Vote for Your Favorite Albums of 2015

Temperatures are dropping in most places, snow is falling somewhere, and folks are getting ready to close the year out with some grand, jolly holidays. In the sphere of roots music discourse, that means the time has come around again for us all to make our lists and check them twice. 

I'm talking, of course, about the annual No Depression Year-End Readers Poll. Each year we look to you to determine the Top 50 roots music albums of the year, as chosen by the intrepid band of merry music fans who frequent this site, as well as those who aren't as frequent and others who are brand new. 

This year, voting will take place in a new and (we think) improved way. 

Most importantly, you don't have to know off the top of your head which ten albums you loved the most this year. We've compiled a master list of hundreds of roots music albums that have been released this year. You can sort that list by artist or album title if you want, or you can just search it for the disc you know you want to vote for. Click on the plus sign next to an album you want to vote for, and it'll be automatically added to your ballot. If you want to sit on it a while and make sure you've included the ten absolute best options, your ballot will be saved and you can come back any time before December 30 to add to it and re-order it.

Managing your ballot is pretty simple. Once you get into the voting zone, you'll see a little tag pop up on the left hand of the screen that tells you how many albums you've voted for and gives you the option of managing your ballot. Click on that and you'll be taken to your ballot, where you can drag and drop your votes into a different order, remove albums from your list entirely, title your list, and write a little something about why you love all this music. Feel free to use that space to tell us which albums came this close to making your final list. All of these things will be editable right up until the moment you click "Submit." 

Once you've submitted your ballot, it's final and cannot be edited or changed. You can share it on the socials and discuss or debate it with anyone who chooses to comment on it. 

Every album you voted for will be fed into the community tally. 

In addition to those updates to the voting process, you'll be selecting your favorite albums from a rather giant list of all the roots music albums that have been released since January 1, 2015. If you want to vote for an album that's not on our list, email to let us know we missed it, and we'll make sure it gets added to the list. If you run into any other technical issues while voting, please send those to the same address.

Voting is open until 6 p.m. EST on December 30. The ND Readers' Top 50 Albums of 2015 will be announced the following day.

Ready to get started? You'll find the list of releases to pull from here.



Artist No Depression
Hey everyone - I have just added 21 releases that we had left off the list. If you suggested one up to now (and it fit the date, genre and wasn't a special box set or re-release etc), it should be there. If not, please let me know at Thanks for voting!

Hi Shelley, is it possible to see everyone else's Top 10's, just to compare and assess. I've looked over the site but can't see anywhere that applies, although it could be there and it's a case of "not seeing the wood for the trees".

Here it is: - You can also get to this at the top of the "standings" page (red link) at

No Depression poll time - the happiest time of the year!

One technical thing, as I add from the alphabetical list via the plus every time it refreshes the page so you have to start back at the top.  Which is a bit awkward if you are up to the Js and have to scroll back down from As every time ...    Not sure if there is anything that can be done about that and it might be my browser I suppose.  

But it's a nifty system and very good for generally reminding me about what was released this year .... 


We tested with three off the top browsers and it didn't do what you are describing. Sorry for the inconvenience, but it must be whatever browser you are using.

Safari.  No worries, got my list done anyway :-)   cheers

does the same thing with Google Chrome...not that big of a deal, but it does take you back to the top every time...

We did check both Safari and Chrome (as well as Firefox) and we didn't see that behavior. Sorry about that.

No apology necessary...not a big deal...after a couple of times I looked through the whole list and then started selecting...

That's the way it works for me in IE, the most commonly used browser on desktop/laptop devices (as distinct from mobile), with 50% of market share.  Starts back at the beginning after a selection.

There is a fundamental problem with your methodology. I'm more than passingly familiar with sampling methods and surveys, and there is no question that your process is flawed. 

You present the albums in alphabetical order, by artist.  There are many albums.  It takes quite a while to scroll through.

There is absolutely no question that this biases the process in favor of the As and Bs and Cs, to the detriment of the Vs (including "Various") and Xs and Ys and Zs.  If even 20% of the respondents tire of scrolling and never get past T, it means that those earlier in the list have a real advantage.  This is not trivial, especially since the list refreshes after a choice, starting you back at the beginning, giving those alphabetically-early names one more boost.

You could solve the problem, perhaps, by presenting the list to the viewer randomly, with each viewer gettting the list in a different order.  No reason why you couldn't give the option of sorting the list by artist or album name, giving systematic raters the option of leaving and returning to their place in the list.

Otherwise, you're going to end up with apparent "winners" that really shouldn't be, especially once beyond the most popular selections.

Just so you understand, the list has the ability to SORT by either album name, artist name or date. It defaults to artist name (see the little triangle there?) but you can switch that by clicking on one of the other two and then going either A-Z, Z-A or reverse chronologically. There is also the ability to SEARCH by either artist or release name. If you look at the current standings, you will NOT see mostly artists from the first part of the alphabet as you suggest.

Of course, I do know that you can sort.  It's the default presentation that's the problem. The fact that there doesn't appear to be a big correlation in the voting list with alphabetization is no evidence at all.  Any effects will be fairly subtle, but will nonetheless bias in favor of those early in the default list. 

The "big winners", very popular releases, will be at the top regardless.  It's the placings lower down the list (but important to those artists) that will do an injustice to the Vs and Xs and Ys and Zs.  And if it's a tight race at the top, it's certainly possible that a lower alphabetical listing could result in a real injustice.

Sorry if I sound strident, I'm just sensitive to potential injustice. 

Always look forward to the voting and the list, thanks for doing this again.