No Depression Readers Poll 2016

No Depression

Hello and welcome to No Depression's 2016 Year-End Readers Poll. [Applause].

While it was a lighter year, releases from the likes of Wilco, Vince Gill, Avett Brothers, Sarah Jarosz, and Sturgill Simpson certainly filled your playlists throughout 2016. This time around, we're going to handle YERP a bit differently. I know, I know... that's scary. But I promise that it'll all work out for the best.

Below, you'll see a Google Form that lists over 300 albums that came out in 2016. All you need to do is choose 10. Follow the rules and no one gets hurt. Best of luck to your favorite records!

The Rules:

1. Choose only 10 albums from the list.
2. If you don't see what you're looking for, fill in the "Other" field at the bottom of the form.
3. If more than one album you want to vote for isn't on the list, email with album title you'd like to add.
4. Do not vote twice.
5. Do not vote more than once for a single album.
6. Once you've chosen 10 albums, scroll to the bottom of the form and click "Submit."

Ballots will be accepted until 9pm Eastern on Dec. 15. Votes will be tallied and the winners announced on Dec. 16.

Not sure why you said the output was light.  I thought it was an embarrassment of riches!

In hindsight, I think you're correct! I just can't wait to say goodbye to a horrifying year!

I hear that! 

Right the first time, Cameron. A "light" year is any one in which Isbell doesn't release an album.


I thought the new music in 2016 was the best in many years!

Heart of a Dog - Laurie Anderson

American Band - Drive by Truckers

John Doe - The Westerner

Peter Wolf - A Cure for Loneliness

Michael Franti and Spearhead - Soulrocker

Bob Mould - Patch the Sky

Willie Nile - World War Willie

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real - Something Real

The Pretenders - Alone

Aiofe Donovan - In the Magic Hour


Great year for music...the rest maybe not so much...

Good year! 

Lucinda Williams - Ghosts of Highway 20

Parker Millsap - The Very Last Day

Duke Robillard - Blues Full Circle

Doug Seegers - Walking on the Edge of the World

John Prine - For Better or Worse

Buddy Miller - Cayamo Sessions

Peter Wolf - A Cure for Loneliness

Jill Johnson & Doug Seegers - In Tandem

Hayes Carll - Lovers and Leavers

Hard Working Americans - Rest in Chaos

Extensive list - thank you.  Was hoping to see The Jayhawks - Paging Mr. Proust and wasn't dissapointed.     

I know it's still 2016 but at this point here is my : Best New Music Releases Of 2016:
1. "Willow Springs by Michael McDermott
2. "American Band" by The Drive By Truckers
3. "A Cure For Loneliness" by Peter Wolf

4. "Six On The Out" by The Westies
5. "Lovers And Leavers" by Hayes Carll
6. "A Sailor's Guide To Earth" by Sturgill
7. "The Beautiful Viscous Cycle Of Lie" by Daniel Hutchens
8. "Great Shakes" by Sessions Americana
9. "Rockingham" by B.J. Barham
10. "Dori Freeman" by Dori Freeman
11. "Blue Ridge Blood" by Chelle Rose

Since the month is not over this list may grow or change but I only included music I have actually bought & listened to numerous times. I'd love to hear you thoughts on my choices & things you have bought & would have on your list.#ExpressYourself

For the record, I thought the Micheal McDermott was the best record of the year a matter of fact, it may be the best record I've heard in 10 years...I thought his side project The Westies (6 On the Out) was easily top 10 too...

And I believe it was a great year for music...

I saw the You Tube video for the title cut after reading about him here & on Twangville Music blog;was blown away & thought,how have I not ever heard of this guy before? I have been telling all my music loving friends about him & singing his praises ever since. And it was a great year for music!!!!

Pretty much exactly what happened to me with McDermott...couldn't believe I missed someone that good...bought all of his other records too...the worst of it is better than 95 % of what is out have a well thought out list..mine is different but I have almost everything on your list and they are excellent releases...there were just a bunch this year that were exceptional 

I loved McDermott's "Willow Springs" too and it would make my list. But the artist that really flabbergasted me and it was a similar situation of someone who has been around for awhile (since the late 70s!) but I had never heard of until an article here on ND and he's exactly the type of artist I love--a great singer-songwriter with amazing lyrics and a wonderful voice. His name is Dirk Hamilton and I love all of the 8 CDs I now have by him dating from 1978 to 2016 and a DVD of a 2003 concert in Italy. His "Touch and Go" which was released this year would be my #1 followed by McDermott's "Willow Springs."

