Nelson Discusses His 2016 Favorite Americana Releases


My top 10 songs are:

  1. “Hands of Time” – Margo Price
  2. “Heaven Sent” – Parker Millsap
  3. “What it Means” – Drive-By Truckers
  4. “Wrong Side of the Dream” – Austin Lucas w/Lydia Loveless
  5. “Old Men, Young Women” – Lori McKenna
  6. “How Quickly Your Heart Mends” – Courtney Marie Andrews
  7. “Same to You” – Lydia Loveless
  8. “Call to Arms” – Sturgill Simpson
  9. “Dreaming in the Day” – Aubrie Sellers
  10. “If Only” – Michaela Anne

Here’s a list of my 10 favorite Americana releases of 2016:

10.) Sidelong – Sarah Shook & The Disarmers

This is officially a 2015 release, but it was not sent out to radio until January. Sarah’s brash brand of full

throttle honky-tonk made sure she was a staple of WDVX playlists for much of the year.

Top Track: “Misery Without Company”

9.) Real – Lydia Loveless

Want the fire of Sarah Shook, but with a little less twang? Try Lydia Loveless on for size. Lydia has always

been a bit of a chameleon, but you get the sense that the energy and emotions on display here are, like

the title of the record, Real.

Top Track: “Longer”

8.) On the Ropes – The Honeycutters

Asheville’s Amanda Anne Platt is an amazing songwriter, penning heartbreaking country tunes better

than most coming out of Nashville. The band’s take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is at once

completely original and familiar.

Top Track: “On the Ropes”

7.) Mosey – Daniel Romano

Romano has morphed from the Gram Parsons style crooning of his New West Records label debut in

2013 into the artist who released one of the most gloriously weird albums of 2016. Strings? Check.

Horns? Check. Guest vocals from Rachel McAdams? Check.

Top Track: “Mr. E. Me”

6.) Are You Serious – Andrew Bird

Bird continues to be the best whistling chamber-pop violinist working today. His sense of melody and

intricate arrangements never cease to grab me.

Top Track: “Capsized”

5.) case/lang/veirs – case/lang/veirs

I’ve seen many critics compare this collaboration to a modern day version of The Trio (Dolly Parton,

Emmylou Harris, & Linda Ronstadt). It’s hard to argue when you hear Neko Case, k.d. lang, & Laura Veirs

meld their voices together.

Top Track: “Atomic Number”

4.) A Sailor’s Guide to Earth – Sturgill Simpson

Simpson proved he doesn’t need the guiding hand of Dave Cobb to make a great album on this country-

rooted-yet- genre-blending love letter to his newborn son. Rock, soul, psychedelia, and R&B all enter into

Simpson’s intricate equation here.

Top Track: “Keep it Between the Lines”

3.) American Band – The Drive-By Truckers

The most politically charged offering in this band’s vast catalog is also the most vital album they’ve

produced since the Isbell days. Mass shootings, police violence, immigration, and what it means to be

Southern in today’s America all come under Mike Cooley & Patterson Hood’s microscope.

Top Track: “What it Means”

2.) The Bird The Rifle – Lori McKenna

This is my pick for the best written album of 2016. McKenna’s tales of domestic discord are heart

breaking in their honesty and devastatingly precise in their perceptiveness. It’s no secret why McKenna

has won the last two Song of the Year trophies at Nashville’s CMA Awards.

Top Track: “Old Men Young Women”

1.) Midwest Farmer’s Daughter – Margo Price

Price is so amazing, I flew to London just to watch her perform. Well. That’s not exactly true, but I did

catch a show in the UK this summer. Her honesty in revealing details about her life make this not only

the best album of 2016, but one of the most stunning debuts in recent memory as well.

Top Track: “Hands of Time”