guy clark-old #1....dillards-take me along....jerry jeff walker(anything)....
29 responses Add your response
Any Lyle Lovett, he is great. I especially like his double set Step Inside This Old House.
Hal Ketchum's Greatest Hits. Not the best recorded CD but really great music.
John Berry's Greates Hits, awesome album sonically and musically.
I have not heard it YET but I think Willie Nelson's Stardust is supposed to be very good.
Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" Good music
all the way thru, no steel guitar tho. Very good recording,
and a Grammy winner to boot.
A while back I was in an audio shop to listen to a few pair of Sonus Faber speakers, and that was one of their demo discs, the fist country music purchase ever for me.
Here's a few that are borderline fusion with a bit of bluegrass infleuence:
Gillian Welch - Hell Among the Yearlings and Revival
The Be Good Tanya's - Blue Horse
Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball
Richard Buckner - Devotiion and Doubt, Self-titled acoustic album, and Bloomed
PS I think Markanetz meant "Ry Cooder" (not Ray), and I'd second that recommendation.
Alison Krause and Patty Loveless! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Maybe more bluegrass than Country with really good acoustic instruments, try Alison Krause and Union Station "LIVE" which is a SACD/CD Hybrid or "A New Favorite."
"Mountain Soul" by Patty Loveless is an INCREDIBLE album of bluegrass/country stuff that is mostly acoustic. It is a journey worth taking, for sure.
Vince Gill- "High Lonesome Sound" this is a very nice sounding HDCD recording. IMO, V. Gill is one of the all-time great guitarists...also his singing ain't bad. Plays a 1954 Gibson J-200 on the "Jeremy Dreams of Trains" track that I think you'll like. There is also a great acoustic version of "High Lonesome Sound" recorded with Alison Krauss and Union Station.
There are a lot of great suggestions here and since everyone else is ignoring your pedal steel requirement, I will, too.
Asking for coutry music suggestions is like asking for classical music suggestions, you'll get everything from Satie to Wagner and that's not a lot of help in narrowing things down. Julie Miller and Billy Ray Cyrus are about as far apart as Satie and Wagner
I seem to be attracted to the music that sort of out there between genres. Lyle Lovett's an example; you're just as likely to hear a cello as twin fiddles in his arrangements.
One of Willie Nelson's most interesting is 'Teatro,' a blend of country and with the New Orleans influence of Daniel Lanois, and the above-mentioned 'Stardust' rendition of old standards (or lounge music, depending on your perspective.)
The Mavericks, Los Super Seven and Rick Trevino mix country and Latino music, which leads you to Flaco Jiminez, and you have to learn some stuff about about the European colonization of Mexico to figure out why a Tejano is playing an accordion.
You might consider Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt as country but you'd be as likely to find them filed under folk in some record stores.
Emmylou Harris is comfortable with, and good at, all of it and there are lots of others who mix new sounds with what you'd think of as traditional country music, Lyle Lovett, Ry Cooder, Asleep at the Wheel, Dwight Yoakum (though in the case of Yoakum, it might be a stretch to call Buck Owens 'traditional' country.)
And speaking of traditional country, Iris DeMent, Nickel Creek and Gillian Welch are doing traditional but it's just another step over to Alison Krauss and Buddy and Julie Miller and a mix of styles.
You can start with The Byrds' 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' and work your way through the Cosmic Cowboy detour, though I recommend you stop pretty quickly after you start.
An interesting sampler is 'Rhythm, Country and Blues,' though only a few of the rather strange pairings really work and they're all over the top.
So, lots to listen to.
Townes Van Zandt. Steve Earle, another favorite of mine, said of him, "He's the best damn songwriter around, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my boots and say it!" (That's a pretty good paraphrase from memory.)
I go along with Lucinda Williams, and would add "The Flatlanders," especially their first album, "More A Legend Than A Band." Also, anything by Gram Parsons.
An interesting new one I picked up recently is Ramsay Midwood's "Shoot Out At The OK Chinese Restaurant."
Sorry, they're not mainstream, but that's why I like 'em.
All of the above suggestions are good.
I would add:
Jimmy Dale Gilmore
For especially good steel guitar work:
Waylon Jennings had a steel player named Ralph Mooney, he was one of the best in country music. A couple of albums really stand out, "This Time" "Honkey Tonk Heroes" "Lonsome O'nry and Mean" are my favorites, there are more.
The Flying Burrito Brothers had a really good steel guitar player named "Sneeky" Pete Kleinow. Their albums are good, especially "Gilded Palace of Sin". While we're on the Burritos, as someone mentioned above, anything by Gram Parsons is good.
I have been a big fan of country/alt country for a long time. Most of the recordings are very well done and sound great on a good system.
Yes, I am more into Alt type country.
Lucinda Williams, Roseann Cash, Kim Richy, Steve Earle, Allison Kraus are great picks from my side of the fence.
Rodney Crowell's -Fate's Right Hand is great.
The American Recording sessions of Johnny Cash are stone cold great.
Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams (from no to any number), Loretta Lynn have great songs.
Decoration Day by the Drive By Truckers is a recent one I have that is a lot of fun.
Flatlanders is a wonderful pick.
Great selections by everyone really. Have Fun!!!!
Vince Gill- "High Lonesome Sound" ... For high quality modern recording
Lean Rymes(sp?) "Blue"... Outstanding modern female singing
Patsi Cline "Greatest Hits" Outstanding all time female vocals
Willy Nelson "Red Headed Stranger"... For the story of the outlaw
Neil Young "Harvest" ... For the poetry
Greatest Hits George Jones, Willy Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard "Kings of Country, Vol I & II"... For best ever buy off a TV commercial
Doc Watson... Everything he ever recorded... For the pure joy of American music
The Jayhawks - "Hollywood Townhall." I think this is their best, even though they are all pretty good.
I second Doc Watson - "Memories", or "On Stage" because I think when he played with his late son Merle he was at his best.
Waylon Jennings - His best, and he's had a lot of good ones, is by far, "Dreaming My Dreams."
Tiff Merritt - "Bramble Rose." Just buy it!
The Gibson Brothers - The new one (2004), I forget the name, GREAT!
Ozark Mountain Daredevils, most are good but the first is best.
Norman Blake - "Anthology."
Son Volt - "Wide String Tremola." Alt-Country rock.
Flatlanders - "Now Again."
Poco - "Cantamos"