2013’s Best Country and Roots Albums

Staff | December 31st, 2013

Bro-country epidemic aside, 2013 has been a fantastic year for country and roots music. Narrowing down the list of eligible albums to our 30 favorites was no easy task, and many worthy albums just barely missed the cut. What were your favorite releases of the past year?

Honorable Mentions: Kris Kristofferson – Feeling Mortal; Paul Burch – Fevers; Various Artists – The Big E: A Salute to Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons; Aoife O’Donovan – Fossils; Drew Kennedy – Wide Listener; Gary Allan – Set You Free; Alice Gerrard – Bittersweet; Jason Boland & The Stragglers – Dark and Dirty Mile; George Strait – Love is Everything

erinenderlintalk30. Erin Enderlin — I Let Her Talk

This year saw several master songwriters step out behind the curtain. While Ashley Monroe and Brandy Clark got most of the ink, the pen behind Alan Jackson’s “Monday Morning Church” and Lee Ann Womack’s “Last Call” released her second record. Enderlin adds valuable amendments to classic country themes, most notably on the title track: “A careless drunk will show you pictures too” is just one of the genius lyrical twists on this sophomore effort. –Karlie Justus Marlowe


amandashiresdoves29. Amanda Shires – Down Fell the Doves

Shires has delivered a fine follow-up to her 2011 release, Carrying Lightning. The fiddler (and former Texas Playboy) has evolved as a songwriter since her last record; here she’s developed vivid characters straight out of a Southern Gothic short story collection, from Tiger Bill in “Bulletproof” to the Devil himself (“Deep Dark Below”). It’s certainly not the feel good album of the year – “Box Cutter” depicts various methods of suicide – but it’s one worth returning to again and again. ­–Juli Thanki


bandofheathenssunday28. Band of Heathens – Sunday Morning Record

The result of this band’s personnel changes is a mellower, more mature and worn sound that leans on poignant harmonies. It’s combined with intelligent and engaging lyrics and a bit of a throwback ‘70s vibe that would make it more likely to appear on The Eagles’ Hotel California than the Heathens’ decidedly more rock projects.  With “Miss My Life, “ the guys slow things down and become more introspective; on the flip side, “Shake the Foundation” has the soulful bluesy jolt of a musical hurricane and shows that while they might have mellowed a bit, they still know how to blow the dust off the rafters. –Ken Morton, Jr.


woodbrothersmuse27. Wood Brothers – The Muse

Brothers Chris and Oliver Wood, with new fulltime band member Jano Rix, have concocted a thoroughly intoxicating album — and not just because there’s a song called “I Got Loaded.” So intuitive is the blend of blues, soul, jazz, funk, folk, gospel and country, stirred by opulent harmonies, you could be forgiven for thinking the term Americana was invented to describe this record. Opener “Wastin’ My Mind” sets the tone with spirited piano in front of rising and falling horns. Soaring vocals elevate “Neon Tombstone” and spare guitar and upright bass back eloquent lyrics on the title track. “Honey Pot” flashes a naughty sense of humor, while ballads “Sweet Maria” and “Firewater” display a softer side. The Muse truly is an inspired piece of work. –Paul Wallen


norajanestrutherscarnival26. Nora Jane Struthers – Carnival

Always a compelling storyteller, Struthers delivers yet another collection of songs marked by her canny insights into human nature bolstered by a first-rate band of musicians who carry the haunting mystery and yearning of a ballad like “Carnival” or Sourwood Tree” as well as the driving rhythms of the stomp-like tune “The Baker’s Boy” or “Barn Dance,” whose happy-go-lucky whirling tune resembles the classic “Roly Poly.” Struthers’ songs weave folk, bluegrass, pop, and country seamlessly through vocals that recall Suzzy Roche, Alison Krauss, and Melanie. Once you enter one of many tents at Struthers’ carnival, you’ll never want to leave. –Henry Carrigan

(Read Paul Wallen’s feature on Struthers here.)