Thanks for the "head's up" on Dirk Hamilton;I too am embarrassed that I was unfamiliar with his work but from what I have sampled so far it's right up my alley. Like No Depression I also get a newsletter once a week from a music blog called "Twangville". Both have introduced me to some really good artists I might never have discovered without their help....

He's great, I had his CD on my top 10 as well, and Dennis and I have discussed him at length, cool guy too...while I had heard of Dirk and even had his first major label LP "Sing on the Left, Bark on the Right" (which is great, produced by Gary Katz of Steely Dan fame), I lost track of Dennis, when I saw that review, I bought "Touch and Go"...since then I've bought "Yep", Meet Me At The Crux" and "Alias I"...all excellent.  As for McDermott, I bought his entire catalog...most of it is so good I still haven't gotten to "Bourbon Blue"..."Micheal McDermott", "Hit Me Back", "Ashes" are all great..."Last Chance Lounge" has two songs back to back, "Unemployed" and "Spark" that are genius...the two Westies records (which are pretty much the same personnel as on Willow Springs) are terrific as well, "Six on the Out" also in my top 10...

If you look on You Tube,Michael McDermott has a really good live concert video(about & hour & a half) filmed in Milan,Italy with him playing acoustic guitar & piano & he has another guitarist playing acoustic on most of it. If you haven't already watched it,you will love it.    Enjoy & Have a Happy & Joyous Holiday season!!!!


He plays some cuts from "The Westies" on it too!!!!!


This is really good...a friend of mine sent me a cut from this a couple of months ago...he does Spark from Last Chance Lounge here, and it's so different from the album track...

The guy is on another level...

Hey folks, thanks for posting all the comments on McDermott.  I'm a long time fan that for some reason was dragging my feet on picking up "Willow Springs" - not sure why.  That's been rectified.  The power of a good word wins!

Great won't be sorry..."Butterfly" and "Folksinger"..."Shadow In the Window"...incredible songs... 

Yes Michael McDermott album is a cracker....was just outside my top 10. I thought The Westies album was 2015(unless there was another one released this year which I don't know about) but that is equally good too. If you get a chance listen to Peter Bruntnell's Nos Da Comrade album. One of the most underrated songwriters around from the UK. Good list btw and one or two artists I need to check out.

There are 2 Westies records...last year was "West Side Stories" (John Ellis wrote a great review of that at the time), this year "Six On the Out" (released 01/29/16, a few months prior to Willow Springs)

I just bought "Six On The Out" yesterday & I love it!!!!

I adjusted my list to 11 & put this in at #4.:)

Yes...I had it at two...but since I first heard McDermott, I've been listening to mostly that, to the exclusion of a lot of other stuff...not sure how a guy does two records that good in one year, but I'm sure glad he did...Glad you like it too...

1. Drive-By Truckers – American Band
2. Robbie Fulks – Upland Stories
3. Courtney Marie Andrews – Honest Life
4. Alejandro Escovedo – Burn Something Beautiful
5. Parker Millsap – The Very Last Day
6. Tami Neilson – Don’t Be Afraid
7. Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter
8. Karen Jonas – Country Songs
9. Lydia Loveless – Real
10. Dori Freeman – Dori Freeman

Honorable Mentions: Cody Jinks, Kelsey Waldon, Hard Working Americans, Al Scorch, Austin Lucas, Hayes Carll

Big year for women artists in my music world. Six of my top ten. I think two or three has been more the norm in recent years.

Great list Jack and agree with your comment re-women artists making some of the best music this year! Looking forward to hearing Honest Life...only released in UK in January and not heard Dori Freeman album yet or the Escovedo for that matter. We have 4 albums in common in our top 10...great minds and all that!


I see that one album is listed twice, under both Devil Makes Three and The Devil Makes Three

Yeah, we caught that too late to change it. At this point, we're just leaving them both so we don't cut votes. We'll merge them when voting is closed. 

