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American Back Roads blog lists its Best of 2018

Most of the Best of 2018 picks for the American Back Roads blog are in the Americana vein – some pure fun, some serious, a few obscure.

Goldmine, Best of 2018 list

By Bruce Sylvester

Hmm. Guess it's time to look back on some of the cool releases of the past year, though, to be honest, no such look back could ever include everything worth hearing. Most of these are in the Americana vein – some pure fun, some serious, a few obscure.

Starting off with reissues,

Lefty Frizzell, An Article from Life (Bear Family)

Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Are You One of Jay's Kids: The Complete Bizarre Sessions (1990-1994) (Manifesto)

Various Artists, Battleground Korea (Bear Family)

Various Artists, Confessin' the Blues (BMG) (The Rolling Stones assembled this two-CD compilation of blues songs they've covered over the decades.)

Various artists, 23 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920's, Vol. 16 (Blues Images). Note: Comes with vintage blues wall calendar.

As for CDs of material recorded long ago but never previously released,

Hazel & Alice, Sing Me Back Home: The D.C. Tapes, 1963-1969 (Free Dirt)

Linda Thompson with friends and family, Linda Thompson Presents 'My Mother Doesn't Know I'm on the Stage (Omnivore)

Doc Watson, Live at Club 47 (Yep Roc)

Doc Watson and David Grisman, Doc & Dawg: Live at Acoustic Stage (Acoustic Disc)

Next come 2018 discs by people who've been on the scene for a while:

Al Basile, Me & the Originator (Sweet Spot)

Chuck Brodsky, Them and Us(self-release)

Malcolm Holcombe, Come Hell or High Water (Proper)

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Live from the Ryman (Southeastern/Thirty Tigers)

Yvette Landry & the Jukes, Louisiana Lovin' (Soko)

Charles Lloyd & the Marvels and Lucinda Williams, Vanished Gardens (Blue Note)

Kathy Mattea, Pretty Bird (Captain Potato/Thirty Tigers)

Willie Nelson, Last Man Standing (Columbia)

Peter Rowan, Carter Stanley's Eyes (Rebel)

Paul Thorn, Don't Let the Devil Ride (Perpetual Obscurity/Thirty Tigers)

Tony Joe White, Bad Mouthin' (Yep Roc) (RIP, Tony Joe.)

J.D. Wilkes, Fire Dream (Big Legal Mess)

Then there were discs by (mostly) younger people, some of whom aren't all well known (though a few have careers taking off like wildfire):

Anna & Elizabeth, The Invisible Comes to Us (Smithsonian Folkways)

Jesse Dayton, The Outsider( Blue Elan)

Chad Elliott & the Redemptions, Rest Heavy (self-release)

Joe Goldmark, Blue Steel(Lo-Ball)

Conor Hennessy, I'd Rather Make My Living in a Song (self-release)

Mick Kolassa, Double Standards(Swing Suit)

Mick Kolassa & the Taylor Made Blues Band, 149 Delta(Endless Blues)

Evie Ladin, Riding the Rooster (self-release)

Vincent Poag, Heroes and Demons (Danal)

Jennifer Porter,These Years(self-release)

Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band, Poor until Payday (Family Owned/Thirty Tigers)

Roy Schneider & Kim Mayfield, Reckless Saints (Shiny Gnu)

Gus Spenos, It's Lovin' I Guarantee (self-release)

Reed Turchi & His Kudzu Choir, Just a Little More Faith (self-release)

Colter Wall, Songs of the Plains(Young Mary/Thirty Tigers)

Jim Wurster, Life (Y&T Music)

As for my fave show of 2018:
The Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th anniversary tour (led by The Byrds' Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman backed by Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives) was phenomenal. Lucinda Williams, touring in honor of her breakthrough disc Car Wheels on a Gravel Road's 20th anniversary, was also wonderful.