Tag Archives: Cindy Walker

The Best Albums of 1993, Part 2: #10-#1

The combined efforts of nine women and three men form the upper echelon of our Best Albums list from 1993. This embarrassment of riches showcases just how much great music there was to choose from that year, especially given how many of the genre’s biggest and most acclaimed stars – Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Pam Tillis, just to name a few – were between albums that year.

It was also a strong and diverse enough year that despite some overall consensus among the lists of all of the writers, each one of us has a different album at #1 on our personal lists.

Enjoy the second half of our list, and look for the Singles list to kick off next weekend.

Uncle Tupelo Anodyne

#10
Uncle Tupelo

Anodyne

#1 – JK | #3 – SG

In jumping to a major label, Uncle Tupelo was supposed to give alt-country its Nirvana; though that didn’t happen, the critical acclaim and indie following that Anodyne earned served as an impetus for the nascent alt-country scene.

An album that’s both legitimately great and historically important in equal measure, Anodyne proved that alt-country was commercially viable as a refuge for artists and fans who felt at-odds with the increasingly slick mainstream country of the early 1990s. Borne of long-simmering conflicts between co-frontmen Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar, Anodyne is a sprawling and ambitious album that finds Uncle Tupelo at their most fully-realized as a band.

Drawing heavily from country-rock, folk, and traditional styles, it’s easy to hear the band’s lingering influence on both contemporary Americana and on modern country acts like Miranda Lambert and Eric Church. – Jonathan Keefe

Recommended Tracks:
“Acuff-Rose,” “The Long Cut,” “Chickamunga”

 

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Willie Nelson Starter Kit

willie-nelsonSince he's one of the few country legends who is best defined by his albums rather than his individual tracks, creating a Starter Kit for Willie Nelson is a tough row to hoe.

What follows is the cream of the crop from Willie Nelson's peak years, minus the collaborations with other artists. His pairings with other great acts would be another Starter Kit unto itself.

When you're ready to dig deeper, check out his studio albums in their entirety, starting with Phases and Stages and Shotgun Willie, moving on to Red Headed Stranger and Stardust, and picking up lesser-known classics from the later years, like Spirit, Teatro, and You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker.

“Yesterday's Wine” from the 1971 album Yesterday's Wine

Nelson encounters an old friend at a local drinking establishment and they share a round of drinks as they reflect on how they're “aging with time, like yesterday's wine.”

“Whiskey River” from the 1973 album Shotgun Willie

It's since become a live favorite of Nelson's fans at a speedier tempo, but there's a a beautiful melancholy to the studio version found on this album.

“Bloody Mary Morning” from the 1974 album Phases and Stages

A centerpiece of what is arguably Nelson's finest concept album, it's since become something of a standard. Also of note from this set is “It's Not Supposed to Be That Way.”

“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” from the 1975 album Red Headed Stranger

A most unexpected breakthrough hit came in the form of an old country classic delivered with sparse accompaniment.

“The Troublemaker” from the 1976 album The Troublemaker

It just might be the best country song ever written about Jesus. It's certainly more grounded in the Gospel than anything I've heard in mainstream country music.

“Georgia on My Mind”

>from the 1978 album Stardust

Trying to pick the best cover from this collection of pop standards is difficult, but this is probably his best vocal performance on the collection.

“My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” from the 1980 album The Electric Horseman

A flawless deconstruction of the American cowboy archetype.

“On the Road Again” from the 1980 album Honeysuckle Rose

Nelson's ode to the road has livened up countless road trips over the past three decades, making the miles fly by for two minutes and change.

“Always on My Mind” from the 1982 album Always on My Mind

Nelson's stroke of genius was delivering this oft-recorded song as an anniversary pledge to be a better husband rather than as the postmortem of a failed relationship.

“City of New Orleans” from the 1984 album City of New Orleans

Who better to sing Steve Goodman's celebration of southern America as seen from a boxcar?

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