Best EPs of 2012

Staff | January 2nd, 2013

EPs seem to have grown in popularity this year, as several artists released fun-sized albums. Here are a few of our favorites. What were yours?

Honorable Mentions that barely missed the Top 5: Punch Brothers, Ahoy; Brent Cobb, Brent Cobb; Dierks Bentley, Country & Cold Cans; Julie Roberts, Covered; Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers, Old Gold

 

stetsoncia5. Stetson and Cia – Stetson and Cia

Stetson Adkisson and Cia Cherryholmes deliver strong songwriting on tracks like “Dead Easy Mine and “It’s Been Too Long,” their warm harmonies and banjo-and-guitar arrangements making this one of the most enjoyable EPs of 2012. Here’s hoping that the future brings us more music from the now married duo. –Juli Thanki

 

emilywesthatelove

4. Emily West – I Hate You, I Love You

Built on a foundation of a lost record deal, relationship turmoil and emotional angst, Emily West’s six-song EP is one of the best releases of the year. She stretches her vocal talents and the country genre’s boundaries to incorporate the influence of Burt Bacharach on her music, but it’s the autobiographical storytelling that steals the show. –Ken Morton, Jr.

 

maverickssuitedup

3. The Mavericks – Suited Up and Ready

Though they’d been apart for nearly a decade, The Mavericks sound as good as they ever did on Suited Up and Ready. Raul Malo’s golden voice leads the band through five tunes–ranging from the heartbreaking (“That’s Not My Name”) to the sultry (“Come Unto Me”)–that leave us anticipating the release of their full-length record, In Time, in late January. –JT

 

lorimckennaheartshaped2. Lori McKenna – Heart Shaped Bullet Hole

Nashville insiders have known for many years is that singer-songwriter McKenna is one of the best in her craft. On this EP, six very strong songs explore the good, the bad and the ugly of putting your heart out there for another. –KMJ

 

elizcookgospelplow1. Elizabeth Cook – Gospel Plow

Cook’s got a ribald sense of humor, evident on her radio show and songs like “Yes to Booty” and “Sometimes It Takes Balls to be a Woman,” but this EP shows her spiritual side as Cook covers several of her favorite gospel songs, including a moving version of the Velvet Underground’s “Jesus.” –JT

  1. SamB
    January 2, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Can’t really argue with that, though I’d put Lori McKenna at the top. I was a little underwhelmed by Emily West’s EP – as much as anything, I just think she’s recorded better music in the past.

  2. Arlene
    January 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I’d have found a spot for Zoe Muth’s Old Gold but I can’t argue with any of these choices.

  3. Jeff
    January 2, 2013 at 11:35 am

    No argument here. I’ve never really understood the fanfare behind Emily West, but you can’t go wrong with Lori or Elizabeth.

  4. bob
    January 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Love the Emily West EP. Lori & Elizabeth may be better songwriters, but for me, as a listener to rather than a reader of lyrics, Emily is way ahead of both on vocal ability. There may be some L & E songs that I would like a whole lot better if Emily or some other artist was doing the singing. Obviously tastes differ and I’m not suggesting that mine is better than anyone else’s. It’s great that we can all find new music to enjoy.

    I was a bit disappointed with the Maverick’s EP. In this case, the fault for me was the material rather than Raul Malo’s vocals.

    Other EP’s I really liked this year include Striking Matches and Kristen Kelly.

  5. Rick
    January 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    What, Buffy Lawson’s “I’m Leaving You For Me” didn’t even make honorable mention? How am I supposed to take this list seriously?…(lol)

    I wish Cia Leigh Cherryholmes had married a guy who could co-write songs I would find far more musically interesting than this material! However if these two ever decide to do an album covering classic bluegrass duet songs, I’m in!

    Everything Emily West does is always at least interesting at a minimum. Its nice to see her staying in the game at all these days.

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