Albums Of The Year, For A Decade, Pt. 1 (2010-2014)

With the rollover of the calendar last week, a lot of year-end, and decade-end list popped up, for everything from music and movies, to politics to technology advancement.

This just another such list.

Here is my Albums of the Year, for every year of the decade. These are hindsight as of currently. Not all of them were my Album of the Year in the year I rated them. My list, my rules.

Sometime around 2008-2009, my musical interests shifted greatly, more to the roots, Americana style. But as you can see by the list below, my likes did not change much within the decade. For a guy who eschews genres, these would all admittedly fall within the same loose definition of a genre.

2010–Turnpike Troubadours–Diamonds and Gasoline

The sophomore album from a band that apparently burned out before they faded away, and their breakthrough album after Bossier City was a limited release. While I listen to their 2012 Goodbye Normal Street more, this one is the 2010 album I probably listen to the most still.

The highlights from the album were 7&7, Every Girl and Long Hot Summer Day, all of which became concert staples for the band for years before their collapse a couple years back. We all still hope Evan gets his life figured out, tackles his demons and continues to give us more. A tad humanistic and a tad selfish, I know.

And then St. Louis’ favorite, thanks to Matt Carpenter, closes out the album.

2011–Hayes Carll–KMAG YOYO

Hayes Carll had already put out three albums and made a name for himself before this 2011 release, but KMAG YOYO was where he started taking some chances and came into his own as a songwriter.

The title track has a soldier on an acid trip. There is a Prine/Dement-like duet in Another Like You. And my favorite holiday tune, Grateful For Christmas. Plus a rocker like Stomp and Holler, which is a live favorite. The album does not have a real clunker. My favorite part of Hayes is he will freely tell you he can’t sing and he is the worst musician in his band. If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.

Also, Hayes is my go-to karaoke. See the above sentence.

“This is a Christmas song, but really just a song about my family.”

2012–Lincoln Durham–The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones

Most of these years were no-brainers for me. I had some serious debate with myself on this year. Lincoln’s debut album kind of smacks you in the mouth. On first listen, you don’t realize this is a one-man band, or a one-man hurricane if you watch his live videos. He generates walls of sounds, and then often pulls it back into the dark and quiet. He is innovative with instrumentation, and in it all is a gothic howl that just works.

Clementine was the first one that grabbed me, and I believe Ray Wylie Hubbard has said it was the one that made him a fan too. If you are good enough for Ray, you are good enough for me by golly.

2013–Jason Isbell–Southeastern

This is probably my album of the decade, or at least in a top 3 with my 2017 and 2018 selections. Jason had put out a couple of very solid albums after leaving the Drive-By Truckers, but this was his magnum opus after sobering up and falling in love. It’s amazing what that can do for a songwriter. Cover Me Up was almost the first dance at my wedding. Elephant will make you check the room for dust, every damn time. Traveling Alone also made the reception playlist. Jason got his shit together for this album. I started to shortly after.

2014–Sturgill Simpson–Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

The Kentucky country-rocker came out firing on this one, his sophomore album under the solo moniker. This was the birth of acid country, or at least the extreme continuation of it. I got to see Sturgill twice on this album tour–once with a couple hundred people in a St. Louis bar, and once with 10,000 at Red Rocks–the damn coolest place to catch a concert.

Part 2 to come, covering 2015 to 2019.

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