Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Honorable Mention Albums For 2016

These are the albums from 2016 that did not quite crack my top ten. Don't read anything into the order, because I didn't even order the top 10. Everything here is number 11.

These are non genre specific. Just albums that I heard and liked during 2016. A mainstream album will never make my top ten even if it is the best, because that's not what I do. But mainstream albums can make the honorable mentions list.

Also, it's my list. It's not right or wrong, it's just my list. And if I left out your favorite, it means one of two things, either I haven't listened to it or I didn't like it that much. If the latter, just my opinion, not a judgement.

Lori McKenna - The Bird and The Rifle
This is a good album. There is no reason it should not make a lot of country/Americana lists, just not mine. Oh and that Tim McGraw song "Humble and Kind"? Yeah, that's really a Lori McKenna song which is on this album.

Monster Truck - Sittin' Heavy
In my quest to prove that "rock ain't dead" Monster Truck exemplifies what I mean. They borrow from the 70s, 80s and 90s hard rock scenes and meld it all together in something that sounds classic but not dated.

Bonnie Bishop - Ain't Who I Was
A return, a redemption, a reinvention. Whatever. It's a heartfelt, soulful album. And if you like music, good music, you'll like this.

Dolly Shine - Walkabout
If this is indeed the swan song for Dolly Shine, they went out with their best album to date. Walkabout is a fantastic red dirt country/Southern rock album. I had dismissed their earlier stuff as generic red dirt, which it was, this album was not. Hope these guys come back in some incarnation.

Kate Vargas - Strangeclaw
Kate Vargas' second album Strangeclaw is jazzy, torchy, trippy, hipster-ish, quirky, kitschy while not losing the southwestern roots that Kate came from. The New Mexico native, now residing in New York, has put together eight songs that take the listener on a journey, not just through the album, but sometimes within a song.

Chelle Rose - Blue Ridge Blood
There are more aesthetically pleasing albums released this year. Rose's Blue Ridge Blood has no soaring vocals or slick production or flashes of instrumental virtuosity. What it does have is grit and groove and Appalachian swamp. Blue Ridge Blood is too real to be comfortable, too good to be ignored.

The Amorettes - White Hot Heat
The Amorettes second album White Hot Heat is a lot like their previous album Game On. And that is not a bad thing. When you hit upon something that works, why deviate? AC/DC has been doing it for years. The Amorettes are a trio from Scotland that has stripped everything down to guitar, bass and drums. And attitude. Straight up, no-frills, punch-you-in-the-face rock. For anyone old enough to remember, think Fastway. It's got that kind of vibe.

Diana Rein - The Long Road
Diana Rein's The Long Road is blues. It's rock. It's sultry. It's sweaty. It's unashamedly and unabashedly all Diana Rein all the time. It's good music. If you're a blues purist, this won't be for you, but if you're like me and like a little rock and pop and country in your blues, your can't go wrong with this album.

Shelly Fairchild - Buffalo
This is a late entry that almost didn't make because I didn't hear it until a couple of days ago. Released in late November, there will be an album spotlight coming out on this in a few days.

And finally, a couple of mainstream/well-know artists who released outstanding albums in 2016:
Eric Church - Mr. Misunderstood
Metallica - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct

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