Tag Archives: Kris Kristofferson

Bargain Hunter: Avetts, Adkins, Swift & More

It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, distracted as we’ve been by decade-end madness, but now seems like an appropriate day to jump back in, with a diverse bevy of MP3 albums being offered at Amazon for 5 bucks or better. As always, click on the box to listen to clips or to reach the album’s download page.

First up is the Daily Deal, the Avett Brothers’ excellent 2007 set Emotionalism, going today for $1.99. This group kind of defies genre classification, but they have enough of an earthy quality to their music to make them appeal to all lovers of traditional music. They’re building quite a following, too.

Available for $4.99: Continue reading

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The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 6: #50-#41

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 6

    50 Mattea

    #50
    Kathy Mattea, Right Out of Nowhere

    Kathy Mattea has rarely sounded more open and warm than on this set of innovative folk-tinged songs. Topics of peace, love, resignation and heartache are sensitively explored in songs both written by Mattea and other well-known names, including captivating interpretations of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Me Shelter” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Down on the Corner.” It’s a rich album with a decisively vibrant feel. – Leeann Ward

    Recommended Tracks: “Gimme Shelter”, “Down on the Corner”, “Give It Away”

    49 Cash

    #49
    Johnny Cash, American IV: The Man Comes Around

    American IV: The Man Comes Around was the last Cash album released in his lifetime; the bulk of its tracks are covers performed by the then ailing singer. Amazingly enough, the album seems almost biographical despite the limited material written by Cash. Still, American IV is not limited to “Hurt” (written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails), as other well-interpreted covers and Cash’s own “The Man Comes Around” help cement the depth of the album. – William Ward

    Recommended Tracks: “The Man Comes Around”, “Hurt”, “Sam Hall”

    48 Johnson

    #48
    Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song

    The media hype machine had a field day with Johnson’s breakthrough sophomore album, showering it with the kind of superlatives usually reserved for miracle cures and immaculate conceptions (see also: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). Most of the attention went to the album’s counterculturism within the increasingly safe and watered-down Music Row, with numerous nods to its Outlaw aesthetic and “cocaine and a whore” business. But That Lonesome Song‘s greatness was always more than contextual, and certainly more than attitudinal; this is an album with a genuine story to tell, filled with a slow-burning sorrow that pervades every track and doesn’t rest until the wife finally walks away and the husband resigns himself to playing seedy bars and trying to convince you he’s worthy of comparison to the greats. – Dan Milliken

    Recommended Tracks: “High Cost Of Living”, “Angel”, “Dreaming My Dreams With You”

    *Credit for linked parody cover: Farce the Music.

    47 Hill

    #47
    Faith Hill, Fireflies

    For all of the attention given to her power ballads and catchy pop numbers, Faith Hill has always included more offbeat material from lesser known songwriters. This album had some great power ballads and catchy pop numbers, but its heart and soul comes from the trio of Lori McKenna songs that make up its core. “Stealing Kisses” just might be Hill’s finest moment to date, and the other two McKenna songs – “If You Ask” and the title track – are nearly as good.  – Kevin Coyne

    Recommended Tracks: “Dearly Beloved”, “Stealing Kisses”, “Wish For You”

    46 Gill

    #46
    Vince Gill, Next Big Thing

    Gill dips into a wider range of styles and subjects on his first self-produced album, but it all seems to thoughtfully tie back to his classically sweet sound – a tricky thing to do in country music. Next Big Thing is mature, clever and vocally spot-on, and features some killer guest vocals from Emmylou Harris, Lee Ann Womack and others. – TS

    Recommended Tracks: “Without You”, “Two Hearts”, “These Broken Hearts”

    45 Underwood

    #45
    Carrie Underwood, Play On

    Easily one of the most versatile artists in country music, Underwood is capable of tackling almost any musical style, and she makes a solid case for this on her third album. The kicker, though, is that rather than signaling a lack of identity, each style feels like a natural extension of herself as an artist. She’s mournful on a haunting country standard in one breath, and commanding on a rock-charged up-tempo in the next – all without compromising her authenticity. Most significantly, Underwood finally digs a little deeper on Play On, marrying her extraordinary vocal proficiency with a higher level of tangible, sincere conviction than ever before. – TS

    Recommended Tracks: “Someday When I Stop Loving You”, “Songs Like This”, “What Can I Say”

