We’ve asked a few of our contributing writers to pick their ten favorite releases of 2012. These are, of course, in no particular order and there were so many outstanding releases this year, inevitably we’ll have left out some great ones after it is all said and done. Our intent is that maybe there are some amazing albums that have escaped your attention and these lists will get your ass to Amazon or Itunes or your local record store (are there still any?) and fill up your ever music-lovin’ senses with something new. There’s not much overlap in the Writer’s Picks, as each has their favorite genre. The pride of South Carolina, Mr. Jason “Mater” Robinson, is our big hearted “writer for the common man” and he’s got his favorites all ready for you…
Roger Alan Wade: Southbound Train
This picks up right off where Deguello Motel left off. This time around, the lyrical content isn’t so much as a narrative form like Deguello. These are words of a man whose heart was cremated and the ashes are blowing in the wind down the interstate by the force of a semi with a heavy load. Tales of love and redemption. Nothing fancy here, just a man, guitar and the truth. Most Honest thing I ever heard, ever!!!
Justin Townes Earle: Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
This album really brings JTE into his own and away from having to live in the shadow of two famous singer/songwriters. This time around, the different arrangements bring the sound over to a feel of Woody Guthrie to James Brown. I wore this album out backwards and front.
Shovels & Rope: O’ Be Joyful
Yes, the husband and wife duo whose names are Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent returned. They are like a rock and roll, folk, punk rock game of ping pong trading off on vocals, guitars, drums, harmonicas, and what have you. They are a throwback to the good old days of classic country duets. But, don’t let them fool you as they are also Jazzy as much as they are Chuck Berry. They’re genre confusion is beautiful. I got this the day it came out and worn a place on my boots from tapping it from too much joy.
Rachel Brooke: A Killer’s Dream
Always been a fan of hers and when I saw the album cover I was like… hmmmm? Has she changed? Well, she’s gone sorta low-fi and said hello to the blues and jazz sound. Her voice is genuine and her lyrical content is gloomy. (Add in her pal Lonesome Wyatt in there for an awesome duet). This will be the album that really breaks Rachel Brooke out into her own. If you can adjust and accept the change, you’ll love it just as much as I do.
Olds Sleeper: New Years Poem
I was turned on to Olds Sleeper by my pal Andy who runs RNZ magazine and I recently did a interview with him. I have always loved do-it-yourself sorta recordings. I also love the peace of 4am before the world wakes up and night shift is almost done. That is when Olds Sleeper records and writes these songs. It’s a perfect soundtrack for that time or feeling. I consider Olds Sleeper to be one of the top five songwriters out there at the moment. I mean that with all that I am.
Beitthemeans: Head Held High
The proud and loud Alabama Trio are on the road tearing up white lines and even having a song for the hit TV show Sons of Anarchy ain’t too bad either. I see nothing but bright future for the fellas who have hardcore groove songs of sin,homeless,pregnant teens and stories of small town Alabama. I would my put hard earned money on Beitthemeans to go 12 rounds with any band that wants to crank up the volume. Brutal therapy here ladies and gents.
Willie Nelson: Heroes
Willie does no wrong. Plain and simple!
Jack White: Blunderbluss
The white stripes are no more yet Jack White is the hardest working man in the entire world. His solo album didn’t disappoint me one bit. He is a madman on guitar who is possessed by Robert Johnson and Jimmy Page all at once. This lets Jack expand out and widen his musical arrangements and continue to make everything he touches gold.
Billy Don Burns: Nights When I’m Sober: Portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer
Ok, I am late bloomer on discovering the wonderful BDB. The guy has a way with words and plenty of stories to tell. I kinda went ass-backwards with him and listened to the second record, then first and now the latest. BDB has a way of making you feel and getting you lost in the song. So, that being said, BDB is also in Top 5 of songwriters out now.
The Sword: Apocryphon
Every once in awhile , I like to crank up the Metal music. It’s in my blood because of my oldest brother’s record collection scaring the hell out of me as a kid. But lately, there haven’t been too many metal bands that have caught my ear. The Sword have changed that with Black Sabbath riffs that groove in my skull. The Sword are for real!
~ Jason Robinson
Jason Wallace Robinson hails from Spartanburg, South Carolina. He’s a writer, storyteller, philosopher, single father raising two children, music lover, dreamer, joker. He writes to speak for the Common Man. He enjoys football and driving around in his ’96 Chevy Lumina adorned with an American Flag and decorative bird offerings.
Outlaw Magazine. Country, Rock and Roll, Blues, Folk, Americana, Punk. As long as it is real, it is OUTLAW. Overproduced mediocrity need not apply.