Critics' Poll Results: The Top 10 Albums of 2014

I shall comment on this Top 10 when I calm down after not being invited to take part!

I'm sorry that you weren't invited this year. It seemed a clearer delineation to have a poll taken from the people whose opinions we pay (or will soon pay) for, as opposed to those who share their opinion simply because they love the music and want to contribute to the community. I suppose a fairer way to do it would be to have a readers' poll, a critics' poll, and a contributors' poll. Maybe a good idea for next year?

It's late at night on Boxing Day in the UK; I've taken a drink and am feeling very will be best if the subject of 'payment' is kept for another day. Merry Christmas with lots of love - Alan

Honestly, any kind of list of this sort is by definition somewhat arbitrary,  definitely subjective and hardly something to get het up about, regardless. 

I agree with Terry, with the exception that anything anyone on ND could come up with is almost certainly preferable to Wenner and his crew. (I was glad to see Butterfield, Bill Withers and Lou Reed make it to the Hall of Fame this year, but the very notion of a Rock and Roll "Hall of Fame'' is inherently ridiculous.) The disputes about this or that band or songwriter are nothing, as I recall, compared to the debates about the Pazz & Jop Village Voice poll under the aegis of Dean Christgau.

How many of us can say we've listened to all these entries? Isn't the point just to come to the site, appreciate good music and read informed takes that we can agree or disagree with by our lights?  That matters more to me than the method, or the merits, of any particular list or who may have contributed to it.


I'm not a big of Rolling Stone (I discontinued my subscription long before subscribing to NoDepression) but I decided to see what Wenner and crew came up with for their best Country albums of 2014.

#10 Willie Nelson
#8 Rosanne Cash
#6 Lee Ann Womack
#4 Hurray for the Riff Raff
#2 Sturgill Simpson

Sturgill, Rosanne and Hurray for the Riff Raff made the Top 10 lists from Rolling Stone, ND Readers AND ND critics.  I think I need to give Rosanne and Riff Raff another listen (and discs from 2015 are already piling up in a stack my cat keeps knocking over!).


Interesting confluence, Hal.  Me, I'm looking forward to the solo Rihanna Giddens. Reading the new Greil Marcus and everything is getting mushed up in my mind, which I think may have been his intent, or partly so.  So much information, so little time. I belong to another critics group, in another discipline, and can't hardly keep up with what's going on there, either.  As Soupy Sales used to say, "My brains are falling out of my head..." (Apropo of nothing, I saw a You Tube clip of Willie playing a Telecaster instead of his beat-up axe, with Shelby Lynne. Impressive.)


Happy New Year to you, and everybody.

As much as I've enjoyed the Carolina Chocolate Drops it is certainly exciting to hear the solo work of Giddens and Don Flemmons.    And here's to all the good music we'll hear (and disagree about) in 2015!

"but the very notion of a Rock and Roll "Hall of Fame'' is inherently ridiculous."     I agree with you on this Paul.  I try to avoid sports references when relating to music.  The entire idea of a "Hall of Fame"  is based on sports.   But, that's another conversation....

First thought? Warhorses galore. I'm more in agreement with the ND Reader's list.  Do the ND readers (collectively) just listen to more music and dig a litle deeper and cast a broader net? The power of "group intelligence"?

My thoughts too; but then again, I'm still stewing at not being invited to take part in the seperate 'Critics Top 10' which I presumed would include regular contributers like you and I; as in previous years.


I'm not stewing. My vote for Mr. Chuck Prophet (a glaring oversight)  would have been lost in the Riff Raff (an album that is not nearly as interesting as the back story in my opinion). But then on a brighter note Ryan Adams  and Bob Dylan (yeah, I know he didn't even release an album this year but......) weren't on the critic's list!


Mostly a list of the usual suspects!  So was most of mine.  Wondering why?  So much access, so little time?  Less adventurous with age (in some cases?), younger folks coming around to old standbys?   Would be curious to see the critics full lists.

I was wondering if the content of the list reflects the publicity machinery of the established artists?   I'd be curious to read the critic's personal Top 10 lists to see the unappreciated gems (rather than the compiled critics' list). My personal list was heavily weighted (biased) towards artists I saw live in 2014  (9/10!), albums I purchased (7/10) and regional artists (4/10).   


