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OOPS - almost forgot

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (143)
So many great releases this year that I forgot to make mention of Willie  Nelson's Heroes. This is Willie's most consistently good album for many years. His son, Lukas,contributes three of his own songs and vocals. His brother Micah  Nelson also appears on the final track with Lukas.
Other guest include  Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver,  Ray Price, Jamey Johnson, Sheryl Crow (who caught Willie's "gotta duet with everybody" disease long ago)  and Snoop Dogg.

Q. Why did Willie Nelson cross the road ?
A.  To do a duet with the chicken

I also forgot to mention the wonderful 2012 albums by Tom Pacheco and Ronny Elliott.

Tom's Luminol: The Houston Sessions is classic Tom Pacheco - great stories and social comment. Woodie Guthrie would have been proud to have written Tom's Solidarity. 
The Girl With The Blue Guitar & The Black Beret is a little cinematic vignette.

Ronny titled his album I've Been Meaning To Write as it's been 5 years since the release of Jalopypaint. This is classic Ronny Elliot.  Mojo magazine describes his music as "Craggy but literary country blues like Jerry Lee Lewis if he were a beat poet or Townes Van Zandt with a Ph.D."
I love his line "she's sleeping her way to the bottom" from the track A Doctor And A Lawyer.

Tom the Teacher's Best of 2012

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 1:24 PM Comments comments (164)
Last night Tom the Teacher (retired) joined me for what was our 5th annual "The Year That Was" show.

Here are Tom's Top 10  albums for 2012:
 1. Chris Wall - El Western Motel
 2. Willie Nelson - Heroes
 3. Gary P. Nunn - One Way Or Another
 4. James Hand - Mighty Lonesome Man
 5. Todd Fritsch  - Up There In The Saddle
 6. Leyla Fences - Itty Bitty Twang Twang
 7. Kelly Spinks - Right Out Of This World
 8. Tim Culpepper - Pourin' Whiskey On Pain 
 9. Wesley Dennis - Country Enough
10. Waylon Jennings - Goin' Down Rockin'

Best of 2012

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (286)
2012 saw a slew of fantastic releases.

This is the first time in 16 years I've wimped out and had a shared #1 album of the year.

Leyla Fences “Itty Bitty Twang Twang” was my favourite album for the last half of the year, then Chris Wall releases his first album in 10 years “El Western Motel” and rockets to the #1 spot.

I could not possibly split them.

Chris Wall - along with the 2 Toms (Russell & Pacheco) is the most literate song writer of out time - music like Chris Wall's is the reason I have been presenting my radio show for the last 16 years.

Leyla Fences has clever lyrics , memorable melodies, great playing and production - modern honky tonk classics with a nod to the practical feminism of Loretta Lynn.

Balance of my Top 10 ( in no particular order)
Todd Fritsch - Up There In The Saddle
Rodney Hayden - Atascosa Sand
Mighty Lonesome Man - James Hand
Small Town Kid - Jack Higginbotham
Billy Don Burns - Nights When I Am Sober
Tartan Cactus Heart - Charlie Roth
Greg Tressell - The Hard Way
Jesse Dayton - Jesse Sings Kinky
Aaron Watson - Real Good Time

It was a great year for music from groups:
The Great Unknowns - S/T
The Washers - Tired Eyes
JP Harris & The Tough Choices -  I'll Keep Calling
Jason Arnold & The Sidesteppers - Crazy Things
J.W.W. & The Prospectors - It's High Past Time

And singer-songwriters:
Nanci Griffith - Intersection
Matt Harlan - Bow And Be Simple
Walt Wilkins - Plenty
Jimmy LaFave - Depending On The Distance

Tommy Alverson was busy with 2 new releases - Pickin' On Willie and  Texas One More  Time as well as a re-release of  Live At Ozona's.

Lost gonzo Gary P. Nunn came up with one of  his best albums One Way Or Another.

We were treated to Waylon Jennings'  "last album'"  Goin' Down Rockin'  and great live albums from Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver.

Bob Dylan's Tempest  is his best since Street Legal.

And Neil Young was back with Crazy Horse for two great  2012 albums - Americana and Psychedelic Pill.   Twisted Road from the latter is one of his best songs ever !

The best Australian release of 2012 was Catherine Britt's Always Never Enough.
Recorded in Jimmy LaFave's Cedar Creek Studio in Austin  , she co-produced it with Kasey's dad, Bill Chambers who also plays guitar and mandolin on the album
All the songs are originals with the exception of Guy Clark's She Ain't Goin' Nowhere on which the writer shares the vocals.
Other guests on the album include the ubiquitous Lloyd Maines, Gurf Morlix, Ray Bonneville and Jimmy LaFave. Also Aussie indie music legend Tim Rogers (You Am I) sings with Catherine on one track.