Top Country Albums of the Decade (#60-#51)

Staff | December 4th, 2009

post_top-albums

The “comeback” effort from three Chicks, as well as Taylor Swift’s debut album, land near the mid-section of our countdown of the decade’s best country albums, but this 10-disc installment is best characterized by it’s Southwestern flair; Texans Kris Kristofferson, Amber Digby, Guy Clark and Dale Watson join the march across the halfway point as we work our way to #1.

  • Amigo (2001)60. Amigo (2001) – David Ball

    “Riding With Private Malone” was the hit, but the rest of the album was the revelation: the staid traditionalism of Ball’s earlier albums had scarcely hinted at the distinctive Southwestern flair he brought to this party. He croons, swings, waltzes, polkas, and yodels his way through this largely self-written set, as light on his toes as a tumbleweed across a West Texas plain. — CM Wilcox

  • Blood And Candle Smoke (2009)59. Blood And Candle Smoke (2009) – Tom Russell

    You may not have heard of folksinger Tom Russell, but you’ve certainly heard his songs, which have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, and other big guns. Blood and Candle Smoke is a rootsy journey from Africa to the American Southwest, featuring insightful lyrics and stunning imagery. 2009′s been a good year for Russell: he also teamed up with Gretchen Peters for the excellent folk-country album One to the Heart, One to the Head. — Juli Thanki

  • Taking The Long Way (2006)58. Taking The Long Way (2006) – Dixie Chicks

    The Dixie Chicks were once the future of country music, but that future came to an abrupt end following Natalie Maines’ controversial comments in the spring of 2003. When the band emerged three years after “the incident,” it did so with defiant album that sounded nothing like its predecessors–and which stood zero chance of finding a home at country radio. Produced by Rick Rubin, Taking The Long Way went on to sell millions of copies and win five GRAMMYs without the support of a hit single. The highlight of this immensely personal and often angry collection is the opening tri-fecta of “Taking The Long Way,” “Easy Silence” and “Not Ready To Make Nice,” all three of which were co-written by the Chicks and Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson. — Jim Malec

  • Easy Money (2007)57. Easy Money (2007) – John Anderson

    John Rich produced this memorable album that relies heavily on Anderson’s distinctive baritone vocals and steel-guitar laced honky-tonk anthems like “Brown Liquor” as much as the couple of terrific obligatory ballads like “Bonnie Blue” (co-penned by Cowboy Troy). It’s the John Anderson, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard collaboration on “Willie’s Guitar” that is the highlight of the album, however–worth the price of admission alone. — Ken Morton, Jr.

  • Workbench Songs (2006)56. Workbench Songs (2006) – Guy Clark

    A performance of “Out In The Parking Lot” once prompted Joe Ely to quip that he could almost see the dust rising off the stage. It’s a song that packs imagery worthy of a Larry McMurtry novel into less than five minutes and it’s that same penchant for imagery that spills over into most of Clark’s writing, especially on Workbench Songs, where he describes an especially windy season in Texas and a woman leaving a rodeo clown for a bull rider in a way only Clark can. — Brody Vercher

  • Whiskey Or God (2006)55. Whiskey Or God (2006) – Dale Watson

    Mr. Ameripolitan himself rings in at a respective No. 55; the oft-times defensive Watson is probably the purest traditional country artist of the decade–and Whiskey Or God is most certainly his best effort. There’s no filler on this album–only two of the songs are more than three minutes long–but those two-minute vignettes cut right to the point, and Watson’s rumbling vocals make you believe every word–whether it be about a cross-dressing trucker or a lonesome night with tequila. — Pierce Greenberg

  • Halos & Horns (2002)54. Halos & Horns (2002) – Dolly Parton

    Dolly Parton uses her magnificent and distinctive set of pipes to make each song her own, even when the material seems well outside her typical wheelhouse, such as on Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” and Bread’s “If.” With haunting vocals on the spiritual numbers “Hello God” and “Raven Dove” and her signature songwriting on “These Old Bones” and “Sugar Hill,” Halos and Horns is vintage Dolly. — Ken Morton, Jr.

