Join 3,368 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


What are the masterpieces of the alt country genre?
March 11, 2009 12:50 PM   Subscribe

I was a fan of alt country back in the day, but never a fanatic, and I am wondering if I might have missed any of the major alt country albums. What would you say they were?

I just heard that Ryan Adams married Mandy Moore, and that got me thinking about my brief time as an alt country fan. I think I listened to all of the major albums in the genre, but I was never a hardcore fan and it didn't stick with me for long, so I may not have.

I am looking for a list of the greatest hits of alt country, but in terms of albums rather than individual songs. I am thinking of bands that were operating during the 90's mostly, so not someone like Gram Parsons. By way of example, if I were answering my own question I might suggest "Stranger's Almanac" or "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road".

In case it helps, here are a few things I am not looking for: actual country music, obscure bands that were totally great but not many people ever heard of and suggestions that I try pandora or last fm. What I am looking for is a list of the albums (not just artists please) that come to mind when you hear the term "alt country" no matter how nebulous and inexact a term that may be, because I would like to listen to any of them that I did not get around to back when I was a fan. Thank you in advance.
posted by ND¢ to Media & Arts (73 answers total) 117 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you've been out of touch with genre for a few years, you may have missed some great albums by Neko Case. I recommend Blacklisted, which is a fairly traditional alt-country/roots rock sound, and Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, which introduces some odd arrangements and unconventional song forms.
posted by Benjy at 12:57 PM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Neko Case, both Blacklisted and Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Oh yes. Yes yes yes. I'm still warming up to her Middle Cyclone.

Also, hit up pretty much all of Trailer Bride, but particularly Whine de Lune and Hope is a Thing with Feathers. I think they're over, but Melissa Swingle, former frontwoman for Trailer Bride, now sings for The Moaners, for which you may want Dark Snack.
posted by adipocere at 12:58 PM on March 11, 2009


Dirt Farmer -Levon Helm
Anything by James McMurtry Live in Aught-Three covers the better stuff from his earlier records.
Josh Ritter skims this genre in his older works, and credits in the lyrics for influencing the music he makes.
posted by Science! at 12:59 PM on March 11, 2009


Something like this, maybe?

Kris Delmhorst (maybe more folk than alt country, in some opinions) put out an amazing album in 2007, Strange Conversation.
posted by wg at 1:01 PM on March 11, 2009


Not sure if this is apropos, but I first heard it on an alt country radio show, Blood on the Saddle.
posted by Danf at 1:07 PM on March 11, 2009


I, too, have been warming up to Middle Cyclone, and am definitely falling in love with it. Some more good suggestions here. See also: Clem Snide (try Your Favorite Music), Uncle Tupelo, and Breathe Owl Breathe. Also, to a lesser extent, Okkervil River.
posted by sarabeth at 1:07 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another suggestion from me: Wilco's Being There is a move away from alt-country, but it's one of those albums that embraces and rejects a genre's conventions at a same time (boy, that sounds pretentious). In any case, it's interesting to listen to, and if you listen to A.M., Being There, and then skip ahead to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, you really see a progression through and then away from the genre.
posted by Benjy at 1:08 PM on March 11, 2009


Sorry, I meant to link here (the question was more specifically related to folkier music, but plenty of solid alt-country suggestions to be found in this thread).
posted by sarabeth at 1:09 PM on March 11, 2009


Wilco, Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
The Jayhawks, Sound of Lies

three amazing albums.
posted by parkerama at 1:09 PM on March 11, 2009


My faves:

Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
Lambchop - Nixon
Wilco - Being There
Palace Music - Viva Last Blues
Smog - The Doctor Came at Dawn
My Morning Jacket - At Dawn
Robbie Fulks - Country Love Songs
Uncle Tupelo - No Depression
Loretta Lynn & Jack White - Van Lear Rose
posted by Conductor71 at 1:10 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uncle Tupelo's, No Depression and Anodyne.
posted by tip120 at 1:11 PM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Very Best of Robbie Fulks? Bonus protip: it's apparently a favorite of Tina Fey's.
posted by harperpitt at 1:13 PM on March 11, 2009


seconding parkerama, also as a quick primer

For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records
posted by timsteil at 1:13 PM on March 11, 2009


I'd suggest The Okra Years by the Ass Ponys. It's their first 2 albums, Mr. Superlove and Grim.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 1:15 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sweet mother of God, I cannot say enough about the Old 97’s. I am getting married to the acoustic version of Rhett Miller's "Question" in a couple of weeks. Their latest album, "Blame it on Gravity," is pretty much wall-to-wall fantastic.

