Dec 11, 2015
Sep 23, 2014
Mar 11, 2014
Jan 2, 2014
16. Kacey Musgraves "Same Trailer Different Park"
Wonderful writing with a beautiful voice and a great mix of traditional soul along with some modern sound. Hopefully this album serves as a template for female country singers for years to come. Hell, most the guys could learn something from this as well.
15. The Wild Feathers "The Wild Feathers"
This songs are so catchy you'll find yourself humming them so much you'll drive yourself nuts. Not quite rock and well beyond pop in my opinion, but I could care less. I listen to good music and don't pay attention to genres and this is definitely good music.
14. John Moreland "In The Throes"
Probably higher on every other list you'll read (unless they never got to listen to it) but this is my opinion only, so this is where it is. Very few albums this year will be able to top the songwriting you'll find on these ten tracks and John's voice is one that can't be forgotten.
13. Alan Jackson "The Bluegrass Album"
The same process that went into naming the album seems to have made its way into the musical content as well. Keep it simple and honest, and that's what you'll find here for sure. I'm just glad Alan was able to finally do this the way he wanted.
12. Eastbound Jesus "Northern Rock"
I can't believe I have to rank this album this low. I guess that's just the ultimate proof of what a year for music it has been. It's very easy to get lost in the great story contained within every song and the wonderful music that accompanies them.
11. Holly Williams "The Highway"
Some of the strongest and most emotion filled songs I've heard are on this album, unfortunately it also contains a few average songs and a couple that are rather weak. "Drinkin'" and "Waiting On June" are enough to stop anyone with a heart dead in their tracks and show how great of a songwriter Holly is.
10. Clutch "Earth Rocker"
Rock isn't dead, you're just looking in the wrong place. From the in your face rhythm of "Cyborg Bette" to the slow bluesy ballad "Gone Cold" there is something for everyone on this one. Certainly shows that Clutch has not lost it over the years.
9. Dallas Moore Band "Blessed Be The Bad Ones"
100% honky-tonk goodness that takes you for a ride of both the good and the bad times and everywhere in between. I was lucky enough to review this album earlier in the year and still listen to it often and may even enjoy it more now than then.
8. Sturgill Simpson "High Top Mountain"
This could be the album that many country traditionalist have been waiting for over the past few years and anything you've heard about it is true. (unless it was bad, then that person is an idiot) Not a weak song to be heard on this one.
7. Last False Hope "Dig Nails Deep"
One of the most original and unique albums you'll ever hear. So unique, it's actually hard to put into words a description that does any justice to what you'll find on the debut, full-length album by Last False Hope, or to say anything I didn't already cover before.
6. Shooter Jennings "The Other Life"
Talk about a guy with a full schedule, on top of coming up with a fine album himself, Shooter also produced two other albums on this list, went on a nationwide tour and made a short film with Judd Films featuring songs from this very album. One of the strongest albums Shooter has ever released and featuring a sound and attitude that many fans have been asking for.
5. Band of Heathens "Sunday Morning Records"
I'm still amazed by the amount of people that haven't listened to anything by this group. This album is spot on with beautiful harmonies and wonderful instrumentation that just makes you feel good and holds you until the end while featuring some of the most original arrangements to come out this year.
4. Statesboro Review "Ramble on Privilege Creek"
One word to describe this album: pleasant. Yeah, that'll work because that's exactly what it is. So easy to just listen to you won't even notice how long you've been just laying there in a trance. Hell, it took me three days to type that line while listening on my computer.
3. Fifth On The Floor "Ashes & Angels"
While Fifth On The Floor has never put out a bad album, this is a large step forward as a whole in both writing and subject matter. This one has a bit of everything, southern rock, straight up rock and roll and some classic country to keep everyone happy.
2. Jason Isbell "Southeastern"
Are you tired of everyone kissing this guy's butt and calling him the greatest thing going? Me neither, especially since it's all true. A masterful songwriter is an understatement as Jason continues to grow and travel to new heights with every release. "Southeastern" is no different and continues this upward trend and give hope that a clear-headed Jason Isbell may be the one to knock down the barriers that are keeping so many quality artist hidden from the mainstream.