  • Taylor Swift (2006)53. Taylor Swift (2006) – Taylor Swift

    Young and attractive, Taylor Swift shouldn’t sound so good, but she sprang forth fully formed. If she wasn’t quite a mature artist on her self-titled debut, she nevertheless showed a compositional knack for pop hooks and incisive songwriting. To her credit, she played to her own demographic, and it was her youthfulness that made “Our Song” and “Teardrops on My Guitar” so charmingly exuberant and so genuinely heart-rending, respectively. — Stephen M. Deusner

  • This Old Road (2006)52. This Old Road (2006) – Kris Kristofferson

    After a decade without an album of new material, Kristofferson released This Old Road in 2006, garnering comparisons to Cash’s late-life epic American recordings. Like those records, he’s in a reflective mood, trying to make sense of life, and a mostly acoustic setting, but there’s plenty of the political fight left in him that he’s known for as he sings about perceived injustices in the world. The only stupid man is one who thinks he knows everything or one unwilling to learn and Kristofferson is still in awe and humbled by life and creation itself; while he thinks he has some of the answers, he knows he doesn’t have them all and those open to conflicting ideas might just discover deeper truths. — Brady Vercher

  • Here Come The Teardrops51. Here Come The Teardrops – Amber Digby

    Hundreds of wannabe singers descend upon Nashville each year, but Music City native Amber Digby reversed course, trekking to Texas so her swinging country style could blossom. She perfected her winning formula on Here Come The Teardrops, a marginalized, modern-day classic that recalls the best of Connie Smith. Digby tears into the opening track, hard-country shuffle “Hinges on the Door,” then resurrects the bleak George Jones chestnut “Flame in My Heart” with equal aplomb. — Blake Boldt

  1. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Taylor Swift does not in anyway deserve to be mentioned in the same list as the great Guy Clark or Dale Watson. Its like putting up the Brady Bunch to The Wire or The Sopranos.

  2. Paul W Dennis
    December 4, 2009 at 8:43 am

    This is a good batch of albums – I don’t have the Tom Russell CD (I like his songs but not his vocals) but I’ve got the rest although the Chix CD is not among my favorites and contains a song on it that would be in my top five list for ‘Worst Singles of The Decade’

    I have Amber’s album in my personal top ten list. I hope to hear much more of her

  3. Paul W Dennis
    December 4, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Nice analogy Steve

  4. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Young and attractive, Taylor Swift shouldn’t sound so good …

    Um, she doesn’t sound so good. How the heck did this piece of tripe rank higher than a Dale Watson album?

  5. Andrew
    December 4, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Love that David Ball album. Hopefully we’ll see Freewheeler somewhere in the top 50.

  6. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Thanks Paul. My 10th cup of coffee this morning must have provided inspiration.

  7. Jon
    December 4, 2009 at 9:07 am

    There’s no filler on this album–only two of the songs are more than three minutes long…

    Kind of non sequitur, that.

  8. kevin w
    December 4, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Nice to see the Taylor haters out in full force.

  9. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 9:40 am

    You mean people with taste Kevin?

  10. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 9:41 am

    He means people over the age of 12.

  11. Jon
    December 4, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Ah, yes, the old “if your taste is different than mine, then yours sucks” gambit. It never gets old, does it? I’d say that attitude is a surer sign of immaturity than is a particular musical preference.

  12. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

    And I love Taylor Swift defense because I work for her record company gets old too.

  13. Jon
    December 4, 2009 at 10:52 am

    And I love Taylor Swift defense because I work for her record company gets old too.

    Huh?

  14. prior
    December 4, 2009 at 10:54 am

    taking the long way at number 58?
    i call bullshit
    guess jim still holds a grudge against them for winning all those grammys

  15. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Why else would anyone defend her artistic merits? its like defending the coaching of Lane Kiffin.

  16. prior
    December 4, 2009 at 10:58 am

    sorry jim, that was mat c

  17. prior
    December 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    dont like taylor swift either, but i think she’s ranked a little to high(low?) she’s the most relevant country artist (saleswise)today and she’s probably going to walk away with the grammy for album of the year

  18. Jim Malec
    December 4, 2009 at 11:15 am

    The fact that you don’t like Taylor Swift’s music doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Both of her albums were solid efforts full of great songs. I get that you think anything having to do with teenagers must be inherently worse than the stuff you like, but it just ain’t so.

  19. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Well Jim i just disagree. Popular, yes. But so was KC and the Sunshine Band. And neither acts are particularly groundbreaking or innovative.

  20. Ben Milam
    December 4, 2009 at 11:23 am

    the list kind of lost cred for me when it included big and rich. now taylor swift shares a spot in the same group as dolly parton, dale watson, guy clark and kris. it just gets more and more comical. can’t wait to see who else is on the list.