I guess the thing I like is there's a strong songwriting split with the lead songwriter (Rhett Miller) veering towards pop, but heavy contributions from the more classic-country oriented Murry Hammond keep everything pretty much grounded.

Also seconding Neko Case and Robbie Fulks, but Fulks is only really "alt" country if you listen to the lyrics attentively -- he's easy to dismiss as a straight-up country artist, but once you put a sharp ear on, albums like Georgia Hard really start to amaze you with how bloody smart they are.
posted by Shepherd at 1:19 PM on March 11, 2009


Oh, let's toss 16 Horsepower into the ring with Sackcloth 'n' Ashes. It's got a morbid, insular Christian vibe to it that makes me think of the Femme's "Country Death Song" with a touch of Nick Cave.
posted by adipocere at 1:20 PM on March 11, 2009


Blue Mountain's "Dog Days" and "Roots" are both great forgotten gems from a band that more people should hear.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:22 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bobby Bare Jr. -- the album "From The End of Your Leash" is particularly great.
posted by pazazygeek at 1:24 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd recommend Okkervil River's earlier albums, Don't Fall In Love with Everyone You See and Down the River of Golden Dreams. They've been moving away from that alt-country feel since then.

I'd also recommend Jenny Lewis' first solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat. Actually, her band Rilo Kiley's three albums Take-Offs and Landings, The Execution of All Things, and More Adventurous could all sort of be classified as alt-country, or at least tinged with the genre.
posted by scarykarrey at 1:24 PM on March 11, 2009


Seconding, thirding, nthing Old 97's. And if you're just getting into Neko Case, get Furnace Room Lullaby - in my opinion that's by far her best album.
posted by pdb at 1:25 PM on March 11, 2009


I don't know if it absolutely qualifies, but the Alison Krauss/Robert Plant collaboration is pretty good.
posted by jerseygirl at 1:26 PM on March 11, 2009


There we go - a bit of Googling turns up a blog with a link to "No Baby I" from the aforementioned Old 97's album.
posted by Shepherd at 1:27 PM on March 11, 2009


Oh god yes, on Old 97s, too. Too Far to Care is righteous.
posted by scarykarrey at 1:27 PM on March 11, 2009


Anything by Scott H. Biram.
Especially if you like it dirty.

Have to agree with Neko Case, but a special doube-strength goddamn to the suggestion of Blue Mountain. Generally overlooked.
posted by Seamus at 1:28 PM on March 11, 2009


Whiskeytown's Pneumonia comes to mind.
posted by PFL at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fulks is only really "alt" country if you listen to the lyrics attentively -- he's easy to dismiss as a straight-up country artist

actual country music

These distinctions are so bizarre. If you *like* country music, why would you ever want to "dismiss" someone as a country artist? I mean, I get it- a little bit of classism, a sprinkle of aversion to dumb Nashville country, and 20 years of listening to smarmy hipsters say "I like everything but country" and then wait to be rewarded by their peers for there willful musical ignorance, and you come out with attitudes like this.

But I digress. Go listen to Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins' Rabbitfur Coat. Outstanding. A million Ryan Adamses at a million typewriters would never come up with lyrics half that good.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:35 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Too Far To Care by the Old 97s.
posted by meglo91 at 1:36 PM on March 11, 2009


The Watson Twins stuff by themselves is good too.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:37 PM on March 11, 2009


I asked a similar question some time ago and got a lot of good suggestions.

And Palace Bros/Music/Songs/Will Fuckin' Oldham is to country music what a Twinkie is to your gramma's homemade pound cake. IMO.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:37 PM on March 11, 2009


Also, this is stretching it a bit, but Bright Eyes' "Lifted..." and "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" range from country-tinged to country/folk to country.

"Make War" off of "Lifted..." is the best country song of the last 20 years, period.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:39 PM on March 11, 2009


Good suggestions thus far... I would also suggest Son Volt's "Trace" as well as some others in their catalog. Good stuff.
posted by bucko at 1:42 PM on March 11, 2009


Seems like most answers are defining alt country as contemporary country-sounding music that isn't "new country". (For instance, I would never have classified Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as alt country, new country, or country. It's a pop or rock record. Same with My Morning Jacket. I love both of these bands but they ain't country. And Smog (my favorite artists) has never recorded a country album. A River Ain't Too Much Love is countryish, but The Doctor Came at Dawn is nowhere near country.)

