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
I am a music fan first and foremost. Although I run a Country and Americana oriented blog, I review and grade each album for what it's worth, because at the end of the day there's really only two kinds of music – good and bad.
That's more or less the perspective you have to take when you explore the work of the man from Houston Texas, Robert Ellis. Sure, his first album from 2012 named Photographs was grounded in a mostly classic country sound, but 2014's The Lights From The Chemical Plant went even further, exploring sonic territories of Pop and Rock that really painted Robert as a true artist. On his brand new self-titled album, he pushes those genre lines even further.