Day 6: Alt-Country listicle
For the first time in a long while, I contributed to Paste. This was for their “The 50 Best Alt-Country Albums of All Time” list. My contribution, for Joe Henry’s Kindness of the World, is down at #27.
It’s serviceable. Writing short is challenging, especially when you’re trying to convey the essence of an entire album and its significance in 150 words.
The list is a good one. Readers love to complain about rankings and what’s left off. A good list’s value, though, is in prompting discovery and reevaluation.
The top 10 list I submitted is below. I completely forgot Emmylou’s Wrecking Ball. It would have been near the top of my list. I guess I don’t think of it as alt-country, but I’m not sure what other genre I would assign it. I also had a slightly different criterion: albums must have been released after Uncle Tupelo’s No Depression. Otherwise, I would have included Gram Parsons, additional Emmylou, maybe Lone Justice, etc.
- Uncle Tupelo — Anodyne
- Lucinda Williams — Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
- Son Volt — Trace
- Wilco — Being There
- Steve Earle — I Feel Alright
- DBT — Decoration Day
- Jayhawks — Tomorrow the Green Grass (or Hollywood Town Hall)
- Joe Henry — Kindness of the World (or Short Man’s Room)
- Ryan Adams — Heartbreaker
- Gillian Welch — Revival
I’ll leave you with the title track from Joe Henty’s album, featuring the wonderful Victoria Williams on BGVs.