Albums Of The Year


Stephen Rapid 20 albums of note 2014

In no particular order here are just some of the albums that I have

enjoyed and returned to throughout the year. All fall to some degree

into my definition of country music - given that that, in itself, is a 

pretty broad church:

Jeremy Pinnell OH/KY

JP Harris and there Tough Choices - Home Is Where The Hurt Is

Laura Benitez and the Heartache - Heartless Woman

Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer - The Flower Of The Muscle Shoals

Doug Seegers - Going Down To The River

Nikki Lane - All Or Nothin

Corb Lund - Counterfeit Blues

Cina Samuelson - Roots & Memories

Karen Jonas - Oklahoma Lottery

Mark Sinnis  - It’s Been A Long Cold Hard Lonely Winter

Hurray For The Riff Raff - Small Two Heroes

Sturgill Simpsom - Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

Paul Burch - Fevers

Jim Lauderdale - I’m A Song

Ben Miller Band - Any Way, Shape or Form

Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives - Saturday Night/Sunday Morning

Daniel Meade - Keep Right Away

Don Williams - Reflections

Ryan Bingham - Fear and Saturday Night

Ronnie Fauss - Built To Break


Paul McGee Top Ten Americana Releases 2014

Dawn Landes - Bluebird

Rosanne Cash - The River & The Thread

Lucinda Williams - Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone

Robert Ellis - The Lights From The Central Chemical Plant

Birds Of Chicago - Live From Space

Holly Williams - The Highway

Mary Gauthier- Trouble & Love

Eliza Gilkyson - The Nocturne Diaries

Jason Tyler Burton - Headwaters

Drive By Truckers - Built To Break


Sandy Harsch Top Ten Albums 2014

Dave & Phil Alvin - Common Ground (The Songs of  Big Bill Bronzy)

Unexpected, delightful and incredibly musical.

Zac Brown Band- The Grohl Sessions (Volume One)

Great combination of band and producer, loved them live @ the 2013 CMA Awards show.

Doobie Brothers - Southbound

A lot more country than a great deal of Nashville now – and can guest Doobies Chris Young and Charlie Worsham sing!

Earls of Leicester - Earls of Leicester

A labour of love for an all-star cast which works perfectly. The revelation is Shawn Camp’s hard high-lonesome vocals.

Hurray for the Riff-Raff - Small Town Heroes

Good songs, well sung, with a surprising honky-tonk edge.

Ben Miller Band - Any Way, Shape or Form

I feel like Butch Cassidy – who are these guys?! Doesn’t matter, they are unique and can really play great rough roadhouse music.

Red Molly - The Red Album

Saw them years ago at Merlefest and loved them and the Molls have just got better. Singing, song choice and writing are superb and live they are dynamite.

Sturgill Simpsom - Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

The most country voice since Jamie Johnson, he writes amazing songs and goes where most people don’t – into real country. An extraordinary album.

Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives - Saturday Night/Sunday Morning

Sin and salvation; Marty and the boys are at home in both, with Brother Kenny Vaughan’s fabulous guitar work to the fore. 

Lee Ann Womack - The Way I’m Livin’

One of the great voices in Nashville, Womack is now happy on an independent label, making superb music. Gorgeous song choices, powerful vocals.


Ronnie Norton’s Ten Top Albums 2014

Here’s my list of the 10 albums that particularly caught my eye and ear during the last year. 

Because I listen to so many types of music I have not listed them in a "No1 and downwards” 

order. Let’s just say they are all joint No1’s: 

We Banjo 3 - Gather The Good 

Two sets of brothers with a genre defying album that takes Celtic Crossover to a whole new level. 

They are on a quest for world domination and 2015 could well be their year.

True North - Elsebound    

"It’s Bluegrass, Jim, but not as we know it”  Fell in long distance love with Kristen Grainger’s voice

and the band’s original songs and approach to my sort of music. Definitely my tastiest find of the year.

Four Wheel Drive - Travelling Kind    

Europe’s finest Bluegrass band, loosely based in The Netherlands. But the addition of the crystal clear 

and pure “Country“ voice of regular guest vocalist Jolanda Peters keeps this CD right in the front of my 

"must play regularly” box.

Driven - You’ll Be Lonely And I’ll Be Gone 

Released in late 2013 this sneaks in because Driven got right to me from my very first listen. This slightly 

west of Nashvile band represents for me all that is hopeful for the future of Bluegrass music

Irene Kelley - Pennsylvania Coal 

Carrying a real guilt feeling because I took so long to give this little gem a proper listen. Her first album in 

over 10 years with a stellar line up of Bluegrass’s finest musicians makes and Irene’s amazing voice and 

songwriting makes “Pennsylvania Coal” a real diamond in the rough.

The Earls Of Leicester - The Earls Of Leicester 

Too little space here to give Jerry and the boys the credit they deserve. A tribute to Flatt and Scruggs that 

has been brewing in Jerry’s mind for years. Destined to be a long term classic album by the cream of the 

Bluegrass world’s very best musicians.

Crowe, Lawson And Williams - Standing Tall And Tough    

J.D Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams are the benchmark for as they call it “This great American 

music called Bluegrass”. Classic Country and Blistering Bluegrass from three of my superheroes. 

Claire Lynch - Holiday

At last a Christmas album to knock “The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band” Christmas album 1997 off the top of my 

Christmas tree. Claire Lynch has set the bar for me for all Holiday albums in the future, but this is not just 

a holiday album it’s an acoustic music treat as only The Claire Lynch can deliver.

Larry Cordle And Lonesome Standard Time - All Star Duets 

The Mighty Cord and 12 of Country’s finest duet partners and 12 of Larry’s favourite compositions make 

this the "must have” album of the year. You know all the songs and now you get them supercharged and 

all in one place.

Rhonda Vincent - Only Me 

A 2 CD musical trip to a Bluegrass / Country leisure park as on Rhonda can do it. Sit back, kick off your 

boots and choose your flavour of the day, Rhonda Vincent, Bluegrass or Country singer. Your choice or 

both. Stunning album.