So disappointed in today's Americana


I make it a habit of getting the Grammy nominated Americana albums from the library each year. Past years have introduced me to much new music, some good, some bad, some treasures (TajMo for example). This year I just listened to Brandi Carlile's cd 'By the way I forgive you', nominated for best Americana roots album. OMG it is unlistenable! You would think singer / songwriters would strive for a pristine recording that highlights their lyrics and mostly acoustic arrangements. No - it is a sonic mess, compressed all to hell. To quote my wife "Turn that crap off". End of rant. 
mcondo
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@mcondo, do you already have all Buddy Miller's albums? His with his wife Julie? Iris Dement? Emmylou Harris? Jim Lauderdale? Marty Stuart? Steve Earle? John Hiatt? Lucinda Williams? Rodney Crowell? Chris Hillman's latest (produced by Heartbreaker guitarist Mike Campbell)?
I thought the loudness wars were finally over (heavy brick wall dynamic range compression in mastering) but apparently not quite yet. I don't recall who said it first but I agree with the assertion that, to paraphrase, "there can be no loud if there isn't any quiet."
Uh, no. The loudness wars are worse than ever. Flatline. 😳 No offense.
I love that Brandi Carlile record. Just shows. Maybe we listen for different things/reasons, who knows. But I love that one. And most of the artists listed by bdp24 (not so much a fan of Lauderdale).  The rest do it for me.
I love that Brandi Carlisle album too - also Marissa Hackman ‘old rockhounds’ On vinyl ...... 
think genre music always has peaks and troughs until the next wave comes in. 
I remember thinking Ryan Adams a god at first but then either my tastes changed or he got awful..... 
to bdp24, yes I have cd's from most of the artists. That's kinda the point. Those albums are not compressed all to hell.

BTW - the Dynamic Range Database scores "By the way I forgive you" as an 05. Pretty bad. 
+3 for "By The Way I Forgive You", I do think it is somewhat compressed. The music overcomes that for me.

Check out Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Donna The Buffalo.....
Excellent @mcondo, congratulations on your great musical taste! For more Americana albums in great sound, search out slaw's posts. They're full of them.
@mcondo - Like @slaw , I enjoy the music on "By the way, I forgive you....", but I don't love the SQ. Brandi Carlile sits on the periphery of pop music, so it's no wonder the album is compressed to heck.
I would put Rosanne Cash’ latest 3 lps in the Americana camp that should be listened to by all.
For those of you who have Brandi's latest album (which I like but which is far from her best), check out "The Story". A truly great album. I always enjoy listening to her voice.
@gpgr4blu ,

Thanks for mentioning "The Story". I own all of her stuff on vinyl except that one. Just ordered it.

( I thought her last showed a noticeable maturity in song writing)

@mcondo, I don’t know your age, so am not going to assume you know about the album and the group of musicians who made it that are largely credited with being a primary source of inspiration and guidance in all things Americana; the one, the only, The Band and their 2nd, self-titled album, also known as the brown album. Absolutely essential listening!

The original Capitol pressing (look for the mastering engineer’s initials---RL, for Robert Ludwig---scratched into the run-out by the LP’s label) is good, as is the newest version (2013) on Mobile Fidelity LP (MFSL 1-419) and SACD (UDSACD 2129).

At least as good is their debut, Music From Big Pink. Original LP’s are plentiful (though finding a Mint or Mint- copy is not easy), and again there is a newish (2008) Mobile Fidelity pressing available on LP (MFSL 1-346) and SACD (UDSACD 2044). This past September Capitol Records did a 50th Anniversary reissue of MFBP on both LP and CD, and in a deluxe boxset. The boxset is more than all but the obsessed really need, but I'm hoping they do the same for The Band's second album this year!

Very familiar with The Band. I have the Rock of Ages live MoFi SACD. Happy New Year!


You might check out Meg Baird, particularly her work with the band "Espers" out of Philly. It’s more psych-folk than Americana but it is based on American folk music, with a twist. Esper’s "The Weed Tree" is a good start. Baird is pretty prolific and is associated with a number of other acts if you decide you like her.
I did a brief write up of a band out of Brooklyn called The National Reserve, whose album, Motel La Grange, reminded me a little of Bob Seger, Little Feat and The Band. The thing I liked about the record is that it sounded like a real band playing in a bar rather than a studio confection.
As I’m wont to say almost every time the topic comes up, get thee to see the great David Lindley if he is out on tour anywhere near you. Not a ’new’ talent, but so formidable, makes you appreciate why he was the go-to guy on so many albums out of LA in the ’70s.
Hi Slaw:
Hope you enjoy it. It is my personal fave from Brandi. There is also an album of other artists performing the songs on "The Story" which has some great performances and some not so great performances. It's called "Cover Stories" and the funds from sales go to a War Child charity fund.

Good one whart! David Lindley is a monster lap steel player, with a style employing, unlike most steel players, lots of sustain and over-driven tube distortion. He's great live, and his first two solo albums (he was in the late-60's band Kaleidoscope, and on many L.A. recordings of Jackson Browne and other singer/songwriters) are not just musically excellent, but also unusually good sounding for Rock 'n' Roll records. I have long used the first (which includes David's fantastic version of "Mercury Blues") for hi-fi evaluations.
whart1 ,

  Really appreciate the suggestion of The National Reserve!  I like them a lot.
Listening to "by the way, I forgive you" on vinyl right now. Musically, I really like the album. However, it does suffer from SQ issues, probably compression. Too bad, as it is really good. Makes me wonder how much more I might enjoy it if it was recorded differently.

Question for those who understand recorded music production: "Who is responsible for the amount of compression used? Is it the recording engineer, producer, mastering technician, etc.? Who makes the decision about the amount of compression used? 
@bdp24 - you and i have gotten to the point where we can just say something in code and we both go on a roll- remember the old joke about telling jokes using numbers?
I think El-Rayo-X is being remastered on vinyl by one of the audiophile reissue labels. I have an early copy somewhere here, i’ll have to pull it out and play it.
Here it is: http://www.speakerscornerrecords.com/products/details/524/david-lindley-el-rayo-x?sort=release-date%7Cdesc&display=grid
@mcondo 

Check out Curse of Lono!

Great stuff from Felix!


Here in the St. Louis area some good Americana bands are

Prairie Rehab
The Trophy Mules
Just picked up John Hiatt, The Eclipse Sessions, 2018....longtime fan..
nuff said
Although I’ve only listened to it once, I remember being happy with Michael Nesmith & The First National Band "Redux" on dbl vinyl
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@pehare,That one is on my list.
Rhiannon Giddens "Freedom Highway"  in my top 5 in 2018
Give a listen to the man behind the explosion of Americana (due to his Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack work), T Bone Burnett. His Truth Decay album on Takoma is great, musically and sonically. Look for the original Chrysalis pressing.
Give a listen to The Wild Feathers - Nashville based.