Bluegrass Makes Big Impression On Folk DJs in 2011

The Annual Folk Alley "Best Of" the year list is out and it appears as if the year's bluegrass products made good representation for the genre.     Several, including Alison Krauss and Union Station, Steve Martin with The Steep Canyon Rangers made several lists from the various Disc Jockeys.    Below is a partial listing and excerpts of their comments. To read the full list click at the bottom of this post.

Host Barb Heller's end-of-the-year CD picks
Gibson Brothers
Help My Brother
Eric and Leigh Gibson have been singing together since they were kids, and playing bluegrass professionally since they were teens. I’ve always enjoyed their music, but – unlike many bands – the Gibsons continue to improve their singing, their writing, and their musical arrangements
Noam Pikelny
Beat the Devil and Carry A Rail
Noam Pikelny has put together such an enjoyable collection of tunes! There’s just enough singing to punctuate the instrumentals... The tunes are down-home, approachable, and fun. It’s a fun listen, and a great travel companion for the car.
Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers
Rare Bird Alert
...Great album graphics and liner notes - and great listening. The instrumentals are light-hearted, and the songs are hilarious. Martin is so talented it would be hard to make a choice between his acting and his music. 

Seems like every year there's more and more…and more music that's being released! So it's hard ...to pick just one or two or ten favorites.
Alison Krauss and Union Station
Paper Airplane
If I had to pick one favorite for 2011 – this would be it. 
Abigail Washburn
City of Refuge
'City of Refuge' showcases Washburn’s lyrics and voice more than her previous recordings. . . . she sparkles in the role of a troubled soul trying to figure things out in “Last Train.”

First impressions are important, but lasting impressions deserve airplay. .. .these albums have depth as well as spark.
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers
Rare Bird Alert
If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be choosing a Steve Martin album as the best folk release for 2011, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. . . . I thought the bluegrass version of King Tut was the showstopper until I heard “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs.” Oh my. The fact that Steve knows the music elevates this album from being a novelty to being #1.
Moody Bluegrass
TOO Much Love - A Nashville Celebration of the Moody Blues
Once again David Harvey has assembled a cast of stars to reinvent Moody Blues classics. . . .What really caps it off is that the original members of the Moody Blues also makes appearances.

Host Matt Watroba's end-of-the-year CD picks:

Laurie Lewis
Skippin' and Flyin'
Without being a straight tribute to Bill Monroe, Laurie’s record illuminates how the Father of Bluegrass influenced her -- every step of the way. Beautifully done.
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers
Rare Bird Alert
Is there anything this guy can’t do? Not to mention, he found the perfect band to back him up.
Dehlia Low
Ravens and Crows
Exciting music from a young bluegrass/stringband deeply rooted and carrying on the tradition at the same time. Not only can they play the music - they GET the music.

Alison Krauss and Union Station
Paper Airplane
 My theory is that if the Beatles could have separated to do solo projects and then come back together, they would still be a band (well, except that George and John are gone). 
Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers
Rare Bird Alert
What was the day like when Steve Martin decided to fully embrace his banjo-playing side? This CD could have been sad, or hackneyed, or really useless. Instead, it’s a joyous celebration of his new life as a (extremely wealthy) simple banjo player – with a fantastic band to help him out.

Full List from Folk Alley

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