1. Buffalo Gospel "We Can Be Horses"
Who? Don't feel bad, that's exactly what I said before I had my first listen to this album. Just a few songs in I knew I had come across something special and after a full listen I had a feeling early on that this masterpiece of oddly named tracks would not head south and would be able to be claim this top spot by the end of the year. The only hard thing about this collection of high quality tunes is picking a favorite song as all are at a high level and deserve multiple listens.
Song of the year
Holly Williams (feat. Gwyneth Paltrow) "Waiting On June"
I'm not sure what's gonna kill the slight bit of credibility I have more, picking a song of the year that features Gwyneth Paltrow or explaining why I did. Every time I hear this song I start thinking about my own life and my beautiful wife Amy. As I listen I usually start associating our lives with the characters in the song and by the time I've reached the final moments, I'm crying like a twelve year old girl in the front row of a Justin Bieber show. Mainly, this connection along with superb songwriting is why I feel this song is my top pick this year even though Pepper Potts is tagging along. Justin Bieber still is a thing isn't he?
May 16, 2013
by Matthew Martin
It really bugs me when an artist plays right outside of D.C.- in this instance, northern Virginia. For a couple of reasons really; 1- I think the bars in D.C. are plenty and perfect for many of these artists, and 2- I don't have a car, so it's a bitch. Regardless, when you hear that Ryan Bingham is coming close, you go. You figure out public transportation, and you make sacrifices.
|The Wild Feathers|
To open up the night, The Wild Feathers out of Nashville, TN came out guns blazing. The five piece band sounded like a mix between Ryan Adams and what Kings of Leon could sound like if they weren't so concerned about their perfect hair and sex of the fire variety. There was 3-part harmony on most of the songs and vocal duties switched between the 2 guitarists and the bassist. While the band itself was a tight, cohesive unit, I will say that the drummer was the most fun to watch. My friend and I could not stop watching the full-on assault he was laying on the drums all night. The Wild Feathers' set offered up an energetic, fun set. They mentioned they will be putting out a new record this year, and I, for one, can not wait to hear it.
Last year, Ryan Bingham dropped his backing band The Dead Horses and opted for a solo album. After seeing Ryan and The Dead Horses a couple years ago and really loving that line-up, I was a bit worried that maybe this would be a bit of different affair. However, the troubadour and his new motley crew of a band made sure any notions of doubt were washed away with the first few notes of the show.
If you haven't heard his latest album, you might not know that Bingham is pissed off about the state of the nation, politics, and the separation between the haves and have-nots. There's a certain anger that rings throughout the raucous "Guess Who's Knocking" and the restrained "Rising of the Ghetto." These type songs have been the staple of his career and in a live setting, they come across as poignant and unabashedly fun.
Bingham ripped through a set that included all of the crowd favorites, such as, "Bread and Water," "Hard Times," "Sunrise," "Country Roads," "Tell My Mother I Miss Her So," "Hallelujah," and "The Poet." Each song was sung with an intensity that is specific to Bingham's style of country-infused folk/rock music. The crowd was entranced and fully enthralled by the music. Every song turned into a sing-along and dance party. If you can stand still during the breakdown of "Sunrise," you truly have no soul.
Bingham's new backing band was every bit up to the task of keeping up with the talented frontman. The fiddle player seamlessly weaved in and out of every song. The lead guitarist ripped and roared with killer slide guitar solos. The rhythm section kept it all together at chest rattling volume. By the time the last song of the first set was over, you could tell that no one was ready to go home and it was almost inevitable that we would stay until we got an encore.
The encore consisted of just Bingham with an acoustic guitar. He played a couple of songs before ending with the appropriate "Ever Wonder Why." With the final line being, "Well, I'll see you all around," it felt like there was no better song to have ended the show on.
If you are only familiar with Ryan Bingham because of this well-known (and deservedly so) song, "The Weary Kind," you are doing yourself a disservice. He is not to be missed. Maybe his albums could stand to cut out a song or two in order to be truly great, but each album is still important. And, if you aren't a fan of his albums, go see him live. Do yourself a favor. The charasmatic troubadour will win you over.