Real Country Music
Top Ten (Plus One) Albums of 2012
A few comments about the list before you continue:
*Except the designation of Album of the Year, the list is in no particular order.
*Each of the artists listed are instantly recognizable after an initial listen.
*None of the artists listed have received much help from “Country Radio” in 2012.
Goin’ Down Rockin’ (The Last Recordings)
With a voice as strong as found on any of his later recordings, Waylon re-recorded a few older selections and a few new songs. Especially appealing to fans should be the itunes version that includes acoustic versions of each track. Hearing both what Waylon recorded and how Robby Turner and company “finished” each track is priceless, and was a welcome addition to my library.
Another great release from an icon and Willie’s best album in several years, by far. Anytime you can hold a listener while offering Snoop Dogg, Eddie Vedder lyrics, and classic Texas fare such as "Home In San Antone" together on one disc….you show what only Willie can do.
And So It Goes
With this release, the “Gentle Giant” seemingly tries to prove, single handedly, that time doesn’t exist. He and producer Garth Fundis created a record not just complimentary to Williams’ back catalogue but one that stands as being among some of his finest recordings.
Mighty Lonesome Man
With a unique voice and a simple lyric, James Hand reminds us, with each new recording, that less is more. Willie Nelson summed it up best when he commented that James is the “Real Deal”… And…..if “Lesson In Depression”, from this release, doesn’t crawl into your soul, then you have no business calling yourself a Country Music fan.
An album of strong songs recorded well should be the rule, not the exception. But in 2012, albums like Telephone, TX are overlooked by the King Makers of Music. With it in my player now, I’m praying for a coup.
By George This Is…
A tribute record to George Jones delivered by a rare voice. Leona’s vocals have a way of showing happiness and heartbreak with each phrase. She makes me smile while wanting to cry. Without effort, she can acknowledge that life is hard and offer that that’s ok. And this sentiment is brought to songs made famous by George Jones. …..Of course it made the list.
The Time Jumpers
The Time Jumpers consist of some of the top session musicians of Nashville. Their expertise and knowledge truly mark this record. Some of the tracks equal or surpass the swing of Asleep at The Wheel, while others lean on other traditions little heard today, like the “weeper”, 'Three Sides To Every Story”. There’s even a song featuring a yodel. The Time Jumpers made a great record while representing many forms of Country Music.
Meanwhile, in Austin, TX, Bob Schneider (Austin Rocker once linked to actress Sandra Bullock) is playing on the local Country Radio channel….
Eric Strickland and The B Sides
Honky Tonk ‘Til I Die
Usually, when someone says, “Hey, give this new artist a listen,” I immediately lower my expectations. But Strickland, with songs like “Her” and “Womankind” impresses. Sounding a bit like early Mark Chesnutt, Strickland offers a full set of well written songs. Sure, the production value needs to improve, but the songs and the voice are there, along side a clear desire to make proper Country Music.
Nashville Vol. 1: Tear The Woodpile Down
Marty embodies Country Music. And has forgotten more about it than most will ever know. And even though, in a sense, this album was inevitable, I was still struck by how masterful it is.
Pourin’ Whiskey On Pain
Do you fondly remember a time when Randy Travis and George Strait came out of nowhere and reclaimed Country Music? Now, years later the music has slipped from our grips again. Thankfully, Culpepper released an album that attempts to right the ship.
2012 Album of the Year
Living For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran