Overlooked Albums of 2009

Brady Vercher | December 29th, 2009

There were quite a few worthy albums that only got a passing mention on The 9513 in 2009, so if you’re looking for something new or didn’t catch them the first time around, here are a few worth visiting. The algorithm is top secret and arbitrarily derived, so if you don’t agree with any of the selections, blame it on the alcohol. And as always, leave your own suggestions in the comments.

  • Barnstormer10. Barnstormer – Doug Moreland

    Doug Moreland has been around for awhile now, cranking out a couple of solid albums and putting on highly entertaining shows throughout the U.S.–and flying under the radar in the process. If you like a little swing and fiddle, you’ll like Doug Moreland and Barnstormer. And if you get the chance, don’t pass up the opportunity to see him live.

  • Time To Grow9. Time To Grow – The Lovell Sisters

    It looks like this will be the last we’ll hear from The Lovell Sisters as a trio and that’s too bad because despite being around for a few years, it seems like they were just getting started. They’ve toured internationally and won a few national competitions, but Time To Grow is only their second studio album and while it drags a bit at times lyrically, it’s different enough musically to make for an interesting listen and more than worth checking out.

  • Goodbye Rock N Roll8. Goodbye Rock N Roll – Derek Hoke

    Rock ‘n Roll, you’ve been good to me/And I’ve been good to you/But country music’s got a hold of me.

    Despite bidding adieu in the opening lines of his debut album, Rock and Roll is like a fifth of whiskey Derek Hoke just can’t leave behind–it’s clear he’s addicted and before long it’s likely you’ll become hooked yourself.

  • Vigil7. Vigil – Walt Wilkins

    Is loving my brother/All that you really want from me/If we’re made in your image/Is this all we’ll ever be?

    The latest project from Walt Wilkins was funded by a benefactor and in that spirit, he donated all proceeds to charity. The resulting album, Vigil, is an exploration of faith and doubt, redemption, grace, mercy, and love and while not completely acoustic, the production is light throughout, but wholly satisfying nonetheless.

  • Young Man, Old Soul6. Young Man, Old Soul – Brandon Rickman

    Typically the “old soul” description doesn’t hold much water and is usually repeated by those looking to sequester depth they lack, but it fits Brandon Rickman well and if you weren’t familiar with him or hadn’t seen a picture, you’d think you were listening to someone who wasn’t just now saying so long to his 20’s. Young Man, Old Soul is the solo debut from Rickman, the lead singer of Lonesome River Band, and though he comes from bluegrass, this album actually leans more country.

  • One To The Heart, One To The Head5. One To The Heart, One To The Head – Gretchen Peters with Tom Russell

    Gretchen Peters and Tom Russell compiled a collection of covers of Western songs (not the glorified cowboy shoot-em-up variety) by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, and Ian Tyson, but however it’s classified, One to the Heard, One to the Head deserves all the attention it can get. One standout, “These Cowboys Born Out Of Their Time,” epitomizes the concept of the record in some ways as it’s their ode to a time and place that’s largely been relegated to the past.

  • Too Much Living4. Too Much Living – Danny Balis

    Danny Balis’ debut solo effort, Too Much Living, has been compared to Don Williams, but there’s a slight honky tonk edge, and while it doesn’t strive for anything new, it’s got some incredibly addicting melodies and excels at what it does. His baritone is like a smooth whiskey without the burn and the songs contain more than a shot of melancholy.

  • Same Old Place3. Same Old Place – NewFound Road

    Fans of The SteelDrivers would do well to check out the latest from NewFound Road (and even if you’re not a fan, it’s hard to go wrong with Same Old Place). Lead singer Tim Shelton lacks the gravel in Chris Stapleton’s voice, but he’s more than capable of carrying a song on his own, although he doesn’t need to with the driving bluegrass rhythm provided by his bandmates. Aside from the instrumentation there’s not much to keep it from sounding like Shelton is singing some fine neo-traditional country.

  • Hillbilly Goddess2. Hillbilly Goddess – Alecia Nugent

    It seemed like the release date for Hillbilly Goddess kept sliding and when it did come out, it was quietly, but that’s no reflection on the music here. It’s already appeared on a couple of Top 10 lists, and like C.M. Wilcox said over at Country California, it doesn’t get much better than Nugent’s version of “Don’t Tell Me,” a song written by Buddy and Julie Miller and covered by Lee Ann Womack, amongst others.