    44 Crowell

    #44
    Rodney Crowell, The Outsider

    Crowell’s take on mid-decade politics avoids heavy-handedness, perhaps because what he’s appealing to is not so much partisanship as patriotism in its purest form: “Democracy won’t work if we’re asleep. That kind of freedom is a vigil you must keep.”  Bonus points for not one, but two guest turns from Emmylou Harris, the highlight being their stunning duet of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm.” – KC

    Recommended Tracks: “Dancin’ Circles ‘Round the Sun (Epictetus Speaks)”, “Don’t Get Me Started”, “Shelter From the Storm”

    43 Little

    #43
    The Little Willies, The Little Willies

    Norah Jones pet country side project with four of her New York City friends, including former boyfriend bassist Lee Alexander, results inn an inextricably fun album named after Willie Nelson who is covered twice on the project (“Gotta Get Drunk” and “Night Life”). The productions, including jaunty piano and prominent bass, along with Jones’ atypically loose vocals, make this disc a thrilling listening experience. While The Little Willie’s self titled album is not tight in technical terms, the album is all the better for it. – LW

    Recommended Tracks: “Roll On”, “Gotta Get Drunk”, “Tennessee Stud”

    42 Yearwood

    #42
    Trisha Yearwood, Real Live Woman

    Upon its release, the artist declared that she’d finally made her dream album. It’s easy to understand why, as Real Live Woman is Trisha Yearwood’s most cohesive album to date. It has a warmth and depth that makes it more than just reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt’s classic L.A. country albums from the mid-seventies. It’s actually on par with them. – KC

    Recommended Tracks: “Where Are You Now”, “Try Me Again”, “When a Love Song Sings the Blues”

    41 Kristofferson

    #41
    Kris Kristofferson, Broken Freedom Song: Live From San Francisco

    For each unequivocal success like At Folsom Prison and Nirvana Unplugged, there are a dozen uninspired live albums that simply exist to capitalize on old material. Kris Kristofferson’s Broken Freedom Songs, with his extended introductions and banter, is an unequivocal success. Along with its friendly and almost conversational tone, Broken Freedom Songs focuses on unexpected compositions and makes a nice addition to other historically strong live albums. – WW

    Recommended Tracks: “The Circle”, “Here Comes that Rainbow Again”, “Moment of Forever”

    - – -

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    100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 2: #90-#81

      The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 2

      90 Miranda

      #90
      Miranda Lambert, Kerosene

      On her first major-label album, Lambert reveals herself as a fiery, spirited artist with a lot to say, and a clever voice with which to speak. Her sharp songwriting skills, though a work in progress as we’d later learn, take her naturally from aggression to desolation and back again. But most notably, through Kerosene, Lambert got the traditionalists to pay a little more attention to mainstream country music and its more promising artists. – Tara Seetharam

      Recommended Tracks: “Kerosene”, “I Can’t Be Bothered”

      89 Kris

      #89
      Kris Kristofferson, This Old Road
      This Old Road has not have received as much mainstream attention as Kristofferson’s recent appearance in Ethan Hawke’s Rolling Stone article; an unfortunate fact, given it was the legendary writer’s first album of new material in 11 years. With This Old Road, Kristofferson shines a spotlight on the world much in the same his earlier writing shined a spotlight on himself. The result is an overtly political album with more depth than most modern attempts have been able to produce. – William Ward

      Recommended Tracks: “The Last Thing to Go”, “Pilgrim’s Progress”

      88 Guy

      #88
      Guy Clark, Workbench Songs

      The recordings  of the songs that Guy Clark, one of country music’s most respected modern songwriters, has written for the most popular artists in country music are typically polished by the best Nashville musicians and slick producers. But Clark’s own albums tend to be more organic, with spare instrumentation that somehow manages to avoid sounding anemic as a result. His well worn voice sings these eleven melodically and lyrically strong songs with warmth and the kind of emotion that easily captures the listener. It’s one of the best albums of his deep catalog that spans over thirty years. – Leeann Ward

      Recommended Tracks: “Walkin’ Man”, “Expose”

      87 Wynonna

      #87
      Wynonna, What the World Needs Now is Love

      It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since Wynonna’s last proper studio album. This collection is easily one of her best, with effective covers like “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Flies On the Butter”, along with socially conscious material that provokes thought instead of pandering to already held beliefs (“It All Comes Down to Love”). – Kevin Coyne

