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Best Country Albums of 2013: Midway Report


A tentative ranking of Country California's best country albums of January through June 2013, ordered roughly from top to bottom but not numbered because I am a quivering pool of indecision. Ashley Monroe - Like a Rose Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer, Different Park Jason Isbell - Southeastern Slaid Cleaves - Still Fighting the War Pistol Annies - Annie Up Chris Wall - El Western Motel Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis - Cheater's Game The … [Read more...]

Prime Cuts: January 2013

Feeling Mortal album cover

As my dear old Grandpa used to say, it's not how many times you fall down that matters, but how many times you get back up.* In that spirit, I'll ignore the fact that Prime Cuts came completely off the rails toward the end of last year and kick off 2013 with the greatest optimism, as if there hadn't been a months-long lapse in coverage. Here are the best country album tracks of January 2013, listenable as a quick-and-dirty Amazon sampler (below) or a robust Spotify playlist (bottom of … [Read more...]

10 Current Country Singles That Aren’t Completely Terrible

Miranda Lambert

It's been about half a year since our last roundup of likable country radio singles, which seems to be just enough time for playlists to turn over and a new batch of songs worth mentioning to come along. If you're listening more than once every six months, you're hearing a lot of the same stuff over and over... and it's not necessarily the best stuff, either. If you're still somewhat interested in what's happening on FM radio, this'll catch you up quickly without the corny DJs and hip-hop … [Read more...]

Ain’t Dead Yet: 21 Albums That Kept Traditional Country Music Alive in 2012

Lindi Ortega - Cigarettes and Truckstops

With AM Country Heaven and The Time Jumpers topping my Best Country Albums of 2012 list, it's fair to say that I found 2012 a pretty great year for real country music. Still, you can't cram everything into a finite number of slots. So here's an addendum of other recordings that didn't land within my Top 20 but should be to the liking of folks whose tastes, like mine, tend to run toward the more traditional side of things. Investigate them further on Amazon: Alan Jackson - Thirty Miles … [Read more...]

Songs, Singles, EPs, Reissues: The Other “Best of 2012″ Lists


For posterity, other lists assembled in this latest season of ranking, to subtly infect the Engine 145 and Nashville Scene polls with some of my own obsessions. Best Country Songs of 2012 1. Jason Eady - "AM Country Heaven" 2. Gretchen Peters - "Five Minutes" 3. Ashley Monroe - "Like a Rose" 4. Darrell Scott - "Someday" 5. Alan Jackson - "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore" 6. Jason Eady - "Old Guitar and Me" 7. Chelle Rose - "Alimony" 8. Josh Turner - "Pallbearer" 9. Don … [Read more...]

Country California’s Best Country Albums of 2012


After much deliberation, here's the closest I'll get to a Best of 2012 list satisfying all my personal biases. No commentary provided, but all discussion and alternate rankings quite welcome. 20. Corb Lund - Cabin Fever 19. Various Artists - KIN: Songs by Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell 18. Rodney Hayden - Atascosa Sand 17. Old Crow Medicine Show - Carry Me Back 16. Shooter Jennings - Family Man 15. Gretchen Peters - Hello Cruel World 14. Turnpike … [Read more...]

Prime Cuts: September 2012

Janis Martin album cover

With the end of 2012 approaching fast, it's time to get serious about rounding up the year's best tracks. Here are our picks for the best country album tracks of September. This edition is sixteen songs strong, playable as a 7-minute Amazon sampler or a full 47-minute Spotify playlist, and virtually guaranteed to contain cool stuff you haven't heard yet. Widgets Who else do you know simultaneously recommending songs by Janis Martin, Chris Knight, and Big & Rich? Whether you … [Read more...]