2012 saw a slew of fantastic releases.
This is the first time in 16 years I've wimped out and had a shared #1 album of the year.
Leyla Fences “Itty Bitty Twang Twang” was my favourite album for the last half of the year, then Chris Wall releases his first album in 10 years “El Western Motel” and rockets to the #1 spot.
I could not possibly split them.
Chris Wall - along with the 2 Toms (Russell & Pacheco) is the most literate song writer of out time - music like Chris Wall's is the reason I have been presenting my radio show for the last 16 years.
Leyla Fences has clever lyrics , memorable melodies, great playing and production - modern honky tonk classics with a nod to the practical feminism of Loretta Lynn.
Balance of my Top 10 ( in no particular order)
Todd Fritsch - Up There In The Saddle
Rodney Hayden - Atascosa Sand
Mighty Lonesome Man - James Hand
Small Town Kid - Jack Higginbotham
Billy Don Burns - Nights When I Am Sober
Tartan Cactus Heart - Charlie Roth
Greg Tressell - The Hard Way
Jesse Dayton - Jesse Sings Kinky
Aaron Watson - Real Good Time
It was a great year for music from groups:
The Great Unknowns - S/T
The Washers - Tired Eyes
JP Harris & The Tough Choices - I'll Keep Calling
Jason Arnold & The Sidesteppers - Crazy Things
J.W.W. & The Prospectors - It's High Past Time
Nanci Griffith - Intersection
Matt Harlan - Bow And Be Simple
Walt Wilkins - Plenty
Jimmy LaFave - Depending On The Distance
Tommy Alverson was busy with 2 new releases - Pickin' On Willie and Texas One More Time as well as a re-release of Live At Ozona's.
Lost gonzo Gary P. Nunn came up with one of his best albums One Way Or Another.
We were treated to Waylon Jennings' "last album'" Goin' Down Rockin' and great live albums from Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver.
Bob Dylan's Tempest is his best since Street Legal.
And Neil Young was back with Crazy Horse for two great 2012 albums - Americana and Psychedelic Pill. Twisted Road from the latter is one of his best songs ever !
The best Australian release of 2012 was Catherine Britt's Always Never Enough.
Recorded in Jimmy LaFave's Cedar Creek Studio in Austin , she co-produced it with Kasey's dad, Bill Chambers who also plays guitar and mandolin on the album
All the songs are originals with the exception of Guy Clark's She Ain't Goin' Nowhere on which the writer shares the vocals.
Other guests on the album include the ubiquitous Lloyd Maines, Gurf Morlix, Ray Bonneville and Jimmy LaFave. Also Aussie indie music legend Tim Rogers (You Am I) sings with Catherine on one track.