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In Closing - The Best Of '06
By Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

Looking back at all of the albums I reviewed this year, it seems like such a long year. Had some health problems and never thought I would get around to doing so many reviews. But, I must say, I think it was a great year for music, especially what I like, Americana, Alt-Country and Bluegrass.

Indie Artist Lori Willcuts CD Black-eyed Susans was an unexpected delight. This gal is good and her warm disc was a great start.

Marty Stuart released an awesome live CD, Live At The Ryman which was a great impromptu recording . His Fabulous Superlatives are a great band.

Bryan Sutton made a brilliant recording visiting many of the great bluegrass pickers with his portable recording rig and doing a song at their house or even motel room. A couple of the artists are Doc Watson, Tony Rice and Earl Scruggs. Not Too Far From the Tree.

Another surprise indie artist was Tresa Jordan with a self-titled debut. Just some great refreshing country.

Radney Foster released a great disc This World We Live In, Radney is the consummate singer-songwriter. His song "Kindness Of Strangers" made me cry, just great stuff.

A great group from Canada, The Duhks , actually released two discs this year, a re-release of their first disc and an incredible new CD called Migrations, which was one of my favorite discs of the year. A Sugar Hill group, produced by Steve Buckingham, Migrations was just ear candy with some great Alternative Bluegrass, this group is incredible.

A favorite of mine, Mindy Smith, released her sophomore disc Long Island Shores. Got to see her last year, quite a good live performer, loads of emotion. Her new disc is not as intense as One Moment More, but it is very good and a very personal reading. A bit more pop leaning than her first disc, but some great new material. Also produced by Steve Buckingham.

Capitol Records re-released four of Linda Ronstadts' early albums on two CDs and really did a great job of remastering it. I really enjoyed listening to fresh versions of these records plus some bonus songs were included.

An Alternative artist, Joan Osborne, released a very country sounding CD called Pretty Little Stranger, another favorite of mine. Great material and reminds me of seventies country.

Sugar Hill Records released a four CD box set of their first twenty five years. Great job of production and a pleasure to listen to, thanks to Airshow mastering. It's called Sugar Hill Records- A Retrospective.

Well, I've left some space for my favorite new project of the year, Vince Gill's These Days, an extremely well done four disc box set of all new material. Each disc has it's own theme, a rockin' disc, traditional country disc, acoustic country disc and a duets disc. What a great list of guests. Vince Gill and Patty Loveless in my opinion are easily the two best country artist at the top of their game who don't get the recognition they deserve.

Well, Hillbilly music and my Lord keep me afloat. Music is a big part of life to you too, if you are reading this. Since I wrote this article, I must mention that Kellie Pickler's new CD Small Town Girl is very refreshing. Well, may you have a great Holiday Season and the Good Lord Bless You.




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