So; as a humble 'contributer' did I make a mistake choosing the Top 10 from the albums that I actually reviewed for ND? I did see a few 'live' but I judged each album on it's individual merits and 'sustainability' over the months following release (Sturgill Simpson was amazing when I first heard it; but slightly less impressive later).


    I now feel foolish and wish I'd hung out with the cool kids :(

There is no need to feel foolish since many of us here are too old to be, or never were, cool kids. My goal is the more attainable "aging hipster".  For the record I reviewed/interviewed 5/10 on my Top 10 list.  I tend to listen more to a band after I see them live and if they have a new disc that's probably what I'll listen to the most (hence my bias towards bands I saw live). But that comes at a price for those other albums buried in the listening stack that don't make it to the turntable or eight-track tape player.  Now I think I'll go have a cup of Earl Grey to calm my nerves.

Just saw Jon Dee Graham a week ago and bought his latest, Do Not Forget, a compilation of live songs. During Big Sweet Life he explains: "all you skinny jeans bearded motherf-----s, bring me the Fleet Foxes, and I will kick their asses one by one". So send the "cool kids" to see Uncle Jon for some....tutoring.

It's interesting how seeing a band live before hearing their records affects ones take on their records, or vice versa.   That could have an influence on how one might rate a record for a poll like this.  For instance, I saw Shinyribs over the summer, I was until that day completely unaware of them.  They were playing at a festival (Alejandro Escovedo was on a different stage at the same time), and I wanted to check them out before wandering over to the stage Alejandro was playing on. I could not leave the Shinyribs show!  Bought their record, loved it, played the hell out of it weeks. Then months went by, played it again.  Still loved it but for sure I was still hearing the live show in the back of my mind.  Hard to capture a live feel on a studio record but I am pretty sure I would have put it on my list even without having seen them live, but I'm not 100% positive. Still,  a very fine record.  It's also a record from 2013 that I mistakenly thought was from 2014 so it was disqualified. 




There really isn't much here that represents something new and exciting.  I own most of these and have heard the others. Roseanne Cash's album is good but hardly earth-shaking; I have trouble getting past what seems to me to be Sturgill Simpson's undereducated bombast; Lucinda Williams' recording is the class here, the best she's done in years, but again is hardly "new"; and what can you say about Willie Nelson and Leonard Cohen, whose combined age comes perilously close to 200?

Hurray for the Riff Raff seems to be the token new-kids thing, and it's a nice album.  Otherwise, the list has a little too much old-style country for my taste.

It's a very conservative list, without any of the excitement I've heard from Fleck/Washburn or Dr. John or Jenny Scheinman, not to mention deeply rooted excellence as in Richard Thompson's Acoustic Classics. Or a whole host of other releases that populated a great year in roots music.

Just a little boring.


Baring in mind that this particular Top 10 'appears' to be being promoted as by the 'people in the know' it is boring and safe and predictable and looks like it's been put together by a radio programmer who has selected albums by people who's names he recognises from his Dad's record collection.

    2014 has been an exceptional year for unearthing new talent from what we laughingly call Americana/Roots music as the 'peoples' list will testify (my own is the definitive one though!).

  1)  For what it's worth I've never been a big fan of Roseanne Cash's voice or indeed songs; there arte many more interesting female singer-songwiters out there who aren't Johnny Cash's daughter. I have listened to this album btw and found it 'pleasant' in the way I find Faith Hill 'pleasant' - background noise.

2) Sturgill Simpson is like a breath of fresh air and Metamodern Sounds did sound exciting and interesting when I first heard it - check out my review; but other album still sounded that way months after release; this less so.

3) Lucinda; by far her best album in years - but that was not too hard to do. As a double album this has quite a few 'filler' tracks; so stronger editing would have made a single album that could have been my album of the year.

4) Lee Ann Womack - not heard it; and chose not to bother finding it on Spotify. Should she really be on an ND Top 10 List?

5) Hurray For The Riff Raff - I'm a fan too; but Small Town Heroes lacks the energy and excitement of previous releases; perfect for the jump to National Radio. Expect them to support Springsteen/U2/Coldplay on their next tour.

6) Rodney Crowell - see Lucinda/Willie

7) Willie Nelson has been going through the motions for the last 30 years - I defy anyone of the critics  who voted for this to name three songs from it without Googling the album!

