I love year-end lists. I’m always curious about what has moved other people in the last year, and reading the lists of others gives me a chance to learn about music I may have missed.
But looking over my list of music that moved me in 2011, I was struck by one trend that may have been overlooked by best-of lists. Specifically, I noticed an unusually large amount of remarkable No Depression-like music released by younger, relatively unknown women. So I here’s my best-of list of albums released in 2011 by young female artists who are deserving of more recognition than they’ve received.
My list focuses on on lesser-known artists, so I’m not including artists like Gillian Welch, whose The Harrow and the Harvest was my personal number one of the year, or Matraca Berg, whose The Dreaming Fields was superb, but who has been in the industry for a long time.
The first three on my list were in my personal Top 10. But the rest could, in my opinion, reasonably be in anybody’s Top 10. It’s heartening to me that there is so much up-and-coming talent.
So, am I missing anybody? Or am I missing the boat entirely?
1. Rachel Harrington: Celilo Falls
2. Rita Hosking: Burn
3. Abigail Washburn: City of Refuge
4. Lynn Miles: Fall For Beauty
5. Amy Speace: Land Like A Bird
6. Carrie Elkin: Call It My Garden
7. Amanda Shires: Carrying Lightning
8. Robyn Ludwick: Out of These Blues
9. Brigitte Demeyer: Rose of Jericho
10. Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers: Starlight Hotel
11. Ana Egge: Bad Blood
12. Angela Easterling: Beguiler
13. Martha Scanlan: Tongue River Stories: Autumn
14. Eilen Jewel: Queen of the Minor Key
15. Cary Ann Hearst: Lions and Lambs
16. Emma Hill and her Gentlemen Callers: Meet Me At the Moon