bradpaisleywheelhouse25. Brad Paisley – Wheelhouse

It would be really easy to dismiss Paisley’s ambitious project simply on the negative publicity surrounding his duet with LL Cool J. But in an era of country music where every other song is about truck beds, dirt roads and beer, Paisley has managed to stay relevant in mainstream country by tackling issues such as political correctness (“Accidental Racist”) and the religious right (“Those Crazy Christians”) without abandoning his trademark humor-injected songs like “Karate,” “Outstanding in Our Field,” and “Death of a Single Man.” It is refreshing to see a bona fide superstar not take the easy route, instead choosing to challenge himself and take risks. –KMJ


valeriejunepushin24. Valerie June – Pushin’ Against a Stone

Produced by Black Keys’ guitarist Dan Auerbach, Pushin’ Against a Stone folds layers of blues, gospel, string-band folk and country into a handsome down-home package. A native of West Tennessee, June underscores her retro style with a bold flair for the unexpected. On “You Can’t Be Told,” her unmistakable, soul-inflected voice wraps elegantly around peels of slide guitar. Meanwhile, her rumbling plea for a sugar daddy, “Workin’ Woman Blues,” gives voice to a generation of ambitious young people experiencing rural ennui. June’s distinctive blend transcends trends – equally fitting for both VFW halls and NPR podcasts. –Blake Boldt

(Read Valerie June’s Friday Five here.)


caitlinrosestandin23. Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In

With a cagey glance over her shoulder on The Stand-In’s cover art, Rose seemingly dares you to take her seriously. And that’s half the fun of her sophomore effort. “Put your record on/Let the band play a song/All about love and believing/Good for you/’Cause if that’s true/Then it’s only a clown that’s leaving,” she sings on “Only A Clown.” Rose turns ironic detachment into a nuanced art form, taunting on “I Was Cruel,” chiding on “Waitin’” and walking away on “Menagerie.” The lyrics are always witty, the country-pop tunes always catchy and even at her most enigmatic, Rose manages to make sure we feel like we’re in on the joke. –PW


daleelrancho22. Dale Watson – El Rancho Azul

When nearly half of an album’s songs reference drinking, bars, or tequila, honky tonk heaven can’t be too far away. Watson confesses “I lie when I drink, and I drink a lot” atop shuffling steel, before launching into outlaw lore and the fine art of forgetting — all performed with Haggard-like vocal inflections. But lest you label him the Patron Saint of Neon Light, don’t miss weepy wedding waltz “Daughter’s Wedding Song.” –KJM


lorimass21. Lori McKenna – Massachusetts

“Make every word hurt,” Lori McKenna begs a soon-to-be-ex on Massachusetts, but it could easily be her personal motto. She twist the lyrical knife like few other songwriters, and songs like “Shouting” and “Salt” are some of her most heartbreaking yet. But as easily as her words can wound, they can soothe: “My Love Follows You Where You Go” (which Alison Krauss & Union Station recorded for Paper Airplane), written with Barry Dean and Liz Rose is a sweet toe-tapper written about their children and on “Isn’t It Romantic,” she sings about the comfort of ordinary love that grows finer with age, making minivans, double shifts, and homework-toting kids sound as good as a honeymoon in Paris. –JT


sonvolthonkytonk20. Son Volt – Honky Tonk

Jay Farrar & Co. have steered close to country music before, be it backing Kelly Willis on a long out-of-print EP or recording gems like “Windfall” on previous records. But while Son Volt has drifted all over the sonic map over the years, it’s never landed this solidly into country music. The opening “Hearts and Minds” has a Cajun waltz vibe, while “Bakersfield” wouldn’t feel out of place on an early Dwight Yoakam album. Honky Tonk is loaded with twin fiddles and steel guitars, featuring more traditional country sounds than almost everything that came out of the mainstream Nashville pipeline. Farrar has never been surrounded by this much twang, and it fits him very well. –Sam Gazdziak


robbiefulksbackward19. Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backward

Alt-country smart aleck Fulks goes acoustic with his newest record. Fulks, a consummate storyteller, is in fine form here, and his stories are given superb backing by Mike Bub, Ron Spears, Jenny Scheinman, and Robbie Gjersoe. Fulks’ characters, like the failed country star of “Sometimes the Grass is Really Greener” and the brokenhearted barfly of “When You Get to the Bottom” are so lifelike they nearly leap out of the speakers, while crisp fiddle tune “Pacific Slope” and the evocative “Snake Chapman’s Tune” allow the musicians to display their picking prowess, proving that no matter what style of music he plays, Fulks is captivating. –JT


