Music to Move to and Other Highlights from 2017
My true top ten list this year includes hip-hop and pop records, but for No Depression, I cover mainly Americana-leaning and country music, thus the below list. I am lucky enough to get to review music that is really exciting to me, and 2017 was no exception. I have a broad definition of Americana, and my taste (and reviews) reflect that. I tend to listen to records on repeat for months on end (you could say I’m obsessive), so I thought a lot about which albums I exhausted the hell out of when coming up with my list. I promise that all ten picks below get better with each repeated listen.
Kacy & Clayton, The Siren’s Song
Lilly Hiatt, Trinity Lane
Hiss Golden Messenger, Hallelujah Anyhow
Dan Auerbach, Waiting On a Song
Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett, Lotta Sea Lice
Kevin Morby, City Music
There weren’t many artists I saw live more in 2017 than Kevin Morby (four or five times to be exact). Morby makes music to fall in love to, find your independence to, transition to, groove to, cry to, party to, and everything in between. Each time I saw him this year felt like being reacquainted with an old friend, yet with each performance I discovered something new. And even though he’s been around, his excellent record City Music felt like it came out of nowhere this year. In the throes of packing up the apartment I’d lived in for two years and readying myself for a move, Morby’s sleek rock and roll snuck up on me and became a kind of soundtrack for my life. I remember sitting on the floor of the bedroom that would no longer be mine, surrounded by bins and shoes and dust bunnies, and hearing for the first time “Aboard My Train.” In it, Morby nostalgically recalls friends and loved ones of his past through the imagery of a train, moving steadily, making stops along the way. It is a clever, heartfelt slice of Americana, and it came to me when I needed it most. Moving is never easy, even when it’s for the right reasons. And thanks to Morby’s City Music, it was a whole lot easier. I remember hearing it again in the UHaul on my way to my new destination, and it filled me with a sense of comfort and made me feel protected. Listening to “Aboard My Train” gave me a kind of permission to move forward, to keep growing. And what more can you ask for in a song?
Ha Ha Tonka, Heart-Shaped Mountain
Faye Webster, S/T
John Moreland, Big Bad Luv
Nikki Lane, Highway Queen
Looking ahead, there are a few albums I’m really looking forward to in the New Year. Keep an eye out for new releases from Marie Lepanto, Caroline Rose, Marlon Williams, Dead Fingers, and Sonny Smith.