      Recommended Tracks: “Sometimes I Feel Like Elvis”, “Rescue Me”

      86 Lee Ann

      #86
      Lee Ann Womack, I Hope You Dance

      The massively successful title track powered this album to triple platinum, but it also overshadowed the excellent songs surrounding it. For those who explored the album beyond track two, there were some of Womack’s finest moments on record, as she had the good taste to plunder the catalogs of Bruce Robison (“Lonely Too”), Bobbie Cryner (“Stronger Than I Am”), Julie Miller (“I Know Why the River Runs”), and Rodney Crowell (“Ashes By Now”). – KC

      Recommended Tracks: “Lonely Too”, “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger”

      85 Chris

      #85
      Chris Thile, How to Grow a Woman From the Ground

      This is the first album from the band that would eventually become Punch Brothers. Garnering a Grammy Award Nomination in 2006, How to Grow a Woman From the Ground is a solid bluegrass album with classical sensibilities and extraordinary instrumentation. – WW

      Recommended Tracks: “Wayside (Back in Time)”, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”

      84 Ralph

      #84
      Ralph Stanley II, This One Is Two

      Hyperbole alert, but it’s hard to think of a more beautiful-sounding traditional country album from this decade, or one which more comfortably merges old school aesthetics with modern production polish. Stanley corralled a number of meaty story songs here, but it’s the combination of his warm baritone and the lush instrumentation that gives this gem its quiet strength. – Dan Milliken

      Recommended Tracks: “Cold Shoulder”, “They Say I’ll Never Go Home”

      83 Louvin

      #83
      Various Artists, Livin’ Lovin’ Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers

      Tribute albums too often feel redundant, as well-meaning artists deliver nice but forgettable imitations of classic records. Not so with the Louvins’, which sticks veteran and current artists alike on the Bros’ close harmonies and sees each intriguing combination (Pam Tillis and Johnny Cash? Why not!) triumph. I daresay it’s as good an introduction to the duo’s work as any compilation of their own recordings. – DM

      Recommended Tracks: “How’s the World Treating You?”, “Are You Teasing Me”

      82 Todd

      #82
      Todd Snider, The Excitement Plan

      Snider mostly avoids both political themes and complex arrangements on his latest record, emphasizing his greatest strength as a writer instead: his uncanny ability to make the most specifically personal have universal resonance. Listen out for a wonderful cameo from Loretta Lynn on “Don’t Tempt Me.” – KC

      Recommended Tracks: “Barefoot Champagne”, “Money, Compliments, Publicity (Song Number 10)”

      81 O'Connor

      #81
      Mark O’Connor, Thirty-Year Retrospective (Live)

      Mark O’Connor’s Thirty Year Retrospective is a double instrumental album of his live performance with Chris Thile, Bryan Sutton and Byron House.  The album covers a wide range of Mark O’Connor’s career, presenting a range of instrumental country, bluegrass, new grass and jazz with the detail and care often only applied to classical music. – WW

      Recommended Tracks: “Caprice No. 4 in D Major”, “Macedonia”

      - – -

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      Create A Super Group

      highwaymenIn 1985, four country music rebels/icons came together to form a larger-than-life group that people wouldn’t have even dared dream about before their actual union. Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson formed the country super group, The Highwaymen. The four highly revered friends recorded three albums worth of material, much to the delight of the astonished public. While all of the members were extremely successful in their own rights, their potential egos were set aside to make music as a cohesive unit. They sounded like a polished group, not just some people thrown together as a marketing gimmick.

      Then, in 1988, the rock world hit the jackpot when superstars George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne formed The Traveling Wilburys. Again, these immensely famous, talented and respected people formed a super group that still seems too good to be true to this day. Their unbelievable union created two albums that were repackaged in 2007 with bonus material, which sold surprisingly well for a reissue. Like The Highwaymen, their voices blended amazingly well together as if they were meant to be a group.

      Dolly Parton has been a part of two dynamic trios: one with Linda Rhonstadt and Emmylou Harris and the other with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Both trios consisted of women equally as talented as the super groups previously discussed, which also provided us with excellent albums as a result.

