It was truly an incredible year for new music. Creating a list this year was a challenge and I’ve probably missed a few but here are my Top 14 Albums of 2014:
14. The Afghan Whigs, Do To the Beast – Not for the uninitiated, but so very welcome after a 16 year wait for the faithful.
13. The Hold Steady, Teeth Dreams – A forceful return to form and a handful of tracks they will be playing live for years to come.
12. Sylvia Rose Novak, Chasing Ghosts – Fans of Amanda Shires or classic ’70’s era Country Music should check this one out. Murder, deceit, and obsession can sound so very sweet.
11. Josh Nolan, Fair City Lights – This one hooks you from beginning to end with excellent rock and roll songs that sound more Asbury Park, NJ than Lexington, KY, but undeniably, American.
10. Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music – I have nothing to add that hasn’t been said before. You know the deal about this one.
9. Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues – A creative and commercial success that stands up with with the very best of their deep catalog.
8. Scott H. Biram, Nothin’ But Blood – Blues, Gospel, Country, Metal, this one has it all. Ranks up there with my favorite Biram albums. You should see him live because he’s amazing but you may want to refrain from requesting songs. You’ve been warned.
7. Adam Faucett, Blind Water Finds Blind Water – Shame on me but I didn’t know who Adam Faucett was until this year. After hearing this album I was blown away. Mesmerizing, haunting, and compelling; pour a glass of whiskey, listen, and prepare to go on a musical and damn near spiritual journey.
6. Matt Woods, With Love From Brushy Mountain – Deserves the praise that Sturgill’s has rightfully receive. They don’t make Country Music like the old days? F*ck you. Listen to this. Matt Woods is a badass.
5. Lydia Loveless, Somewhere Else – Loveless is a boss. This is her best album and you should listen to it as you do bad things.
4. Those Crosstown Rivals, Hell and Back – This record melted my face in 2014. The best, pure, rock album of the year. I’ve probably drank more beer while listening to this record than any other in the past 12 months.
3. Robert Ellis, The Lights From the Chemical Plant – I wrote the review of this on 9B. I wrote “seamlessly blending country, folk, jazz, and rock”. I will stand by that. I will also add that it is an incredibly rich and rewarding journey. Splendid.
2. Caleb Caudle, Paint Another Layer On My Heart – No album has been played more in my house in 2014 than Caleb’s. As comfortable as the pajama jeans you got for Christmas but with none of the stigma, this album stole all of our hearts in the last 12 months. My wife’s favorite record of the year.
1. Kierston White, Don’t Write Love Songs – Somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Neil Young lies Kierston White. My favorite song of the year is “Ride On” from Kierston’s stellar debut and this is, undoubtedly, my most loved record of the year. Her voice is simultaneously vulnerable and strong, inviting and defiant, bittersweet and beautiful. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Stunning.