  21. Jim Malec
    December 4, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Yes, how dare we recognize that mainstream country music can also be good.

  22. Jon
    December 4, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Why else would anyone defend her artistic merits?

    Because they see them differently than you do, duh.

    its like defending the coaching of Lane Kiffin.

    Um, no.

  23. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Mainstream music can be good-see Jaime Johnson. But Taylor Swift is no Jaime Johnson.

  24. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 11:31 am

    And of course that should read Jamey Johnson-I always want to seem to correct it.

  25. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I’m on board with most of the entries on the list, but I find it absolutely bizarre that someone with Swift’s limited vocal ability appears twice.

  26. Jim Malec
    December 4, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Fortunately, albums are not solely defined by singing ability.

  27. Matt B.
    December 4, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Razor,

    Since when is “limited vocal range” a factor for making a CD worthy of being on such a list? If that were the case then you’d have to tear Guy Clark, Tom Russell, Dale Watson, and David Ball from this very same list.

  28. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 11:42 am

    So we could strip the vocals off all the albums on this list and replace them with some schmo off the street and they’d all still be great albums??

  29. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Since when is “limited vocal range” a factor for making a CD worthy of being on such a list?

    You don’t think that being able to sing is a prerequisite for making a great album? I do, unless it’s an instrumental album. The others you mentioned may not have pretty voices, but they’re a damn sight better than Swift.

  30. Matt B.
    December 4, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Razor,

    Each artist on this list makes their albums work for what they are. I used those artists as a counterpoint to your complaint about her vocals.

    There are plenty of artists in country music who have VERY limited vocal range but they make their music work. I love Dale Watson and Kris Kristofferson, etc but I’d hardly call them ‘rangy’ singers. Same goes for Swift (who is a very, very good songwriter).

  31. Truersound
    December 4, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I think what he’s saying is great vocals a great album does not make. It’s a huge part no doubt but some like sacharine, some like salt

  32. Jim Malec
    December 4, 2009 at 11:47 am

    The same people who say that Kristofferson SHOLD be included even though he can’t sing are the people say that Swift shouldn’t be included because she can’t sing.

    This is a pointless argument that comes down, “I don’t like Taylor Swift because she’s not what I consider country music and I think she’s going to destroy the genre.”

  33. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 11:51 am

    The same people who say that Kristofferson shouldn’t be included even though he can’t sing are the people say that Swift shouldn’t be included because she can’t sing.

    Um, yeah? It’s called being consistent.

  34. Jim Malec
    December 4, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I had a typo in my previous comment.

  35. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I had a typo in my previous comment.

    Well, in that case, I take exception to your assumption. I don’t enjoy Kristofferson’s singing any more than I do Swift’s. I would choose to listen to any of his albums over any of hers because the material is infinitely superior, but I wouldn’t include him on my “best of” list, either.

  36. Ben Milam
    December 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    i guess some of the selections like big and rich, and taylor swift stick out so much is because they are right there amongst a lot of these legendary musicians, performers and songwriters. it’s kind of like having a rib eye, garlic mashed potatoes, a good red wine, and then all of a sudden you realize that someone put a big dollop of kraft mac and cheese on your plate. it’s good for what it is. it just doesn’t seem to fit with the other courses in my opinion.

  37. Kelly
    December 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    i think the people that have an issue with the placement of certain albums need to remember that compiling this list was a group effort that took many variables into account and should be viewed with a bit more nuance than “big and rich arent as kick-ass as kristofferson”…

  38. Jim Malec
    December 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Besides, let’s be realistic–Kristofferson is leagues ahead of Swift as a writer, but there’s little difference between he quality of material that appears on these two albums. Different doesn’t predicate a superior/inferior relationship.

  39. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Besides, let’s be realistic–Kristofferson is leagues ahead of Swift as a writer, but there’s little difference between he quality of material that appears on these two albums. Different doesn’t predicate a superior/inferior relationship.

    I’m not following you. Kristofferson is a better songwriter than Swift (I agree wholeheartedly) but there’s little difference in quality between his album and hers? How so? Admittedly, I haven’t heard the Kristofferson album, but if we’re acknowedging that neither one of them can sing well, then we’re judging these albums on the merits of the songwriting, correct? So if he’s leagues ahead of her in the songwriting department, why do you feel that there’s little difference in the quality of their albums??

