Far & Away 2008

Each year the DJs on Third Coast Music‘s Freeform American Roots (FAR) chart vote. Thanks to editor/publisher/chief bottle washer John Conquest down San Antonio ways for compiling the monthly FAR charts, 113 months and counting.

I’ve posted the entire list over on last.fm.  Here’s some highlights:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Miss Leslie: (aka Miss Leslie & Her Juke Jointers) is an FAR fav.  Here’s Conquest giving her intro at NotSXSW ’07:

Miss Leslie wins Female Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Album of the year for Miss Leslie: Between The Whiskey and the Wine (Zero Label).  Want a copy?  Visit her website and ask.  Nicely, of course.

DEBUT ALBUM
#1 Justin Townes Earle: The Good Life (Bloodshot)
Last.fm Free Download Who Am I to Say

I was slow to sign on to J.T. Earle. With the Townes in the middle and the Earle at the end he’s got alot to live up to.  Bloodshot Records has links to some free live tracks.  After listening to these I’m convinced he’s got potential.  Guess I just needed to hear the package—we forget in this day of digital downloads a good album is more than the sum of it’s individual parts.  New album Midnight at the Movies due out 9 March 09.  Earle and Neko at the same time?  Start saving coin now.

VARIOUS ARTISTS/TRIBUTE ALBUMS
#1 Ribbon Of Highway Endless Skyway (Music Road)
Woody Guthrie tribute.  Don’t know much about this one.

Featuring Bob Childers, Jimmy LaFave, Joel Rafael, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Sara Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Ellis Paul,Kevin Welch, Michael Fracasso with special appearances by Pete Seeger and Fred Hellerman.

Available at Lone Star Music.

REISSUE/HISTORIC ALBUM
#1 Hank Williams: Unreleased Recordings (TimeLife)
Hank’s still better than 98% of everything else that comes out each year.

MALE ARTIST
#1 Alejandro Escovedo Many folks may have heard of Escovedo for the first time with the compilation Por Vida album, put together by friends to help raise money for his medical bills battling hepetitis.  He received a AMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.  Check out his website here.

GROUP
#1 Starline Rhythm Boys These guys may be the best real country band today you will never hear outside Vermont. Their website says:

“The Starline Rhythm Boys evoke the spirited country and juke joint sounds that echoed out of the Tennessee Hills and Texas Honkytonks of the 1940s and 50s.”

I have no reason not to believe.

INSTRUMENTALIST
#1 Gurf Morlix Gurf is just Gurf. You see him on an album, don’t ask questions. Just listen, learn and enjoy a master at work.

Can’t go wrong here, Americana, roots & Texas country fans.

-jc

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