      And of course, anyone who has read anything that I’ve written in the past year or so should instinctively know that my pet super group is The Notorious Cherry Bombs, which was comprised of Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Tony Brown, Hank Devito, Richard Bennett, Michael Rhodes, John Hobbs and Eddie Bayers.

      As I think of the competitive climate of the music industry today, I’m discouraged to think that such super groups would be next to impossible to unite anymore. Record label disputes prevented Tracy Lawrence’s collaboration with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw to be officially released to radio. Likewise, Reba McEntire had to replace Kenny Chesney’s vocals with lesser known artist, Skip Ewing, in order to release “Every Other Weekend” to radio. And these were only disputes over single songs, not even an entire album.

      In true essay style form: Without considering record company politics, if you were able to create your own super group who could make at least one album, who would be the members? What would you name the group? Explain.

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      2009's Remaining Release Schedule Comes into Focus

      2009Thus far, 2009’s releases have done little to fire up the charts,

      with most of this year’s strongest-selling albums being holdovers from 2008. While Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, and Keith Urban have sold strongly, the chart remains dominated by last year’s releases from Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, and Jamey Johnson.

      So what’s left for 2009? Here’s what we know so far:

      New Releases

      • Carrie Underwood will release her third studio album on November 3, with a lead single going to radio this fall. Her previous set, Carnival Ride, is nearing sales of 3 million, and produced four #1 singles and a #2 single, all five of which were certified gold in their own right.
      • George Strait will release Twang on August 11. It’s the follow-up to his 33rd platinum album Troubadour, a set which produced his 43rd #1 single and earned him the first Grammy of his career, along with a pair of CMA trophies (Single and Album)
      • Miranda Lambert is readying Revolution for September 29. Lead single “Dead Flowers” is struggling at radio, but that’s never slowed her down at retail anyway.
      • Reba McEntire’s Valory debut Keep on Lovin’ You arrives August 18. Lead single “Strange” is approaching the top ten.
      • Willie Nelson releases another standards collection called American Classic on August 25.
      • Rosanne Cash will release The List, a covers album, on October 6.
      • Sarah Darling releases Every Monday Morning on July 28.
      • Mac McAnally’s Show Dog debut – Down By the River – comes out on August 4. McAnally recently scored a big hit teaming up with Kenny Chesney on “Down the Road”, and was the co-writer on several classic Sawyer Brown singles like “All These Years” and “Thank God For You.”
      • Mindy Smith releases Stupid Love on August 11.
      • Radney Foster and The Confessions release Revival on September 1, with guest appearances by Dierks Bentley and Darius Rucker.
      • Chris Young releases The Man I Want to Be on September 1.

      Reissues and Compilations

      • Brooks & Dunn release the 30-track #1 Hits…and Then Some on September 8. Track listing here. The set is preceded by lead single “Indian Summer.” The duo’s previous set, Cowboy Town, was their first to fall short of gold certification. The new hits compilation is similar in set up to top-selling collections by George Strait, Toby Keith and Reba McEntire in recent years.
      • Wounded Bird just released 2-albums-on-1-CD collections for Kris Kristofferson on July 7. Eight albums are included from his 1972-1981 output
      • A pair of Tommy Cash’s albums from 1970 will combine on one CD on July 21; Tommy is the younger brother of Johnny Cash
      • Hank Snow’s 1958 album When Tragedy Struck is being remastered and reissued on August 11.

      I’ll be picking up many of the above releases, but I have to say that I’m most looking forward to picking up all of the remastered Beatles albums and the Madonna anthology this fall.

      What releases are you most looking forward to in the second half of 2009?

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      Texas Country

      texasStuck in my car stereo over the last couple of weeks has been a CD loaded with tunes from some of my favorite Texas-affiliated artists.  I’m a big fan of the singer-songwriter, old school and raggedy rock styles of country music, and Texas excels at all three. So any time I need a break from the current “Nashville sound,” I like to check in with Texas and see what they’re up to. Invariably, it’s more colorful and interesting.

      I can’ t call myself an expert on Texas country by any stretch of the imagination and my education is nowhere remotely near complete (hint: feel free to recommend), but I do sense that it’s a style of music, or perhaps a musical sensibility, that is extremely important to maintain.  Texas artists exude a certain spirit of creativity and sense of individuality that is sorely lacking elsewhere in country music.  And in my opinion, great music and great artists only flourish in settings where both of those are encouraged.