pattygriffinamericankid18. Patty Griffin – American Kid

If you listen long enough, Griffin’s seventh album will cut you. It could be the poignancy of “Wild Old Dog,” the aching loneliness of “Faithful Son” or the tale of a traumatized soldier on “Not a Bad Man.” At some point, the razor-sharp honesty of these songs will find your vulnerable moment. You will swallow hard or wipe away the unexpected tear gathering in the corner of your eye, and keep listening.  Because it’s a small price to pay for the richly textured storytelling and exquisite melodies that make American Kid one of the year’s most memorable releases. –PW


lindiortegatinstar17. Lindi Ortega – Tin Star

Originally from Toronto, this Nashville transplant has a voice that separates her from the pack as she wraps her distinctive vocals around each lyric. She’s a fascinating collection of influences, having immersed herself in classic country and toured with artists ranging from Dierks Bentley to punk band Social Distortion. The result is pensive country stories like the title track about the challenges of being a struggling musician fitting perfectly next to a foot-stomping rocker like “Voodoo Mama.” It’s that unique voice that stitches it all together. –KMJ


kelliepicklerwomaniam16. Kellie Pickler – The Woman I Am

What’s the shortest distance between “American Idol punch line” and “critical darling”? Back to back mainstream-meets-traditional country albums that prove Pickler a whiz at picking spunky, confessional songs. Her latest offering shines brightest during those moments, when she makes “Selma Drye” and “I Forgive You” spark. –KJM


leannrimesspitfire15. LeAnn Rimes – Spitfire

Rimes’ first album of new material in six years picks up where she left off with soaring vocals, driving music, and smart, canny arranging. Spitfire features Rimes’ searchingly honest songwriting and some of her most scorching, sultry music yet. Her version of the Buddy and Julie Miller-penned “Gasoline and Matches” features a searing solo by Jeff Beck and Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas on harmony. She can deliver some aching country ballads, too, such as “Borrowed,” which Merle Haggard called a “real country song.” This is a smart and soulful album, and it’s great to have Rimes back, stronger than ever. –HC

(Read Henry Carrigan’s interview of LeAnn Rimes here.)


charlieworshamrubberband14. Charlie Worsham – Rubberband

Born and raised in Mississippi hill country, Charlie Worsham first performed on the Grand Ole Opry at age 12. His debut on the hallowed stage proved to be a powerful experience. In today’s chest-bumping, bro-country culture, his debut album, Rubberband, sounds like a welcome relic from the ’90s with its liberal doses of banjo and mandolin. Sporting one of the purest voices in country, Worsham sings winningly and takes charge of these first-rate songs with crisp intelligence. –BB


sarahjaroszbones13. Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones

At 22, Sarah Jarosz already has three albums under her belt. Build Me Up from Bones is arguably her best, and most ambitious, release yet. Her songwriting and composing has long been mature beyond her years, and with sharp interpretations of Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate” and Joanna Newsom’s “The Book of Right-On” fitting perfectly next to her lovely and multi-textured original songs, it’s no surprise that this album netted Jarosz a couple more Grammy nominations. It’ll be exciting to see where she goes from here. –JT


hollywilliamshighway12. Holly Williams – The Highway

Holly Williams stands a little apart from the other singing members of her famous family, using her songwriting skills to find a niche for herself in country-folk. On The Highway, though, she stretches out musically to great success. “The Highway” adds a dose of soul to the proceedings, while “’Til It Runs Dry” and “Drinkin’” deserved to be hit mainstream country singles. “Gone Away from Me,” which is reminiscent of Iris DeMent’s “Our Town,” has a heartbreaking-yet-gorgeous vocal performance, as Williams bids her family goodbye. It takes a lot to make background vocals from the great Jackson Browne an afterthought, but Williams manages exactly that. –SG


emmylourodney11. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – Old Yellow Moon

