Saturday, December 5, 2020

the Top 10 Folk & Country Albums of 2020

Feeling depressed? Need a soundtrack to sitting outside by yourself ? This year's current crop of folk albums provided that. As with years past I sort through the genre lists before making the overall top ten of the year list. I know many of you are ready for 2020 to be over with. Hate to break it to you but nothing is getting better next year. As far as 2020 goes for folk and country  there were artists perhaps new to this blog, but not much in the way of new artists debuting anything note worthy enough to make the list. The  fact these artists made it on the list speaks to how great these albums are, so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more. After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. Sure you can bitch and complain about your favorite band not being on the list. However I listen to five new albums a day so yes I heard your favorite album and was not impressed. No I do not care what you think about it .I do hope you can find your next favorite on this list and have included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 folk and country albums of 2020

10-Myrkur- "Folksange" 

 This is almost more of an honorable mention. Gone were all trapping of her black metal past. I mean she was half way there on her previous album, this one just finds her all in with a  more Northern European style of folk. She is better at it than most. 


9- Ataraxia- "Quasar" 

 Nothing short of spell binding. It's a blend of folk with a fey like atmosphere not unlike the Cocteau Twins. Their lead singer's voice is almost operatic. This album I could leave on and let play.


8-King Dude- "Full Virgo Moon" 

He goes in a more introspective , almost Death In June like realm of atmospheric folk that is more introspective than this flirtations with a darker post punk sound. It shows another side of his voice that I like.

7-Brendan Perry - "Songs of Disenchantment" 

This is not Dead Can Dance, but I will always take a solo album from him. He went wit ha selection of underground Greek folk songs . This turned out to be much more gangsta than anticipated. All the songs are about smoking drugs , women and running from the cops. At 61 he is still going hard.


6-Sturgill Simpson- "Cutting Grass"

 Simpson worked some of his songs into bluegrass versions , that makes them feel almost like new songs all together. This shows he is the real deal country , so if "Sound & Fury" was your jam then , this might not be for you as the pickin and grinnin is legit here. 


5-Mark Lanegan- "Songs of Sorrow"

Another solo effort from the former Screaming Trees front man. Not rock enough to be grunge, but more rock than most other folk albums put out this year as he still has a rock n roll soul. An unmistakable voice , fans of any of his other endeavors should make sure not to miss out on this one.


4- AA Williams- " Forever Blue"

More melancholy than other singers she fell behind. More atmospheric than her peers , she is not content with just putting out a folk album and follows in the foots steps of artists like Chelsea Wolfe by even weaving in elements of metal.

3-Chris Stapleton- 'Starting Over" 

Not the best album of his career . He begins to settle into a more tried and true formula and shows' off his pipes less. With that said even when he dials it in Chris is able to put out an album that most still can not come close to and continues to dominate country music.

2-Phobe Bridgers- "Punisher"   

She goes beyond the sonic spectrum of conventional folk, but has dressed it up in gorgeous melancholy. Her voice is fragile , but drips with honest beauty. It was a real close call between this and the number one album.

1-Waxahatchee- "Saint Cloud" 

This album is in the running for album of the year. She has a unique that she throws around with a great deal of feeling. Her song writing is far beyond the bounds of being just amazing in terms of how she weaves melodies together. Infectious but something to say. Story telling that is left open for you to relate to . She can do not wrong here.  


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