Americana

GUESTLIST: Favourite Americana Albums of 2015

2015ptwguestlist

As well as compiling our own 40 Favourite Americana Albums and 20 Favourite Australia & NZ Americana Albums we also decided to widen the net and ask a handful of respected musicians and radio/print media people to tell us their top five albums of 2015 and why they liked their number 1 so much. We kick off with Ruby Boots who gave us a fantastic insight into all five of her favourite releases of the year.

RUBY BOOTS

Fear-Saturday-Night-Album-Cover-e1414000950534-21. Ryan Bingham – Fear and Saturday Night

I love this artist so much, and this album is my favourite album of 2015, I love the balance between emotive songs/story telling and grit with good Americana music with raw delivery and grunt behind it and this album fulfils all of that and more, every song is killer, there is no filler on this album with its classy melody hooks that are not too obvious until you turn it off and they are running through your head for the rest of the day. These songs that make me a little sad but fill me full of hope at the same time, also another soft spot for me.

2. Jonathan Tyler – Holy Smokes

I discovered Jonathan Tyler at Americana Festival this year whilst in Nashville, so I was lucky to pick up a record there, its not out in Australia yet I believe. The live show was like sex on a stick, it was really hot and fiery and I was captivated from start to finish. I could just listen to his voice all day and all night. The duet ‘To Love Is To Fly’ is one of my all time fave songs of 2015, other tracks like ‘Honey Pie’ and ‘Hallelujah’ are stand outs also Discover this band if you haven’t already.

3. Fanny Lumsden – Small Town Big Shot

Fanny’s new album is exactly what Australian country music needs, its rife with sweet melody’s that is not dissimilar to chocolate fondue, her ability to craft a song around stories that are true to this continent and to herself without grasping for the terrible utes, hats and whatever other cliche comes to mind is not just refreshing but it should be the new benchmark for where we look to for good Australian country music. To me Fanny and her debut album should be at the forefront of this genre in Australia .. STAND UP AND LISTEN!

4. Jamestown Revival – Utah

Although this was released in the U.S. last year, being a 2015 Australian release and that fact that I have barely enough words to describe what I love about this record I thought it should be included. Although I’m going to keep it short, this is again another album that manages to break my heart over and over but bring me back up for after each track with the elements of wishfulness and hope. These voices combined are the best I have heard in a very long time, I could have sworn they were related, but no! The opening track makes me want to punch the air, I love an album that I can get completely lost in and this record makes me want to just drop everything I am doing instantly and stop and sing a long. Jamestown Revival sometimes confuse me because the songs sound like they can be on commercial radio but they aren’t shit … is this genius? I think somehow it is!

5. Fraser Gorman – Slow Gum

Fraser’s take on life and love is so heartwarming and so real and I think this record should be a classic Australian album in years to come. The album draws you into the songs like you are walking right along side the narratives, I love his lyrical approach, its really fresh and good listening. This has been my Sunday morning album for months. A timeless record for the ages!

 

STUART COUPE (radio host – 2SER’s Dirt Music and FBi Radio’s Tune Up, author, journalist, label owner, manager)

dan_parsons_valleywood1. Dan Parsons – ValleywoodSimply as good a bunch of songs’n’singing’n’groove as you’ll hear anywhere in 2015. One of many, many world class records to come out of Australia in the last twelve months.

2. Joe Ely – Panhandle Rambler

3. Kurt Vile – b’live i’m goin down . . .

4. Gallie – The Occuquan River

5. Rhianon Giddens – Tomorrow Is My Turn

 

FANNY LUMSDEN

tumblr_inline_ngokcc7XhA1qzbaq91. Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter – This record is just so smart, raw, polished and elegant at the same time. Its like someone punching you in the stomach and then sharing a beer with you. She’s ballsy and honest in her songwriting and sassy at the same time…and then there’s the song the Eye which is just so simply excellent.

2. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material

3. Ruby Boots – Solitude

4. Shane Nicholson – Hell Breaks Loose

5. Maples – Be Free

 

HENRY WAGONS

timthumb3.php-51. Marlon Williams – Marlon Williams – What a talent this man is! A debut album that lives up to the freakish talents of the man himself, quite literally. It’s a twisted roller coaster ride… Just the way I love my Americana.

2. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

3. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Paper Mache Dream Balloon

4. Jess Ribeiro – Kill It Yourself

5. My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall

 

VINNY RAMONE (The Outpost – 2SER 107.3FM)

susto1. SUSTO – Susto – SUSTO’s self-titled debut album was my favourite album of 2015, in what was a strong year for great records. SUSTO from Charleston, South Carolina, USA, came up with an original sounding album which combined Americana influences with raw energy and their Acid Boys attitude. Justin Osborne and Johnny Delaware’s dark tales about a Black Jesus, cigarettes, whisky and wine, friends, lovers, ex-lovers, motorcycles and stoned fans at their shows, painted a road map of a young band that’s clocking up the miles in the tour van without much thought for lost American dreams.

