My 33 Favorite Albums of 2016
A listing by Jerome Clark

Editor's note: This year, our most prolific music reviewer takes a look at his favorite 33 recordings of 2016. Why 33? I'll let Jerome Clark explain.

OK, so why 33? Well, why not? Taste is not measured in numbers, and this is what I ended up with when I compiled my top listening experiences of the year. I do not include recordings by artists I know as close friends or friendly acquaintances. That's just to give myself some modest illusion of objectivity; it has nothing to do with the quality of the albums they released this year. Aside from that rule, I try not to review CDs I actually have had to pay for, but on this list, as opposed to Rambles.NET's catalog of reviews, some that separated me from the hard-earned get their chance in the spotlight.

Obviously, I don't get to hear everything, and in my more rational moments I understand why I wouldn't want to. Consequently, of the hundreds of recordings I heard this year, these are the 33 CDs that made me the most happy or that moved me in some special way. They remain in memory, on my current playlist, or in some combination thereof. My choices, naturally, are purely subjective and arbitrary, and I make no larger claim to their importance.

Anna & Elizabeth, Sun to Sun (Free Dirt)
Rory Block, Keepin' Outta Trouble: A Tribute to Bukka White (Stony Plain)
Blue Highway, Original Traditional (Rounder)
Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker (Columbia)
Shirley Collins, Lodestar (Domino)
Vincent Cross, Old Songs for Modern Folk (Rescue Dog)
The Devil Makes Three, Redemption & Ruin (New West)
Luther Dickinson, Blues & Ballads (New West)

Furrow Collective, Wild Hog (Hudson)
Jimmy & the Mustangs, Another Round (independent)
Kacy & Clayton, Strange Country (New West)
Bill Kircher & Austin de Lone, Transatlantica (Red House)
Caleb Klauder, Western Centuries (independent)
Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms, Innocent Road (independent)
Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur, Penny's Farm (Kingswood)
Loretta Lynn, Full Circle (Sony/Legacy)

Del McCoury Band, Del & Woody (Rounder)
Bruce Molsky, Can't Stay Here This a-Way (Tiki Parlour)
John Prine, For Better, or Worse (Oh Boy)
Red Tail Ring, Fall Away Blues (Earthwork Music)
Solas, All These Years (THL)
Spencer & Rains, The Spotted Pony & Other Tunes from the Midwest Corridor (Tiki Parlour)
Adam Steffey, Here to Stay (Mountain Home)
Larry Stephenson Band, Weep Little Willow (Whysper Dream)
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, Seeing is Believing (Severn)

various artists, 40 Years of Stony Plain (Stony Plain)
various artists, Just Love: A Tribute to Audrey Auld Mezera (Reckless/Ringo)
Joe K. Walsh, Borderland (independent)
Dale Watson & His Lonestars, Live at the Big T Roadhouse (Red House)
Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne, Jumpin' & Boppin' (Stony Plain)
Eli West, The Both (independent)
Jeff White, Right Beside You (independent)
Lucinda Williams, The Ghosts of Highway 20 (Thirty Tigers)

Yet another editor's note: You can find many of these recordings reviewed individually by Jerome here.

music selection by
Jerome Clark

7 January 2017

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