Signup for a folk alley account

Folk Alley's Best of 2017 - Elena See's Top 10 Albums

December 15, 2017

By Elena See,

elena see 1 square crop 250.jpg

Musically, 2017 was a year of discovery and, frankly, awe. It started in February when I attended the Folk Alliance International Conference for the first time in ... oh, nearly a decade or so. Being surrounded by people so enthusiastic and excited about music was infectious. It reminded me that, in spite of everything else that's wrong with the world today, there's a whole lot of good music being made. It was a much-needed reminder this year, too. Below, in no particular order, music that surprised me, inspired me, engaged me, and delighted me. I hope it does all those things for you, too.

mavericks.jpgThe Mavericks: Brand New Day (Mono Mundo Recordings)

The weeks leading up to the 2016 United States presidential election were...challenging. And suddenly, small differences of opinion seemed insurmountable. Raul Malo's voice is, as always, an incredible comfort. Plus, reminders to never stop fighting for what is right and to keep our ears, hearts, and minds open are always welcome.

nikki lane.jpgNikki Lane: Highway Queen (New West Records)

Two words: Kick. Ass. Approaching life with an eyes-wide-open, take no prisoners attitude, outlaw country rocker Nikki Lane is a musician who's so spunky and so tough that there's nothing in the world that scares her. And that kind of attitude is exactly what I needed in 2017.

mastersons.jpgThe Mastersons: Transient Lullaby (Red House Records)

A gorgeous amalgamation of voices, instruments, harmonies, and lyrics - that's what Transient Lullaby is all about. Created by a couple of the best "side players" in the business, this album showcases the soloist talents of Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore.

david ramirez.jpgDavid Ramirez: We're Not Going Anyway (Sweetworld)

David Ramirez was one of my new discoveries this year - shameful, really, since he's been making good music for a while now. The Austin-based songwriter's lens is one that will enable you to see things from a different perspective than your own - something we all need to do now.

flatt lonesome.jpgFlatt Lonesome: Silence in These Walls (Home Music Company)

Fronted by siblings Kelsi Robertson Harrigill, Charlie Robertson, and Buddy Robertson, Flatt Lonesome is an extraordinary example of a talented young bluegrass band. Not afraid to incorporate all sorts of diverse musical interests and influences, Silence in These Walls is a clear indicator that the future of music is in great hands.

jason isbell 400 unite.jpgJason Isbell and the 400 Unit: The Nashville Sound (Southeastern Records)

Really, what is there to say about this record? I almost didn't include it on my list. Not because it's NOT a favorite or a best of the year, but because I know everyone else is going to include it, too. Whether it's the super obvious tracks ("White Man's World") or the more subtle ones ("Hope the High Road"), these musicians have a finger on the pulse of what's happening in the world.

chastity brown.jpgChastity Brown: Silhouette of Sirens (Red House Records)

There's lots to say about Chastity Brown's Silhouette of Sirens. But for me, it comes down to her voice. Her voice! What a gorgeous sound she fact, her voice is a sound I can listen to without knowing (or caring) what she's saying. Of course - she's saying lots of great things. But that voice! Sigh.

Lenore.jpgLenore.: Lenore. (Lenore.)

I love the backstory of this band - a couple of down on their luck musicians meet each other...and voila. Musical magic. Lenore. is a Portland, Oregon band and is one of many great bands/musicians coming out of that west coast scene. What makes these two musical friends stand out, though, is their very, very unusual - and very, very captivating - vocal harmonies. Their voices together - something truly magical.

bill scorzari.jpgBill Scorzari: Through These Waves (Bill Scorzari)

Bill Scorzari, a New York-based musician, is someone who (I'm ashamed to say) I was not familiar with before this album. Rough and gritty, grumbly and tough...his voice runs the gamut of emotions. And this album runs through a whole gamut of emotions, too. It was perhaps the most surprising album of 2017 for me.

twisted pine.jpgTwisted Pine: Twisted Pine (Signature Sounds Recordings)

Fun - that's the word that comes to my mind when I think of this young Boston-based band. Whether they're on stage or in the studio (check out Folk Alley's exclusive session, if you haven't already), a great sense of fun - something we all needed in 2017 - pervades their music. A delight.

Posted by Linda Fahey at December 15, 2017 12:10 AM

Support Folk Alley During Our Spring Fund Drive!


Recent Topics



April 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30               

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009

December 2008

November 2008

October 2008

September 2008

August 2008

July 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008

March 2008

February 2008

January 2008

December 2007

November 2007

October 2007

September 2007

August 2007

July 2007

June 2007

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

February 2007

January 2007

December 2006

November 2006

October 2006

September 2006

August 2006

July 2006

June 2006

May 2006

April 2006

March 2006

February 2006

January 2006

December 2005

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005

May 2005

April 2005

March 2005

February 2005

January 2005

December 2004

November 2004

October 2004

September 2004

August 2004

July 2004

June 2004

May 2004

April 2004

March 2004

February 2004

January 2004

December 2003

November 2003

October 2003

September 2003

August 2003