The No Depression Community's Top 20 Albums of the Decade

Gillian Welch's Time (the Revelator) was voted the Best Album of the Decade by the NoDepression CommunityComing up with this community's Top 20 Albums of the Decade was a little more complicated than compiling the communal votes for the Best of 2009. Most of you agreed on artists whose albums had helped define the decade, but there was much less agreement about specific albums which stood out across the whole decade. So, we decided to knock it off at a Top 20 list, since all the albums included herein appeared on more than two people's lists (meaning there was at least some level of consensus from the community).

Those included here were voted by the ND community and weighted based on the most votes and the highest placement on voters' personal Top 10 lists (Folks' #1 pick received 10 points, #2 got 9 points, etc). Gillian Welch's Time (the Revelator) topped the most lists and can thus be considered the ND community's favorite album of the past ten years. The full list follows. Click on the "buy" link to purchase or download the album from Amazon.

1. Gillian Welch- Time (the Revelator) (buy)
2. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (buy)
3. Drive By Truckers - The Dirty South (buy)
4. Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker (buy)
5. Bruce Springsteen - The Rising (buy)
6. Mary Gauthier - Mercy Now (buy)
7. Alejandro Escovedo - A Man Under The Influence (buy)
8. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Soundtrack) (buy)
9. Radiohead - Hail To The Thief (buy)
10. Broken Family Band - Welcome Home Loser (buy)
11. Patty Griffin - 1000 Kisses (buy)
12. Bob Dylan - Love & Theft (buy)
13. Buddy and Julie Miller - Written in Chalk (buy)
14. Buddy Miller - Universal United House of Prayer (buy)
15. Laura Veirs - Triumphs and Travails Of Orphan Mae (buy)
16. Ray Wylie Hubbard - Growl (buy)
17. Slaid Cleaves - Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away (buy)
18. Thad Cockrell & Caitlin Cary - Begonias (buy)
19. Wilco - A Ghost Is Born (buy)
20. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky (buy)

Views: 1851

Tags: americana, bestofthedecade, gillianwelch, rootsmusic, top20

Comment by on December 21, 2009 at 2:03pm
Great list but IMHO any Wilco is too much Wilco.
Comment by Adam Sheets on December 21, 2009 at 2:04pm
Great list, although I would have replaced The Dirty South with Southern Rock Opera and Johnny Cash's American IV should have been included.
Comment by Mike Buchman on December 21, 2009 at 3:04pm
I totally applaud Time the Revelator in first place and love see Veirs' Orphan Mae on there, a pretty unappreciated gem. Swap a Wilco for a Jay Farrar? I'd add Redbird (Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey).
Comment by Easy Ed on December 21, 2009 at 4:20pm
Of all the lists I've seen these past few weeks, this one makes me grit my teeth a bit. I think it's more reflective of community members who enjoy voting for such things and not necessarily the community as a whole. But I guess that's like a defense attorney saying that the murder conviction is only the opinion of the twelve jurors who voted for it.
Comment by Grant Alden on December 21, 2009 at 4:40pm
Had to look, but I guess O Brother really did come out in 2000. Can't tell how many people voted, but I would concur that Wilco appears to be rather over-represented. And Radiohead? Really? Do we have to? (We didn't have to, back in my day.) It saddens me to see that none of the great new young stringbands are represented here: No Old Crow, no Avett Brothers, nor Crooked Still, nor the Duhks, nor Sometymes Why, nor the Mammals, nor any of Chris Thile's projects, nor...ah, well...
Comment by David Haskin on December 21, 2009 at 6:38pm
A bit strange, perhaps, but very interesting. It's hard to figure how the O Brother sound track is one of the best CDs of the decade in terms of quality, but without doubt it was one of the most influential since it brought legitimacy/visibility to Americana music, not to mention lots of new fans. I'm not a big fan of Wilco recordings (although they're excellent in concert), so three Wilco albums is a bit hard to swallow. And, while I had Slaid Cleaves' new CD on my Top 20 for 2009, there were many others this year (in addition to Written in Chalk) that were, arguably, superior -- so how did it wind up in a Top 10 for the decade list? And Radiohead?????

I am, however, glad there were no Lucinda Williams CDs on the list. I'm of the school that it's been downhill for her since Car Wheels, although Little Honey is reasonably good. Overall, even with my questions above, an interesting, if not illuminating list.
Comment by chris sweeney on December 21, 2009 at 6:46pm
I like most of the Albums listed, would have liked to have seen Steve Earle's Washington Square Serenade and Gurf Morlix's Last Exit to Happyland and Damon Bramblett's self-titled.
Comment by Kim Ruehl on December 21, 2009 at 8:24pm
I found this list really interesting too. For one, not so many people voted for the best of the decade, so there wasn't nearly as much to go on as there was for the best of the year. It turned out the problem with the decade was that everyone could agree on influential artists, but they didn't agree so much on the albums. There were several different albums from Wilco, Patty Griffin, Neko Case, and others on the list. The reason Wilco got on there three times was because all three of those albums received several votes. Some that fell further down the list included Eliza Gilkyson, Kane Welch Kaplin, John Dee Graham, Jayhawks, Johnny Cash's American IV... and several other albums I would have expected to see on more lists. But the decade is a big animal, and there's a lot to pull from. I imagine most people just didn't want to touch it. Maybe?

But then, that's what the comments (and blog posts) are for.
Comment by Easy Ed on December 21, 2009 at 8:51pm
I'll tell you what...I wouldn't touch a decade worth of music. It's hardly impossible to do a year let alone ten of them. In fact, I started to compile a list using a spreadsheet from Soundscan that showed sales from release date and that was an exercise in futility. It's not coded by genre and to wade through about a half a million titles to find a couple hundred was just plain dumb on my part to even try. So I ended up looking at other music blogger's lists and the same stuff more or less keeps coming up. The strange thing on the ND list (and Kim explained why) is the multiple Wilco titles, and some of the titles that are there and those that are expected to be but aren't. I actually get why O Brother should be here...but not seeing any Earle when he was so prolific and socially relevant throughout the Bush administration is just odd. Radiohead...just crazy.

So besides my usual rant about why I don't like ranked lists, add this: I've already seen this list re-posted today out there in internet land and it comes off as as some sort of authoritative No Depression (the brand) approved thing...and I don't think it is, nor should be.
Comment by Michael Bradshaw on December 21, 2009 at 9:14pm
radiohead sucks (real bad).

to those that voted for them, turn in your badge and gun and exit the building. How does a british pop band make this list? sad, sad, sad.


You need to be a member of No Depression Americana and Roots Music to add comments!

Join No Depression Americana and Roots Music


If you enjoy this site please consider helping us with a small donation!

Don't like PayPal? Mail a check to: No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

When you shop at Amazon please enter through this search box and No Depression receives a referral fee



Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.