2. Perry Keyes – Sunnyholt

3. John Moreland – High On Tulsa Heat

4. Ryan Adams – 1989

5. American Aquarium – Wolves

 

THE WEEPING WILLOWS (Laura Coates  & Andrew Wrigglesworth)

HELLBREAKSLOOSE-e1436415801269-500x5001. Shane Nicholson – Hell Breaks Loose: On one hand, tear-jerking, heart-rending and gut-wrenching, on the other hand uplifting, inspiring and empowering, Shane Nicholson’s ‘Hell Breaks Loose’ is soulful and captivating, through and through.  From the darkness of Shane’s highly publicised divorce emerges his most personal and heartfelt yet optimistic solo record to date.  The combination of skilfully crafted songs and his soul-soothing voice place Nicholson in the world-class league of singer-songwriters.  To us, ‘Hell Breaks Loose’ is song of the year.  And anyone who doesn’t shed a tear during ‘Single Fathers’, ‘Secondhand Man’ or ‘Hermannsburg’ needs an oil change from their robot mechanic.

2. Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes – The Mountain

3. Bill Jackson – The Wayside Ballads, Vol. 1

4. Raised By Eagles – Diamonds In The Bloodstream

5. Fanny Lumsden – Small Town Big Shot

 

BERNARD ZUEL (Senior Music Writer – Fairfax Media)

1434989450ServantofLoveCover-560x5601. Patty Griffin – Servant Of Love: Patty Griffin’s Servant Of Love was perfect: beginning with a song that could have been a Jacques Brel torch song and nailing every emotion thereafter.

2. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

3. Marlon Williams – Marlon Williams

4. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell – The Traveling Kind

5. Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete

 

DAVEY CRADDOCK (yes I let indecisive Davey choose 6 because rules are there to be broken)

dan_parsons_valleywood1. Dan Parsons – Valleywood: I reckon there can be a bit of posturing, piss, wind and bravado in Americana music (which is also what can make it fun) but Dan’s album is so beautifully understated and elegant. He seems so comfortable in his own voice and songwriting. Some dudes might make up for their insecurities by belting it out, playing faster or wearing a silly hat but Dan’s songs just cruise in the breeze like a classic ‘70s singer songwriters’ – they remind me a bit of James Taylor or Cat Stevens. I really enjoyed playing a show with Dan earlier this year in Melbourne and can’t wait to see him play with his band sometime.

2. Marlon Williams – Marlon Williams

3. Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Asking

4. Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete

5. Ruby Boots – Solitude

6. James Thompson – Cold Moon

 

SHANE NICHOLSON

cover-joe-pug-windfall1. Joe Pug – Windfall: Joe Pug is easily my favourite current songwriter. His insight into the human condition is nothing short of astonishing. He makes amazing records. And he’s a nice guy.

2. Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete

3. Fanny Lumsden – Small Town Big Shot

4. Raised By Eagles – Diamonds in the Bloodstream

5. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – The Traveling Kind

 

JAMES THOMSON

dylansleeve1. Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12:

While 20 different versions (literally) of ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ may seem like overkill to some, for me it’s not. This archival release dates from the Bringing It All Back Home/Highway 61/Blonde On Blonde era. It’s Dylan at his unrestrained, mercurial best; the sound of genius.

2. Perry Keyes – Sunnyholt: Perry is the shadowy poet laureate of inner city Sydney. He makes great albums and is an equally great writer. The Last Ghost Train Home got given to me by a friend and I played it to death. After that I went back and started at Meter, but I think Sunnyholt is his finest album. Amphetamine tinged vignettes, love, hope and loss; it’s not light thematically by any means but it is distinctly Australian and wonderful.

3. Elwood Myre – Elwood Myre

4. Bad //Dreems – Dogs At Bay

5. Bek-Jean Stewart – Amos v Ann

 

ZANE BANKS (Cruisin’ Deuces, The Morrisons)

Bullseye LP web image-21. Country Side of Harmonica Sam – Open Letter to the Blues: Hot-damn this is a good album. The song writing, recording quality and overall vibe of this record is all just superb. The Country Side of Harmonica Sam hail from Sweden and they have a very traditional sound, reminiscent of early ’60s Bakersfield Honky Tonk (a la Buck Owens and Merle Haggard). The album is full of 4/4 shuffle grooves, twangy tele licks, tic tac bass lines, deep baritone guitar parts, prickly Ralph Mooney steel-guitar licks and of course, Harmonica Sam’s honeyed vocals. My recommended tracks are ‘Open Letter to the Blues’, ‘I’m down to My Last Cigarette’ and ‘I Regret it Every Day’.

2. Dale Watson – Call Me Insane

3. Fanny Lumsden – Small Town Big Shot

4. Ruby Boots – Solitude

5. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – The Travelling Kind

tie off

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