Anyway, my favorite country album of the last 20 years that isn't New Country is, hands down, Why Do Lonely Men and Women Want to Break Each Other's Hearts by The Star Room Boys. You'll not confuse it with pop or rock--it is unmistakably and unapologetically a country album. I have no qualms calling it a masterpiece. Dave Marr's voice is heartbreaking, his songwriting is superb, and Johnny Neff's steel playing is incredible.

Also, fans of Old '97s might want to know that bass player Murry Hammond released a solo album last fall.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:46 PM on March 11, 2009


Sun Volt (trace), Wilco (AM), Uncle Tupelo(all), Whiskeytown, Richard Buckner(D+D), Steve Earle (El Corazon), Calexico (Black Light)...might want to check out the website of the late great No Depression magazine.

More later when I'm by my collection.
posted by notsnot at 1:56 PM on March 11, 2009


When pressed, I think the Old 97's have classified themselves as country-rock, not that it really matters, since they've shown a lot of range both within their albums and across them.

On the twangier end of the scale though: Hitchhike to Rhome, Wreck Your Life. Too Far to Care is great too.
posted by Good Brain at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2009


Folkier music:

Hem, Rabbit Songs
- especially "Half Acre" !!!

The Be Good Tanyas, Blue Horse
- especially "Rain And Snow" and "Only In The Past"
posted by 2oh1 at 2:15 PM on March 11, 2009


This may have been a question better suited to Google than AskMetafilter. This list (minus the albums outside of the 90's) appears to be more what I am looking for, although many of the albums on it are also mentioned in the answers here. The first fifty 90's/early 00's-era albums on that list are as follows, for those who are looking for the same kind of thing I am looking for:

Wilco
Being There (1996)

Steve Earle
El Corazón (1997)

Ryan Adams
Heartbreaker (2000)

Lucinda Williams
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)

Son Volt
Trace (1995)

Uncle Tupelo
Anodyne (1993)

Whiskeytown
Stranger's Almanac (1997)

The Jayhawks
Hollywood Town Hall (1992)

Ryan Adams
Gold (2001)

Steve Earle
I Feel Alright (1996)

Slobberbone
Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today (2000)

Old 97's
Too Far to Care (1997)

Scott Miller
Thus Always to Tyrants (2001)

Uncle Tupelo
March 16-20, 1992 (1992)

Whiskeytown
Faithless Street (1996)

Gillian Welch
Revival (1996)

Lucinda Williams
Sweet Old World (1992)

Patty Griffin
1000 Kisses (2002)

The Jayhawks
Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995)

Rodney Crowell
The Houston Kid (2001)

Dan Bern
Dan Bern (1997)

Shelby Lynne
I Am Shelby Lynne (2000)

Jay Farrar
Sebastopol (2001)

Golden Smog
Down by the Old Mainstream (1996)

Steve Earle
Transcendental Blues (2000)

Blue Mountain
Dog Days (1995)

Mark Olson & the Creekdippers
My Own Jo Ellen (2000)

John Prine
The Missing Years (1991)

Gillian Welch
Time (The Revelator) (2001)

Whiskeytown
Pneumonia (2001)

Robbie Fulks
South Mouth (1997)

Paul Kelly
...Nothing but a Dream (2001)

Allison Moorer
The Hardest Part (2000)

Blue Rodeo
Five Days In July (1993)

Neko Case
Blacklisted (2002)

Calexico
Feast of Wire (2003)

Slobberbone
Barrel Chested (1997)

Alejandro Escovedo
Gravity (1992)

Wilco
A.M. (1995)
posted by ND¢ at 2:18 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


The rest of that list:

Kings of Leon
Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004)

Rhett Miller
The Instigator (2002)

Fred Eaglesmith
Drive-In Movie (1996)

Kevin Welch
Life Down Here on Earth (1995)

Vigilantes of Love
Audible Sigh (2000)

Robert Earl Keen
No Kinda Dancer (1995)

Drive-By Truckers
Decoration Day (2003)

Steve Earle
Train a Comin' (1995)

Marah
Kids in Philly (2000)

My Morning Jacket
It Still Moves (2003)

Freakwater
Old Paint (1995)

Kathleen Edwards
Failer (2003)

Kings of Leon
Youth & Young Manhood (2003)

Butch Hancock
Own and Own (1989)

Emmylou Harris
Wrecking Ball (1995)

Scud Mountain Boys
Massachusetts (1996)

Richmond Fontaine
Post to Wire (2003)

The Bottle Rockets
The Brooklyn Side (1994)

The Be Good Tanyas
Blue Horse (2000)

