Sam Baker - Say Grace (Self-released)
More stark Texas stories from the amazing Sam Baker (check out his story of survival and perseverance after a terrorist train bombing in Peru).
Cyndi Boste - Nowadays (Warrior Music Productions)
Aussie roots rocker displays her big voice on 11 new, great and original tunes.
Bill Chambers - Live at the Pub Tamworth (Whitewater 004)
The patriarch of the wonderfully talented Chambers family, Bill shines live with 10 originals and 10 well-chosen covers; he's joined by daughter Kasey, son-in-law Shane Nicholson and Kevin Bennett, who is the lead man for the Aussie band "The Flood."
Fred Eaglesmith - Tambourine (A Major Label)
The wonderfully prolific Canadian is back with 11 originals; for the full effect you need to see Fred performing these tunes live.
Robbie Fulks - Gone Away Backward (Bloodshot)
Robbie keeps it simple and produces the best work of his distinguished career, joined by a superb cast of musicians: Mike Bub, Robbie Gjersoe, Jenny Scheinman and Ron Spears. Robbie soars on 10 originals and two traditional fiddle tunes.
Jason Isbell essay writer - Southeastern (Thirty Tigers)
The ex-Drive by Trucker has shown up on a lot of top 10 lists with his career-best release of a dozen amazing originals; he also married Amanda Shires -- a pretty good year for Jason.
Lynn Miles - Downpour (Self-released)
The under-the-radar Canadian has never made a bad record, and her new release is the best by a female singer-songwriter this year, in my humble opinion. Check out "My Road" one of the best songs ever written about the not-so-glamorous life on the road.
Tom Russell - Aztec Jazz & Museum Of Memories Vol. 2 1973-2013 (Frontera)
Tom put out two unique projects this year: on "Aztec Jazz" he was joined by guitarist Thad Beckman and the 31-piece Norwegian Wind Ensemble with wonderful arrangements of some of Tom's classics performed live in Oslo. "Museum of Memories Vol. 2" captures 40 years of never-released rarities, outtakes and live tracks -- undiscovered gems from Tom's past.
Eric Taylor - Studio 10 (Blue Ruby)
Nobody writes songs and tells stories quite like Eric does; 10 more originals delivered Eric Taylor style.
Mick Thomas - Vandemonian Lags (New Songs From a Prison Without Walls (Popboomerang)
My favorite release of 2013. The very prolific and always busy Mick Thomas researched the lives of prisoners sent to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) over several years and wrote songs about their lives. With two dozen great Aussie roots performers playing the parts, he's put these songs on an ambitious two-record set. A masterpiece.