Every year, The Shed counts down the Top 10 albums, this year was especially hard. Here is what we came up with-
10. “Undivided Heart & Soul” by JD McPherson
Mcpherson pushes boundaries of genre more than ever before with this release. No longer bound to roots or rockabilly music, yet still steeped in it, the album boldly steps out of the box to capture your ears in a way no prior release in his catalog has. “Undivided Heart & Soul” stands out as his best release yet.
9. “Ladies Auxiliary” by Scott Miller
One of the area’s most anticipated releases did not disappoint. More folky and introspective than any Miller record before, “Ladies Auxiliary” is the perfect next step in Scott Miller’s career. Whether it is his last or not, the record will stand out in his catalog for its deep writing and musical prowess. The praise this album received both locally and nationally is well deserved.
8. “The Magpie Salute” by The Magpie Salute
From the ashes of the Black Crowes, the strangly named Magpie Salute formed and started absolutely killing it in front of live audiences. The record doesn’t disappoint, appealing to groove rock, grunge, and classic rock fans all at once. We expect great things out of these guys.
7. “Black Smoke Rising” by Greta Van Fleet
I didn’t know music like this was still being made! This ep came out of nowhere! If this is a preview of things to come, we are in for a rock revival unlike anything anyone has ever seen.
6. “Highway Queen” by Nikki Lane
Lane, who will be performing at The Shed on January 19th, continues to show her growth with this impressive outing. The story telling is at a level of greatness rarely seen, full of western attitude and sopping with feminine power. This best way to experience these songs is to hear them live. *Hint hint, wink wink.
5. “Vanishing South” by Mic Harrison & The High Score
We always try to include a worthy local release on the countdown, and Mic Harrison is fully deserving. “Vanishing South” is the High Score’s best record… ever. Not that it’s surprising, these guys have been doing something special in Knoxville for years. They performed the record in full at The Shed earlier this year and it was a fantastic experience. Every song is just that good.
4. “All American Made” by Margo Price
Price’s sophomore album did not suffer from the success of her debut. Full of traditional sounds and humor, the music is proudly progressive. Following in the steps of Dolly and Loretta, Margo stands up for women in country music in a way that everyone should be proud of. This is the record 2017 needed.
3. “Purgatory” by Tyler Childers
The surprise newcomer of the year. Produced by Sturgill Simpson, this record mixes psychedelic elements with bluegrass in a shockingly enjoyable way. There is really no way to describe all the different things this album employees to make it special, you just have to listen to it.
2. “From a Room Volumes 1 & 2” by Chris Stapleton
Separated by months, these two volumes are included together because they basically are an old school double album. Marketing strategies split the 18 songs into a double release to maximize press, sales, and coverage for Stapleton; and I don’t blame him for trying to increase the buzz. He deserves it. But none of that takes away from the content. The songs are exactly what you want out of a Stapleton record- meaningful, poignant, and fun. No one is doing straight country music better than Chris Stapleton right now.
1. “The Nashville Sound” by Jason Isbell
In the current social climate, nothing was more perfect than Isbell’s “The Nashville Sound.” The 400 Unit returned to back Isbell and the record is his most timely of his entire career. The writing, both lyrically and musically, is the best it’s ever been. Isbell reached a new level of social awareness than he ever has before with this record. Absolutely great front to back
“Tell the Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can” by Ray Wylie Hubbard
“First Cigarette” by Travis Meadows
“Graveyard Whistling” by the Old 97’s
“A Long Way from Your Heart” by The Turnpike Troubadours
“Southern Blood” by Greg Allman
“Back to Blues” by Black Stone Cherry