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
Who can really explain why certain artists rise to the top and others fail to even capture one person’s attention? In a just world you’d think it would be based solely on talent level, but between PR firms, marketing techniques and publicists, it’s a bit harder to explain why certain artists are able to capture peoples’ attention more so than others.
It’s not exactly like we’ve only seen a resurgence of traditional country music come into fruition just recently. While hard to find on the radio (although we’re making progress), traditional country music is very alive and well, make no mistake. As I stated in my recent Kelsey Waldon review though, it’s not just enough to play country music these days. You have to have something more.
It’s really hard to explain why former thrash-metal singer Cody Jinks has amassed such a large and loyal following over the past few years other than he’s just got “it”. The “it” that comes to so very few singers and is indeed a gift of the highest honor. It’s not enough to just have “it” though, you have to know how to use it. Cody Jinks knows and understands country music extremely well, and on his latest album, I’m Not The Devil he uses his talents to make his best album yet.