The Sadies
Pure Diamond Gold (1999)

Mike Plume
Fools For The Radio (2001)

Clem Snide
The Ghost of Fashion (2001)

Blue Rodeo
Casino (1990)

Caitlin Cary
While You Weren't Looking (2002)

The Backsliders
Throwin' Rocks At The Moon (1997)

Guy Clark
Cold Dog Soup (1999)

Dwight Yoakam
Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room (1988)

Cowboy Junkies
The Trinity Session (1988)

Billy Bragg & Wilco
Mermaid Avenue (1998)

Todd Snider
Songs for the Daily Planet (1994)

Josh Rouse
1972 (2003)

8Chris Mills
The Silver Line (2002)

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Kings of Love (1999)

John Doe
Meet John Doe (1990)

Tift Merritt
Bramble Rose (2002)

Buddy & Julie Miller
Buddy & Julie Miller (2001)

The Guthries
Off Windmill (2000)

Greg Trooper
Straight Down Rain (2001)

Jason & the Scorchers
Both Sides of the Line (1996) [Compilation]

Peter Case
Torn Again (1995)

The Gourds
Shinebox (2001)

The Handsome Family
Through the Trees (1998)

Waco Brothers
Electric Waco Chair (2000)

Richmond Fontaine
Winnemucca (2002)

The Cash Brothers
How Was Tomorrow (2001)

Josh Ritter
Golden Age of Radio (2002)

Nanci Griffith
Other Voices, Other Rooms (1993)

James McMurtry
Too Long in the Wasteland (1989)

Slaid Cleaves
Broke Down (2000)

Oh Susanna
Sleepy Little Sailor (2001)

The Walkabouts
Setting the Woods on Fire (1994)

Buddy Miller
Midnight and Lonesome (2002)

Kasey Chambers
Barricades & Brickwalls (2002)

Bellwether
Home Late (2001)
posted by ND¢ at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


16 Horsepower - Low Estate (although virtually any one of their albums except Folklore would do)
Gillian Welch - Time The Revelator (although any of her first three would do)
X - See How We Are, Los Angeles, or Live at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go
Willard Grant Conspiracy - Mojave
posted by K.P. at 2:26 PM on March 11, 2009


Similar to what TimSteil recommended, and probably by the same company:

For a Life of Sin - Insurgent Chicago Country - (when you're thinking country, you're thinking Chicago)

and I will add Handsome Family - if you like it quirky
posted by yclipse at 2:32 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Meat Purveyors- All Relationships Are Doomed to Fail and More Songs About Buildings and Cows
posted by kimdog at 2:39 PM on March 11, 2009


I would second the Jayhawks. Hollywood Town Hall, Blue Earth, Tomorrow the Green Grass, all excellent albums. Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Whiskeytown, Sun Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Neko Case are all favorites of mine. They may be way too twangy for this category, but I have to put in BR5-49. I love those guys and they are contemporary to the bands already mentioned, I doubt they would get much play alongside the pop that dominates country these days.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:00 PM on March 11, 2009


Laura Cantrell's Not the Trembling Kind
Willie Nelson's Teatro
posted by minkll at 3:19 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bottle Rockets' self-titled debut and their Zoysia, which came a little later but us still worth a listen.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:20 PM on March 11, 2009


Not strictly alt country, more old-time, but try out Old Crow Medicine show, specifically their OCMS and Tenessee Pusher albums. Big Iron World leans more folky.
posted by rodgerd at 3:22 PM on March 11, 2009


I love so many records from this list. One of my faves that hasn't been mentioned is Not the Tremblin' Kind by Laura Cantrell.
posted by bcwinters at 3:41 PM on March 11, 2009


Great list. Another classic from the 90s and one of my favorite albums of all time, is Pete Drodge and the Sinners- Find a Door. It's ridiculously good.

I'll add two less commonly known but much-loved albums by The Mother Hips : Green Hills of Earth and Later Days . The Hips got back together and put out a new album last year, Kiss The Crystal Flake which is even better, imho.

Also check out Bap Kennedys Domestic Blues.
posted by fshgrl at 5:32 PM on March 11, 2009


I just realized that Cracker is nowhere on this list. Low counts as a classic alt-country album I think.
posted by fshgrl at 5:35 PM on March 11, 2009


It's on the list above, but just wanted to single out Old Paint by Freakwater. Also, Feels Like the Third Time (1995, I think), which contains this, one of my favorite songs in the world.
posted by neroli at 5:53 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe it doesn't fit ture Alt Country but the album Magnolia Electric Co by Songs: Ohia is pretty damn amazing in my mind.