8) I'm a Leonard Cohen fan and bought this album on the day of release; played it twice and filed it away - couldn't be arsed to review it. Not a single track would make it onto a compilation CD for a friend.

9) Parker Milsap - not liked his previous work, so haven't heard this; but will rectify that later today.

10) Robert Ellis - never heard of him; so will check him out later to give an opinion (because that is what I do!)


Merry Christmas




With respect to Willie, let's not get too dismissive here. Teatro is one of my all-time favorite albums, and not just of Willie's. And that was less than 20 years ago. There are others since which are really great.  His studio recordings seldom disappoint, but this year's effort (fine as it is) shouldn't be in anyone's top ten of the year.  In my opinion.

Except mine, of course! In my opinion.

And on the other hand......Thank you, Kim for taking the time to compile the list and provide commentary.  Last year, I asked Mike Nesmith if The Monkees should be included in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  His reply was something like this....'the Hall was founded by Jann Wenner, he should be allowed to curate it the way he pleases.'   I'm thinking Kim's gig as editor-in-chief for No Depression applies in the same way.  I may not agree with all choices, but she's steering this thing and her vision and instincts have been outstanding.  Now, I'm aware, I say this as one of the 'cool kids.'   Actually I'm nearly 60.  I wonder how much Easy Ed and I would total to? 

That being said, Hal and Alan are oustanding writers and, in my book, excellent critics who I'd put up against anyone at Rolling Stone.  So, please guys, pitch your ideas and be commissioned!!!   I did enjoy reading the critique of the critics list.  There's nothing as fun as a bunch of critics going for the jugular on other 'critics.'  But, some comments were beyond funny...I do hope you were joking...whoever said 'Dylan isn't even on the list!' while acknoweldging that he had not released anything new this year. That's about my favorite..and then, there's Alan's comment on Willie going through the motions for 30 years. While this may be said of his live performandes.  It cannot be validated when it comes to his studio work of the same time period which would include Tougher than Leather, Spirit, Country Music, Heroes, Band of Brothers and September Days. Hardly going through the motions.  And yes..I take the 'Googless' Band of Brothers challenge excluding the title track. "The Wall" "The Songwriters," and "Used to Her."   I can name more..."Hard to Be An Outlaw" and "Whenever You Come Around."    Now, I offer a counter challenge to Alan, go listen to anyone of the songs I've listed and tell me they aren't worthy of Willie's legacy.  Okay, you may differ in opinion on that, but that's okay..that's why we're here!  

I noticed that five of my choices were on the list. The five that were not there simply because there not a consensus included Jesse Winchester's last album, Rod Melancon's Parish Lines, Calico the band's Rancho California and Keb' Mo's BlUESAmericana.   

I look forward to reading more from you all in 2015.....take care

I hate it when the (a) voice of reason chimes in. I certainly hope none of my comments crossed the proverbial line in the sand (blame me or thank me for the Dylan snipe).  I've always  assumed if they don't pay me they can't (or at least won't) fire me! To be perfectly honest, as someone who spends his 9 to wheneverish day in a research lab (Q-"Oh, that must be interesting?" A-"No, most of the time it is not"), I'm just happy NoDepression allows me onto the playground. Happy New Year everybody!


See comment below!  No function to delete repetitive comments 

No lines crossed, proverbial or otherwise. The Dylan comment made me chuckle. Its like on his radio show when he played a song by Lucinda Williams announcing she was given songwriter of the year from some group. "I must have been out of the country that year." He quipped. Naw...its all in good humor and fun...Happy New Year!

Contributor (rather than critic) here.  I didn't submit a list this year because I didn't own enough of the 2014 releases to build a top 10.  I guess I am an early listener, slow acquirer.  I enjoyed Chuck Prophet's latest, but didn't think it was as good as his last and didn't measure up to his fantastic live shows.  My kids gave me the new Old '97's disc (really enjoying it!), Chrissie Hynde, Drive-By Truckers, and a variety of older cd's I suggested for Christmas (too late to vote).  I listened to most of the top 10 artists and saw quite a few shows over the past year.  I don't have any issues with the critics list above and understand how yearly votes tend to favor the familiar artists.  It happens every year in the Down Beat jazz polls (readers and critics).  These days the delivey methods for recorded music make it more difficult to define albums anyway or to buy the product.  I try to buy from artists at their shows (and put some well earned cash in their pockets), but often catch them out of release cycles.  Given the sorry state of radio, I end up listening to more podcasts these days in order to discover unfamiliar artists.  If I had Jesse Winchester's last disc, Jon Dee Graham's, Richard Thompson's (I've seen him more times than I can count), plus a couple of others, I would have had enough to vote.

