katie Pruitt - Expectations; Steve Earle - Ghosts of West Virginia; Nicole Atkins - Italian Ice; Kesha - High Road; Great Peacock - Forever Worse Better; Gabe Lee - Honkytonk Hell; Brent Cobb - Keep ‘em on They Toes; Tessy Lou Williams - s/t)


Dec 29, 2014

Farce the Music's Favorite Songs of 2014


You'll find a Spotify playlist containing all of these songs at the bottom of this post.


1. Old Crow Medicine Show - Sweet Amarillo
While not as timeless as its spiritual forebear "Wagon Wheel," it's nearly as catchy and just as likely to get your foot tapping. Here's hoping Dylan and OCMS do a whole album together someday. Ought to be a hit on mainstream radio, but yeah, well...


2. Pallbearer - Ghost I Used to Be
An outlier to be sure, this doom metal tune is an instant classic of the genre. Sweeping, majestic, epic - the usual descriptors for the more slow-paced brother of heavy metal - but in this case, they more than fit.


3. Don Williams - I'll Be Here in the Morning
"I'll Be Here in the Morning" is something so steady and perfect, you could hear it on a Williams' greatest hits collection and never question its inclusion. Don's voice is still as comforting and just damn manly as ever and he performs this Townes Van Zandt beauty to perfection.


4. Sturgill Simpson - Turtles All the Way Down
"Weird" is the least likely term you'd ever use to describe a song this classic-sounding, but there it is. "Turtles" is the faith-questioning/love-championing anthem nearly everybody could get behind this year. Never mind that it denies the importance of religion (all of them) and the veracity of its teachings; even Conservatives loved this bastard child of Waylon and a particularly vivid acid trip.


5. Adam Faucett - Opossum
"Don't you ask me when you don't wanna know" it warns in the opening line. It's a dark, melodic look back at how better past days contrast with the struggles of the now in the lives of former lovers. Or at least that's what I think it's about; this one's a little hard to decipher, but it sounds damn great.


6. Wade Bowen - West Texas Rain
Co-written with my MVP songwriter of 2014, Travis Meadows, "West Texas Rain" is certainly a highlight of Wade Bowen's career thus far. It brings to mind Restless Heart with its soft tones and strong melodies. Another song that ought to be a big hit - in fact, it probably would have been a no-doubter in the 80s or 90s.


7. Caleb Caudle - Drag
A sad-bastard tune warning a potential love of the likelihood of a disastrous outcome, "Drag" is thoughtful, soulful and gloriously depressing.


8. Old 97's - Nashville
A joyously profane return to what made Old 97s one of my favorite bands during my early forays into alt-country. It's vulgar, self-deprecating and hilariously confident despite the subject matter. The guys haven't sounded happier to be rocking together in years.


9. Nikki Lane - Love's On Fire
This duet with Joshua Headley sways like the trees on a spring Sunday afternoon. It's all harmony and good times and fiddle and organ and a damn fun tune that you'll never get out of your head. Modern country rock at its best.

10. Fire Mountain - Traces
A hard-hitting ballad with a sweeping chorus that wouldn't be out of place soundtracking a somber breakup scene in some teen soap. That's not to say it's generic and schmaltzy… okay, it's a little schmaltzy, but it's so damn well-written and just unfair on an emotional level. I would have straight up wept into my cheap beer if this had come out during my college days.




Next 10 (in no particular order):
Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives – Boogie Woogie Down the Jericho Road
Tami Neilson – Cry Over You
Run The Jewels – Blockbuster Night Part 1
Lydia Loveless – Wine Lips
Matt Woods – Tiny Anchors
Josh Grider – Pontiac
Chad Sullins and the Last Call Coalition – Hurtin' Songs
Drive-By Truckers – Grand Canyon
The War On Drugs – Eyes To The Wind
Kelsey Waldon – High in Heels




Other Favorites (in no particular order):
Shooter Jennings – The Door
Cory Branan – All I Got and Gone
Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires – The Kudzu and the Concrete
Karen Jonas – Suicide Sal
Beck – Country Down
Parker Millsap – When I Leave
Jack White – That Black Bat Licorice
Stoney LaRue – Still Runnin’
Willie Nelson – The Wall
Bob Wayne – 20 Miles to Juarez (feat. Elizabeth Cook)
Red Eye Gravy – Take Me Back
Rival Sons – Open My Eyes
Cloud Nothings – I'm Not Part of Me
Mastodon – The Motherload
YG – Who Do You Love?
Robert Ellis - Chemical Plant
Schoolboy Q – Collard Greens
Hard Working Americans – Down to the Well
Rodney Crowell – God I'm Missing You
Cody Johnson – Holes
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings – Retreat!
Jimbo Mathus – Medicine
Eric Church - Talladega
First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
David Nail – Brand New Day
Sundy Best – Smoking Gun
Lee Ann Womack – Tomorrow Night In Baltimore
The Hold Steady – The Ambassador
Mat D. and The Profane Saints – Holyoke
Jason Eady – One Two...Many
John Fullbright – Never Cry Again
Centro-matic – Salty Disciple
Matthew Ryan – Then She Threw Me Like a Hand Grenade
Curtis Harding – Keep On Shining
Lake Street Dive – Seventeen
St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Broken Bones & Pocket Change
Miranda Lambert – All That's Left - [feat. The Time Jumpers]
Spoon – Knock Knock Knock
Dierks Bentley - Riser
Rosanne Cash – A Feather's Not A Bird
Jeff Whitehead – Pardon Me
Hiss Golden Messenger – Drum
Cahalen Morrison – I've Won Every Battle, But I've Lost Every War
Sunny Sweeney – Find Me
Whiskey Myers – Colloquy 





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