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. This list was compiled by Brigitte London (The Highwaywoman) and she leans more toward the Roots Country side of things.
HIGHWAYWOMAN’S 2012 PICKS FOR OUTLAW MAGAZINE
Ok, I know I’ll kick myself later for what I’ve missed, but here goes…
Willie Nelson: Heroes
I shouldn’t be surprised that at almost 80, Willie is still putting out wonderful records. His voice carries this album off as if it’s decades ago. The inclusion of many wonderful guests (from Kristofferson to Haggard & even Snoop Dog) and especially the nod to son Lukas who is all over this record, just adds extra flavor to this package of goodness.
Billy Don Burns: Stranger
I’d been waiting for a new BDB record for a long time. This one knocked me out, especially “Heart Breakdown,” “Is He The Writer,” “Stranger,” – Hell, all of them. No one lives his music like he does, he is one of the true Greats wearing out the edges of the highway and the edges of life. The honesty and emotion in every song is indescribable. What a record.
Stevie Tombstone: Greenwood
I loved his last one, Slow Drunken Waltz, an excellent album. But I’m now completely obsessed with Greenwood. What can I say, except “Lucky” and “Nails’ did me in. He’s raw and so real that he cuts you to the bone and you love him for it. I’ll be the first in line to see his show when he comes to Texas in Jan.
Kara Clark: Southern Hospitality
Kara came into my world this year out of nowhere. Like a tornado, her music whirled in with an energy strong and forceful and lyrics potent as all hell. This is not an album for the faint of heart. It’ll break you wide open and pretty much rock your face off. She’s like Hank Williams on crack.
Eric Hisaw: Ghost Stories
I’ve been a fan of Eric’s for over a decade, but this is my favorite record of his. He’s the king of Austin’s Roots Rock and Roll. The arrangements and guitar work on this album alone make it worth this list, but the kicker is his storytelling. He’s our link to the Rock and Roll we grew up with, keeping it alive and honest.
Billy Joe Shaver: Live at Billy Bob’s
If you’ve seen Billy Joe Shaver in a live performance, you know why this is on my list. He’s a Honky Tonk prophet, a wordsmith like no other, and one hell of an entertainer. All of this comes across on this album. It’s pure Billy Joe, crackling with intensity and bursting with incredible songs.
AJ Downing: Good Day
This album grooves and moves with great hook-you-in rhythms. But again, here we have a ‘rocker’ (country-rocker) that knows how to write. Introspective wit is AJ’s talent. You’ll want to cry and laugh all in the same track. So many great songs on this album and they all offer something different.
Chris Wall: El Western Motel
A decade was worth the wait for a new C.W. album. And what a great surprise, as this time he went all acoustic and let his brilliant songwriting shine. I love every CW album, but this one is in a league all it’s own. The Cowboy/Poet/Savior delivers excellent storytelling, heartfelt laments and a hard-earned wisdom. Sooo good.
Roger Alan Wade: Southbound Train
Roger just slid in here with a newborn release this past week, but I’ve already played it to death. I say you can have Dylan, give me Roger Alan Wade. A man and his guitar alone can change the world. I love his music so much I want to record everything he writes. This album is even better than Deguello Motel. Just Beautiful.
Linda McRae: Rough Edges and Ragged Hearts
Linda’s haunting vocals have always had a deep affect on me. This album is truly incredible. She’s so unique, she can even pull of Hank Williams “Ramblin Man” and make it her own. She’s other-worldy, brilliant and a beautiful gift. This album is full of gems.
There’s so many more great albums…hope this gives you some ideas for your Christmas list.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, everyone.
~ Brigitte London
Brigitte London, otherwise known as The Highwaywoman, is a Singer/Songwriter out of Austin, Texas. She’s a poet, dreamer, crusader. She is also the host of internationally syndicated radio show, The Highwaywoman Radio Show). Visit www.brigittelondon.com or Brigitte on Facebook.
Outlaw Magazine. Country, Rock and Roll, Blues, Folk, Americana, Punk. As long as it is real, it is OUTLAW. Overproduced mediocrity need not apply.