      Here’s a sampling of the songs I’m currently listening to:

      • “Dallas,” Jimmie Dale Gilmore
      • “Snowin’ on Raton,” Townes Van Zandt
      • “West Texas Waltz,” Joe Ely
      • “Greenville,” Lucinda Williams
      • “Tortured Tangled Hearts,” Dixie Chicks
      • “Transcendental Blues (Live in Austin),” Steve Earle
      • “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Willie Nelson
      • “Treat Me Like a Saturday Night,” The Flatlanders
      • “Bourbon Legend,” Jason Boland & The Stragglers
      • “Jesus Was a Capricorn,” Kris Kristofferson
      • “Angry All The Time,” Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis
      • “What I Deserve,” Kelly Willis
      • “Old Five and Dimers,” Billie Joe Shaver
      • “Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame,” Sunny Sweeney
      • “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” Waylon Jennings

      What are some of your favorite Texas country tunes?

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      Grammy Flashback: Best Male Country Vocal Performance

      Updated for 2009

      While the Grammys have honored country music from the very first ceremony in 1959, they did not begin honoring by gender until 1965, when the country categories were expanded along with the other genre categories. This year, the 45th trophy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance will be awarded.

      In a continuation of our Grammy Flashback series, here is a rundown of the Best Country Vocal Performance, Male category. It was first awarded in 1965, and included singles competing with albums until the Best Country Album category was added in 1995. When an album is nominated, it is in italics, and a single track is in quotation marks.

      As usual, we start with a look at this year’s nominees and work our way back. Be sure to vote in My Kind of Country’s Best Male Country Vocal Performance poll and let your preference for this year’s race be known!

      jamey-johnson-lonesome2009

      • Trace Adkins, “You’re Gonna Miss This”
      • Jamey Johnson, “In Color”
      • James Otto, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”
      • Brad Paisley, “Letter to Me”
      • George Strait, “Troubadour”

      As with the album race, this year’s contenders for Best Male Country Vocal Performance are a combination of unrecognized veterans and promising newcomers. In fact, none of this year’s nominees have won in this category, and only one of them – Brad Paisley – has a Grammy at all.

      First, the veterans. Paisley has numerous ACM and CMA victories to his credit, including two each for Male Vocalist.  Although he’s been nominated for this award twice before, this is the first time he’s contended with a cut that can’t be dismissed as a novelty number. The touching self-penned “Letter to Me” is his best shot yet at taking this home.

      Trace Adkins has been at this a bit longer than Paisley, but this is his first Grammy nomination. His crossover exposure from Celebrity Apprentice might help him out here, along with the fact that the song was considered strong enough by voters to earn a nomination of its own.

      But the real veteran to watch out for is George Strait. After being nominated only twice for this category in the first 25 years of his career, voters have now given him three consecutive nominations. This is one of four nods he’s earned for the 2009 ceremony, and “Troubadour” is essentially the story of his epic career distilled into a radio-length song. It would be the perfect way to honor the man and his music in one fell swoop.

      However, there’s a newcomer that might be a Grammy favorite already.  We just haven’t found out yet. Not James Otto, of course, who is nominated for his charming romantic romp “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”, but rather, Jamey Johnson. The recent Nashville Scene critics’ poll further confirmed the depth of his support among tastemakers, and his nominations for Best Country Song and Best Country Album indicate that he’s very much on the academy’s radar. It helps that he has the most substantial track of the five, and it’s the obvious choice for traditionalists, who have little reason to split their votes in this category. If voters aren’t considering legacy when making their selections, he has a great shot at this.

      2008

      • Dierks Bentley, “Long Trip Alone”
      • Alan Jackson, “A Woman’s Love”
      • Tim McGraw, “If You’re Reading This”
      • George Strait, “Give it Away”
      • Keith Urban, “Stupid Boy”

      The often offbeat Grammy voters have been surprisingly mainstream in this category for the past three years, a trend best exemplified by this lineup, which was the first in more than a decade to feature only top ten radio hits. Tim McGraw and Keith Urban were the only two who had won this before, and it was Urban who emerged victorious. “Stupid Boy” was a highlight of his fourth studio album, and this was the only major award that the impressive collection would win.

