Best of 2015: The Best Americana Albums of the Year

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Happy New Year. So I’m back. I apologise for the delay in getting to these posts. I did promise them a few weeks ago but January has been the post Christmas recovery as I planned. So to start my review of 2015, I plan to feature the best Americana albums of the year. This list highlights the best of the year from international artists. I have gone with just ten artists here. I try to keep it nice and succinct. So here are my favourite albums of the year. They are nearly all American which is no surprise. There is a lot more than americana here. There is a bit of soul, alt-country, americana and more. So if you are still looking for something to catch up on and listen to, well I hope this list helps.

Leon Bridges – Coming Home

                    This album came out of the blue for me, I had never hear of Leon Bridges before the middle of 2015. I caught this song on the radio and was hooked. I can easily say it has reinvigorated my love of soul music. A genre I have ignored for a while now. It’s the perfect summer afternoon record. The style is blatant in it’s homage to the classic albums of the soul hey-day of the mid 1960’s but who cares…it’s just great. 

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

The follow-up to the excellent SouthEastern, Something More Than Free is more a continuation than any major departure of style. The album probably is related more to 2011 “Here We Rest”. Jason brings back the band, the arrangements are simple and the results are superb.

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

This collection of songs has been receiving quite the amount of praise in 2015. It might not fight the strict parameters of americana (is there strict parameters?) but it’s soulful, affecting, honest stay with you for a long time,

Tim Lee 3 – 33⅓

I like Tim Lee 3, In the kindest way, they are workmanlike and get the job done. What I mean by that is that you know what to expect from a Tim Lee 3 album. They never disappoint. If you like your alt-country straight with no frills then this is the album for you.

Butchers Blind – A Place In America

I couldn’t find a track to feature here (only available on Spotify I’m afraid). I’ll get working on that. But this band do alt-country rock so good, I would be a fool not to include them. A melodic collection, with paino and guitar taking the lead on many of the tracks, this is a superb collection of songs by a band that is only getting better.

John Moreland – High on Tulsa Heat

John Moreland is starting to get attention in the U.S. It’s deserved. The man has one of those lived in voices. You believe every word he sings and every word in this album adds to a lifetimes of experiences. The tracks are laid out simply which allows the words to shine.

Have Gun, Will Travel – Science From An Easy Chair

I’ve been an admirer of Have Gun,Will Travel since I first came across them a few years ago. I was looking forward to this release but never expected that their latest album would chronicle the journey of Ernest Shackleton and his attempts to reach the bottom of the world. What made a band from Florida tackle this topic, I’m not sure. Does it work? Definitely. While the subject matter may not fit your typical americana release, the songs are respectful, heartfelt and just damn good. A wonderful release.

Lucero – All A Man Should Do

Another band that I am always keeping tabs on, Lucero returned this year with their eight studio album. After eight releases, you think a band might have reached the ability of their creative juices. But this album sounds so fresh, There are songs of regret, musings on life however this is one of the bands most poppy records and it’s all the better for it.

Andrew Combs – All These Dreams

Andrew Combs is a man that knows his country. The collection of songs in this album feel in many ways like classic country of the early 1970’s when country stated to make a strong impression on the pop charts. Andrew composes some beautiful tunes of themes of love, sorrow and more that sit on arrangements that already feel like they are classic songs.

Gretchen Peters – Blackbirds

This release by Gretchen Peters was not one I expected to have on my best of this year. I’d been aware of Gretchen only by name before and hadn’t given her music a proper listen. Her work with Ben Glover brought to this; “Blackbirds”.  The title track is a sorrowful murder ballad and the theme of death sways around the rest of the album. With a number of great guest artists, this album manages to bring what are common themes in country music and add some fresh perspective. 

Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete

The Dave Rawlings Machine are in fact  Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch and have been for many years. If you are not aware both record using either names but always together. Both artists write on this album and it’s great as a result. The lyrics vary from humorous wit to the sombre depending on who is behind the words. It’s beautifully arranged and wonderfully produced. Just a lovely record.


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