List should include The Westies - Six on the Out and Jimmy LaFave - Trail Five...

Sorry it took me so long to see this! Weekend and then hackers ... but these two are on the list now. 

Thanks...alas my list would be different now, but I'll have to stick with the 10 I voted for then...which I wanted to post but can't remember, so I will do the best I can:

1) Michael McDermott - Willow Springs

2) The Westies - Six on the Out

3) Mark Erelli - For a Song

4) Brandy Clark - Big Night in a Small Town

5) Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth

6) Courtney Marie Andrews - Honest Life

7) Robbie Fulks - Upland Stories

8) Dirk Hamilton - Touch and Go

9) Flat Five - It's a World of Love and Hope

10) I don't know what I selected - I will look at the list and figure it out...could easily have done 25 this year...

So I looked and can't remember (I missed the "send me a copy" of my responses button)

But...Aaron Lee Tasjan, Bob Delevante, Margo Price, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Dion, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Freakwater, Tedeschi/Trucks, Eric Brace and Peter Cooper, Hayes Carll, the O'Connor Band, Shovels and Rope, Richmond Fontaine, Lydia Loveless, Shovels and Rope, St Paul and the Broken Bones, Lake Street Dive, Jimmy LaFave, and Luther Dickenson all had top 10 worthy records in about any year...embarrassment of riches...





Hey Jim, I have 5 of the 9 on the above list and agree with them all except Flat Five which I bought based on the review comparing them to Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Manhattan Transfer and that members are in the Decemberists and NRBQ but I was greatly disappointed. Not even close to the clever lyrics and musicianship of Dan Hicks' band or the rock'n'roll style of NRBQ. Perhaps I need to listen to it more and try to "get it." I wasn't that impressed by the Robbie Fulks either. Certainly no song came close to his brilliant "God Isn't Real" but that's probably my own prejudice.

Dennis and Jim, am a long time member of a neighborhood social club a few blocks from my house.  We have a small space, an almost decent sound system, a 6' hi def projection screen, cable, a bar and fridge with a keg in it. Holds about 35 semi comfortably (meaning we have more than enough room for the few remaining regulars here on ND). A couple years ago we had a party with live music. Lacking space, it was a two person band, Scott Ligon and Casey McDonough, both are members of The Flat Five and NRBQ. Both guys are musical jukeboxes, great players and good guys. I've thoroughly enjoyed the new Flat Five record, and I thought Don McLeese captured the spirit of the record well in his ND review. It has a wonderful '60's pop vibe to it. I don't know Scott and Casey personally, just met them that night but I've seen both play in various bands around Chicago over the years and have enjoyed everything I've seen them part of.

Yeah, I was really prepared to like this album but perhaps because I have little love left and no hope I just found the music cheesy. I don't doubt the musicans are good but I didn't much care for the music they make on this album. But like I said, I'll have to listen to it more.

You never know...

I liked this song in particular.  This video was from an in store show at Val's Halla Records fairly recently. 


I guess my thought about it is that the vocals were incredible, and the songs were a committment to the singers...and these days no one gets a budget to make "Pet Sounds", so I thought what they executed was pretty amazing...I didn't expect anything for certain from a style or genre standpoint except that it would be good...I never expect anything in particualr from NRBQ either...seen them live maybe 10 times, have most of their records...saw them back when they used to do the "magic box" where they would play anything the audience requested, which included Cole Porter and Zager and Evans at one show...I know they can rock better than anyone, but to me their actual songs were mostly pop music..."Driving In My Car", "Boy's Life", Little Floater", sorry that's pop music, Terry Adams just happens to be genius enough to write great pop songs and also play Monk and in Sun Ra's Arkhestra, and so were Al and Joey (they didn't play with SunRa but they wrote pop songs, songs with all kinds of other influences...and they still do, Al Anderson's solo records are all over the map musically) I wasn't surprised by the music being what it was ...I expect to be surprised by these folks...I listened to it again last night to be sure I hadn't screwed up...I didn't, but it isn't NRBQ, the Decemberists,'s okay to not like it at a top 10 level Dennis...I still am trying to figure out what's extraordinary about Hayes Carll's's good, but to me it has one great song, I'm sort of lukewarm on the rest of it...sometimes you just don't hear what other people hear...that's a great performance there Jack!