Harris and Crowell have been collaborating so long that it’s easy to assume they previously recorded an album of duets at some point. They had not, and Old Yellow Moon is their first joint full-length project. Sentiment is a common thread through these 12 songs. Crowell’s pensive “Here We Are,” originally recorded by Harris and George Jones, expresses weary appreciation for an enduring relationship. We are graciously invited along as a pair of old friends earnestly examines the passage of time. –PW


mavericksintime10. The Mavericks – In Time

With some albums, it’s easy to sit still, letting the music wash slowly over you while pondering—or rolling your eyes at—the lyrics. You can’t sit still with The Mavericks’ new record, their first studio album in ten years. Raul Malo’s rich tenor voice provides the foundation for this set of songs, and the tight rhythm section traverses all musical territory from rockabilly, mariachi, and Tejano to country and pop. Every song on this album delivers a devastating punch of energy or a haunting reflection on the need for love. –HC


pistolanniesannieup9. Pistol Annies – Annie Up

The sophomore album by Ashley Monroe, Miranda Lambert, and Angaleena Presley isn’t quite as rebellious as their debut, but still showcases a fiercely independent and spirit that drives the trio. It’s a little less woman empowerment and a little more love. But when they do get their hackles up like on “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On,” “Hush Hush,” and “Girls Like Us,” it simply reminds us that raising hell and taking names in the process is what these gals do best. It would be a shame if the circumstances that led to the Annies canceling their tour earlier this year kept this fantastic collective of singer-songwriters from going forward. –KMJ


gillfranklinbakersfield8. Vince Gill & Paul Franklin – Bakersfield

Vince Gill has reached the point of his career where he can pursue passion projects instead of chasing radio play and album sales. This tribute to the California sound made famous by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard clearly shows that he’s following his own muse. This time, he brings along fellow Time Jumper and ACM Award-winning steel guitarist Paul Franklin on the ride. The result is record that showcases two amazing musicians as much as it highlights any vocals. This is how tribute albums should be. –KMJ


guyclarkfavorite7. Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture of You

Clark’s first album in four years was more than worth the wait. The masterfully crafted title track, which was written with Gordy Sampson, is a poignant tribute to Clark’s late wife, Susanna; Clark’s ache is palpable as he describes the faded snapshot, nearly whispering, “There’s a fire in your eyes, you got your heart on your sleeve/A curse on your lips, but all I can see is beautiful.” Other songs, like “Heroes,” about a returning veteran suffering from PTSD, and “El Coyote,” which tells the story of a group of immigrants and the man who smuggled them across the border, are heartbreaking in a different fashion, while “Cornmeal Waltz” adds some much-needed sweetness. Consider this another gorgeous addition to Clark’s concrete legacy. –JT


sturgillsimpsonhightop6. Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain

Faux outlaws be damned, Waylon, Willie and the boys found a rightful heir in 2013 with the emergence of Sturgill Simpson’s High Top Mountain. The Kentucky native uses his refreshing brand of honky-tonk and Southern rock to depict the struggles – the heart-aching romantic dissolutions, the backbreaking double shifts – of working-class folks and their families. All sadness with a sneer, his contorted drawl stands in stark contrast to the casually tough sentiments expressed in his songs. “You ain’t gotta read between the lines/You just gotta turn the page,” he laments on “Life Ain’t Fair and the World Is Mean,” gazing longingly upon the past while pushing forward along the hillbilly highway. Headstrong and stubborn, he gives us an appealing glimpse of country music’s future with performances that are faithfully traditional. –BB


bruceandkelly5. Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison – Cheater’s Game

It’s fitting that the cover of Willis and Robison’s beautiful new album depicts the vagaries of love as a game of pinball. In the first album they’ve recorded together in their 17 years of marriage, Willis and Robison soulfully, boisterously, and humorously explore the many facets of this exhilarating, dangerous, sometimes satisfying, sometimes terrifying, and often sad game through a canny blend of covers and original songs. The title track captures the complexity, the heartache, and the despair of cheating, or the fond memory of cheating, with an emotional depth that many cheating songs alone can’t and don’t portray. –HC


ashleymonroelikearose4. Ashley Monroe – Like a Rose

Produced by Vince Gill (who’s a strong contender for the 2013 Country Music MVP), Like a Rose is a treasure, cementing Monroe’s status as one of the best young singer-songwriters in country music at the moment. The record serves up a healthy dose of sass as Monroe impishly asks a lover to bring her “Weed Instead of Roses,” exchanges barbs with Blake Shelton in “You Ain’t Dolly (And You Ain’t Porter)” and embarks on wild adventures as “Monroe Suede.” But Monroe isn’t just a goodtime gal as she proves on “She’s Driving Me Out of Your Mind” and a new version of her song “Used” (co-written with Sally Barris), where she delivers heartbreak with a sweet sadness that recalls a young Dolly Parton. –JT

