The past 6 months have inundated us with so many good records that it is easy to let some slip through the cracks. By removing labels and just focusing on what is truly good in the music, you free yourself up to so many wonderful bands, songs and albums. 2015 has been deliriously great in the first half. Can the 2nd half, anchored by a new Turnpike release, eclipse or equal the first half? We shall see. In the meantime, here’s our informal Top 10 records at the halfway point (in no particular order). Also notice how none of them would be labeled “Texas/Red Dirt”…even the Randy/Wade one.
Chris Stapelton-Traveller. Quite simply, this record is simple and extraordinary all at the same time. Stapleton’s voice is rangy, yet always suits the songs. Country, rock, soul, folk, “Outlaw”…this man does it all and it’s the most listenable record to be released in a number of years.
Dawes–All Your Favorite Bands. These California folk rockers have been extremely buzzed about and championed for several years and albums, but this one feels like a masterpiece. Lyrics that rip your heart out and melodies that raise your pulse. A break-up record with groove.
Leon Bridges–Coming Home. Fort Worth soul throwback has gone from twin bills with Aaron Stephens in New Braunfels to The Tonight Show in under 12 months. Otis Redding would approve of this smooth collection and you should too.
Courtney Patton–So This Is Life. A Drew Kennedy produced collection that muses on this thing we do call life and all its various entanglements and entrapments. Love, loss, marriage, divorce, heartache and heartwarming. CP lays it all bare here.
Jamie Lin Wilson–Holidays and Wedding Rings. If one didn’t know better, you would htink this is some unearthed EmmyLou gem from the 70’s. Wilson’s distinctive, angelic singing voice locks itself in on the best collection of songs she’s put on one set.
Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen–Hold My Beer Vol. 1–-This album is far more than a reason to tour. It’s a strong group of the truest, old school country songs to get major airplay and buzz in years. Lloyd Maines makes all the right choices and turns all the right knobs here as RR and WB have never sounded like they’re having more fun…or more comfortable.
American Aquarium–Wolves . Sobriety brings fresh inspiration to BJ Barham and company on this release. These North Carolina road warriors took a few new chances and pushed themselves far beyond what they’d previously shown. A true benchmark for creativity in the Americana scene.
Uncle Lucius–The Light. Our favorite Uncle returned with a country jam band stomp that continues to deliver on the promise of earlier releases and showcases the dynamicness of their evolving live show experience.
Jason Isbell–Something More Than Free. Currently, the best artist we (America) have. Mind blowingly talented and evocative. No dropoff from the historic Southeastern release of 2013; if anything this album is more adventurous and daring. The best.
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s-Sonic Ranch. Along with the constantly rising Cody Jinks, arguably the closest thing to Waylon we probably have at the moment. Upper-soaked back-beats lace lyrics of whiskey and women. Turn it on and turn it up.