      2007

      • Dierks Bentley, “Every Mile a Memory”
      • Vince Gill, “The Reason Why”
      • George Strait, “The Seashores of Old Mexico”
      • Josh Turner, “Would You Go With Me”
      • Keith Urban, “Once in a Lifetime”

      Vince Gill returned to win in this category for a ninth time with “The Reason Why.” Not only is he, by far, the most honored artist in this category, his wins here account for nine of the nineteen Grammys currently on his mantle.

      2006

      • George Jones, “Funny How Time Slips Away”
      • Toby Keith, “As Good As I Once Was”
      • Delbert McClinton, “Midnight Communion”
      • Willie Nelson, “Good Ol’ Boys”
      • Brad Paisley, “Alcohol”
      • Keith Urban, “You’ll Think of Me”

      Urban’s biggest and probably best hit launched his second album to triple platinum and established him as a crossover artist. He gave a killer performance of the song on the show. Toby Keith was a first-time nominee here, and while he publicly groused that the Grammys put too little emphasis on commercial success in picking their nominations, he lost to the only track that was a bigger hit than his own.

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      Country Music Treasure Hunt

      One of  the awesome things about YouTube is that serves as an archive of live performances.   Today’s discussion asks you to find a great live performance from a country artist that others might not have seen.

      Here’s all you need to do:

      1. Find the YouTube clip

      2. Copy the url and paste it into the comments

      3. Add a “v” right after http, so “http://www.youtube.com….”  becomes “httpv://www.youtube.com…”

      When you post the comment, the video will appear.   Don’t forget to add a brief comment before or after the video!

      I’ll kick things off with a superstar performance of “Highwayman” by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings & Kris Kristofferson.     I love the wave of applause that comes after each man starts singing, and how even in a group of superstar legends, Cash’s star power stands out.   He gets a longer ovation than any of them and quite a few people stand up once he starts singing, even though he’s been on stage the whole time.

      httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWx0guPFJIo

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      Dan Milliken’s Top 10 Albums of 2008

      squintydan-christmas_avatarHappy holidays, everybody! I’m back with my personal top ten albums of the year, a list that took a stupid-long time to put together but is very nice to have done. All I would say as a note is that I like all of these albums very much and don’t think the rankings should be scrutinized to death, because my tastes certainly change frequently enough.

      Okay, you get it. Let’s do this. Va-VOOM!

      dailey-vincent-c#10

      Dailey and Vincent, Dailey and Vincent

      I typically lean progressive in my bluegrass tastes, but there’s simply no arguing with this dynamic twosome, whose debut finds them ripping into a straight-ahead traditional style with such crazy-polished singing, playing and writing that they practically become the new standard. Excellent.

      kathy-mattea-coal#9

      Kathy Mattea, Coal

      Confession: I wasn’t quite sure how to take this one. Although I like Kathy Mattea’s voice and generally love concept albums, I had trouble getting into this set of mining-related songs as a whole, which may be because I personally have trouble digesting so many bare-bones story songs in one sitting, or may be because the album itself becomes a bit monotonous after a while. It’s kind of hard to say, and I finally decided that it’s just the sort of thing I personally have to be in the right mood for. Objectively speaking, though, I think what Mattea and producer Marty Stuart have achieved here is easily one of the most fully realized artistic expressions of 2008, and it’s pretty hard to gripe about on a song-by-song or sonic basis. So #9 feels about right for me.

      reckless-kelly#8

      Reckless Kelly, Bulletproof

      Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen and Cody Canada take note: Reckless Kelly’s latest set showcases just how tersely effective the whole “country-nodding Texas rock” shtick can be when you pay the same attention to developing compelling lyrical ideas that you do to ‘tude (and I say that with love, because I enjoy work from all of the acts mentioned above). Bonus points for the year’s best album cover.

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      Classic CMA Awards Moments, #17: Kris Kristofferson, Song of the Year win (1970)

      #17: Kris Kristofferson
      Song of the Year win
      1970

      Mumbling but magnificent in its own unique way, the acceptance speech for Song of the Year in 1970 was an inarticulate message from an exceedingly eloquent man. Kris Kristofferson, the victor for Johnny Cash’s classic “Sunday Morning Coming Down” ran to the stage, brushed back his hair and somehow managed to say his “thank you’s” in a quiet, shy manner that stood in sharp contrast with his forthright, incisive writing style. It seems that Kristofferson had indulged in a little heavy-duty drinking in the hours before one of his career pinnacles.

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