Tag Archives: Ralph Stanley II

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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    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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    Filed under 2008 Rewind