  40. Leeann Ward
    December 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Yes, I think Kelly’s right. I wouldn’t put all of these on my personal list, but I understand why they’re there. The same thing goes with the list at Country Universe. More goes into these lists than what’s in one person’s personal collection or even taste range.

  41. Dan E.
    December 4, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I think it’s great that both of Swift’s albums were recognized on this countdown. She’s a very talented artist who gave us two great albums. Personally, I would have had these two make the top 50, but there seems to be a great balance between all kinds of country music on here. I’m enjoying this countdown.

  42. Kelly
    December 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks Leeann, I knew you would have my back :-)

    Besides, I had Notorius Cherry Bombs in my top 20, if I remember correctly. Obviously, the others didnt agree with me and that’s why it was closer to #100 than #20. I happen to think that’s the beauty of such a collaborative effort as this poll truly is.

  43. Jim Malec
    December 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    @Razor: Uh, because this album isn’t Kris’ best songwriting. Pretty simple concept. Great writers don’t always produce their best material.

  44. Stewman
    December 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    I also think we need to remind the “Swift doesnt belong with Kristofferson, Dolly, Guy Clark etc..” that this list is for this decade, not 1970′s. Its a hard concept just to look at 10 years and not the career discography of these legendary artist whose best work was not in this decade.

  45. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    … I also think we need to remind the “Swift doesnt belong with Kristofferson, Dolly, Guy Clark etc..” that this list is for this decade, not 1970’s. Its a hard concept just to look at 10 years and not the career discography of these legendary artist whose best work was not in this decade.

    Point taken, but there’s still a case to be made that Swift’s work is not on the same level as the 2000s output from Kristofferson, Dolly, Clark, etc.

  46. Stewman
    December 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I also think , in some small way, the juggernaut that has become Swift should be on the list from an “Impact” standpoint. Im bet not many people on this board would have either of Shania’s 90′s monsters in their top 100, but wouldnt deny that she changed the landscape.
    I think if we take a snapshot from various decades you would see similar records on each list. Does anyone think the Grammy’s actually has the best 5 of “anything”. It would seem highly odd if the best 5 country records were fringe/independant artists. Just the way it goes, and whether I think Swift is a good artist or not, she does belong on this list.

  47. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    If we’re talking about a list of the most influential albums or the ones that had the most impact, then there is no doubt that Swift belongs on the list. In fact, she’d need to be ranked higher than she is on this list. But if it’s a list of the best albums, that’s a different story altogether.

  48. Jim Malec
    December 4, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    So Razor, how does Swift have us all hoodwinked? Why do we think her music is better than it is?

  49. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    So Razor, how does Swift have us all hoodwinked? Why do we think her music is better than it is?

    She doesn’t have us all hoodwinked, Jim. I don’t know why some people are unable to see that the Empress has no clothes.

  50. Tara Seetharam
    December 4, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    “This is a pointless argument that comes down, “I don’t like Taylor Swift because she’s not what I consider country music and I think she’s going to destroy the genre.””

    I assume you’re talking about the arguments in this thread, because I’ve got a couple of other phrases I could stick after “I don’t like Taylor Swift because” (or rather, “I would not have included Taylor Swift on this list because”), and they’ve got nothing to do with genre. I think the great thing about these combined lists is that they reflect all the different qualities of music that different kinds of people grab onto – songwriting, vocals, interpretative ability, individuality. If we all placed the same amount of value on each quality, it would be a boring world.

    I’m loving the list, and am definitely discovering some new music as a result of it. Good stuff!

  51. Sheep
    December 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Here we go again with the Taylor Swift bashing.

    *skips over comments*

  52. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    If Taylor Swift is this high, does that mean we can expect Miley Cyrus yet to come?

  53. Paul W Dennis
    December 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Cut it out guys – Taylor Swift has considerable talent – she simply isn’t much of a singer.

    There are many artists whose albums will show up on this list (or any other list, for that matter) who are not among the All-Time Great vocalists. While my own focus tends to be on vocal abilities (which is why I rarely listen to the likes of John Prine, Kim Richey, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan etc), others focus on the song lyrics or the feel of the music (for the latter check out Springsteen’ THE SEEGER SESSIONS)

  54. Brady Vercher
    December 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    If Taylor Swift is this high, does that mean we can expect Miley Cyrus yet to come?

    Only when kids start growing beards because they want to be like Lincoln.