Reading the comments I see that this critics poll has stirred quite a bit of emotion.  I have a few opinions regarding some of the comments.  Hurray for the Riff Raff seems to be a bit misunderstood.  They don't fit the "new kids" music and I would be floored if they ever achieved the kind of success that would have them opening for U2, Springsteen, or Coldplay, as suggested.  If anything, their style is so old school, rooted in folk, that they would be more likely to be opening for Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion.  They harken back to the old hippie days of musicians hanging out in a group house (St. Roch neighborhood of New Orleans), building skills and repertoire. Their band has had pretty significant personnel turnover, with the key appeal being the distinctive voice of Alynda Lee Segarra, who isn't an ambitious self promoter by any means.  I'm not sure their album is great, but their shows sure are (I been to three over recent years).

I don't have much respect for Rolling Stone mag or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame either, but I did vote for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Lou Reed in the hall of fame, so I am happy each will get the recognition and perhaps open some ears in a younger generation.  With Winchester's passing (and so many before him), maybe a ND hall is in order.


>>They don't fit the "new kids" music and I would be floored if they ever achieved the kind of success that would have them opening for U2, Springsteen, or Coldplay, as suggested.  If anything, their style is so old school, rooted in folk, that they would be more likely to be opening for Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion.<<

When I referred to them as representing "new kids music", I meant it somewhat ironically, but also literally.  They're the "newest", I think, of the bunch -- in terms of career, in terms of age.  I completely agree that they're coming from the folk side and won't be opening for U2 anytime soon.

I guess I won't read the comments section anymore cause if  I want to hear bitchin I can just go home.

Bless you - but what do you expect in a 'comments' section? No Depression has never been a site known for blowing smoke up people's bottoms.

I did not expect whining.

You must be new here! 

Since Terry invoked my name, I thought I'd take a shot at this here comment section. And I promise that I will not whine. 

As I don't critique nor review albums per se, I wasn't nor wouldn't be concerned that Kim chose not to solicit my feedback. Her game, her ball, her bat. She also knows me well enough to know that my interest in lists range from ho hum to outrage. I find them all...including my be a form of mental masturbation that simply puts forth a group of titles that I find enjoyable to listen to in the moment. They are neither definitive, nor static. What I think is the 'best' or simply a favorite today, might hit the trash can in a few weeks. And I don't feel any need whatsoever to write about or defend why I would choose this or that title. As it would be boring for me to write such an article; god help me if I had to read one. 

That said, I would like to address Alan (Harrisonphotos) and his comments about feeling left out. 

When the new owners began to put forth their vision for this website, they chose to draw a line between paid content and those that contribute without neither the desire nor demand for renumeration. I fall into the latter catagory by choice. I have been given the criteria for what I would need to do in order to collect a paycheck, and I've said no thank you. Now that doesn't mean that I wouldn't accept nor welcome the .20/word that ND pays, it's just that I won't alter what I write about, nor will I change my writing style to hit some numerical word target for 'long form' work. 

That aside, what Alan brings up and what I think many of us feel, is that this paid content versus community contribution demarcation implies a gulf between quality and worth. And while it's true that the majority of the people included in this years critic's list do in fact write full time and expect to be paid in order to make a living, it does create a perception of inequality. It shouts that my Don Julin interview or my weekly broadsides are not as good or interesting as something that Kelly or Anne ot Henry or Kevin or Mike publishes. Sometimes that may be the case; and at other times, I'm tracking many more page views and comments then they are. 

If I'm trying to make a point here, it's this: ND's website began as a community, rising from the ashes of a magazine that began to feel the strain of being able to provide paid content to their readers because of declining revenue. After running five years on fumes, the current diection is to create a new model that builds traffic by bringing back that paid content. While I don't personally yet see the pathway to success in that model, I'm hoping it works.

I also am putting some faith into Kim, Chris and the rest of them to formulate a fair policy to all of us who provide content. Y'all need to level the playing field. If you publish it, and especially feature it; pay for it. If that's not the end game, you're unwittingly creating a writer's ghetto while building mansions on the hill. 



