100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 3: #80-#71

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 3

80 Martina

#80
Martina McBride, Timeless

McBride has a voice that would have been as relevant in country music fifty years ago as it is today, and her album of cover songs exemplifies this. She doesn’t attempt to move any of the songs to a different level, but instead inhabits the artists’ original style with precision and spirit. The result is a pure, respectful homage to the country greats. – Tara Seetharam

Recommended Tracks: “Make The World Go Away”, “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down”

79 Felice

#79
Felice Brothers, Yonder is the Clock

The Felice Brothers are the least-known among the members of ‘The Big Surprise Tour’ headlined by Old Crow Medicine Show and featuring Dave Rawlings Machine with Gillian Welch, and Justin Townes Earle. Melding country-rock and folk-rock, they are roots-influenced and made their start playing in the subway. While it may take an extremely big tent to call them “country,” consistent Dylan comparisons make Yonder is the Clock hard to ignore. – William Ward

Recommended Tracks: “Run, Chicken, Run”, “The Big Surprise”

78 Big

#78
Big & Rich, Horse of a Different Color

Big Kenny’s and John Rich’s voices and creativity blend to form a richly textured harmony that is only fully realized when they work together, as is most evident on their debut album that took country music by storm in a huge way. While their subsequent projects haven’t even come close to matching the potential of their first, Horse of A Different Coloris an album of refreshing risks and creativity that has been both embraced and criticized as a result of unique production and odd lyrical twists. Songs ranging from ridiculous to philosophical and all points inbetween make this album one of the most memorable, if not controversial, mainstream albums of the decade. – Leeann Ward

Recommended Tracks: “Holy Water”, “Live This Life”

77 Dierks

#77
Dierks Bentley, Long Trip Alone

Bentley takes his road theme all the way, crafting a concept album that both celebrates the loneliness of the road and mourns the resting places left behind by those who choose to stay on it. – Kevin Coyne

Recommended Tracks: “Long Trip Alone”, “The Heaven I’m Headed To”

76 Josh

#76
Josh Turner, Everything is Fine

Turner’s third album is an outstanding example of a style that is deeply traditional yet still current, assured yet still vulnerable. His distinctive voice is paired with a well-crafted and charming set of songs on this album, which further solidified him as one of the genre’s leading traditionalists. – TS

Recommended Tracks: “Another Try”, “Nowhere Fast”

75 Reckless

#75
Reckless Kelly, Bulletproof

Country and power-pop collide in one of Texas’ most memorable albums in years. If Bulletproof has a weakness, it’s that its love songs and road anthems are all so damn hooky that the deeper material has to fight to steal your attention away. – Dan Milliken

Recommended Tracks: “American Blood”, “Mirage”

74 Chick

#74
Chick Corea & Béla Fleck, The Enchantment

The Enchantment is a collaboration between jazz pianist Chick Corea and banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck. Full of soaring energy and technical prowess, The Enchantment blends the influences of both Corea and Fleck resulting in jazz compositions infused with bluegrass overtones.- WW

Recommended Tracks: “Mountain”, “Sunset Road”

73 Otto

#73
James Otto, Sunset Man

On his breakthrough sophomore album, Otto’s voice is commanding and rich with soul, proving he has one of the most interesting male voices to come out of country music in the past few years. Sunset Man is a solid contemporary country album that has his voice melting just as effectively with bluesy, mid-tempo numbers as it does with muscular power ballads. – TS

Recommended Tracks: “For You”, “These Are The Good Ole Days”

72 Jon

#72
Jon Randall, Walking Among the Living

Thanks to his very lucrative songwriting collaboration with Bill Anderson that resulted in a smash hit for Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss with “Whiskey Lullaby”, Jon Randall received a major label deal with Sony. Unfortunately, Randall’s only album with them was not even a blip on most people’s radars, though not due to lack of quality. Randall’s gorgeous tenor, most closely comparable to Vince Gill’s,tastefully blends with rootsy instrumentation and solid compositions to create a humble work of art. – LW

Recommended Tracks: “I Shouldn’t Do This”, “Lonely for Awhile”

71 Crooked

#71
Crooked Still, Shaken By a Low Sound

Crooked Still is an alternate bluegrass group led by vocalist Aoife O’Donovan. With haunting vocals and technical prowess Crooked Still pushes acoustic music in a manner similar to Nickel Creek but with a slightly more recognizable traditional bend. – WW

Recommended Tracks: “Wind and Rain”, “Little Sadie”

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10 Comments

Filed under Decade in Review

10 Responses to 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 3: #80-#71

  1. Cory DeSteinNo Gravatar

    Josh Turner is an outstanding vocalist with some really great songs, but I never feel like I know where his albums are going. I never feel as if there is any consistency with his sets.

  2. CountryFanNo Gravatar

    Goood call on Jon Randall. Wonderful cd. “I Shouldn’t Do This” is beautiful as well, and has harmonies from patty Loveless. Jon is completely underrated and so many people that talk about him know don’t know a lot of his solo work. It’s great. Glad to see him on the list!

  3. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    Our tastes at least overlap – I have 14 of the 30 albums reviewed thus far. I was surprised to see TIMELESS on this list – most either loved it or hated it. I very much liked the album although she definitely proved that it takes a brave and foolhardy soul to even attempt to cover a Connie Smith song

  4. ZackNo Gravatar

    I Love Timeless by McBride, it’s what got me into the older country music songs. Glad to see its mention on the list!! :)

    I probably wouldn’t have ranked it as high as you guys did, but whatever, glad to see a mention for the album! :)

  5. vpNo Gravatar

    I love both Josh and Dierks, I’ve seen both in concert, I think they could break into the Male Vocalist mold if they had a bit of variety and direction.

  6. K-manNo Gravatar

    Love the Big & Rich and Dierks Bentley albums! Glad to see they made the list.

  7. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Glad to see Timeless and Horse of a Different Color.

    I think both deserve a higher ranking though.

    Big $ Rich’s debut is still their best, by my reckoning anyway.

  8. TomNo Gravatar

    i can hardly remember what country music was like without the lists of country universe. i thoroughly enjoy your assessments, the reasoning behind them and most of all i appreciate the considerable effort that goes into it. great job, y’all.

  9. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    Tom, you old suck-up!

    Seriously, though, what a nice compliment. All the feedback so far has been greatly appreciated, y’all.

  10. JCHNo Gravatar

    I’ve been meaning to check out that Martina record. Cheers for the reminder.

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