JC’s Top Americana Music 2008


1 jan. 2009, 1h12m

JC’s Top Americana Music 2008
(the not-all-new-music edition)

Most Top Albums lists concentrate on New Music released that year. I would, too, but I’m not. For one, I discovered a good bit of old music via lost.fm this year’s that’s still new to me. I also finished up my exercise to listen thru all the CDs in my music library. Again, a good deal of my old music is new to my digital ears. There’s also the fact that last.fm got the scrobble-thing to work to track iPod tracks on synch, so that more accurately reflects my listening habits for the year.

Mostly, tho, is the fact I was broke and was more judicious in my new music purchases this year—part of that 20% decline in CD sales this year. Doing my part for fiscal discipline. Plus now four years gone from my DJ gig, the world goes on and they’re not sending me many comp CDs for me to review. Just saying.

Top Artists Scrobbled thru Last.fm in 2008
1. Alison Krauss / Alison Krauss & Union Station – Alison continues to rock my world, even tho I don’t really “get” her collaboration with Robert Plant (and I'm a Zep head, too).

2. Emmylou Harris – Again, not that I was impressed with her new release (I can’t even think of the name of the album w/o looking it up). I’ve just plain got a lot of Emmylou in my iPod, and the fact last.fm figured out how to scrobble iPod spins ups this number.

3. Dwight Yoakam – Dwight got loaded into digital at the end of the year.

4. Lyle Lovett – I did give Lyle’s 2007 release a lot of love this year, but again I’ve just plain got a lot of Lyle in my iPod. Also brings up the Alison Krauss/Union Sta issue above: I list “It’s Not Big It’s Large” as the packaging indicates: “Lyle Lovett & His Large Band” Sometimes music brainz changes one artist for the band, sometimes not. So is Lyle also Lyle Lovett & His Large Band? Maybe, maybe not.

5. Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around.

6. Graham Lindsey – Graham is the man. The man in Montana these days. Great new release “We Are All Alone In This Together” late late in the year, coming out for general distribution in January 2009. Hope he doesn’t get penalized by radio for the early direct mail effort.

7. Tom Russell – Still giving a lot of love to Tom after his small venue concert in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The man knows how to write a song I can relate to.

8. Cadillac Sky – A new fav late in the year thanks to Sacha72 recc. Saw them at MBOTMA summer bluegrass festival. Would drive far to see them jam again. Their first release heads up my Album list below, because I had it before the new album Gravity’s Our Enemy.

9. Townes Van Zandt – A new old favorite. I still have a lot to learn from Townes.

10. Cowboy Junkies – Old favs, reveled in Trinity Revisited over the summer.

11. Sand Sheff
12. Patty Griffin
13. Vince Gill
14. Drag the River
15. Gillian Welch
16. Hank III
17. Hank Williams
18. Nels Andrews
19. Brennen Leigh
20. Halden Wofford & The Hi-Beams

Top Albums Scrobbled in 2008.
1. Cadillac Sky - Blind Man Walking

2. Various Artists - For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records
3. Hank Williams - 20 Of Hank Williams' Greatest Hits
4. Buck Owens - 21 #1 Hits: The Ultimate Collection
5. Michael Martin Murphey - Cowboy Songs
6. Tom Russell - Indians Cowboys Horses Dogs
7. Buick Audra - SINGER*
8. Pop Wagner - Forty A Month And Found
9. Patty Loveless - Mountain Soul
10. Graham Lindsey - Famous Anonymous Wilderness

This list relies on lost.fm recognizing albums—they got A LOT better at that this year, but still have sometimes significant time lag for lesser-known new releases. Also, technically, A Very Special Acoustic Christmas is Album #3, but I’m inclined to follow radio SOP and discount holiday tracks. Not typical play.

*OK, I relent, top albums released in 2008 by spins (with above disclaimer):
Buick Audra - SINGER

Cadillac Sky - Gravity’s Our Enemy
Drag the River - You Can't Live This Way
Nels Andrews - Off track betting
Owen Temple - Two Thousand Miles

Special mention for best album title of 2008: Charlie Louvin Sings Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs

Top Tracks Scrobbled in 2008.
1. Choctaw Hayride – Had a bit of nostalgia for the theme song for my old radio show.

