My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

2009 album recommendations, album previews

2009 has been interesting, a crappy year for mainstream country music overall, but I would say a good year for other genres. Since the year is 75% over, I just wanted to share some of my picks from the year so far (inside country music and out) and a look at a few upcoming albums. Note: these are albums I’ve been enjoying, some may not appeal to you guys, but these albums have been played heavily by me. I also didn’t include albums I’ve reviewed, but most of those are still played a lot by me… Here are some recommendations from 2009 so far:

the long way home terri clarkThe Long Way Home by Terri Clark -Her indie debut reminds me of Fearless, only better. There are some really great tracks hidden in here- it’s a shame it won’t be heard by almost everyone. Favorite Track: “A Million Ways To Run” -This song is a look into the mind of someone at what seems to be an AA meeting- and it sounds real, not contrived.

mi planMi Plan by Nelly Furtado -She got me into Spanish music, and this album has some gorgeous cuts with great guests. Favorite track: “Bajo Otra Luz” which features Julieta Venegas & La Mala Rodriguez -This song has a great beat while the lyrics tell of how one sees their life “under another light” after their ex leaves them.

live-on-insideLive On The Inside by Sugarland -Cool live album that proves Jennifer sounds as good, if not better live. Favorite track: “Circle” -This cover just sound like it was made to be covered by Sugarland, it’s got energy and sounds great with the mandolin in the background. Jennifer’s voice just soars, while staying restrained, not to mention you can’t even tell it’s live.

breakthrough colbie caillatBreakthrough by Colbie Caillat -She’s not deep, but this album is very pleasant and good after a long day of classes. Her voice is pleasant and the songs are fun and she never really tries to be more than that. Favorite track: “Begin Again” -A catchy chorus with great acoustic-pop instrumentation makes for a very enjoyable song.

twangTwang by George Strait -Solid, as usual, but better than Troubadour by far. It’s definitely a George Strait album! Favorite Track: “Beautiful Day For Goodbye” -A man laments how nice the weather is while his lover leaves, definitely a heartbreaker akin to “Living For The Night”. I personally prefer “Living”, but I didn’t want to recommend the first single!

destination_lifeDestination Life by Rhonda Vincent -She’s so talented, and this album just sounds awesome. It’s very fresh and all of the players are just amazing. Favorite track: “Stop The World (And Let Me Off)” -This oft-covered song has a great flamenco feel mixed with bluegrass instruments, a true treat that I wasn’t expecting from Rhonda Vincent.

middle cyclone neko caseMiddle Cyclone by Neko Case -She’s different, but this album is a little more straightforward with lyrics that are easier to get. Honestly, I wish I had bought tickets to see her in New York City, but I didn’t quite get too… Lame. Favorite track: “This Tornado Loves You” -This opener has some cool opening guitar work that segues into lyrics comparing the narrator to a tornado that loves… or is she really a tornado?

Here are some upcoming albums that I’m looking forward to:

mountain soul iiMountain Soul II by Patty Loveless -Honestly, I’ve already heard it, and it’s really good. I like it better than Mountain Soul, but that’s my personal opinion, and I bet most people will disagree with me on that point. My favorite track right now is “Diamond And The Crown” which features Emmylou Harris on harmonies. (September 29th)

revolution miranda lambertRevolution by Miranda Lambert -I love the first two singles, and 15 tracks is like one-and-a-half times Crazy Ex-Girlfriend! I’ve heard the album has some really good songs, and I recommend Wal-Mart’s soundcheck performances where she performs a few of the new songs. Hopefully the fact that it’s loud doesn’t bug me, but I don’t think it will. (September 29th)

memoirs of an imperfect angel mariah careyMemoirs Of An Imperfect Angel by Mariah Carey -The lead single “Obsessed” had strange autotune, but the second single is a cover of “I Want To Know What Love Is” and is pure ballady goodness with gorgeous vocals, something Mariah Carey does well.I liked her past two albums, so I think I’ll like this one too. (September 29th)