I feel like there may be a misunderstanding here about "quality" and "worth," and I think those are both highly subjective terms. However, there is a difference between being a writer for a living -- which means not only putting words on a page (er, screen), but also research and history and a broad knowledge base about everything from music history to theory and cultural context -- as opposed to being someone who writes reviews in their spare time, as a hobby. I say this in a global sense. What we have here at ND is different from what happens anywhere else on the web. But, we have to pause first, please, to acknowledge that most of the people who contribute here do so after work, in their spare time, and do not make a living studying and analyzing and contextualizing American roots music. Given that, what they write here is hardly "ghetto" quality. It's remarkable the stuff people share here, and I'm grateful to read all of it. But, be real. If we paid for everything we featured, we'd go out of business by Saturday. If we only ever featured what we paid for, there would only be something to read here once a week. So, we're aiming for a balance.

Anyway, I say what we have here is different because it's important to note that. Traditional publications these days pay very, very, very little for their freelancers. One can make $2/word from some print publications, where the floor for the internet is a dime a word. I've had respected publications offer me five cents per word. And, when internet-based publications pay, they often pay way after the fact, sometimes months after publication. We manage to pay, so far, two writers per month, on time. That's not some vast conspiracy against the community contributors who keep this site hopping from day to day. That's trying something new and supporting some professional writers in a field where there aren't that many dedicated professional writers, at the same time. And, the number of people making nothing far, far, far outweighs the number of people who are getting something. (Which, again, is not much. Nobody on Earth is going to build a mansion as a freelance writer focused on rootsy American music, believe you me.)

I have run these polls for the past five years and they are no small task. This year, it was made a whole lot easier for me by having our developers work their tookuses off to create a voting system for the readers' poll, and I got to shift my focus to Editor things while conducting a small critics' poll on the side. I understand now that some folks are not thrilled with the decision I made to have the critics' poll pull just from the people whose opinions we pay for. Maybe it was a bad decision; maybe not. I don't know.

What I do know is that we're still a small, scrappy bunch, working mostly seven-day weeks (let's be honest) to try to figure out how to grow this hybrid magazine-community we've got here into something that is sustainable. We started the year in a position where it was either going to be shut down, or have a chance. We're ending the year with new life breathed into the thing. We want to keep it alive, and I think you do too. We're learning as we go, we're open to ideas, I'm always open to pitches for long stories for those who want to get paid for being here. We have a whole lot of passion and skills between the seven of us on staff here, and a whole lot of passion and ideas brimming out from you people. Nothing happens overnight, and nothing is magical and perfect. And nobody is building mansions on $0.20/word. Come on now.

Deep breaths, yall. We're still not a corporate giant band of zombie apocalyptians. And, this is a list of ten albums. Ten darn good albums. Not all of them made my personal list, but at least a few of them did. And I doubt anyone griping about it could write a song better than Willie Nelson can.

Pressing the imaginary like button, sister!

Thanks, Kim for bringing some perspective to the discourse here.  I much appreciate the platform that has been created here.  The majority of my contributions remain from other paid outlets or simply given to ND for the love of both the great community here and the perks.  Nobody talked about the perks!  It was invoking No Depression at the CMT Edge session in studio in Nashville with Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal in Fall of 2013 that allowed my entrance and caused her publicist to bypass the reporter from People magazine in favor of connecting with little ole me.  It's true about the pay for free-lance articles in roots music.  One well known outlet paid .10 cents a word and took six months before I saw a check.  So, the work with ND has been much appreciated!  Happy New Year everybody! 

You're absolutely right about Willie Nelson!   The Picasso of country music! 

As one who invokes your name freely, Easy Ed.....I appreciate you chiming in and making sense.  

@Terry: Thanks for reading through my thoughts and I'm pleased that it makes sense to someone else other than me. 

@Kim: I do appreciate your response. Seems like we each are looking at the same things with vastly different perspectives, so we can just agree to disagree. I want to be clear that I have no belief that trying to make a living in journalism is easy, and I applaud ND for sending out checks, albeit at only two per month. My mansion on the hill term was used to illustrate class distinction, not financial windfall. Also, maybe I just read it wrong, but for myself and a whole bunch of other contributors...doing research, knowing history, understanding context and having broad understanding of roots music is what we bring...not what we lack. 

