Cut back on my music purchases this year, so the list is a bit more mainstream Nashville than usual (sort of, kind of). Just decided not to stress about it this year (sort of, kind of). Still some good sounds out there. Here's my favorite albums I heard in 2010, in no particular order.
Patty Griffin, Downtown Church. Patty is a must-get for me, it's just some of her albums take longer for me to "must-get" than others. I heard this gospel collection streaming pre-release and jumped on it right away when it came out in January. Not only good music, but good for your soul. (January)
Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain't No Grave. While not to the sonic or creative standard of the previous American Recordings, Johnny's postmortem release is a must-have for any Americana fan. (February)
Merle Haggard, I Am What I Am. The first track is a powerful poem if you pay attention, tho I have to say this album prompted me as much to re-visit Merle's ample catalog as anything else. Hagg is still the man, what more can I say? (April)
Willie Nelson, Country Music. I was actually expecting a bit more out of Willie, but the worst Willie delivers is better than 99% of anything coming out of Nashvegas these days. This is real country music, so listen up. (April)
Ray Wylie Hubbard, A: Enlightenment B: Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C). Ray Wylie is a character, and this album should win some award for worst title of the year. Worth it just for "Drunken Poet's Dream" which he co-wrote w/Hayes Carll. (January)
Crazy Heart Soundtrack. Good god they put Townes Van Zandt on a soundtrack how can you pass that up? I still haven't seen the flix (nor the new True Grit), but I'm increasingly impressed with Jeff Bridges...even if the thought of him doing an album with T. Bone is a bit scary. The Big Lebowski maybe growing up. (January)
Ryan Bingham, Junky Star. Can't say good things about Crazy Heart and not say good things about young Bingham. He's playing in Santa Fe in January with Joe Ely, that and some green chile would sure warm my northern soul. (August)
Red Molly, James. I'm new to Red Molly, and despite what they profess in interviews the hook with Richard Thompson's "Vincent Black Lightning" reeled me in. And I'm glad for that. James is a nice piece of work, showing off some new riffs on old works and new works with tradition in mind. Well done. (February)
Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams, Sinners & Saints. Grade-A Colorado alt-country music, too true for Nashville or any honky-tonk near you. These guys would be famous if they left Denver more often. Then again, look what happened to Coors Beer when they started doing that. No reason to ruin this Rocky Mountain original. (August)
Fabulous Ginn Sisters, You Can't Take a Bad Girl Home. I didn't actually get this release yet, but I know the Ginn Sisters produced another instant classic. My bad. (June)
And a couple—still fairly mainstream—I know I should have got, but never got around to it (that's what happens when the wife takes my credit cards away!)
I'm sure there's more I missed. Hope you found some tunes this year to soothe your own personal savage soul.
(cross-posted from JCShepard.com)