Mando Lines Picks 10 From 2012
So much music, so little time. So much good music this year. And my time’s been shorter this year than last. With that qualification, here’s my top ten Americana/alt country non-live original records:
10. Corb Lund, Cabin Fever. Mr. Lund’s blend of Canadian country and various elements of rock, his smart lyrics and slight edginess combine to make him one of the best out there right now. This is a great record, probably his most fully realized to date. Check out this live take on Bible On The Dash (album version features Hayes Carll), see what you think:
9. Iris Dement, Sing The Delta. I first saw Ms. Dement opening for John Prine several years ago. That voice nailed me. Then I had the privilege of seeing her solo show on Cayamo this year. She sang some of this material. As I listened to her singing and playing the piano it occurred to me that she’s some kind of national treasure. She’s as real as it gets, as good as there is. If you call yourself an Americana fan you really need this record.
8. Marty Stuart, Nashville, Volume 1: Tear The Woodpile Down. Marty Stuart, missionary for all that is right and good, sent into the Nashville beast to show it the way, has done the unthinkable and made a country record. Nashville doesn’t really understand it, but you might. Take a look at Mr. Stuart having some fun with the title song right here:
7. Punch Brothers, Who’s Feeling Young Now? Good music all the way through from one of the smartest combos on the road right now. Frontman Chris Thile has relaxed and seems less interested in doing things just because he can and more interested in making music that moves us. I really like this record.
6. The Departed, Adventus. Cody Canada, Seth James, Jeremy Plato, Steve Littleton and Chris Doege toured and honed their act for a while before releasing this, their first original album. Well worth the wait for this excellent helping of Texas/Red Dirt rock. Here’s a live cut of Prayer For The Lonely, featuring Seth James and Steve Littleton (pardon the ads, the quality of the sound and video is worth it):
5. Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Grifter’s Hymnal. From the faux hymnal cover to the last song, this is pure bliss for any Ray Wylie fan, and an invitation for anyone who isn’t already. Every head bowed, every eye closed, when did you give your musical soul over to the man who brought us Redneck Mother and Snake Farm? Come on down front, my friend, it’s never too late. Brother Hubbard will welcome you.
4. Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, Wreck & Ruin. Oh my. These Aussies have set an example for anyone who would try to make new old folk that rocks. Get this record. Here’s the official video from Adam & Eve, one of the tracks off the record, to give you a taste:
3. Shooter Jennings, Family Man. Mr. Jennings has so much going and goes so many places that it is hard to keep up. He’s a conscientious ambassador for good music of all types. With that last name and his considerable talent, he can play anything he wants to play. This year he decided to play country, and in so doing, he gave us his best record so far.
2. Gretchen Peters, Hello Cruel World. A well-crafted set of songs on a well-produced record, sung by a woman with a beautiful voice. Hard to find anything wrong with this record. Or the hard-working woman whose name is on it. Check out the title cut:
1. Jason Eady, AM Country Heaven. Mr. Eady made the best country music of 2012 and it went largely unheard by so-called country music fans. Yeah, I remember when the women were ugly and the men were all 40 years old. Bravo, Jason Eady (and producer Kevin Welch). Here’s an interview with Mr. Eady about the title song, and below that, a live version of another song off the record, Wishful Drinking. Enjoy.
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