Moving on to the albums of year – international edition in this quest of writing these way too long and entirely subjective year-end lists. It’s a list of one man, so there’s obviously lots of stuff I haven’t heard at all or not enough. For example I’ve only listened the Turnpike Troubadours a few times and haven’t bought it yet. So that’s not in here even though could easily have the quality. Bedouine is a recent addiction that I actually found from someone else’s year-end list (thanks Cale Tyson) and perhaps could be here, if I did this some weeks later. Oh and that Peter Perrett album always sound marvellous to me, but I haven’t picked up a copy yet. And countless of other things of course. However, somehow I do have a lot of time to listen as well. My first draft had about 70 albums that I had really enjoyed and thought are worthy of considering. It was painful to cut it down to 30, but probably nobody wanted a top 50 like last year. I think I take a little breather now, but there will be songs of the year lists at some point. Maybe before Christmas, maybe after. I’m not sure yet. Anyway, here it goes. Alphabetical order would probably make far more sense, because I love them all and music is life, not a contest.
Courtney Marie Andrews disclaimer – I had her wonderful Honest Life as #2 on the 2016 list, so it won’t be included this time around even though the euro release did take place in January 2017 on Loose Music. It would be in the top 3, if I would include it.
Top 30 Albums of the Year – The International Edition
30. Andrew Combs – Canyons of My Mind
Andrew Combs can do the honors and start the list with his latest groundbreaker Canyons of My Mind. He is a songwriter that always challenges my taste, but usually ends up winning. I never learned to love a couple of songs (especially Bourgeois King), but I could marry the most of them. Silk Flowers, Lauralee, Hazel, Dirty Rain, What It Means To You are all so magnificent.
29. Caroline Spence – Spades & Roses
People like John Moreland kept on saying that folks should listen to Caroline Spence. So I did and I owe them a big thank you. Spades & Roses is a marvellous album full of excellent songwriting.
28. Otis Gibbs – Mount Renraw
Otis Gibbs is a man that deserves some kind of culture award for a) keeping alive the work of old country legends b) casting spotlight on current folk troubadours. As an addition to all that podcast work he has done during the past years and of course even more importantly, the man is also a damn fine songwriter and the new album Mount Renraw is one of his best.
27. Jeffrey Martin – One Go Around
This one by Jeffrey Martin has some of the best storytelling of the year. I suppose it’s not surprise this is rather literate, because Jeffrey Martin was an English teacher up until taking a leap of faith and focusing solely on music. One Go Around is like a masterwork of songwriting. Short stories wrapped inside a sweet folk melodies.
26. Joseph Huber – The Suffering Stage
Milwaukee’s roots wizard, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Joseph Huber put out a strong new album The Suffering Stage. The best stuff is again out-of-this-world good. Diminished Things, Sons Of Wandering and You Showed Me especially, but everything else is very enjoyable as well.
25. Kacy & Clayton – The Siren’s Song
Canada’s finest folk duo Kacy & Clayton continue to impress and dropped a new Jeff Tweedy-produced album The Siren’s Song. Kacy is a phenomenal vocalist and the songs are mostly fabulous. Perhaps a few fall into “only nice” – category and therefore this is not yet the masterpiece I expect them to make one day.
24. Lilly Hiatt – Trinity Lane
This one by Lilly Hiatt has gathered a lot of year-end love and rightfully so. My Norwegian friends at Dust of Daylight even had it as #1 on their vote, which was a pleasant surprise. It’s indeed a great record that unlike many of my favourites also has a lot of energy, edge and rock’n’roll. Oh and Poppy is such beautiful cat and I highly recommend checking out the video for the title track. I love cats and I love Lilly and therefore I’ve watched the video countless amount of times and enjoy the bond she and Poppy have in that video.
23. Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes – Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You
Chris Porter and his bandmate Mitchell Vandenburg passed away in tragic accident a little over a year ago. Before his untimely and horribly unfair passing, Chris had recorded an album called Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You. Thankfully his fiancée Andrea Juarez, friends and Cornelius Chapel Records teamed up together and released this amazing album, because the best way to remember this beautiful man, is to listen to the wonderful music he wrote.
22. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in The Alps
I’ve been somewhat familiar with Phoebe Bridgers since the Pax Am 7”, but didn’t properly start listening to until early 2017 when my twitter started to get crowded with praises. They were absolutely right. The songs are mostly phenomenal and Stranger in the Alps is a wonderful album.
21. Zephaniah OHora with The 18 Wheelers – This Highway
Zephaniah OHora with the 18 Wheelers created a wonderful traditional countrypolitan album. I can’t seem to get enough of Zephaniah’s timeless country balladry. Somehow he can make heartache sound so beautiful and comfortable. Extremely highly recommended if you have any interest towards classic country music. The last song of This Highway is a magnificent way to close this first chapter of this year-end list. For a Moment or Two it might make me feel like this listing makes some sense.