I too re-listened to the Flat Five album last night and I admit it has it's charms and is unlike anything else I've heard this year but as far as evoking the 60s it's certainly not the rocking 60s--perhaps Gilbert O'Sullivan or pre-Dylan and Beatles 60s which is more like late 50s. On some songs they remind me of Manhattan Transfer without the jazz roots which was what I liked best about them. (I guess there are a cuple of songs that have some vaguely jazz riffs). M.T. had a couple of very pop records in the 90s I believe that still had more interesting qualities than I find on this album. To me the songs aren't about much of anything and are just kind of silly but I admit they are well-done. Dan Hicks wrote some silly songs too but they were a lot more clever and had great music especially with the amazing Sid Page on violin and Hicks could also write beautiful serious songs. I just don't see this as one of the 10 best of the year and I like good pop music too like those great NRBQ songs you mentioned Jim. Bottom line, this album is just too cheerful and almost bubblegum pop for my intrinsically lugubrious soul, which, since this ugly, tragic and world changing (ending?) election is a lugubrious soul on steroids. It seems blues and Van Morrison is what I'm mostly listening too these days and other favorite artists from the 60s and 70s back when I believed in a future.

I agree, Dennis, it's not a classic record but it was such a breath fresh air to hear, the vocals are a delight, the whole thing has a lot of charm. Perhaps had I listened to more new music this year I'd have omitted it but probably not, it doesn't sound like anything else I heard this year.  Then again Ray LaMontagne seems to have tapped into the sounds of the '60's a bit.

Al Anderson is one of the guys in the World Famous Headliners, which recently released a new record, which as far as I can tell is available thus far by download only. I would not say it's as infectious as their first one, but it has some fine moments. "Dance" is a fun, humorous send up lyrically and vocally. Fried Chicken sounds like they'd been listening to the Bee Gee's a little. Worth checking out. Believe I previously mentioned Pat McLaughlin to you guys, he's in the WFH too.


I love Al...I had the first WFH record, primarily because of Al and is great...I'll have to look up the new one...Pat hasn't done a record in a while...

I got the Park Central Squares record recently (used)...I think you were the one that mentioned them...good stuff...

Flat Five doesn't sound like anything else...maybe it will fade with time, but for now, I think it is an amazing accomplishment...having played some myself, it seems it sounds like something I could never do...maybe I'm enamoured with the skill of the practitioners...vocals...some of what the Beach Boys did was just beautiful sounding...but it was girls and cars and California basically for a long speaks to that part of my musical taste I think...


It's a pity that we can only vote for a mere 10 albums as I think it's been a brilliant year for new music and some emerging artists which is great. My top 20 (for anyone interested) was...


1. Margo Price- Midwest Farmer's Daughter

2. Peter Bruntnell- Nos Da Comrade

3. Lydia Loveless- Real

4. Drive By Truckers-  American Band

5. Hannah Peel- Awake But Always Dreaming

6. Margaret Glaspy- Emotion and Math

7. Aoife O'Donovan- In The Magic Hour

8. Richmond Fontaine-You Can't Go Back If There's Nothing To Go Back To

9. Robbie Fulks-Upland Stories

10. Carter Sampson-Wilder Side

11. Angel Olsen-My Woman

12. Nada Surf-You Know Who You Are

13. Julia Jacklin-Don't Let The Kids Win

14. Michael Mc Dermott-Willow Springs

15. Whitney-Light Upon The Lake

16. Lucinda Williams-The Ghosts Of Highway 20

17. Case/Laing/Veirs

18. Lera Lynn-Resistor

19. Amanda Shires-My Piece Of Land

20. Steve Gunn-Eyes On The Line

Honourable mention...Spain-Carolina, Haley Bonar-Impossible Dream, Flock Of Dimes. Hiss Golden Messenger-Heart Like A Levee, Damien Jurado-Visions of Us On The Land. Magnetic North-Prospect Of Skelmersdale, Conor Oberst-Ruminations, The Jayhawks-Paging Mr Proust, Amber Arcades-Fading Lines, The Coral-Distance Inbetween, Cool Ghouls-Animal Races. 