  55. Dan
    December 4, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Man, I still just don’t get Amber Digby. I respect her for making traditional music and all, and she’s got good material, but something about her singing style always sounds affected to me.

    I like Swift, but I’m not sure whether I’d put either of her albums in my personal top 100 or not. I think she easily beats most mainstream country nowadays in terms of effective writing and actual personality, but within the entire pool of country music, it’s hard to know where to stick her, especially since both albums (especially Fearless) are so pop-oriented, not to mention geared toward a non-adult audience (which, as far as I know, is a radically different approach for country music in terms of its general history). It becomes a real apples-and-oranges kind of problem, and a problem of not having appropriate historical precedents to refer to in judging a particular artist.

    All that said, I’m enjoying the countdown a lot. Great write-ups across the board, and I was especially glad to see that someone else loved Country Sunshine!

  56. Brenda
    December 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Great to see Dale’s “Whiskey or God” album at #55. I try to see him play live every chance I get, especially in Austin. He’s truly special and unique these days. Never sold out to pop music; never will.

  57. Noeller
    December 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of Taylor’s stuff, and between “Teardrops” and “Fifteen”, there wasn’t one song I could really stomach. With that said, this has become an argument of “I’m an old person – I don’t like anything that’s new or different! Everything from my youth is better than that of today’s youth!!” and that’s a lame argument.

    If you wanna argue actual merits and demerits, then fine – Taylor can’t sing at all, and almost all of her material is completely immature and ridiculous. With that said, it’s well written and well produced. The musicians are tight and everything sounds awesome. Aside from the singing ability, it’s absurd to say that Taylor is THAT bad.

    Some of you old folks need to realize that you’re arguing the wrong point.

  58. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    With that said, this has become an argument of “I’m an old person – I don’t like anything that’s new or different! Everything from my youth is better than that of today’s youth!!”

    It has?? I don’t recall anyone saying anything remotely like that.

  59. Leeann Ward
    December 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Some of you old folks need to realize that you’re arguing the wrong point.

    Who’re you calling old? And what’s old to you? Just as it’s rude to dismiss young people, it’s just as tasteless to be so disrespectful to people you perceive as old.

  60. Noeller
    December 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Arguing Kristoffersson vs. Swift is one of the most absurd things ever, and is strictly an age debate. “Kris is a way better songwriter than she is” – well, good lord, I sure hope so! She’s nineteen and he’s about a hundred!

    This really is an age debate.

  61. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Arguing Kristoffersson vs. Swift is one of the most absurd things ever, and is strictly an age debate. “Kris is a way better songwriter than she is” – well, good lord, I sure hope so! She’s nineteen and he’s about a hundred!

    This really is an age debate.

    It’s not an age debate. I’m not sure how old Kristofferson was when he first started writing songs, but I’ll put any of his earliest work up against anything of Swift’s any day.

  62. Jon
    December 4, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t know if it’s an age debate, but it’s an ineffably stupid one. Taylor Swift may have a limited vocal range, but it’s still a lot bigger than the metaphorical ones owned by some of the Johnny one notes around here.

  63. Steve M.
    December 4, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I’m 39-how does that make me old. That is the age country music use to market to. Remember when they made music for adults and not pre-teen girls?

  64. Syl
    December 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I’m not a Taylor “hater” but to rank both her albums higher than George Strait’s “Troubadour” is a sin and, frankly, ridiculous!!! Heck, both the CMA and the Grammys voted it Country Album of the Year. Taylor’s music is pop anyway, to put her in a “country” category anywhere is absurd.

  65. Leeann Ward
    December 4, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I’m still in my twenties and I’m not willing to call that old. I do not believe this is an age debate. I believe Ashley Monroe was the age that Taylor is now when she made her first album of first rate songs.

  66. Leeann Ward
    December 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    For the record, I’m pleased that Swift’s first album ranked higher than the current one. I just like that album better.

  67. t.scott
    December 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    On the album in question KK has a song he said he wrote at age 11.To be sure ,it’s not Sunday Morning Comin’ Down.I’ve said all along ,some of these “new artists” will fall by the wayside.Malec gave the criteria for the picks at the first of the series.I’m sure he expected the response he’s gotten.

  68. Matt B.
    December 4, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I think that one would have to include ‘impact’ that an album had on them and the genre in addition to the strength of the songwriting and vocal abilities. EVERYTHING about the album, including is success should be included in a list but NOTHING about one thing about an album should make it not part of these lists.
    This list is a huge undertaking that is fun to read and discuss. Good job y’all.