They then changed the name of the band to Magnolia Electric Company. Haven't heard much else of their music but can certainly vouch for that album.
posted by WickedPissah at 6:24 PM on March 11, 2009


Try Melvern Taylor and the Meltones...you can listen to a bunch of his stuff on that website.
posted by bink at 6:40 PM on March 11, 2009


Also, check out:

Kristen Hersh's Murder, Mayhem and Then Goodnight.

Great band out of Brooklyn who's current right now - Numbers and Letters. Very spooky, aching, alt-country music.

The Old 97's Murry Hammond has a fantastic solo album called I Don't Where I'm Going, But I'm On My Way.

Old Crow Medicine Show's first and second album are fantastic.

You might like if you want to go back a bit a band from the 70's called Mason Profitt.

Also, from the same era, check out Sweetheart of the Rodeo by The Byrds. Straight up alt-country. Again, though, you've done the Gram Parsons thing already by the sound of it. See also the Flying Burrito Brothers.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:46 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can I confirm for you that the Patty Griffin stuff is bad ass? Cause it is.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:11 PM on March 11, 2009


The Cowboy Junkies' The Trinity Session is a must hear if you don't know it. One of the best albums ever recorded, by my ears.

I know they may not be considered alt-country by all fans of the genre, but they were in the list above.

posted by snuffleupagus at 7:29 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cracker's Low as alt-country, eh? that's interesting. With the exception of the hidden (and beloved) "Eurotrash Girl" track, I hadn't thought of it that way. Interesting.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:30 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eurotrash Girl [yt]
Come to think of it, Kerosene Hat itself (which was also the name of the album, not Low) has an alt-country sound. Is most of the material on the unavailable Tuscon EP like this?
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:34 PM on March 11, 2009


My personal alt-country must-haves albums (which are somewhat idiosyncratic, because I hate that bar-rock some like to call alt-country, and I love old-time music) are:

Freakwater - Feels Like The Third Time, End Times - imho Catherine Irwin is one of the finest living songwriters we have
The Knitters - Poor Little Critter in the Road (you may also have heard of their alter-ego, X)
Souled American - Notes Campfire (WHY DOES NO ONE KNOW OF THIS BAND???)
Neko Case - The Virginian, Furnace Room Lullabye
Gillian Welch - Hell Among the Yearlings
Lucinda Williams - Ramblin', Essence
Dwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, etc (don't laugh - he was alt-country when alt-country wasn't cool)
Kelly Hogan - Because It Feel Good
Cowboy Junkies - Trinity Sessions (Snuffleupagus is right)
The Dickel Brothers - Volume 1 or 2 or both - you can probably start with just one
Rex Hobart and His Misery Boys - Empty House
Jesse Dayton - Tall Texas Tales
Old Crow Medicine Show - OCMS (an album I avoided for years because they looked like such dicks on the cover)
The Meat Purveyors - Pain By Numbers - great country songwriting
Rube Waddell - Stink Bait
Steve Earle - Guitar Town - not to dis every other thing he's ever done, but he was the real alt-country OG

Of course if you don't want the particular album I suggest I'd say you're safe with anything from any of these fine artists (with the caveat that Neko Case has dramatically changed her style since her country days).

You would also not regret listening to some Hank Sr, Wanda Jackson (and surely lots of other rockabilly I don't know about), Merle Haggard (esp early stuff), Buck Owens and if you want really go back, The Maddox Brothers and Rose. Although I suppose that's pretty much straight-up country. But awesome. So awesome.
posted by smartyboots at 11:31 PM on March 11, 2009


the scud mountain boys - "pine box" and "dance the night away" which are available as a double cd called "the early year".
posted by beige at 3:14 AM on March 12, 2009


Well, they're more RAWK nowadays, but the first couple Drive-by Truckers albums (gangstabilly, alabama ass wuppin') are certainly classics in the genre.
posted by notsnot at 5:50 AM on March 12, 2009


This is an already massive list, but I feel duty-bound to add Josh Rouse's Dressed Up Like Nebraska far and away over 1972, and Willard Grant Conspiracy's Flying Low over Mojave (but just barely).
posted by mykescipark at 7:25 AM on March 12, 2009


Room for one more from the early 2000s? Sweetwater by Tres Chicas, one of whom is Caitlin Cary, the fiddle player from Whiskeytown. Mostly covers, including Lucinda Williams and Loretta Lynn.
posted by clavicle at 8:09 AM on March 12, 2009


I was sure it would have been mentioned but Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter's Reckless Burning is amazing.
posted by nuala at 3:19 PM on March 12, 2009


You should listen to some Howdylicious radio (playlists), streaming live worldwide Sundays 8-10 p.m. pacific time.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:00 AM on March 13, 2009


two words: Alejandro Escovedo
posted by segatakai at 7:45 AM on March 14, 2009


Lynn Miles, "Slightly Haunted." Can't go too long w/o listening to it.

