The end of a year brings a sense of both relief and retrospection.This past year brought my first visit to the International Bluegrass Music Association’s blowout in Raleigh, NC. It was an overwhelming musical adventure (from one not easily overwhelmed).
Every year I find, upon looking back, all the releases that I missed. While impossible to listen to every new release, I tried to compile my favorites this past year. My fondness for certain artists and their latest projects is biased by the guests that appear on my radio show. Prior to an appearance, I spend a large amount of time researching and listening to these particular musicians. As a result of this familiarity and my work in preparation, my end of year lists may differ from a national music magazine or certainly lists which include different genres of music. This list is for a body of work (album or CD) rather than a single song. This distinguishes me as old (guilty) and intrigued by the concept of a musician’s work released as a concept rather than “just’ a loose collection of songs. Each of these dozen or so releases include multiple songs which appealed to me as well as the idea of the larger work conceptually.
I rearranged the list several times even during the actual radio broadcast. As a result, the albums could be interchangeable in terms of order. All of these releases were among my favorites for many weeks. I hope you enjoy listening to them again this year. The audio is broken up into two distinct hours for ease of listening.
For those unable to listen to the top “Nine”. Here’s a synopsis of my faves for the year; I started with some Honorable Mentions including Eric Lee’s “Heartache Town”,Pharis and Jason Romeros’ “Sweet Old Religion”,Town Mountain’s “New Freedom Blues”,and Rosanne Cash’s “She Remembers Everything” Those are just the Honorable Mentions!!
Tied for Ninth is Kaia Kater’s “Grenades’ and Mary Gauthier’s “Rifles and Rosary Beads”. Eight best is Becky Buller’s “Crepe Paper Heart”. Seventh this year is I’m With Her’s debut “See You Around”. Hawktail’s gorgeous release “Unless” is our Number Six. Amy Helm’s disc “This Too Shall Light” comes in at #5. Missy Raines’ “Royal Traveler”is our number Four. Tied for third are two mainstays; Brandi Carlile’s latest “By the Way, I Forgive You” and Kasey Musgreaves “Golden Hour”. Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s duo project “From Downey to Lubbock” is my runner up this year to John Prine’s “The Tree Of Forgiveness” which is Nine Volt Heart’s Top Album of 2018.