The Top 13 Albums That You Forgot to Download in 2015
2015 is winding down (in my mind it's somewhere between April and May... of 2013), and Thanksgiving will be here soon. Next thing you know everyone is heading to Steamboat Springs for MusicFest, because guess what? It's 2016.
If the calendar turning has you worried that you missed out on great music this year, you're likely right. But take a deep breath, and pay close attention, because we've got you covered.
First, we must acknowledge that the Texas and Red Dirt scene was inundated with several very good albums this year. In October Jason Boland and the Stragglers unveiled "Squelch," and in September the Turnpike Troubadours launched their self-titled album.
The summer and spring saw great albums from Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen ("Hold My Beer Vol. 1"), and there was Pat Green's "Home." And who can forget the February shocking-to-the-rest-of-America No. 1 album release of "The Underdog" from Aaron Watson.
But those albums are not what this post is about.
This post is about great albums that may have not made it onto your radar (although aside from Watson's album, the aforementioned certainly did not make it on enough radars), and into your heart.
Here it is, our Top 13: Albums That You Forgot to Download in 2015.
13. American Aquarium "Wolves"
Let's kick this shindig off with the album I've listened to most this year. I love "Wolves" from American Aquarium. Their music is emotional, not because it's sad or happy, but because it's real. It makes you feel.
12. The Statesboro Revue "Jukehouse Revival"
"Their record is an album with a wonderful melody of blues, roots, country, soul and stories unlike you’ve heard before. The energy is untamed, which inexplicably forces you into a groove – and you won’t mind it." -- Natalie Rhea
11. JB and the Moonshine Band "Mixtape"
In June, The boys from Tyler, Texas, released the follow up to "Beer for Breakfast," an album that was named to Rolling Stones Top 5 Country Albums of 2013. The lead single off their third album, "Shotgun, Rifle, and a .45" stirred up some controversy, but JB handled that.
11. Troy Cartwright "Troy Cartwright"
A Dallas native, Troy Cartwright is creating buzz throughout the DFW area. “Troy possess an ability to write about relationships and life, both the positive and negative aspects, with the depth of someone more seasoned. The album is a complete one, full of story songs that will resonate with listeners of any age; songs told by a clear, young voice that will surely age like a good whiskey.” – The Daily Country
10. Shane Smith and the Saints "Geronimo"
“This song has duel meaning for us," Shane Smith said of the title track. "On one end, it is an attempt to pay tribute to the life of Geronimo, the Apache warrior. I’ve always been fascinated by Geronimo and the principles he stood for. I’ve wanted to write a song about him for sometime. This also presented the perfect opportunity to relate the term “Geronimo” with our intentions of this album and the “jumping from a cliff” idea that it symbolizes. If we are going to attempt a career in music, this album is our commitment to give it everything we’ve got, despite all of the odds working against us.”
9. Bart Crow Band "The Parade"
A banner year for the longtime Texas Music staple. Bart Crow capitalized on a year that included his Grand Ole Opry debut with a stellar album.
8. Jon Wolfe "Natural Man"
Hello, Country Music listener. Meet your ol' pal, Country Music. Jon Wolfe is a throwback to '90s country music radio. He is reminiscent of his obvious inspiration and hero George Strait. And that is good. You'll never find the dance floor empty at his concert.
7. Dalton Domino "1806"
When you've yet to so much as release an album, and the current "next big thing," William Clark Green, tabs you as the "next big thing," you're doing OK. Such was the case for Dalton Domino, who lived up to the prophetic words of Green with his debut release "1806."
6. Zane Williams "Texas Like That"
The man behind monster hits including Cody Johnson's "Ride With Me," and Pat Green's "Home," has already proven himself a formidable writer of country music. But Zane Williams is much more than that. The Abilene native is a seasoned performer with a stage presence second to none in the Texas scene. The first release from this album, "Jayton and Jill" became his third No. 1 single on Texas radio. We love story songs, it's a lost art.
5. Jason Cassidy "717"
Jason Cassidy is another one of those guys that leaves me scratching my head with every radio release. Good clean fun country songs, great live shows, yet not nearly enough radio play. His latest album is a testament to a childhood spent listening to '90s country radio. Think Aaron Watson on crank.
4. The Damn Quails "Out of the Birdcage"
This band was pieced together at bars in Oklahoma. And that really, really works for 'em. After finally getting through some legal issues that kept them out of the studio for far too long, they did their debut album "Down the Hatch" much justice with their 2015 release.
3. William Clark Green "Ringling Road"
William Clark Green. What can I write that hasn't already been written better by folks at Rolling Stone? If you've yet to add "Ringling Road" to your playlist do it, then download "Rose Queen," cause chances are if you missed it, you missed that, too.
2. Kaitlin Butts "Same Hell, Different Devil"
Quick question: How great do you have to be for someone, who is brand new themselves, still trying to get a secure foot hold on his own career, to bring you to a radio station visit with them, and share his spotlight? Kaitlin Butts good. That is exactly what happened when Dalton Domino showed up at my studio with Butts in mid-October. I'm like, "Dude, we like JUST started playing your music, and you're bringing us some unknown ... Oh, OK, thank you."
Her music is simple, it's exciting, it tells stories, it's honest, it's good.
1. Cody Jinks "Adobe Sessions"
There have been a few artists I have had to apologize to for being so late to playing their music. Cody Jinks joined that prolific and distinguished list when he made his Radio Texas, LIVE! debut in October.
Some might cry "blasphemy" comparing him to Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton -- but I've done it myself, and I've heard it done on mutually exclusive instances. Each time met with dropped jaws of disbelief. And while I have a personal disdain for comparing artists, sometimes you have to do it to help drive a point home. It might be I'm crazy, it might be I'm right. But regardless you need Cody Jinks music in your life.
And there ya go! If you've downloaded seven or more of these, congrats! Your music radar is kickass. If you downloaded one or none, it's time to step-up your download game. But good news, you've got plenty of time to step-up before we start all over again in 2016.