Author: Leon Blair
I didn't cover the Grammys because I honestly didn't care all that much. However, Sturgill Simpson won the award for best country album, and he performed this song, so here you go. Enjoy.
Author: Leon Blair
I'm an album guy - always have been and always be. Here at Country Music Minds, we take the concept of an album very seriously, so much so that you could say we have higher (or stricter) standards than other blogs. That being said, 2016 had a lot of great albums, more so than we could fit in with our album of the year candidates. Therefore, we wanted to put together a list of what we considered to be the top 25 albums of this year. They aren't ranked in any particular order. All they are is proof of how great 2016 was from a musical standpoint.
Please note, OUR ALBUM OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES ARE NOT HERE. THEY ARE LISTED RIGHT HERE! However, these other eleven albums are also considered to be among the best that 2016 had to offer. Without further ado, here they are -
Fans have been debating what country music is and what it should sound like probably for as long as the concept of "country music" has existed. Between the Nashville Sound and Chet Atkins, the outlaw backlash, the Urban Cowboy fad, the neotraditional movement, the Garth/Shania boom years, "Murder on Music Row", the rise of alt-country and Americana, Taylor Swift winning Entertainer of the Year, "old farts and jackasses", the emergence of bro-country, the out-of-nowhere success of Chris Stapleton and all the other notable events and eras, I'm sure you've heard all the arguments and back-and-forths by now. At this point, rehashing this whole debate is not beating a dead horse, it's exhuming the body and lighting it on fire. But if you'll indulge me, I'd like to give my thoughts on this subject.
I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, "What exactly is country music?" The biggest issue surrounding this whole debate is that there's no official, objective criteria that determines what is or isn't country. It's not like a deity has descended from the heavens to inscribe the one true definition of country music onto a stone tablet, nor have scientists discovered a new theorem that can be used to irrefutably prove whether a piece of music is or isn't country. Webster and Wikipedia are vague, and talk more about country music's influences and places of origin than what it actually sounds like. Ultimately, it seems people's conceptions of country music vary depending on when they were born, what music they've been exposed to, and what they like.
We're just about past the halfway point of 2016, and I thought it'd be a great time to share some of my favorite albums I've heard so far this year.
Please note that this is not intended to be a "Best of 2016" list, because that would imply an in-depth knowledge of 2016 new releases that I currently lack. The fact that I only joined CMM in April and didn't decide to do a midyear/endyear list until May has resulted in me being a little behind in new releases. There are several acclaimed releases I fully intend to listen to but haven't yet, as well as some I listened to and enjoyed but haven't yet spent enough time with to feel comfortable writing about. In other words, if you don't see an album here, it is almost certainly not intended as a slight. I will have a more conventional, ranked "best of" list at the end of the year when I'm all caught up!