AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: The readers’ shortlist – Vote now!

We asked you for your choices and your response was overwhelming, so a big thank you to our readers for your nominations. In total 235 different albums were nominated. Bob Dylan had six different albums nominated but failed to make the shortlist – a case of spreading his votes too thinly perhaps? This theory is supported by the fact that of the five further artists that were nominated for five different albums, only Steve Earle and Peter Bruntnell made the shortlist, John Prine, Richmond Fontaine and Neil Young all narrowly failing to make the cut.

So how does our readers’ list compare to our writers’ list? The overlap was a mere six albums and two that appeared on the writers’ shortlist failed to get a single nomination from our readers. The average age of the readers’ albums is more recent than the writers’ list, something that some have criticised us for. Nevertheless, there are still two sixties and six seventies albums included. Our readers seem to regard 1992 – 2001 as something of a golden age with no less than ten of the twenty albums on the shortlist coming from that ten year period [Editor’s note – I concur!] The other criticism the writers’ list received was the small representation of female artists. However, the readers’ list is even more male-dominated. Both of these issues are subjects that we here at AUK would like to explore and debate further, but that is probably best done after the the final readers’ top 10 is decided.

The Readers’ Shortlist:

Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker (2000)
Ryan Adams – Gold (2001)
The Band – The Band (1969)
Jackson Browne – Late For The Sky (1974)
Peter Bruntnell – Normal For Bridgwater (1999)
Gene Clark – White Light (1971)
Gene Clark – No Other (1974)
Guy Clark – Old No.1 (1975)
Cowboy Junkies – Trinity Session (1988)
Dillard & Clark – The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark (1968)
Steve Earle – El Corozon (1997)
Grateful Dead – American Beauty (1970)
Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball (1995)
Jason Isbell – Southeastern (2013)
The Jayhawks – Hollywood Town Hall (1992)
The Jayhawks – Tomorrow The Green Grass (1995)
Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel (1974)
Son Volt – Trace (1995)
Whiskeytown – Strangers Almanac (1997)
Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (1998)


Vote Now!

Vote for your top THREE from the shortlist below. If you have any issues with voting then please email your choices to When all the votes are in we will publish our Reader’s Top 10. Closing date is midnight (BST) on Sunday April 4th.

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About Clint West 208 Articles
From buying my first record aged 10 and attending my first gig at 14, music has been a lifelong obsession. A proud native of Suffolk, I have lived in and around Manchester for the best part of 30 years. My idea of a perfect day would be a new record arriving in the post in the morning, watching Ipswich Town win in the afternoon followed by a gig and a pint with my mates at night,


  1. Wow. Having smirked and lightly mocked all your contributors who started their top ten Greatest Americana albums with “this is really hard” I just feel I need some cathartic release in explaining my own 3 choices. I don’t care if anyone reads this – I just need to get it out. I didn’t select ‘Car Wheels’ sorry Lucinda as it is about my favourite and defo my go to drinking album, nor did I go for Grievous Angel or Jayhawks, similarly all time faves. My rational was to separate a more defined country sound from Americana. They may well be 3 of my fave country albums of all time. So Ryan Adam’s (and pleased to see we haven’t cancelled him), Isbell and The Band make up my own definition of Americana rather than country. I have now satisfied myself in defining Americana quite clearly as ……. erm just different to out and out country except for the occasions it crosses over, maybe, and perhaps not completely.
    There you go – I feel much better. I think.
    Or should I put Lucinda back in? Damn!

    • Probably less interesting than you think. You could probably guess most of them bar a few idiosyncratic choices. Probably too much work for relatively little gain. Sorry.

  2. Like everyone else I struggled with a top three. My top three did not include some of my favourite albums of all time which did make the top 20: Late For The Sky, The Band, No Other. Why? I didn’t discover what ‘Americana’ was (or wasn’t) long after I bought and listened to those albums. They were just great albums by great artists – unlabelled/unclassified.
    My choices, therefore, were chosen from when I became aware that a new genre had been identified.
    My three selections made it to the final countdown.

  3. What!…..No JJ Cale? His debut album ‘Naturally’ is Americana gold in itself. From the fabulous cover art ‘Racoon’ painting welcoming you in, to the Moonshine dulcet tones of Ol’J J’s voice, the whole record oozes a classic back-porch rocking-chair-mellow radiance…..and that’s before you even consider the music. Apparently, Cale was persuaded to do the album after Eric Clapton had chart success with a cover of ‘After Midnight’,but JJ had more up his sleeve…..from the opener ‘Call Me the Breeze’ to ‘Crazy Mama’, with ‘Magnolia’ being a personal favourite…..Besides, any album that features the touch of guitar-maestro Mac Gayden (of Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry fame) has to be worth the price of entry.

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  1. Something for the (long) weekend: Fountains of Wayne “Workingman’s Hands” – Americana UK

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