The New Year is fast approaching, and the folks at No Depression recently sent out a call to their bloggers for the Top 10 albums (Americana) of 2012. I tried to strike a balance in terms of genres, labels, and mainstream name recognition. Feel free to suggest your own additions in the comments.
Number 10: “Across the Imaginary Divide” by Bela Fleck & the Marcus Roberts Trio
In the early days of jazz, the banjo was the stringed rhythm instrument of choice. The guitar — particularly the electric guitar — eventually overtook the banjo. On this album, Americana and jazz pioneer Bela Fleck puts the six-stringers to shame, trading both rhythm and leads with the piano/drums/bass lineup of the Marcus Roberts Trio. It’s a classic sound with a modern twist.
Number 9: “Goodbye Normal Street” by the Turnpike Troubadours
Solid country tunesmithing for those who can’t stomach most of what’s coming out of Nashville these days. Goodbye Normal Street is evidence of a band that’s maturing and broadening its appeal, while at the same time staying true to their sound and Americana roots. Highly recommended for those who are tired of the same old same old on country radio. (full review)