Also her newest, "Love Sweet Love."

I could be veering too far into folk with her, though. You make the call.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 9:09 AM on March 14, 2009


I'd say the album that defines where country ends and alt-country begins is Lyle Lovett's The Road to Ensenada, and it's a damn good listen.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:31 AM on March 16, 2009


Cary Hudson, formerly of Blue Mountain has a great solo album entitled Phoenix.

Many many of the albums I would have listed are here already.

Henry
posted by silsurf at 5:21 PM on March 16, 2009


Son Volt

Okemah and The Melody of Riot

MOG
posted by silsurf at 7:23 AM on March 17, 2009


I am hoping to compile this list, possibly even make it into a spreedsheet to keep track of new music in this category I would like to listen to. Any help appreciaetd, all I have done is make a list so far, there are dupes, etc.

Neko Case. Blacklisted, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Middle Cyclone.
Trailer Bride, Whine de Lune and Hope is a Thing with Feathers.
Melissa Swingle, now sings for The Moaners, for which you may want Dark Snack.
Kris Delmhorst, Strange Conversation.
Clem Snide (try Your Favorite Music),
Breathe Owl Breathe.
Okkervil River.
Wilco's Being There
Wilco, Summerteeth
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
The Jayhawks, Sound of Lies
Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
Lambchop - Nixon
Wilco - Being There
Palace Music - Viva Last Blues
Smog - The Doctor Came at Dawn
My Morning Jacket - At Dawn
Robbie Fulks - Country Love Songs
Uncle Tupelo - No Depression
Loretta Lynn & Jack White - Van Lear Rose
Uncle Tupelo's, No Depression and Anodyne.
The Very Best of Robbie Fulks
For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records
The Okra Years by the Ass Ponys. Mr. Superlove and Grim.
Old 97’s. Rhett Miller's "Question" "Blame it on Gravity,"
16 Horsepower into the ring with Sackcloth 'n' Ashes.
Blue Mountain's "Dog Days" and "Roots"
Bobby Bare Jr. -- the album "From The End of Your Leash"
Okkervil River's earlier albums, Don't Fall In Love with Everyone You See and Down the River of Golden Dreams.
Jenny Lewis' first solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat. Actually,
Rilo Kiley's three albums Take-Offs and Landings, The Execution of All Things, and More Adventurous could all sort of be classified Neko Case, Furnace Room Lullaby
Old 97s, too. Too Far to Care is righteous.
Anything by Scott H. Biram. Especially if you like it dirty.
Whiskeytown's Pneumonia
Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins' Rabbitfur Coat.
Too Far To Care by the Old 97s.
The Watson Twins
Palace Bros/Music/Songs/Will Fuckin' Oldham
"Make War" off of "Lifted..." is the best country song of the last 20 years, period.
Son Volt's "Trace"
A River Ain't Too Much Love
Why Do Lonely Men and Women Want to Break Each Other's Hearts by The Star Room Boys.
Murry Hammond released a solo album last fall.
Sun Volt (trace),
Wilco (AM),
Uncle Tupelo(all),
Whiskeytown,
Richard Buckner(D+D),
Steve Earle (El Corazon),
Calexico (Black Light)
Hitchhike to Rhome,
Wreck Your Life.
Too Far to Care
Hem, Rabbit Songs- especially "Half Acre" !!!
The Be Good Tanyas, Blue Horse- especially "Rain And Snow" and "Only In The Past"
Wilco Being There (1996)
Steve Earle El Corazón (1997)
Ryan Adams Heartbreaker (2000)
Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
Son Volt Trace (1995)
Uncle Tupelo Anodyne (1993)
Whiskeytown Stranger's Almanac (1997)
The Jayhawks Hollywood Town Hall (1992)
Ryan Adams Gold (2001)
Steve Earle I Feel Alright (1996)
Slobberbone Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today (2000)
Old 97's Too Far to Care (1997)
Scott Miller Thus Always to Tyrants (2001)
Uncle Tupelo March 16-20, 1992 (1992)
Whiskeytown Faithless Street (1996)
Gillian Welch Revival (1996)
Lucinda Williams Sweet Old World (1992)
Patty Griffin 1000 Kisses (2002)
The Jayhawks Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995)
