With this year quickly coming to a close, it is time that we reflect on the old and look forward to the new. While 2013 wasn't a year I care to go back through again personally, the music of 2013 gave me plenty to be happy and excited about. So with out further ado lets reflect. Below is (insert drumroll) Hurricane Highway's Official Top Ten Albums of 2013.
- Courtney Patton - Triggering A Flood Women in songwriting don't often get the credit they deserve. Most are compared to Miranda or Taylor, as if that is ok. This disk is on neither side of those. What Courtney did in this cd was bring vulnerability and strength from heartbreak in her lyric in way that seems natural and compelling.
- Jason Isbell - Southeastern There was not a single flaw in this record. I am still as moved by his lyrics today as I was the first day I heard it. Jason is poised to be the greatest songwriter of our generation. I don't know that there is a song as truthful as Elephant out there. It spoke to anyone who has lost a love one and had to witness that process of death. The line "One thing that is clear to me, no one dies with dignity, we just try to ignore the elephant somehow," was one the most heartfelt and honest lyrics I have ever heard.
- Javi Garcia - The Great Controversy This is the most unapologetic rock record to come out this year. I also believe one of the most underappreciated. One of the great characteristics of Javi and his band is the ability to do things their own way and not fit in to the traditional mode of "Texas Music". If you have the chance to see him live I strongly recommend it.
- Shane Smith & The Saints - The Coast This release is one of the ones I am most excited to talk about. This is another one that was good from start to finish. Shane and his band have been touring constantly since the release. Really looking forward to seeing them take off in 2014. The guys have been having some regional success on Texas Radio. They have also had some opening spots in Gruene Hall and Floore's.
- Holly Williams - The Highway Showcasing her awesome vocals, Holly is making her mark in 2013 with great writing as well as production. This girl proved that she was way more than a pretty face to come along in 2013. She is touring with Jason Isbell in 2014. What made the Highway so great was the noticeable change in production from her first disk. The more paired down arrangements really allowed her writing and vocals to shine.
- Drew Kennedy - Wide Listener - . Wide Listener represented a more mature and confident sound for D rew. As a songwriter he is at his best with this disk. The imagery combined with his voice made each song feel like a movie vignette.
- John Moreland - In The Throes This is a lyrical Gem. Simply done and understated. John is a brilliant writer. Jason Isbell recently took him out on tour. Throes is excellently crafted. This disk was produced in a way to take nothing away from the words.
- Will Arrington - Miles Left To Go Making a name for himself amongst the Cheatham Street Circle Miles comes out strong straight out of the gate with the lead track Coming Back Around. It pulls no punches quickly moving into the next song Final Stand. Other standouts on this cd are Just Another, Rain, Stay With Me Tonight, and My Old Friends.
- Dylan Stewart and The Johnny Strangers - A grit and groovy album. This guy is making a name for himself in Oklahoma. Look for him to become a contender in the must see list of 2014.
- Thieving Birds - Gold Coast - Good ole fashioned southern rock at its finest. This was a wonderful follow up to their first release. Check out Graveyard Love for a soulful bluesy track. This is also a must see band to hit the stage in 2014. Much in the same way Uncle Lucius made waves in the last two years.
- Devil By The Tail - Cole Porter Band
- Reckless Ways - Southern Strangers
- William Clark Green - Rose Queen
- Brandy Zdan - Lone Hunter
So there you have it. Do you agree, Disagree? Feel free to voice your thoughts. It is going to be hard to top this years music movement but I think it can be done. I am looking forward to the release from Jason Eady, James Pardo, Folk Family Revival, and Chad Sullins. I also plan on looking forward to what happens career wise for Aaron Stephens, Shane Smith, Steve Roloff, and Brett Hauser. One thing is for certain I am going to be out as much as I can listening to new bands while catching my favorites. I hope to also run into some of you readers in Steamboat. Catch you on the flip side of 2014.
Below are some of my favorite pics from this last year.