Here it is folks: the annual review of the best music of the last year as decided by your favourite music writers. Or at least the ones who write for Americana UK (we don’t yet have a Tony Parsons Julie Burchill dynamic going on between any two writers but give us time). The dust has settled on the pints of crème de menthe, the scars are healing and we are all friends again. Here is our definitive list.
Jonathan Aird (News Editor): The Long Ryders “Final Wild Songs” (Cherry Red Records) All the albums, demos, unreleased and rare tracks and a whole concert, and it just proves there’s no such thing as too much of The Long Ryders. Read the review here.
Pete Churchill: Andy Shauf “The Party (Pity The Free Man Songs)
For sheer originality, a sublime and unique voice and for (sort of) resurrecting the ‘Concept Album’.
Paula Cooke: The Birds of Chicago “Real Midnight” (Five Head Entertainment) Real country soul, real good!
David Cowling (Lead Writer): David Thomas Broughton “Crippling Lack” Triple 12″ (Song By Toad/LeNoizeMaker/Paper Garden Records) I was having dinner with an American colleague a few weeks ago (how cosmopolitan of me) and he asked for some music recommendations, this record immediately sprung to mind, no hesitation, it’s mesmerising. Read the review here.
Michael Farley: Dori Freeman “Dori Freeman” (Free Dirt Records) Fantastic debut from 24 year old singer from Appalachia dripping in tradition and aided by quality production from Teddy Thompson. Read the review here.
Muff Fitzgerald: William Bell “This is Where I Live” (Stax)
The most soulful Americana of the year.
Keith Hargreaves: Peter Bruntnell “Nos Da Comrades” (Domestico Records) His time is here and now as evidenced by his best yet.
Rudie Humphrey (Interviews Editor): Paul Lagendyk “Shiny Rails to Nowhere” (Independent) Lagendyk’s throughly modern blue collar rock n roll masterpiece is home to one of the years greatest lines in song, “I’ve got steel toes and a warm heart”, and is chock full of juicy songwriting.
Maurice Hope: John Prine ”For Better, Or Worse” (Oh, Boy Records)
Old-style country duet record performed in exquisite fashion, timeless really.
Jeremy Searle (Deputy Editor): The Stray Birds “Magic Fire” (Yep Roc) The third album from this trio is a riot of gorgeous harmonies and great songs, beefing up their sound while not losing the deftness of touch and rural sensibility of their first two outings. Read the review here.
Paul Villers (Social Media Editor): Billy Bragg and Joe Henry “Shine a Light – Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad” (Cooking Vinyl) The Bard of Barking and chum do it authentically. Read the review here.
Mark Whitfield (Editor in Chief): Joe Purdy “Who Will Be Next?” (Mudtown Crier) A protest singer from Arkansas who manages to make challenging authority via music siund like the sweetest form of activism there is. Read the review here.