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The Back Country Top 10 Albums of 2010

List is alphabetical.

Eric Brace and Peter Cooper - Master Sessions - Red Beet:  Eric and Peter grew up idolizing resophonic guitarist Mike Auldridge and pedal steel player Lloyd Green.  Here the two of them create a seamless sliding blend of originals and covers, with strong harmony vocals by Eric and Peter.

Carolina Chocolate Drops - Genuine Negro Jig - Nonesuch:  St. Louis favorites, the CCD keep alive the string band tradition and culture with this Grammy-nominated collection of original material and select covers.

Cumberland Gap - Dreams of Living - self released:  The St. Louis area’s finest bluegrass band releases their third album and the first in six years.  Country and bluegrass covers, originals, and even a Bessie Smith tune.  Multi-instrumentalist Dave Anderson adds to the mix on pedal steel.

Johnny Gimble - Celebrating with Friends - CMH:  Age is just a state of mind to octogenarian fiddler extraordinaire, Johnny Gimble.  Among the friends with whom he celebrates are Jason Roberts, Willie Nelson, Ray Benson, Dale Watson, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill and Jesse Dayton.

Brennen Leigh - The Box - self-released:  A fine collection of self-penned works by one of the best Texas has to offer, Brennen Leigh’s music deserves a far wider audience than it presently has.

Whitey Morgan and the 78s - Whitey Morgan and the 78s - Bloodshot:  The band’s debut release on Chicago’s Bloodshot label continues the honky tonk revival they started with their first album.  Mostly original tunes written by Whitey, there are also fine covers of a Dale Watson song and one by Johnny Paycheck in which Whitey channels JP’s vocals.

Willie Nelson - Country Music - Rounder:  Willie revisits the American songbook with old-time, folk, bluegrass and country tunes.  The cops may have recently produced a bust but Willie and T-Bone Burnett didn’t.

The Rockhouse Ramblers - Lies and Damn Lies - self produced:  These 2004 recordings by one of St. Louis’ finest country outfits finally see the musical light of day six years later.  Well worth the wait.

The Steeldrivers - Reckless - Rounder:  The sophomore release by this group of very talented Nashville musicians had the spirits soaring until the news that lead singer Chris Stapleton was leaving the group to focus on family and songwriting.  Will bluegrass music ever sound this bluesy again?

Marty Stuart - Ghost Train - Sugar Hill:  Marty is the keeper of the flame for the traditions of country music and this album only confirms that judgment—highlighted by the appearance of the great Ralph Mooney on several tracks.


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