Shakira_She_Wolf_2009She Wolf by Shakira -Yeah, I know, “WHAT?” This album is supposed to be like electro dance-pop with asian influences- whatever that means, but if it’s all like “She Wolf”, I’ll love it. I love the title track, and sometimes I get in the mood to dance, and this album seems like it’ll be too much fun. I think I just like it when someone howls in the middle of a song… (October 5th)

play on carrie underwoodPlay On by Carrie Underwood -I’m the rare one that likes “Cowboy Casanova”, but I’m hoping this album will be much better than Carnival Ride, but I’m not keeping my hopes up. I think everyone’s hoping for an album of “I Told You So”s, but I bet when it comes out her anti-fans will be the ones saying “I told you so…” (November 3rd)

Sugarland Gold And GreenGold And Green by Sugarland -Being the massive Sugarland fan I am, I found out they were making a Christmas album, and I was actually excited- something a Christmas album never does for me. It includes the five Christmas songs that were included on the Wal-Mart re-release of Enjoy The Ride, plus five new songs written by the duo. Two Sugarland albums in two months? I’ll take that. (October 13th)

As-of yet untitled… by Alicia Keys -The first single, “Doesn’t Mean Anything” (Listen to it here) is really great, very meaningful and gorgeous- it bodes well for this project. (Winter 2009)

As-of yet untitled… by Gary Allan -I like him and his voice, although I disliked Living Hard, we’ll see about this one. (2009)

So what about you guys? Favorites of 2009 so far? Upcoming ones that you’re ready for?

18 responses to “2009 album recommendations, album previews

  1. highwayman3 September 22, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Pattys and Miranda’s are the only two here I am looking forward to, Sept, 29th is gonna be a good day. I’m also looking forward to Joe Nichols, ‘Old Things New’ album, it’ll be traditional and it will be great. I’ll probably check out Tim McGraw’s Southern Voice and Josh Turners Haywire, and that will likely cease the Christmas buying season, 09, sounds like it should shape up fairly nice this year

  2. Steve from Boston September 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I’m with ya highwayman, on Patty and Miranda’s upcoming albums. Just one week to go!

    And Chris, from what I’ve heard of Mountain Soul II, I agree, I think it’s even better than the first, and that going some because I absolutely love the original.

    “Diamond In My Crown” is the crown jewel in this fantastic album. A true gem indeed.

  3. Michael September 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Nice list, Chris. I’m glad to hear that Terri Clark’s latest is even better than Fearless because I loved that one. I enjoyed the George Strait, Sugarland and Rhonda Vincent efforts. I’m not huge on Colbie Caillat and I’ll probably just wait for Nelly Furtado’s proper pop/English language follow up to Loose.

    I’ll probably pick up Mariah, Patty and Sugarland’s upcoming albums but I’m on the fence about Shakira. I haven’t heard Alicia Keys’ latest single but I do like a lot of her stuff so I hope it’s good. The only other upcoming release on my radar isn’t really new but rather the 2 Disc Madonna compilation Celebration which will get a lot of play at my house.

    • Chris September 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm

      Sorry, I meant to link to the new Keys single- it reminds me of a cross between “If I Ain’t Got You” and “No One” albeit a sadder song than those.

      For Tim McGraw, I only listened to Let It Go for about 2 months, then it fell off for me. I heard ‘Southern Voice” and the song annoyed me, so I think I’m going to pass on his album.

      • Michael September 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm

        Now I’m definitely eager to hear “Doesn’t Mean Anything”. “If I Ain’t Got You” and “No One” are my two absolute favorite songs of hers.

  4. Paul W Dennis September 22, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Nelly Furtado, Shakira, Alica Keys, Mariah Carey ????

    I thought this was a country music site. Apparently I was mistaken

    • Chris September 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm

      Haha, it is- I’m just highlighting a few albums outside the genre that I like and am looking forward to. It won’t be normal or anything, I promise!