2. Cold, Cold Heart
3. If I Was a Horse
4. Plaid-lined Jacket
5. Tonight We Ride
6. Snowing on Raton
7. Born Lonesome
7. The Ballad Of Edward Abbey
7. No Way Out but Down
7. Firewater
7. Pancho And Lefty

Looking Forward to 2009
I have no idea. Surprise me 2009. Surprise me.



  • Sacha72

    You must have been so tired after writing this great reflection, that you even asked 2008 to surprise you... :)

    1 jan. 2009, 21h16m
  • jcshepard

    Oooops. Fixed that! Also for you Paid Participants, I put up a playlist from my Top 100 most played tracks of 2009.

    2 jan. 2009, 14h29m
  • felixxx999

    excellent list. i'm always checking to see what you're listening too. That Bloodshot records CD looks promising... I'm surprised I never listened to it.

    2 jan. 2009, 15h44m
  • jcshepard

    Bloodshot Records website has a changing variety of free downloads to whet yer appetite for their artists: http://www.bloodshotrecords.com Best thing out of Chicago since Shoeless Joe Jackson.

    2 jan. 2009, 16h16m
  • rockrobster23

    Unfathomably, I have never heard anything from Allison Krauss, not even her wildly popular collaboration with Robert Plant. Perhaps I should rectify that. In my defense, I am a hermit.

    2 jan. 2009, 18h18m
  • ChrisHein

    Hey buddy! Thx a lot! You really put a lot of effort in this! Will take a quite day to enjoy all the stuff you recommended her...hope it's worth it ;-)

    2 jan. 2009, 23h47m
  • jcshepard

    C-Sky is more hip than usual IBMA bluegrass, yet more traditional than most jambands/stringbands. That their album is out on Skaggs Family label says alot. Sacha saw 'em in France and gave me the tip. Put on a heck of a show, touring CO-UT-ID-WA-OR this month. I'm feeling guilty about neglecting the new issues. May have to remedy that if I can spend some quality snowed-in time.

    4 jan. 2009, 4h35m
  • MrModernRock

    I really need to seriously look into Miss Krauss and Emmylou Harris - I love the song they do together on [b]O Brother Where Art Thou?[/b]. Same goes for Dwight - I've been meaning to pick up some of his albums for over a year now. Cadillac Sky's album from this year was pretty good - I wasn't floored like I was hoping, but maybe I need to check out their earlier album. JC did you ever check out OCMS's most recent album or The Steeldrivers debut? I thought both were great, but The Steeldrivers just floored me - amazing album.

    7 jan. 2009, 1h30m
  • MrModernRock

    PS: As for 2009 you have... Neko Case Derek Trucks Thats all that comes to mind that is relevant here.

    7 jan. 2009, 1h31m
  • jcshepard

    I have to admit my judgement on Cadillac Sky is colored by seeing their live show this summer. They are certainly not so far on the scale towards the jamband or exteme stringband. Plus I hate GM. My fav Emmylou is her early work with Gram Parsons, then Wrecking Ball-Red Dirt Girl era. No so impressed with last album, like alot of the Americana Radio old guard seems, oh I dunno, kinda lazy. Just not terribly memorable. Neko is like sex poured straight from the bottle. Trucks is a bit, say, progressive for my usual listening but a very skilled musician.

    7 jan. 2009, 20h14m
  • MrModernRock

    I guess I'll have to make an effort to see Cadillac Sky sometime. I still need to pick up more Avett Bros. stuff after seeing them this past Summer - absolutely amazing band. JC, you'll have to try and keep me posted on good Americana/roots stuff this year. All I have on tap is Neko and I'm hoping the Avetts come out with their Rick Rubin produced album this year, too.

    11 jan. 2009, 17h38m
  • jcshepard

    Cross posted this at test blog: http://jcshepard.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/top-americana-music-2008/

    14 jan. 2009, 21h06m
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