Author: Leon Blair
2016 has been an interesting year in country music, enough to where it might arguably even be considered polarizing. On the bad side we had WAY too many country legends pass away (well, celebrities in general), and there are some critics out there who would even argue it's been a weak year for country music.
On the other hand, you have people who are optimistic about the future of mainstream country music, as it seems that room is being made for more traditional sounding country music as well as just substance in general. Moreover I've seen people argue that this has been a great year for country music's quality overall.
I'm somewhere in the middle, but I lean a lot more towards the latter stance. Nowhere have I seen more proof that Country and Americana have thrived this year than in the nine albums I have chosen for that "album of the year" position. Again, I know I've already spoiled it, but let's at least pretend I didn't.
Now, I take this coveted position VERY seriously, mostly because I think a true "album of the year" nominee is one that stirs you as a music listener and inspires creativity and nuance rather than enjoyment. That's what I believe the following nine albums have done. I regret not being able to cover them this year, but there's always next year. So without further ado, here are my candidates for "Album Of The Year"
(Presented in alphabetical order by artist name)
Author: Leon Blair
Do you know those bands or individual artists that you keep saying you need to check out but unfortunately never get around to? I've honestly probably said it at least a million times by now. It's even harder when you're a blogger considering your main focus is usually on the music that's coming out right now and the artists fighting for your attention at this very moment. Finding time to take a break and listen to those other artists can be hard.
As you've probably guessed by now, American Aquarium is one of those bands that I just unfortunately am not as familiar with as I'd like to be. I heard their 2015 album, Wolves and actually really enjoyed that. Between other life events and other music vying for my attention however, I'd be lying if I said it didn't get lost in the shuffle throughout the year. That being said, I knew that lead singer, BJ Barham's upcoming solo studio album, Rockingham would be my chance to redeem myself, especially when I heard that it would be a deeply personal album, one that was inspired by the November 2015 Bataclan attack.