Rodney Crowell The Houston Kid (2001)
Dan Bern Dan Bern (1997)
Shelby Lynne I Am Shelby Lynne (2000)
Jay Farrar Sebastopol (2001)
Golden Smog Down by the Old Mainstream (1996)
Steve Earle Transcendental Blues (2000)
Blue Mountain Dog Days (1995)
Mark Olson & the Creekdippers My Own Jo Ellen (2000)
John PrineThe Missing Years (1991)
Gillian Welch Time (The Revelator) (2001)
Whiskeytown Pneumonia (2001)
Robbie Fulks South Mouth (1997)
Paul Kelly ...Nothing but a Dream (2001)
Allison Moorer The Hardest Part (2000)
Blue Rodeo Five Days In July (1993)
Neko Case Blacklisted (2002)
Calexico Feast of Wire (2003)
Slobberbone Barrel Chested (1997)
Alejandro Escovedo Gravity (1992)
Wilco A.M. (1995)
Kings of Leon Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004)
Rhett Miller The Instigator (2002)
Fred Eaglesmith Drive-In Movie (1996)
Kevin Welch Life Down Here on Earth (1995)
Vigilantes of Love Audible Sigh (2000)
Robert Earl Keen No Kinda Dancer (1995)
Drive-By Truckers Decoration Day (2003)
Steve Earle Train a Comin' (1995)
Marah Kids in Philly (2000)
My Morning Jacket It Still Moves (2003)
Freakwater Old Paint (1995)
Kathleen Edwards Failer (2003)
Kings of Leon Youth & Young Manhood (2003)
Butch Hancock Own and Own (1989)
Emmylou Harris Wrecking Ball (1995)
Scud Mountain Boys Massachusetts (1996)
Richmond Fontaine Post to Wire (2003)
The Bottle RocketsmThe Brooklyn Side (1994)
The Be Good Tanyas Blue Horse (2000)
The Sadies Pure Diamond Gold (1999)
Mike Plume Fools For The Radio (2001)
Clem Snide The Ghost of Fashion (2001)
Blue Rodeo Casino (1990)
Caitlin Cary While You Weren't Looking (2002)
The Backsliders Throwin' Rocks At The Moon (1997)
Guy Clark Cold Dog Soup (1999)
Dwight Yoakam Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room (1988)
Cowboy Junkies The Trinity Session (1988)
Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue (1998)
Todd Snider Songs for the Daily Planet (1994)
Josh Rouse 1972 (2003)
8Chris Mills The Silver Line (2002)
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings Kings of Love (1999)
John Doe Meet John Doe (1990)
Tift Merritt Bramble Rose (2002)
Buddy & Julie Miller Buddy & Julie Miller (2001)
The Guthries Off Windmill (2000)
Greg Trooper Straight Down Rain (2001)
Jason & the Scorchers Both Sides of the Line (1996) [Compilation]
Peter Case Torn Again (1995)
The Gourds Shinebox (2001)
The Handsome Family Through the Trees (1998)
Waco Brothers Electric Waco Chair (2000)
Richmond Fontaine Winnemucca (2002)
The Cash Brothers How Was Tomorrow (2001)
Josh Ritter Golden Age of Radio (2002)
Nanci Griffith Other Voices, Other Rooms (1993)
James McMurtry Too Long in the Wasteland (1989)
Slaid Cleaves Broke Down (2000)
Oh Susanna Sleepy Little Sailor (2001)
The Walkabouts Setting the Woods on Fire (1994)
Buddy Miller Midnight and Lonesome (2002)
Kasey Chambers Barricades & Brickwalls (2002)
Bellwether Home Late (2001)
16 Horsepower - Low Estate (although virtually any one of their albums except Folklore would do)
Gillian Welch - Time The Revelator (although any of her first three would do)
X - See How We Are, Los Angeles, or Live at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go
Willard Grant Conspiracy - Mojave
For a Life of Sin - Insurgent Chicago Country - (when you're thinking country, you're thinking Chicago)
Handsome Family - if you like it quirky
The Meat Purveyors- All Relationships Are Doomed to Fail and More Songs About Buildings and Cows
BR5-49
Laura Cantrell's Not the Trembling Kind
Willie Nelson's Teatro
Bottle Rockets' self-titled debut and their Zoysia, which came a little later but us still worth a listen.
Old Crow Medicine show, specifically their OCMS and Tenessee Pusher albums.
Big Iron World leans more folky.
Not the Tremblin' Kind by Laura Cantrell.
Pete Drodge and the Sinners- Find a Door. It's ridiculously good.
The Mother Hips : Green Hills of Earth and Later Days, Kiss The Crystal Flake which is even better, imho.
Bap Kennedys Domestic Blues.
Cracker Low
Old Paint by Freakwater.
