I will post a full top 10 list at the end. In the meantime, I am going to explore each record in my top 10 and why I selected them. Again, this is not a "Best of". It is the albums that I've heard and resonated with me personally. There is some really good stuff out there that doesn't make my list because, well, it's my list. There's a lot of stuff I haven't even heard. Maybe you'll like some of it.
I'm guessing that William Clark Green's Ringling Road is not going to show up on a lot of year end lists. But it showed up on mine.
My criteria is not what is innovative or iconic or groundbreaking. It's an album I can listen to without skipping songs. Basically it's road trip music. Put it on, crank it, listen to it and drive. But it's also back porch, drinking with friends music. Put it on, chill, listen to it and enjoy. Confused yet?
The offering from Texas/Red Dirt artist William Clark Green is everything one would expect from a good Texas/Red Dirt record. Country, raucous country, Southern rock. But what you also get from Ringling Road is a collection 11 very well-written songs, regardless of how you'd like to classify it.
The opening song on the record, "Next Big Thing", chronicles how hard the music industry is right now without sounding bitter.
"Creek Don't Rise" may be the most "country" sounding song on the record. And it's good. But that is followed by my favorite song on the album, the title track "Ringling Road" with its thinly veiled homage to the Grateful Dead song "Casey Jones". Or at least that's how I hear it, I have no insight, but with the lyrics:
The trapeze guys are all high on cocaine that they bought from the guy who used to drive the train.That reminds of this from "Casey Jones":
Drivin' that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones you better watch your speed."Ringling Road", the song, also is the kind of loose, greasy stuff you might hear from Texas legend Ray Wylie Hubbard.
If you like Texas/Red Dirt country, country, Southern Rock and the occasional outlier, check this out.