The past year has been interesting in the Americana and indie roots music realm. Mainstream pop and country music, for example, made stars out of artists like Brandy Clark, Kacey Musgraves, and the Lone Bellow, but you'll see below that those artists were also heavily embraced by the ND community. Reliable favorites and giants of the genre - Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Richard Thompson, Mavis Staples, the Mavericks, Patty Griffin - all delivered exquisite work this year. But there was also a lot of starting over, with Kelly Willis returning after a long hiatus from recording. Aoife O'Donovan broke from Crooked Still for a solo debut that settled easily into the ND community's Top 20. And, of course, plenty has already been said on this site about former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell's Southeastern - the disc ND readers delivered by landslide into this year's #1 slot.
It's worth noting that the 50 albums included in this year's list had some stiff competition. A total of 414 albums received votes this year (you can see all the votes here) including excellent efforts by outstanding artists of all genres - from Nick Lowe to Sara Bareilles; Shooter Jennings to Gregory Alan Isakov; Boz Scaggs to the National, Dylan, Mellencamp, and even Jimmy Buffett. But, when all the votes were tallied, the following albums came out as the No Depression Community's Top 50 Favorite Albums of 2013:
In the interest of honoring our most frequently featured bloggers, we also took a separate poll to compile this critics' list. Granted, many of our frequently featured bloggers aren't professional critics. They make their actual living doing anything from teaching college to running radio shows. But the folks who contributed to this list have displayed consistently excellent taste and contribute to this site with great regularity. If you've ever come by here just to graze our front page, chances are you've interacted with something they've written.
Our ND Featured Bloggers voted for a total of 216 different albums this year, but we narrowed their votes down to a simple Top 10. Our deepest thanks to the following folks for participating in this year's Bloggers' Poll: Alan Harrison, Amos Perrine, April Wolfe, Twang Nation, Barry Gilbert, Freight Train Boogie, Bill Kopp, Doug Heselgrave, Easy Ed, Frank Gutch Jr, Gillian Turnbull, big boy, Hal Bogerd, Henry Carrigan, Holly Gleason, Jay Minkin, Jela Webb, Music JJMG, Joanna Colangelo, Joe Lepper, Julie Wenger Watson, Justin Wesley, Kathy Sands Boehmer, Kevin Lynch, Kim Ruehl, Kyla Fairchild, Lee Zimmerman, Michael Berick, Mike Seely, Neil Ferguson, Ryan Mifflin, Ryan's Father, Skot Nelson, and Sloane Spencer.
Now, for the ND Featured Bloggers Top 10 Albums of 2013:
(You can read their individual lists here, and decide which of our featured bloggers have tastes that mirror your own.)
Thank you to everyone who participated in these polls this year, especially Sloane Spencer, Hal Bogerd, Kathy Sands Boehmer, Alan Harrison, Henry Carrigan, Julia Wenger Watson, Skot Nelson, and Gillian Turnbull, who all volunteered to help us tally. We'd also like to thank you, our readers and the members of this site, for making 2013 such a fun and vibrant year here on No Depression. We'd like to wish you all Happy Holidays and the best of luck in 2014!
-Kyla, Kim, and Stacy