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The best music of 2012

This has been a pretty good year for music fans, whether you’re into rock, pop, or country. Below are ten of my personal favorites (in alphabetical order) that have hit the store shelves in the past twelve months…

Best albums, best song on the album
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls, “Hold On”
Flo Rida – Wild Ones, “Good Feeling”
Jim Avett – Second Chance, “Pictures in the Attic”
KISS – Monster, “Back to the Stone Age”
Lynch Mob – Sound Mountan Sessions, “Slow Drag”
Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back, “Ain’t It Enough”
Shooter Jennings – Family Man, “The Deed & The Dollar”
The Steel Wheels – Lay Down, Lay Low, “Rain in the Valley”
Two Gallants – The Bloom and the Blight, “My Love Won’t Wait”
Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth, “Blood and Fire”

I didn’t have time to check out the full releases of every artist from this past year, and there were other records that didn’t measure up to that “hit play and forget the skip button” status. Here are a few songs from those categories. Download the MP3s for these tracks…

Best songs on other albums
Allen Stone – “Sleep”
Alberta Cross – “Money for the Weekend (Pocket Full of Shame)”
Bang Tango – “Our Way”
Hank Williams Jr. – “We Don’t Apologize For America”
Psy – “Gangnam Style”

I also caught up on a few 2011 releases during the past year. Here are five titles I missed when they were first released; check them out, if you are so inclined…

2011 albums, songs
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound – Want More, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”
Primus – Green Naugahyde, “Lee Van Cleef”
Umphrey’s McGee – Death By Stereo, “Booth Love”
Various Artists – This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, “All He Wants is You” by Shawn Colvin
Wood Brothers – Smoke Ring Halo, “When I Was Young”

Finally, Awolnation‘s “Kill Your Heroes” has been in heavy rotation on a new Cincinnati radio station for a while, and it’s a very catchy tune…

Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back (2012)

old crow medicine show carry me back review

Old Crow Medicine Show
Carry me Back
ATO Records, 2012
37 minutes

The latest offering from bluegrass outfit Old Crow Medicine Show is a continuation of their already established success: strong songwriting and masterful musicianship. One would be hard-pressed to identify a weak track on this album, as each is played with equal parts precision and passion. It is just as difficult to identify the standouts for the same reason. Those more inclined to stomp their feet might enjoy “Bootlegger’s Boy” or “Mississippi Saturday Night,” but the slower-paced “Ain’t It Enough” is every bit as good. The band fools me every time I listen to “Country Gal,” as I want to start singing the Hank Williams classic “Hey Good Lookin'” during the chorus. Carry Me Back is a fine choice for any bluegrass or old-time country and western music fan.

1. Carry Me Back To Virginia
2. We Don’t Grow Tobacco
3. Levi
4. Bootlegger’s Boy
5. Ain’t It Enough
6. Mississippi Saturday Night
7. Steppin’ Out
8. Genevieve
9. Country Gal
10. Half Mile Down
11. Sewanee Mountain Catfight
12. Ways Of Man

Watch OCMS performing “Mississippi Saturday Night” at a radio station studio:

Learn more about Old Crow Medicine Show.

Learn more about ATO Records.

Purchase Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back.

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