Feels Like the Third Time (1995, I think),
Magnolia Electric Co by Songs: Ohia is pretty damn amazing in my mind.
Melvern Taylor and the Meltones
Kristen Hersh's Murder, Mayhem and Then Goodnight.
Numbers and Letters. Very spooky, aching, alt-country music.
The Old 97's Murry Hammond has a fantastic solo album called I Don't Where I'm Going, But I'm On My Way.
Old Crow Medicine Show's first and second album are fantastic.
You might like if you want to go back a bit a band from the 70's called Mason Profitt.
Sweetheart of the Rodeo by The Byrds.
Patty Griffin stuff is bad ass? The Cowboy Junkies' The Trinity Session is a must hear if you don't know it. One of the best albums ever recorded, by my ears.
Cracker's Low as alt-country, eh? that's interesting. With the exception of the hidden (and beloved) "Eurotrash Girl" track,
Eurotrash Girl [yt] Come to think of it, Kerosene Hat itself (which was also the name of the album, not Low) has an alt-country sound.
Freakwater - Feels Like The Third Time, End Times - imho Catherine Irwin is one of the finest living songwriters we have
The Knitters - Poor Little Critter in the Road (you may also have heard of their alter-ego, X)
Souled American - Notes Campfire (WHY DOES NO ONE KNOW OF THIS BAND???)
Neko Case - The Virginian, Furnace Room Lullabye
Gillian Welch - Hell Among the Yearlings
Lucinda Williams - Ramblin', Essence
Dwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, etc (don't laugh - he was alt-country when alt-country wasn't cool)
Kelly Hogan - Because It Feel Good
Cowboy Junkies - Trinity Sessions (Snuffleupagus is right)
The Dickel Brothers - Volume 1 or 2 or both - you can probably start with just one
Rex Hobart and His Misery Boys - Empty House
Jesse Dayton - Tall Texas Tales
Old Crow Medicine Show - OCMS (an album I avoided for years because they looked like such dicks on the cover)
The Meat Purveyors - Pain By Numbers - great country songwriting
Rube Waddell - Stink Bait
Steve Earle - Guitar Town - not to dis every other thing he's ever done, but he was the real alt-country OG
the scud mountain boys - "pine box" and "dance the night away" which are available as a double cd called "the early year".
Josh Rouse's Dressed Up Like Nebraska far and away over 1972
Willard Grant Conspiracy's Flying Low over Mojave (but just barely)
Sweetwater by Tres Chicas
Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter's Reckless Burning
Alejandro Escovedo
Lynn Miles, "Slightly Haunted." "Love Sweet Love."
Lyle Lovett's The Road to Ensenada
Cary Hudson - Phoenix
Son Volt - Okemah and The Melody of Riot
posted by silsurf at 7:26 AM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here are some Amazon List's re: Alt Country

List One

More of a history of Alt Country
posted by silsurf at 9:37 AM on March 18, 2009


Also I was thinking about Johnny Cash's legendary last recroding, The American Recordings? I mean they certainly are not country and they certainly are alt?

Some amazing stuff in there between

American Recordings Vol. 1-5

Unearthed

Bootlegs such as the Rick Rubins Living Rooms Sessions.

H
posted by silsurf at 9:40 AM on March 18, 2009


Two more I know nothing about, but were on a list of Ten Best alt.country artists I came across

Nickel Creek

The Waybacks

-Henry
posted by silsurf at 5:17 AM on March 24, 2009


Speaking of Ryan Adams, it's really worth digging around for the bootleg 'Live at the Exit/In'. I think it's the best work he's ever done, but then, that's coming from someone who thinks he's sucked since Gold. Also, did anyone else die inside when they heard he married Mandy Moore?
posted by Bageena at 8:21 AM on March 25, 2009


Jim White's corpus of work, especially Wrong-Eyed Jesus! (Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted) is well worth the iisten. Less twang, more drang, but definitely alt to its respected antecedents.
posted by Haruspex at 5:24 AM on April 5, 2009


« Older I need new business cards! In ...   |  Can anybody recommend a good P... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.