@Shelley: Many of us have been asking for a real 'like' button for years. Maybe the developers can add it to the list. 

   I've actually just written a 720 word response then deleted it as I can't put my thoughts on paper better than Ed; especially about the amount of work I/we put in reviewing CD's and gigs. 

    For what it's worth I too tried to make a living as a freelance writer/photographer specialising in Roots/Alt/Americana but gave up when I was offered a brilliant full time job in my original industry. Even though this is now a vanity project I try my best to remain as professional as humanly possible; which is why the thought of a two tier system of contributors/critics (by accident or not) wrankles with me. 





@Ed: We are continually considering enhancements for the way comments are being handled and I do believe it is on our list for consideration. It's good to know that you are in favor of something like that and I encourage anyone to let us know if they also like the idea or if they have a strong reason against it (and why).


The list seems perfectly reasonable to me.  The stated qualifications to vote also seem reasonable, and the results confirm the good taste of the voters.  It's not necessarily identical my list, but it represents a strong collection of work overall.   And it's just a list.  Unless someone is arranging to have the results engraved on tablets to be transported to the top of Mount Sinai, I'll enjoy it without taking it too seriously.

Yeah, but we do take it (perhaps too) seriously! I can't have these debates and discussions with my co-workers. Their eyes (and maybe ears) glaze over when I tell them without a doubt that the best album of 2014 was Chuck Prophet's Night Surfer.  We're not normal here and that's why we're here!

But it's not like we're the American Philatelic Society. We aren't that odd.



Speak up Jack!  

About our lack of normality....I resemble that remark! As one who frequently sees friends eyes glaze over at my music talk, I say Amen Bro!


>>We're not normal here and that's why we're here!<<

Amen to that!

>>We're not normal here and that's why we're here!<<

Pressing the imaginary like button for Hal. ;)

I've just read through all the comments and replies & fully enjoyed the opinions and jibes from the A-Team of contributors (paid or not), even though it took me a good half hour. I had to laugh at several remarks, most entertaining indeed.

To generate such replies is impressive and says a lot for ND and how it has evolved and captured the Internet Publishing Format, so that music lovers world wide are kept informed and updated at a level never seen before. We don't have to wait months for articles or reviews, we get it twice a week, which is fantastic. I have learned so much from all the various writers (professional or amateur) and my music collection and musical knowledge has flourished. Long may it continue. There are some quality unpaid contributors whose input would have enhanced the Critics Poll, maybe they should be included next year, especially those who are not resident in the USA. Simply set a criteria so that they know what they have to do to qualify.

Most important, let Kim and the HQ team continue with a solid business plan so that ND can expand and grow to bigger and better things.

So as we move out of 2014, can I wish everyone involved with ND a very Happy New Year. As we say in this part of the world "Aaall the best".

PS I would be horrified to be labelled "normal". 




In this digital multiverse I  inhabit I publish my "professional" work in scientific journals. Do you want to know how much they pay me for articles? Nothing. Those peer-reviewed journals have a page charge! "Publish or perish" is actually, "pay to publish or perish". That's the system like it or not and I'm not talking self-published vanity press bullshit. You know what? If you want to read a recent non-music related manuscript of mine (and you don't) you'll probably have to pay if you don't (and you don't) already subscribe to the journal.  

The Perks?

#1  Chuck Prophet didn't agree to a phone interview with me because I was a fan of his music or because he wanted to talk about "Replication of many human viruses is refractory to inhibition by endogenous cellular microRNAs".  He said give me a call because I could flash my NoDepression (virtual) press credentials.  That's one hell of a perk.

#2 All the free music I can eat.

Happy New Year everybody!

Thanks NoDepression.



So in other words, Chuck is a non-Prophet musician. 


Ouch! And good tidings...

If ND paid me for my interview with Chuck I'd have to request they send the check to him since most of the heavy lifting in my featurettes is usually done by the musicians.

How did everyone here miss this one? This review really captures what I feel about this album. It's one of those few, "Wow, I've never heard of this guy before, but he's great. More people need to hear him. The only thing I disagree about in this review is the songs they chose to highlight. Which goes to show how many of the songs are REALLY worthwhile. As the review says, I'm always looking to discover new music/artists that are in my "wheelhouse." This album is one of the few that does this without much of the album being skip-it songs, it's very solid. Find somewhere to listen to more cuts than are offered in the review!