This does not actually match my voting since I kinda tossed that off but it's closer to what my actual top 10 would be ...


Becky Warren - War Surplus

Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

Drive By Truckers - American Band

Paul Cauthen - My Gospel

Mamma Coal - Raven Haired Vixen

Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones - Little Windows

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer’s Daughter

Various - Hamilton Mixtape (more Americana alternate: Sturgill Simpson)

Lucinda Williams - Ghosts of Highway 20

Kelsey Waldon - All By Myself



Alejandro Escovedo's Burn Something Beautiful tops my year end list. Just an incredible listen from start to finish.

Some good albums that weren't on the No Dep list when I voted in their Readers Poll.  I sent these directly to No Dep too, so maybe a few will be added to their list for others to consider:


 - Tommy Womack: Namaste  - Angie & the Deserters: 'Blood Like Wine'/'You' EPs  - Eric Ambel: Lakeside
 - Pinegrove: Cardinal
 - Lambchop: Flotus
 - Kings of Leon: Walls
 - Frog Holler: Souvenir
 - Rogue Wave: Delusions of Grand Fur
 - Cotton Mather: Death Of The Cool  - Kieran Kane: Unguarded Moments
 - Clark Paterson: The Final Tradition
 - Balsam Range: Mountain Voodoo
 - This Frontier Needs Heroes: Real Job 
 - Fruit Bats: Absolute Loser
 - Dave Insley: Just the Way That I Am
 - Arkells: Morning Report
 - The Bills: Trail of Tales
 - The Western Flyers: Wild Blue Yonder
 - Great American Canyon Band: Only You Remain  - William Tyler: Modern Country 
 - John K. Samson: Winter Wheat
 - Natural Child: Okey Dokey
 - Paul & the Tall Trees: Our Love in the Light
 - Ryan Matthew: Love Hate Death
 - Green River Ordinance: Fifteen
 - Miranda Lambert: The Weight of These Wings  - Maren Morris: Hero  - The Devil Makes Three: Longjohns, Boots and a Belt (even though they  included 'Redemption and Ruin').

My Top 20: 

 1. Drive-By Truckers: American Band
 2. Becky Warren: War Surplus
 3. Margo Price: Midwest Farmer's Daughter
 4. Jayhawks: Paging Mr. Proust
 5. Hayes Carll: Lovers and Leavers
 6. Lydia Loveless: Real
 7. Tommy Womack: Namaste
 8. Wilco: Schmilco
 9. Alejandro Escovedo: Burn Something Beautiful
 10. Angie and the Deserters: 'Blood Like Wine' & 'You' (2 EPs)

 - Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor's Guide to Earth
 - Caleb Caudle: Carolina Ghost
 - Parker Millsap: The Very Last Day
 - Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories
 - Conor Oberst: Ruminations
 - Reckless Kelly: Sunset Motel
 - Richmond Fontaine: You Can't Go Back If There's Nothing To Go Back To
 - Brian Fallon: Painkillers
 - Austin Lucas: Between the Moon & the Midwest
 - Lucinda Williams: The Ghosts of Highway 20


Glad to see people listing their choices, it makes the poll a lot more interesting and fun than mere clicks from a menu.  And I always use these lists to check out music unfamiliar to me.  


1. Willie Nile - World War Willie (saw him twice last summer, two of the better shows of the year)

2. Alejandro Escovedo - Burn Something Beautiful (most interesting record he's done in years I thought, and his current band is really, really good)

3. Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20 (thought it should been edited to one disc, Dust is my favorite song of this year)

4. John Prine - For Better or Worse ("you'll miss me and my Hefty bags...what a wry line!)

5. Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide To Earth

6. Reckless Kelly - Sunset Motel 

7. Terri Hendrix - The Slaughterhouse Sessions

8. Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones - Little 

9. The Flat Five - It's A World of Love and Hope (let's hope so.....You're Still Joe is my other favorite tune from this year)

10. John Doe - The Westerner

Honorable mentions: Tony Joe White - Rain Crow, Linda Chorney - Emotional Jukebox (from 2011 but it's that good!)



