Oermann: 2013 Country Music Worth Buying

12 stories11It’s true that most current Country music sucks (but, then, so does most current pop music). Even so, during 2013 there were actually Country records worth spending your money on. Here are 10 releases from the past year that you really should own.

1. BRANDY CLARK 12 Stories (Slate Creek)
Every song is a stunner. Perhaps the finest debut CD from a country singer-songwriter since Steve Earle.

2. BLUE SKY RIDERS Finally Home (3Dream)
Comprised of Gary Burr, Georgia Middleman and Kenny Loggins, this trio has it all – sterling harmonies, terrific energy, awesomely hooky songs.

3. VARIOUS ARTISTS The Music of Nashville (Big Machine)
How embarrassing is it that a TV soap opera about the country-music business creates better music than the real thing?

4. KACEY MUSGRAVES Same Trailer, Different Park (Mercury)
Sweet, tart, tangy and twangy in all the right places. Smart, too.

5. SHERYL CROW Feels Like Home (Warner Bros.)
What a pro. Her singing has never sounded stronger, and her country compositions ring with authenticity. Welcome to the format.

6. BOBBY BARE Darker Than Light (Plowboy)
Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year, Bare also put out the best folk-country collection of 2013.

ashley monroe17. ASHLEY MONROE Like a Rose (Warner Bros.)
Her Appalachian soprano melts your heart. Her charm, wit and sass tickle your brain.

Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe prove that their first trio album was no fluke via this just-as-potent sophomore effort.

9. KELLY WILLIS & BRUCE ROBISON Cheater’s Game (Premium)
Once again, the Texans show the Tennesseans how to do it right.

10. STURGILL SIMPSON High Top Mountain (SS-HTM)
Cool, retro and country, country, country, all the way. A new honky-tonk hero is born.

Vince Gill & Paul Franklin, Amber Digby, Chris Young, Blake Shelton, George Strait, the Buddy Emmons tribute CD.

Note: The worthy Taylor Swift, Kip Moore, Little Big Town, Jim Lauderdale & Buddy Miller, Miranda Lambert and Zac Brown Band albums were all issued in 2012.


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About the Author

Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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