  • When the Money's All Gone1. When the Money’s All Gone – Jason Eady

    Most likely due to a lack of a publicity budget that so many quality projects suffer from, Jason Eady’s latest didn’t garner nearly the amount of attention it deserved. A mixture of bluesy Southern Gospel country with a bit of Appalachia, Eady put together a record worthy of any country music lover’s collection.

  1. Leeann Ward
    December 29, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I love the Peters, Nugent and Newfound Road albums.

  2. Leeann Ward
    December 29, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Don’t know why I can’t get into the Eady album though. I’ve certainly read enough good things about it.

  3. Kelly
    December 29, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Of all the lists that have been posted here, this might be the list I agree with the most…I’ve said it before and will continue to – people need to give the Balis album a real shot.

  4. Jon
    December 29, 2009 at 9:49 am

    If nearly half my list of top overlooked albums for the year were basically bluegrass albums (Lovells, Brandon, NFR, Alecia), I’d probably think about maybe paying more attention to bluegrass next year. Just sayin’…

  5. Kelly
    December 29, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Why is it when people “just say” that they are “just sayin'”, it seems that they are actually doing more than “just sayin'”…just sayin’…

  6. CMW
    December 29, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Great list. Many albums I already like (four of these are in my top 20), so I’ll have to check out the others. I’m especially glad to see The Lovell Sisters mentioned, as Time to Grow was one I meant to write up but somehow let slip through the cracks. Worth checking out, for sure.

  7. Rick
    December 29, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Nice to see the Lovell Sisters finally get some well deserved recognition here at The 9513! Its about time…(lol)

    As I was going down this list my first thought was “Gee, this reminds me of C.M.’s Top 20 with a Kelly favorite mixed in here and there.” Good stuff!

  8. SamB
    December 29, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Great to see the Gretchen Peters and Tom Russell album here! One of my favourites of 2009

  9. CB
    December 29, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Love the Nugent album. Her “Don’t Tell Me” cover is exquisite.

  10. Matt B.
    December 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    A couple of these are on the Roughstock year-end best-of list that is coming out in the next few days. Nice list of others that were contenders as well.

  11. Grizzly Adam
    December 30, 2009 at 12:54 am

    I’ve listened to ‘Too Much Living’ more than I’ve listened to any other album this year, with Levon Helm’s ‘Electric Dirt’ being a close second. I highly recommend it.

  12. Randy
    December 30, 2009 at 9:51 am

    It is amazing that for the most part, many of the “Bluegrass” CD’s mentioned here were shunned by the bluegrass market, as they have drums or instruments not considered bluegrass by the sanctions of the bluegrass police. When truly, these albums quietly did more for bluegrass than most of the CD’s that came out last year that charted. They are the ones getting secondary country play, folk and acoustic country plays, playing live in venues that don’t favor the bluegrass mentality and drawing fans to the bluegrass genre that have always considered it inbred hillbilly music. That is until the light is in their favor. Suddenly, they are proudly one of the bluegrass fold, the elite, whatever you call it. Then, it is a whole different story. Then, they turn into hosts for the IBMA awards show…

  13. Rick
    December 30, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Wow, a post from Randy Kohrs here at The 9513! Now if we can just get Randy and Jon W. into a spirited discussion of the bluegrass music scene today, it would be awesome! I’ve encountered the “bluegrass purist faithful” types at Cherryholmes concerts here in the Los Angeles area and they scare the crap out of me! Bluegrass fans have divided themselves into more cliques than high school jocks and cheerleaders! As Ronald Reagan might have said “Bluegrass Fans, Tear Down These Walls!”. (lol)

  14. Jon
    December 31, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I’m afraid a discussion between Randy and me about the bluegrass scene today wouldn’t be very spirited, Rick, since we see the parameters of bluegrass and the, um, shortcomings of the bluegrass police in pretty much the same way. He’s played on quite a few of my favorite albums of recent (and not so recent) years, and made some excellent ones of his own; I love his work on a couple of songs of mine that have been recorded by other artists (Dwight McCall and Missy Werner), and he did a great job playing on and mixing the April Verch album I co-produced last year. Randy’s one of the good ones in this bidness!

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