  69. Matt B.
    December 4, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    wow, nice spelling errors on this comment by me…

  70. Paul W Dennis
    December 4, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I am old (57), at least by the standards of this blog but, while my heart is with ET, Bob Wills Haggard & Jones, I understand the music must appeal to those younger than I or it either will become extinct or become a museum piece

    I am old enough to remember “Sturgeon’s Law”, which remains as true today as it ever was

  71. Leeann Ward
    December 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    In case I’ve forgotten to say it (I’ve thought it), I’m thoroughly enjoying this list/commentary, even when I don’t agree with specific entries.

  72. Rick
    December 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I was glad to see so many of the comments in this thread were about Taylor Swift. That way I can skip over them completely and know I didn’t miss anything important…

    Its nice to see Amber Digby included on this list, but as much as I like her voice all of her albums have been hit or miss. Usually they have a couple of “knock’em dead” songs and a bunch of pleasant tracks. I would have had this album up in the 80′s or 90′s as talented songwriters like Elizabeth Cook just rank a lot higher in my book over artists who sing songs written by others.

    The “Texas Artist Bias” factor of this list is really starting to become a bit ridiculous at this point! Where are all the great artists from California, huh?…Ooops, never mind.

  73. Razor X
    December 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I think that one would have to include ‘impact’ that an album had on them and the genre in addition to the strength of the songwriting and vocal abilities. EVERYTHING about the album, including is success should be included in a list but NOTHING about one thing about an album should make it not part of these lists.

    Impact isn’t necessarily a good thing, so why would it be a factor in determining which albums are the best? Likewise, quality and success don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

  74. Josh
    December 5, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Dang!! I feel the 9513 contributers and commentators certainly get my vote to replace all the politicians! :D Y’all certainly stand firm on your beliefs and I get a big kick out of the back-and-forth tennis match from hell going on around here…both young and old. Heck, I’d vote y’all just to replace the Demos and Repubs any day. Keep up the good work and I’ll gladly add onto any more musical research that comes my way.

  75. klark
    December 5, 2009 at 5:52 am

    i’m upset by the ‘bashing’ thing
    Taylor Swift is a good songwriter and deserves a slot in the list.

  76. merlefan49
    December 5, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I know this list was not easy to compile. I’m working on my own.

  77. Vance
    December 5, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Lol, Taylor Swift. What a joke.

  78. Sheep
    December 5, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    The fact that you don’t like Taylor Swift doesn’t mean she isn’t good. Both of her albums were solid efforts full of great songs. I get that you think everything having to do with teenagers must be inherently worse than the stuff you like, but it just ain’t so.

    Exactly my thoughts. She’s a great songwriter that works hard. She’s no doubt POP-country, but all that means is that’s what genre she is. That doesn’t classify her as bad. It just means she isn’t really country.

  79. Emgee
    December 5, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Jamey Johnson? The guy may have a few good songs, but he’s mediocre. And he has no stage presence live, either.

    Taylor Swift is an amazing artist. Just because she doesn’t fit into someone’s narrowminded 1960s definition of country music doesn’t mean she isn’t country.

  80. Stormy
    December 5, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    What if she fits sqaurely into someone’s narrow minded 1980′s definition of pop.

  81. Steve Harvey
    December 6, 2009 at 4:21 am

    I’m more interested that Swift’s debut record has rated higher than ‘Fearless’. I thought the consensus was the her second release was a maturation and progression from the first?

  82. Josh
    December 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Hey! When’s the next 100-countdown installment taken place?? Y’all had 3 of them rapidly posted and now it’s been a few days. Boo hoo!!!

  83. Jon G.
    December 7, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Good call on the David Ball, Dale Watson, and John Anderson albums. Easy Money is one of my all-time favorite CDs.

  84. Blake Boldt
    December 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    @Steve Harvey: I figured Fearless would rank above her debut, too. Her first album was good, but I felt she was more insightful on Fearless. Plus, the melodies stuck with me a lot longer on Fearless. I respect the tunesmithing, and she has a tone of voice that fits well with her material, but I’m holding out hope that she can develop her voice into a sturdier instrument. It will never be world-class, but it can improve with practice.

  85. david
    August 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    so what, Taylor swift made music
    whatever, but she does.

    really mathers which gener ??

    music is music.

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