AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Here are the results of the readers’ vote

Firstly a big thank you to our readers who voted in their droves. We really do appreciate your participation and love the brilliant list that your collective thoughts have generated. There were only six common albums in the writers’ and readers’ shortlists but also a great deal of agreement, as four of those albums made the readers’ top ten and actually occupied the top four positions! Although the series is called ‘top 10 americana albums ever’ we thought you’d like to see the full twenty. So here goes:

  1. Lucinda Williams – ‘Car Wheels on a Gravel Road’ (1998)
  2. The Band – ‘The Band’ (1969)
  3. Jason Isbell – ‘Southeastern’ (2013)
  4. Gram Parsons – ‘Grievous Angel’ (1974)
  5. The Jayhawks – ‘Hollywood Town Hall’ (1992)
  6. Peter Bruntnell – ‘Normal for Bridgwater’ (1999)
  7. Son Volt – ‘Trace’ (1995)
  8. Ryan Adams – ‘Heartbreaker’ (2000)
  9. Emmylou Harris – ‘Wrecking Ball’ (1995)
  10. Jackson Browne – ‘Late for the Sky’ (1974)
  11. Whiskeytown – ‘Stranger’s Almanac’ (1997)
  12. Grateful Dead – ‘American Beauty’ (1970)
  13. Gene Clark – ‘No Other’ (1974)
  14. Guy Clark – ‘Old No. 1’ (1975)
  15. Steve Earle – ‘El Corazón’ (1997)
  16. The Jayhawks – ‘Tomorrow the Green Grass’ (1995)
  17. Ryan Adams – ‘Gold’ (2001)
  18. Cowboy Junkies – ‘The Trinity Session’ (1988)
  19. Dillard & Clark – ‘The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark’ (1968)
  20. Gene Clark – ‘White Light’ (1971)

So that’s it for this series. Thanks again to all the writers and readers who have participated. Your final comments are, as ever, very welcome.


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About Clint West 273 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. For me, the most interesting part of the feature for me was the individual Top 10’s. This is where the real gems were to be discovered. Any chance you could start an open-ended list along the line of Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of the 70s Jukebox?

    • Hi Ross, I’m glad that you enjoyed the series. I must admit that I wasn’t familiar with the Johnnie Walker series but having taken a look I quite like the idea. We get lots of suggestions and ideas for features and we do consider them all. Thanks.

  2. Love this. Usually lists have little in them to interest me. But I own 15 of these albums and 3 of them are in my own personal top ten all-time favourites list.

  3. Certainly no arguments with any inclusions here. When the scope is so vast, including 70s albums, it sure makes a top twenty very much based on, perhaps, the age cross-section of the reviewers. For me, a narrower profile, perhaps starting from Uncut’s infamous ‘Sounds of The New West‘ in 1998, would have been better, but we all have a different starting point, I guess.

    A few highlights for me over the last twenty years, not included here: Lambchop ‘Nixon’, Josh Rouse’s ‘Dressed up…’, Kathleen Edwards’ ‘Failer’, Jim White’s ‘No such place’, Richmomd Fontaine’s ‘Post to Wire, Pernice Bros ‘Overcome by happiness’, Mary Gauthier’s ‘Drag queens…’ and Damien Jurado’s ‘Where shall you take me?’

    I agree with Ross – it’s the individual contributions which reflect the superb and eclectic range of this genre. Certainly, it has enriched my life, and has made hooks for memories of past times.

    A thought for another exercise… which artists deserve recogition for their contribution to the genre? (a hall of fame for Americana?) Thanks for the inspirations for new artists!

    • Hi Patrick, thanks for taking the time to write. I agree that it is very difficult to define the parameters of ‘americana’ Certainly our readers tended far more towards the nineties with their selections than the writers did. At some point, after a suitable break, we intend to return with a ‘Top 10 americana albums of the 21st Century’ feature, which will be fascinating. Unti then though, keep enjoying the site, spread the word and thanks again for your support.

  4. There’s a fair point to be made that perhaps Emmylou Harris is the biggest winner of this poll? Not only is one of her albums in top ten, she features (off top of my head) on gravel road, grievous angel of course, heartbreaker and el corazon. Some achievement, to put it mildly. Agreed on point above that personal lists were the most interesting to most likely to throw out curve balls. 21st century list sounds like a great idea. Great series anyway, thanks!

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