(Read Juli Thanki’s interview of Ashley Monroe here.)


jasonisbellsoutheastern3. Jason Isbell – Southeastern

By all accounts, Jason Isbell is in a good place in his life, thanks to sobriety and the support of his wife, Amanda Shires. All the well-deserved critical acclaim given to Southeastern probably didn’t hurt either. One of the year’s very best albums was filled with intense, personal lyrics that begged for something more than the casual listen that most albums merit. A few songs touch on struggles with alcohol, either recovering from it or dealing with the effects of it. “Songs She Sang in the Shower” and “Elephant” are among the more devastating songs of the year. “Super 8,” a straight-up boozy rocker, may seem out of place by comparison, but even it teaches listeners a valuable lesson about using Pedialyte as a hangover cure. –SG


kaceymusgravesalbum2. Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park

In last 2012’s year-end wrap-ups, there was much ado about Musgraves’ potential as a game-changer for country music: a Pistol Annie of her own making, actually getting play on mainstream country radio. In 2013, she delivered with an album that built on and continued the real-talk of “Merry Go Round” and raised the bar for honest, catchy music from a female perspective — or, perhaps, started where Loretta Lynn left off. –KJM


brandyclark12stories1. Brandy Clark – 12 Stories

On “What’ll Keep Me Out of Heaven,” a song she co-wrote with Mark Stephen Jones, Brandy Clark presents the year’s most heartrending conflict. “I don’t know what scares me most/The ride up or the ride down,” she sighs, considering the consequences of a hotel-room tryst. In that spirit, over the course of a dozen sparkling tunes, Clark explores the darkest hours of the human spirit with uncommon grace and understanding. In an era of ugly political unrest, 12 Stories is a bipartisan effort that offers fair and balanced reporting about the heart’s veritable push and pull. While her songs weave complicated emotions, her intimate country-pop arrangements harken back to a simpler time, peeling back the covers of artifice and revealing the authenticity within. –BB

(Read Barry Mazor’s interview with Brandy Clark: Part One/Part Two)


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  1. Dave D.
    December 31, 2013 at 10:37 am

    My favorites from 2013: 1. Jason Isbell, Southeastern; 2. Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay, Before the World Was Made; 3. Lindi Ortega, Tin Star; 4. Wayne Hancock, Ride; 5. Mike Stinson, Hell and Half of Georgia; 6. The Black Lillies, Runaway Freeway Blues; 7. Kathryn Legendre, Old Soul; 8. Dale Watson, El Rancho Azul; 9. Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Untamed Beast; and 10. Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, Cheater’s Game. All in all, a very good year.

  2. Scooter
    December 31, 2013 at 11:20 am

    When Ashley Monroe’s album came out I thought for sure it would be my favorite of the year- but Holly Williams “The Highway” has taken over my car cd player for a number of months now. I went to see Holly live a few months back and it was well worth it. She is my favorite artist at the moment.

    Sturgill Simpson is one of my best discoveries of the year, but the production on the album made it not as good as it could have been.

  3. Luckyoldsun
    December 31, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Funny, several years ago I bought what I believe was Holly’s first CD when it came out. As I recall, it was rather bland. It did not sound country and was not marketed as country. It was as if she wanted on one hand to capitalize on the Hank Williams connection but on the other hand to distance herself from it. The CD flopped as it did not seem geared toward any segment of the market.

    From the clips, this album seems worlds better–and also more connected to the Williams roots. I’ll definitely put in an order for it.

  4. bob
    December 31, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Great choice for #1. I can’t stop playing “12 Stories”. Favorite is still “Hold My Hand”.

  5. Arlene
    December 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Reading the Best of Country and Roots Albums list alongside the Best of Bluegrass (and its offshoots) Albums list, I’m struck once again by how difficult (and perhaps unnecessary) it is to group music by genre. Darrell Scott and Tim O’Brien’s Memories and Moments belongs in the latter catagory even thought it is described as “the quintessential roots album and it even earned this duo a Best American Roots Song Grammy nomination for ‘Keep Your Dirty Lights On'” while Sarah Jarosz’s Build Me Up From Bones is discussed in the Country and Roots Album list, rather than as an off-shoot of bluegrass? Personally, I’d go for one longer list and describe it as Best or Favorite Albums of The Year.

