1 Willie Nile – American Ride– he’s been making great music since the 80s, and this pledgemusic funded one finds him at the top of his game
2 The Kinks – Kinda Kinks– In one of my favorite songs from last year, Dr. Pants’ “The Cassette Song”, David Broyles claims the first five Kinks albums are their best, and as a fan of singer-songwriter Ray Davies, and someone who only owned a “best of ” their early days, I had to check it out. Played a lot of Kinks this year.
3 Jon Emery Sings the Songs of Gene Clark– Gene Clark is one of my favorite singers and songwriters, and Jon Emery does him complete justice on this beautiful album.
4 Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park– Yes, she’s popular in the Country world, but her songs are among the best. Texas woman from just up the road from us.
5 Craig Marshall – Hiding In The Doorway– former popmeister Marshall makes a move toward singer-songwriter with terrific, well defined results. He’s still Pop, his country is like Elvis Costello singing country, but he’s found a sound that suits him well.
6 Ron Sexsmith – Long Player Late Bloomer underrated pop songwriter with a couple songs on this CD that continually break my heart. Lovely music.
7 John Fogerty – Wrote a Song for Everyone– I didn’t really expect to like this album. Those songs are so ingrained in my head and heart that I wasn’t sure I needed to hear duets of them 40 years later. But Fogerty hasn’t sounded so alive in years, at least five or six of the songs are redefined and reenergized, Miranda Lambert does the best “Wrote A Song For Everyone” ever, Fogerty has two new songs that are also his best in years, and nobody seems to have phoned anything in. And the songs are as great as ever.
8 Grateful Dead – Live Rarities– Most of what I like on here is a lot from 71-73, my favorite Dead period. Also released was Europe ’72, part two, including a beautiful “Looks Like Rain”.
9 The Byrds – The Byrds [BOX SET] [Disc 1] – I have no idea how this CD got this much play, except that I still love the Byrds and play them a lot. More than I thought, apparently.
10 Ian Hunter – When I’m President – 70+ year old Ian Hunter continues to make great, rocking albums
Almost in the top 10 and worth mentioning:
Chris Wall – El Western Motel, Willie Nelson – Country Music, Amanda Shires – Down Fell the Doves, Jason Isbell – Southeastern