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.
- 10. 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.
- 9. 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.
- 8. 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.
- 7. 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.
- 6. 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.
- 5. 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.
- 4. 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.
- 3. 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.
- 2. 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.
- 1. 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.