Traditionally, this is the time of year that, in order to get through the busy Christmas and New Year period, my Nashville Access cohost, Dallas, and I “stack” radio shows and podcasts, allowing us to have a bit of a break.
We always record a one-hour Christmas show, but this year we’ve put together a massive four-hour show (in addition to the one-hour show). If you read my blog last week, you’ll know that I don’t like Christmas music—-so good for me for getting through four hours of it…and being “excited” about it.
Our New Year’s show is something different. It’s the only show of the year that we “break format” to do. When I say, “break format,” I mean that we throw the charts out the window. Instead, Dallas and I each pick our five favorite albums/songs from the past year. I look forward to this year-end show because we get to showcase artists who may fly under your radar..
And when I say “we,” I mean me.
If you listen to our radio show and/or podcasts, you’ll know that Dallas is more of a “mainstream” country guy. He loves the chart stuff and enjoys the pop side of country, too. Me? I’m more of an indie guy. I love what comes out of Texas, stuff that leans more Americana in it’s style. And I love intelligent songs written by songwriters who are just screaming for their voices to be heard.
Keeping that in mind, I’m going to share a secret with you. Don’t tell anyone until after our New Year’s show has been on the radio. This is just between you and me. Here are my favorite songs/albums of 2018, in no particular order.
1) Brad Cox “Brad Cox”—Brad won the Toyota Starmaker award this year in Australia. He’s nominated for two Golden Guitar awards as well. That’s the Australian equivalent of CMA Awards. This artist has been my biggest surprise of 2018. Brad visited with me for an interview earlier this year, and you can hear that on the Nashville Access Podcast. Brad’s a great guy and, with the right people behind him, I predict big things. Discover him for yourself and enjoy!
2) Ashley McBryde “Girl Goin’ Nowhere”—Intelligent songs, a well crafted album…and the fact that country radio in the US hasn’t embraced her in a bigger way is shameful. We need more Ashely McBrydes on our radios. Period.
3) Cody Jinks “Lifers”—I’ve been a fan of Cody’s since I first heard his music. People tend to pigeon-hole Cody as being “outlaw country,” but he’s so much more than that. Great songs, great attitude. Just when you think he can’t get any better, he does. This is some of the finest music that Texas is exporting!
4) Rod Picott “Out Past The Wires”—Rod is a singer, songwriter, and author. This album is raw, hits your in the face with its lyrics. Think an early, country, Bruce Springsteen. Tales of making ends meet, and isolation in the north-east. The album is also accompanied by a book of short stories by the same title. I want more of both! I interviewed Rod this year, and you can hear that interview as a Nashville Access Podcast.
5) Erin Enderlin “Whiskeytown Crier”—Erin has written songs that have been cut by Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson, and others. She’s coming into her own as an artist, too. Technically, this album actually came out in 2017, but Erin didn’t come to my attention to earlier this year, thanks to an introduction by Paul Bogart at a Corb Lund show. Erin did an interview with Dallas and I and you can hear that as a Nashville Access Podcast too. One of the finest “traditional” country albums out there right now.
The surprise this year is that there’s a sixth song, but you’ll have to wait until the show’s out for that. Only two of my selections have label deals, so that will give you a good idea of my tastes, just in case you hadn’t figured them out yet.
The thing is though, I don’t really see these picks as signed/unsigned, male/female, Australian/American, or country/Americana. I just see this music as great songs by talented artists—again, goin back to one of my earlier blogs, I only see this as interesting music.
We need more interesting music on our radios.