Discussion: Hidden Gems of 2008

Over the course of the next three weeks, Country Universe will be looking back on 2008.   We’ll be starting by reviewing some albums that we missed over the course of the year.   With such a wide diversity of country music released, there are bound to be some hidden gems that we didn’t catch the first time around.

What are some of the low-profile albums this year that you’ve enjoyed?  Recommend a great album that other readers, and even our writers, may have missed!


  1. I know Leann is a fan of it, but I’ve found myself listening to Justin Townes Earle’s debut, The Good Life, more than many of the year’s other country albums. It’s an assured, accomplished debut record, and I’m looking forward to the new album he has due early next year.

    Having just finalized my official ballot for my year-end lists, an album I love (even more than when I initially reviewed it) that hasn’t garnered much attention even in alt-country / americana / whatever circles is Tinderbox by Fred Eaglesmith. His hardscrabble, deep vocals are a tough sell for some listeners, but there’s no faulting his songwriting, which is even more focused and more wonderfully minimalist and economic than anything Lucinda Williams has written in this decade. It’s a challenging and unconventional album that I definitely feel is worth the effort and worth seeking out.

  2. Well I don’t know wether you’d be interested in doing so but you could look at some of the Canadian releases. Such as Tara Oram, THe Higgins, Deric Ruttan, Beverley Mahood, George Canyon, and Jaydee Bixby.

  3. Tift Merritt’s Another Country is my pick, not only for Hidden Gem Of The Year, but for Best Album Of The Year, period. She’s just a really fine singer with a lot of heart, spunk, and intelligence (IMHO).

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