Friday Five/Your Take: Best of 2014 (So Far)

Juli Thanki | June 27th, 2014

We’re halfway through 2014 and there’s been some damn good roots music released this year, ranging from harpist Maeve Gilchrist’s Celtic folk to St. Paul & The Broken Bones’ retro soul to bluegrass band Special Consensus’ tribute to John Denver to Suzy Bogguss’ salute to Merle Haggard.

Today could have been a Friday Fifty, but for sanity’s sake, I went with five songs from the albums that I’ve played the most over the past six months. What are five of your favorite songs released in 2014? Favorite albums? What are you looking forward to later this year?

5. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – “People Don’t Get What They Deserve”

The release of Give the People What They Want was delayed after Jones was diagnosed with bile duct cancer last summer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. But the record was more than worth the wait and Jones lived up to her album’s title, delivering classic-sounding R&B that’s everything a music fan could ever desire.


4. John Fullbright – “High Road”

Fullbright is a helluva songwriter, and “High Road,” which tells the story of a young farmer and his wife, employs the rarely used literary device known as Chekov’s Tractor. If you haven’t picked up Fullbright’s rock-solid sophomore studio album Songs yet, now’s a good time to do so.


3. Lydia Loveless – “They Don’t Know”

20-something Lydia Loveless is one of Americana’s rising stars. Her most recent release, Somewhere Else, is full of sharp, rootsy rock, and the closing track, this Kirsty McColl cover, is just delightful. We got the chance to speak with Loveless about it a few months back; check out the story behind her version of “They Don’t Know” here.


2. Sturgill Simpson – “Turtles All the Way Down”

Simpson’s second full-length album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (which our Karlie Justus gave five stars in her review) garnered attention from folks at NPR and The New York Times. Let’s hope that this results in a trend in which truck and party songs are replaced by songs that mention “reptile aliens made of light.”


1. Rodney Crowell – “The Flyboy and the Kid”

Written for Guy Clark (read Crowell’s thoughts on how friend and mentor Clark has influenced his work over the years), this song, from Crowell’s best record in more than a decade, Tarpaper Sky (here’s our review), is a sweet tribute to a dear friend.

  1. Leeann Ward
    June 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

    So far, my five favorite albums of the year are (in no particular order): Rodney Crowell- Tar Paper Sky, Suzy Boggus- Lucky, Nickel Creek- A Dotted Line, Radney Foster- Everything I Should Have Said either Carlene Carter’s Carter Girl or Miranda Lambert’s Platinum. I’m really looking forward to Shovels and Rope’s new album.

  2. Jonathan Pappalardo
    June 27, 2014 at 11:14 am

    In no particular order:

    Don Williams – Reflections
    Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread
    Rodney Crowell – Tarpaper Sky
    Miranda Lambert – Platinum
    Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line
    Radney Foster – Everything I Should’ve Said
    Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis – Our Year
    Jim Lauderdale – I’m A Song

    I still need to spend some quality time with Lee Ann Womack’s new album and I haven’t yet given Carlene Carter, Sturgall Simpson, Dolly Parton, or Willie Nelson’s new albums much time either.

    It always amazes me how much great music is released every year if you know where to look (like Engine 145).

  3. Jack WIlliams
    June 27, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Drive-By Truckers – Primer Coat
    Parker Millsap – Truck Stop Gospel
    John Fullbright – High Road
    Karen Jonas – Oklahoma Lottery
    Sturgill Simpson – Pan Bowl

  4. Leeann Ward
    June 27, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Well, if Jonathan is going to name more than five, I’ll add: Rosanne Cash, Jason Eady, Marty Stuart, Bruce and Kelly, and James House to my list.

  5. Janice Brooks
    June 27, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Right or Wrong The Quebe Sisters
    Five Balsum Range
    Everything Except Goodbye John Howie and the Rosewood Bluff
    A World Away Kimberly Murray
    Nothin To Lose Dave Adkins

  6. Jonathan Pappalardo
    June 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Good catch Leeann! I guess I didn’t think to limit my list to just five releases. :-)

    Too much good music to choose from. If I was to narrow it down: Don Williams, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Miranda Lambert, and Radney Foster. This is way harder than it looks!

  7. Leeann Ward
    June 28, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Ha! Just giving you a hard time, Jonathan.:) I don’t think limiting to five was even a rule.:)
    True that it’s nearly impossible to narrow down the good music this year!

  8. Jonathan Pappalardo
    June 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I really just wanted to see if I could do it :)

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