Agreed, and in addition I always enjoy peoples comments on some/all their top 10 selections.  Seeing Jack 2.0 offer a little info on some of his picks encouraged me to post my top 10 with comments (which I had stripped from my list posted above):


 1. Drive-By Truckers: American Band
It's angry.  It's political.  It's Southern.  And it rocks.  That was enough to make this both my fave album of the year AND the one I'd vote for as the "best album" of the year.
 - Fave Song:  "Filthy and Fried" (maybe the least angry/political song on it, other than gender politics)


 2. Becky Warren: War Surplus
This was a late-in-the-year (mid-October) release from the former lead singer of the Great Unknowns (if you haven't heard their 'Homefront' album, you ought to; sample the hurt in "Lexington" from it for a taste).  It took me a little while to get into it and then let it sink in.  It's a concept album/love story centered around a soldier leaving for, serving in, and then returning damaged from, the Gulf Wars, and the effect all that has on him & his girlfriend/wife.  If you enjoy the Lydia Loveless/Nikki Lane/Sarah Shook spectrum, you'll like this. 
 - Fave Song:  "Stay Calm, Get Low"  (good advice in any war zone)


 3. Margo Price: Midwest Farmer's Daughter
Another truly fine debut album.  An Americana/country gem.
 - Fave Song:  "Hands of Time"  (long, but worth it)


 4. Jayhawks: Paging Mr. Proust
Some folks criticized this album for sounding "too much like their old stuff".  That's precisely why I like it so much.
 - Fave Song:  "Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces"


 5. Hayes Carll: Lovers and Leavers
Scruffy & amiable, although this time out he's taken a sadder turn inward.  Good songs, though.
 - Fave Song:  "Good While It Lasted"


 6. Lydia Loveless: Real
She just keeps getting better.
 - Fave Song:  "Longer"


 7. Tommy Womack: Namaste
This one grew on me over time.  Somewhat philosophical, but still a fun & easy listen in most places.
 - Fave Song:  "It's Been All Over Before"


 8. Wilco: Schmilco
Not great Wilco, but their best in a while.
 - Fave Song:  "If I Ever Was a Child"


 9. Alejandro Escovedo: Burn Something Beautiful
Big surprise to me.  I didn't think Al had a rockin' album like this in him anymore.
 - Fave Song:  "Horizontal"


 10. Angie and the Deserters: 'Blood Like Wine' & 'You' (2 EPs)
Came out of nowhere, but with a couple of excellent EPs that I've treated here as a single release. I couldn't keep them out of my top ten.
 - Fave Song:  "Country Radio"




I can think of  three albums released in 2016 that should have made the No Depression Reader's Poll list:

Javier Escovedo's Kicked Out of Eden

Vanessa Peter's The Burden of Unshakeable Proof

Marc Ford's The Vulture

Linda Chorney's Oysters

Thanks for the Michael McDermott recs, everyone. Never heard of him but really liking the album.

And Angie and the Deserters - also great!   Working my way through everyone here I don't know ...

1) Paging Mr. Proust - The Jayhawks

2) A Sailor's Guide to Earth - Sturgill Simpson

3) The Suffers - The Suffers

4) Rockingham - BJ Barham

5) Blue Mountain - Bob Weir

6) We're All Gonna Die - Dawes

7) The Very Last Day - Parker Millsap

8) 2 - Mudcrutch

9) Day of the Dead - Various Artists (This one would have been higher save for a few duds. I'm looking at you, Mumford & Sons.)

10) Big Boat - Phish

Honorable mention: Amanda Shires, Birds Of Chicago, Folk Uke, Wilco, Shovels & Rope, Wussy, The Head and the Heart


(By "Honorable mention", I mean that if you ask me again in 30 minutes, you'd likely get an entirely different list featuring these at the exclusion of others.)


lots to like this year. check these ones out.

1=escondido-walking with a stranger

2-frankie lee-american dreamer

3-wild ponies-radiant

4-elise davis-the token

5-arlo aldo-house and home

6-conor oberst-ruminations

7-kelley mcrae-the wayside

8-mayhemingways-hunter st. blues

9-jason and michelle-burying the ghosts

10-richard shindell- careless

11-stevieray latham-winter in london

12-michael mazochi-the cold war


there's more,but i'm out of time. more to follow