    • Jake September 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm

      There’s nothing wrong with some variety every once and a while.

      • J.R. Journey September 23, 2009 at 7:05 pm

        Country is our primary genre, but like Chris, I am a fan of several kinds of music. We just don’t write them as much here because this is a country blog. Variety is the spice of life.

  5. Occasional Hope September 22, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Albums I’ve particularly liked this year that I haven’t reviewed include Dean Brody’s debut; Dailey & Vincent, Brothers From Different Mothers; the Gibson Brothers, Ring The Bell; and Ricky Skaggs, Solo: Songs My Father Loved.

    I’m looking forward to the new releases from Joe Nichols and Josh Turner. I think Gary Allan’s next will be make or break for me; I loved his early work, but haven’t enjoyed the direction he’s been headed in lately. If this one goes further down that road, that will be it for me.

  6. Razor X September 22, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve liked the Tanya Tucker, Shane Worley and George Strait albums that were released this year. Gene Watson’s was also excellent. I don’t think I’ve bought too many 2009 releases; I’ve bought a lot of older stuff this year. Reba’s and Martina’s albums were both disappointments. I’ve been eagerly awaiting Mountain Soul II for quite some time.

  7. Matt B. September 23, 2009 at 1:34 am

    FYI Sugarland’s Christmas record comes out the 13th.

  8. Leeann Ward September 23, 2009 at 7:47 am

    I’m not going to lie, I’m excited by the prospect of the Sugarland
    Christmas album too. I mean…it’s Christmas!:)

  9. Bob September 23, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Better than Fearless is quite a recommendation for TC’s new cd. After hearing Gypsy Boots and the awful Dirty Girl a while back, I wondered about the direction of Terri’s music. Since I have all her other cds, I’ll probably buy the new one despite the GB single.
    Loved the Live on the Inside cd/dvd and will buy Gold and Green since my wife and I only have 57 Christmas cds. Hope they don’t cover little drummer boy, my least favorite Christmas song.
    My latest cd purchase along w Live on the Inside was Delbert McClinton’s “Acquired Taste” which I’ve really enjoyed as I did his previous cd, “Cost of Living”.

    • Leeann Ward September 23, 2009 at 11:13 am

      I don’t like “Little Drummer Boy” much either, though I really dig Toby Keith’s version, probably the only version of that song that I like.

      Delbert McClinton is fabulous and I agree that his new album is really good.

      • Bob September 23, 2009 at 11:58 am

        I got hooked on Delbert when I bought his 1997 cd “One of the Fortunate Few”. I wrote about that cd and “Cost of Living” on my blog last October but I just write from a fan’s perspective and don’t bring any musical expertise to the process. Maybe someone should review “Acquired Taste” who can address the more technical aspects of music that are beyond me.

  10. Chris September 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks, Matt, I just fixed that date. Here’s the tracklist for Gold And Green:

    “City of Silver Dreams”
    “Winter Wonderland”
    “Holly Jolly Christmas”
    “Coming Home”
    “Gold and Green”
    “Maybe Baby (New Year’s Day)”
    “Nuttin’ for Christmas”
    “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
    “Little Wood Guitar”
    “Silent Night”

    5 are originals, which is cool- I hope they’re good…

  11. J.R. Journey September 23, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Some of my favorites from the year so far include Wynonna’s Sing: Chapter 1, Tanya Tucker’s My Turn, Hank Williams Jr’s 127 Rose Avenue, Reba’s Keep On Loving You (though I did expect it to be better than it was), the Gene Watson album Occasional Hope reviewed was also excellent – but I’ve only got ot play it once.

    Terri Clark’s new one, The Long Way Home, takes the crown as the best release of the year so far – I believe she finally made the kind of album that balanced her honky tonk girl party side with the introspective songwriting artist that she is with that album, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

    I’m also looking forward to Rosanne Cash’s The List and new music from Diamond Rio.

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