Lots Of Options Offered By 2015’s Top New Country, Folk, Bluegrass, And Americana Albums

Country music and its related genres (I.E. americana, bluegrass, and folk) are big business in the music world. Just look at all of the karaoke competitions on television today and the number of country singers that go on those shows, trying to make a name for themselves. Look at the reach that it has on radio in general. Artists such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have bridged the gap between pop and country alongside the likes of Rascal Flatts, Eric Church, and so many others. In the same breath, true-blooded country music remains just as much of a driving force today within the realm of country music as its more cross-genre counterparts that have become so popular over the last ten years or more. The dichotomy of the two worls is really intriguing to examine as well as the fan base of both sides of the country music world. Keeping that in mind, country and its offshoots can be said to have just as much importance to the music industry today as any other genre. So having covered the realm of children’s music, independent music, and world music, it seems only fair to offer up a listing of the year’s top new records in the worlds of country, folk, bluegrass, and Americana within their own collective year-ender. This was one of the more difficult lists to assemble because of the sheer variety of sounds and titles available to listeners this year. North Carolina-based Delta Rae makes the list once again with its new album After It All. Americana artists Buzz Cason is on this list, too with his new album Record Machine as are Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard with their new record Django and Jimmie. Of course Geoge Strait, “The King of Country,” couldn’t be ignored in this list. His new album Cold Beer Conversation is on the Phil’s Picks list of 2015’s top new Country, folks, bluegrass, and Americana records, too. They’re just a handful of the acts to make the list this year. There are plenty of others veteran and otherwise alike on this year’s list. Without any further ado, I offer to you, dear readers, the best new country, folk, bluegrass, and americana albums of 2015. As always the top 10 albums are…well…the top 10. the bottom five each get honorable mention. That is not a stab against them by any means. It was just that tough to compile the list and do it fairly because there were so many great new records in this realm just as with the other lists. Enough rambling. Here are the Best New Country, Folk, Bluegrass, and Americana albums of 2015 from Phil’s Picks.


1. Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard — Django and Jimmie

2. George Strait — Cold Beer Conversation

3. Blackberry Smoke — Holding All The Roses

4. Delta Rae — After It All

5. Sugarcane Jane — Dirt Road’s End

6. Alan Jackson — Angels and Alcohol

7. Alabama — Southern Drawl

8. Tim McGraw — Damn Country Music

9. Buzz Cason — Record Machine

10. Darius Rucker — Southern Style

11. Gloriana — Three

12. Luke Bryan — Kill The Lights

13. Chris Stapleton — Traveller

14. Dwight Yokam — Second Hand Heart

15. Zac Brown Band — Jekyll and Hyde

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Darian Renee’s New LP Could Be Just The Beginning

Courtesy:  Persistant Heart Media

Courtesy: Persistant Heart Media

Pop singer Darian Renee’s new EP, Only The Beginning is a rather aptly titled release.  The four-track release isn’t her first release.  And if enough young listeners hear her music, it likely will in fact be just the beginning for this young Boise, Idaho native.  Her vocals and her writing are an interesting mix of Taylor Swift and Alicia Keys.  This is exhibited right from the opening number, ‘It’s Not Me (It’s You).’  This song of a broken relationship will resonate with any teen and twenty-something female listener with its soft acoustic guitar and stronger lyrics.  The contradiction of the acoustic guitar to the more self-assured chorus of “It’s not my fault/If you’re wondering why/It’s just my heart/breaking in two/It’s not me/It’s you”

Whereas Renee comes across as relatively self-assured on the EP’s opener, the disc’s second song, ‘Darling’ seems to come from a more intimate and vulnerable place.  The gentle chromatic strains of the piano set against her equally soft vocals will deeply impact her intended listeners.  She sings, “Darling go back to bed/I’ll forget everything you said/it could be easy if you let it/Darling go back to bed/Darling go back to bed/I’ll forget everything you said/If you would get out of my head.”  This is a sentiment more than likely plenty of young women have felt at one point or another.  This ability of listeners to relate to this song is certain to make it one that will most certainly be a favorite among her intended audiences.

The EP’s remaining pair of songs, with its continued gentle acoustic sound, will entertain her listeners just as much.  It would be no surprise that with the proper support from radio programmers, she could very well be another of the next big things.  Should this come to pass, hopefully she will have something more upbeat so that she can prove this EP is in fact “only the beginning.”  Listeners can download the EP now via Bandcamp at http://darianrenee.bandcamp.com/.  Fans of Darian Renee’s music can get all the latest news on her official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/darianreneemusic

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.