Monday, April 2, 2012

That Nashville Sound’s Best of 2012… Quarter One

Emily West's New Album Is Tops Thus Far
The first quarter of 2012 has come to an end and while the mainstream artist releases were few and far between, there was some outstanding music across country, bluegrass and Americana genres that’s worthy of sharing.

For the most part, the songs are pulled from albums released either in January, February or March 2012. A handful are singles that have been released during that same window. A few of the songs, and an album or two, are from records that aren’t out quite yet, but that That Nashville Sound has had the privilege of hearing early. The music on this list is terrific. It leans more towards the singer/songwriting side of things- to lyrics that are heavier and have more depth than what’s playing these days on country radio. It’s worth of being in your collection. In the words of Toby Keith, “Go getcha’ some.”

Best Albums of the Year:
  1. Emily WestI Hate You, I Love You – It’s probably unusual to have a six song EP at the top of the list of best albums of the year, but this short little album packs more emotion and vocal delivery than anything we’ve heard on any other album in years.
  2. Marty Stuart- Nashville Volume 1- Tear The Woodpile Down- Stuart is the flag-bearer for keeping traditional country alive in Nashville. As Little Jimmy Dickens slows downs in his 90’s, Stuart is also becoming the face of the Opry. Here, he delivers a foot-stomping, barn-raising, jam-session collection of great songs that reminds that he’s still at the very top of his game.
  3. Kellie Pickler- 100 Proof- Since her last album, Pickler married fellow singer/songwriter Kyle Jacobs. Perhaps, now more content and secure in her own personal life, Pickler has found the strength to stick to her guns and choose tracks and production she felt more represented her as an artist. Settling down doesn't mean settling as an artist. By staying true to her country roots, she's delivered a personal and authentic album that will hopefully be a career-cementer for Pickler.
  4. Jason Eady- AM Country Heaven- Jason Eady took Johnny Cash’s advice: he’s been everywhere. He took the Mississippi blues he was born in, applied the Nashville songwriting sensibilities he gained chasing his mainstream country dream, and then applied the grit and perspective he gained from touring the Texas barroom scene for nearly a decade. On this new album, he combines all with a smart and classic perspective on what his perfect mix of country should be.
  5. Ray Wylie Hubbard- The Grifter’s Hymnal-  If Ray Wylie Hubbard sounds like he's been aged in the bottom of a whisky barrel, it’s probably because he just may have. His sandpapery voice delivers a raspy series of poetry set to gritty Americana, full of emotion and life lessons.
Honorable Mentions- Lionel Ritchie- Tuskegee, Chelle Rose- The Ghost of Browder Holler and  Shooter Jennings- Family Man

Best Songs of the Year-

  1. Joe Walsh- “Analog Man”
  2. Darrell Scott – “Someday”
  3. Chelle Rose – “Rufus Morgan (Preacher Man)”
  4. Kip Moore “Crazy One More Time”
  5. Marty Stuart – “The Lonely Kind”
  6. Chris Stapleton –Tennessee Whiskey”
  7. Jason Eady – “Old Guitar and Me”
  8. Emily West – “Boys In The Morning”
  9. Gretchen Peters – “Idlewild”
  10. Josh Thompson – “Comin’ Around”
  11. Lee Brice – “A Woman Like You”
  12. Kellie Pickler – “Mother’s Day”
  13. Shooter Jennings “Southern Family Anthem”
  14. Amy Dalley – “Somebody Said It Rained”
  15. Lewi Longmire- “Vanport 1948”
  16. Lionel Richie and Little Big Town –Deep River Woman”
  17. Alan Jackson – “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore”
  18. Shooter Jennings “Black Dog”
  19. Marty Stuart – “Sun Down In Nashville
  20. Dierks Bentley – Home”
  21. Sarah Darling – “Blackbird”
  22. Bruce Springsteen – “Death To My Hometown”
  23. Emily West – “All My Fault”
  24. Kellie Pickler – “The Letter (To Daddy)”
  25. Tim McGraw – “Die By My Own Hand”
  26. Neal McCoy – “Real Good Feel Good”
  27. Casey James – “Miss Your Fire”
  28. Steep Canyon Rangers – “Ungrateful One”
  29. Sugar and the Hi-Lows – “See It For Yourself”
  30. Ray Wylie Hubbard – “Coricidin Bottle”
  31. Randy Thompson – “Old ‘97”
  32. Stetson & Cia – “Don’t Hide Your Love”
  33. Marty Stuart – “Tear The Woodpile Down”
  34. Kip Moore “Reckless (Still Growing)”
  35. Dierks Bentley – “Heart of a Lonely Girl”
Now, it's your turn. What's on this list that you disagree with? What has been missed?

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