    In any case, other albums released this year which I would have added include (1) United and Divided: Songs of the Civil War, by various artists, (2) The Lone Bellow’s eponymous album, (3) Slaid Cleaves’s Still Fighting This War, (4) Patty Griffin’s Silver Bell, and (5) Richard Thompson’s Electric.

  6. TX Music Jim
    December 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Like the list I would add Jason boland and the Straglers Dark and Dirty Mile.

  7. Rick
    December 31, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    The first sentence of this article says “2013 has been a fantastic year for country and roots music” and I think the albums listed above prove this not to be true for the most part. I don’t think the vast majority of the music contained on the above listed albums has any real “legs” in terms of longevity. Rather I suspect this is among the “best” new music offered in the midst of a great deal of mediocrity that makes it seem “fantastic” by comparison. I have sampled tracks from many of the listed albums looking for even a single track worthy of a download and have left empty handed. It saddens me to think the bar for what might be considered “fantastic” country and roots music has sunk so low…

  8. Hoggy from Oz
    December 31, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    A wonderful list guys.

    I’ve been playing “12 Stories” on my way to work every morning and I’m happy to see it at number one on this list.

  9. Paul W Dennis
    December 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I think it’s been a better year for ‘roots’ music than it has been for fans of ‘country’ music. I liked about one-third of the albums on this list

  10. Brad
    January 1, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Not sure what a couple of you are complaining about and saying you couldn’t find anything good here. I think that might say more about you than it does the music. This list is chock full of great music with some of the best songwriting I’ve heard in years. To say you can’t find any downloadable songs on a majority of these albums is just silly and makes you look like you are trying too hard .

  11. BRUCE
    January 1, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    There is such a desperation to hear anything besides butts, booze, shake-it, and dirt roads. Any song having at least a hint of minor intelligence seems noteworthy.

    However when the playing field has been so dumbed-down, we may be in a time when the “best” has become the cream of the crap instead of the crop.

  12. Ken Morton, Jr.
    January 1, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Bruce, I don’t believe that for a minute. How would what Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean choose to ship to radio have any influence and/or impact the quality of what Guy Clark, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Dale Watson (not even to mention the others) put out as releases? Those two things aren’t parallel and are clearly independent of one-another. No artist should ever be guilty of association within a genre. It’s insulting to them as an artist and their craft.

    In this worldwide digital era, we have the ability to be exposed to the largest amount of recorded roots material in the history of man. Without looking and counting specifically, I would say there’s only about 30-40 of male artists really dominating this bro-country movement. And while they are largely dominating the radio dial currently, that leaves 99% of the rest of the artists and recorded material to tackle more meaningful songwriting topics- and some like the ones above do it really dang well.

  13. Luckyoldsun
    January 1, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    If someone honestly believes that there is NOTHING produced in and around country/roots music during the entire year that is not, basically, “crap,” then why would he bother listening to it or reading about the subject.

  14. Rick
    January 1, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Voting will end soon for the Ameripolitan Music Awards (gee, does Dale Watson have anything to do with this? lol), so click on the link below and cast your vote today! Unlike the CMA and ACM Awards, there are actually artists I really like in the running and picking favorites is tough!

    Link to Vote: http://ameripolitan.deatx.com/index.php?a=webvote_action&EventID=6

    PS – I’m shocked to see Tara Dunphy of the Canadian group The Rizdales included in the Female Honky Tonk category! I’m guessing Dale and I are among the few folks in the US familiar with her talent.

  15. Jeff Miller
    January 2, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Wonderful list. Glad to see Nora Jane & the Party Line- that CD has been a bit overshadowed this year, same with Holly Williams. Also, the Paisley project would be easy to dump in favor of smaller titles, but its quality/edge demands attention.
    It was a large year, as you said;
    Been a tough year on the household music budget…

  16. TX Music Jim
    January 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I would have personally traded out Charlie WorshamS record for Jason Boland and The Straglers release Dark and Dirty Mile. Overall good list

  17. Erik North
    January 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I placed Caitlin Rose’s THE STAND-IN as my pick for #1 album of 2013 in any genre because it was all across the board in terms of musical stylings, including New Orleans jazz (“Old Numbers”), R&B (“Waitin'”), and even the California country-rock of her most avowed influence Linda Ronstadt (“Dallas”; “Golden Boy”). She is someone well looking out for (IMHO).

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