Prescription Bluegrass’ Favorite CDs of 2012

Image634896955963502839NoDepression.com asked us for a list of our favorite top ten CDs of the year. With very explicit instructions, they wanted ten; not twelve; not fifteen. And they wanted them numbered in order of our preference. What they'll do is compile our list along with several others who write for them and come up with their Top-10 CDs of 2012. What we found when doing this assignment was first, comparisons are not set up to be fair. You've heard of comparing apples and oranges, well this is more like comparing apples with elephants. Next, this type of listing and public statement of who we find to be worthy suggests that we've heard all there is to be heard for the year. Impossible. And lastly, we couldn't limit our list to only 10. We stopped at 15 but could easily have mentioned dozens more. We intended on holding this story until the No Depression list was published but decided that publishing it now might just help some with last-minute gift ideas before Christmas.   Here is what we found to be absolutely outstanding music from the year 2012 in no particular order.

Image634896859620012306Detour – A Better Place

Frankly, this band just blew us away. The band has released previous material but this happened to be the CD that introduced us. We haven't heard any of their previous releases but feel comfortable in saying that everything up to A BETTER PLACE must have been something like the construction crew laying the foundation and the painters and carpet layers who finish the house and then along comes this CD which is like the decorator putting in all the finishing touches so that we, the new occupants, can move into “A BETTER PLACE”


Image634896863195836832Ricky Skaggs - Music To My Ears

This CD is proof that Ricky Skaggs is THE most talented, innovative and fearless artist ever!  And the music world will not be right until he is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame AND the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.


Image634896863817782405Grascals - Life Finds A Way

Pop goes the bluegrass on this one. Very commercial arrangements, good instrumentally and vocally, Kristen Scott Benson's impeccable banjo, and two Harley Allen songs. What's not to like? A very pleasant listen.


Image634896864588116466The Hillbenders – Can You Hear Me

These guys are destined for every award known. From their earliest beginnings of husking around the IBMA convention corridors trying to be noticed, to this, their second recording they have shown remarkable talent, drive, tenacity and most important – foresight. They know where they've been and they absolutely know where they're going. Can You Hear Me is testimony to that! The world is now noticing the Hillbenders.


Image634896865044612576Tony Rice - The Bill Monroe Collection

Simply put, the master playing the master. Tony Rice is a great guitarist and he's surrounded by top flight pickers performing the music of Bill Monroe. 


Image634896865458306238Old Crow Medicine Show - Carry Me Back-

The leaders in cutting edge acoustic music. Whether in the studio or in concert, Ketch and the boys have the most energetic persona we've ever heard. And this CD is their best effort to date.


Image634896865790045212Bob Amos – Borrowed Time

For those who don't know the name or perhaps have forgotten, Bob Amos was one of the founding members and perhaps the driving force behind the 1990's powerhouse band FRONT RANGE. Borrowed Time, Amos' first solo project since the disbanding of  FRONT RANGE is a great reminder of the sounds we've been missing.


Image634896866525617284Bill Evans - In Good Company 

Banjo master, song-writer, entertainer and world statesman. This CD is a joy to listen to from start to finish. What a talent!


Image634896866910099276Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys – Release Your Shrouds

To say your band sounds “Like” some other band means that you don't truly have your own sound yet. Lindsay Lou and the boys don't sound like any other band anywhere. At times they don't even sound bluegrass but that's not a bad thing, their bluegrass roots are more than evident. They're not easily categorized in any genre but with the talent they possess on all fronts that doesn't matter, they're creating a genre all their own. This band and this CD made the list because we can honestly say that they have the most unique sound we've heard.


Image634896867456200511Steve Spurgin – Folk Remedies

Steve Spurgin is one of those guys who doesn't care what label we put on him, he writes, sings and plays good music. With FOLK REMEDIES, he gives us an updated snapshot of life in the folk music world of the early 1960s. The television media and even some of the movies of that era were still black and white. Steve Spurgin's perspective through FOLK REMEDIES puts the color in that world for us.


Image634896867832082010Freeman and Williams – Freeman and Williams

This CD has the very best vocal harmonies we've heard all year! When these three gather 'round a microphone, it's simply sensational.


Image634896877974802140Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott - We're Usually A Lot Better Than This

Two time IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year Tim O'Brien and Singer/Songwriter extraordinaire Darrell Scott combine on this live CD for some rockin' bluegrass sounds. Great harmonies, great musicianship, and energy - lot's of energy! Not your typical bluegrass duet, this one is supercharged.


Image634896869353699042Scenic Roots – Grounded

The spirit and authenticity of Erin and Amber Rogers' music trumps the production and polish of many of the major acts in bluegrass. Heartfelt and sincere, sparsely orchestrated, and fine assistance from a couple of studio players makes this a wonderful CD.


Image634896869766552655Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Del McCoury Band - American Legacies

An interesting blend of two distinct and separate pieces of Americana; bluegrass and New Orleans Jazz. Del McCoury shines vocally as do the great musicians from his band and the Preservation Hall band. Plenty of solo improvisations while the two genres look for and find common ground.


Image634896870979162013Grass Cats – The Mountains My Baby And Me 

The original songs on this CD are the most interesting we've heard all year, and this veteran band nails each performance right to the wall!


Mark Lavengood said...

WOW! So honored Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys made the list! Great year, good times folks - thanks for all the love and support!


Anonymous said...

Congrats Team Detour & Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys!! Two of the finest CDs from Michigan's most amazing musicians! Rock on y'all!! Mike Sumner

Anonymous said...

Go Lindsay Lou and Detour, Keep Rocking! Joey Schultz

The HillBenders said...

We're honored to be in such prestegious company on this list! Thanks so much for your support!! - The HillBenders


GrannyPam said...

Two Michigan bands! I'm not surprised at all.