Before we get too much further into 2017, it's time to take a look back at sixteen of my favorite Bluegrass recordings released in 2016. These selections are ranked in no particular order (other than alphabetical), but each is worth a repeated listen as we move into the new year. In mid-December, Jim put together a fun list of some of his more obscure favorites from 2016, and there is a bit of duplication on our lists. At the end of the day -- or the end of the year -- the choice of what you listen to is yours alone. We are just pleased to expose your ears to some of our favorites during a couple of hours each week. Hope you'll keep on listening in 2017, too. Happy New Year!
And here comes the list:
- Balsam Range - "Mountain Voodoo" (Mountain Home)
This is the sixth recording from this popular North Carolina band, and it offers a good mix of Bluegrass mixed with a few country-sounding tunes.
- Travers Chandler - "Archaic" (Patuxent Music)
Chandler always seems to offer straight-ahead Bluegrass music, and this recording is solid.
- Earls Of Leicester - "Rattle And Roar" (Rounder)
This is the second record from the popular Flatt & Scruggs tribute band. While it's always best to hear the original versions of these songs, if this band can bring some younger ears back to the music of Flatt & Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys, who can complain?
- Mickey Galyean & Cullen's Bridge - "My Daddy's Grass" (Rebel)
Think traditional Bluegrass is a thing of the past? Listen to this CD from second-generation performer Mickey Galyean and his band.
- Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver - "Burden Bearer" (Mountain Home)
It's amazing that Doyle Lawson is always able to hire crackerjack musicians for his band and make them work on perfecting his sound. The combination of musicians isn't always perfect, but this particular Quicksilver band is one of Doyle's best in years. Plus, the record features several fine a cappella quartets -- a Quicksilver specialty.
- Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands - "The Hazel And Alice Sessions" (Spruce And Maple Music)
A Grammy-nominated collection honoring the music of pioneers Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard.
- Corrina Rose Logston - "Bluegrass Fiddler" (Patuxent Music)
A perfect title from this recording by a young Bluegrass fiddler.
- Edgar Loudermilk - "Georgia Maple" (Pinecastle)
Edgar's third solo recording and first from Pinecastle Records, and it is filled with original songs.
- Del McCoury Band - "Del And Woody" (McCoury Music)
What a concept! Take the lyrics of Woody Guthrie and set them to music composed by Del McCoury, and how could you not want to listen?
- Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers - "Sacred Memories" (Rebel)
Another great gospel recording from Joe Mullins and his terrific band. If there were no other songs on here besides "When The Sun Of Life Goes Down," the CD would still be worth listening.
- David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition - "David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition" (DP & CD Records)
After a few years of retirement, it's great to hear David Parmley's warm baritone voice singing once more.
- Lou Reid & Carolina - "Rollin' On" (KMA Records)
Lou Reid is a long-time favorite of mine, and this record is quite good.
- Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show - "Sho Nuff Country!" (Patuxent Music)
What a fun record! While this CD can't quite capture the full impact of KSBC's live show, it comes pretty darn close. Plain old enjoyable!
- Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice - "Poor Boy's Pleasure" (Mountain Fever Records)
Another fine recording from one of the most traditional-sounding Bluegrass voices working today.
- Spinney Brothers - "Living The Dream" (Mountain Fever Records)
This is the Spinneys' fourth record for Mountain Fever Records, and the title song has been #1 on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey for 3 months in a row. Guess these guys really are living the dream.
- Jeff White - "Right Beside You" (Jeff White Music)
This is Jeff White's second CD on this list, as he is a current member of the Earls of Leicester, as well. Jeff's latest solo recording includes everything from songs he's written to a fine version of Stringbean's "Run Little Rabbit, Run."