My Top Thirteen Songs of 2017

This was an incredibly hard list to make cuts from, and I already have a playlist ready to publish which includes sixty-six of the best tracks from this year and can be accessed on Spotify and Apple Music. But this is here to highlight the absolute best of the best, and in a ridiculously strong year for songs, that’s even more of a distinction. If you’re wondering why this isn’t trimmed to ten or lengthened to twenty, well, I had to stop somewhere, and this was the number I chose on the midyear list, so…

Very Honorable Mentions

  • Natalie Hemby: “Cairo, IL”
  • Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters–“Eden”
  • Ags Connolly–“Do You Realize That Now?”
  • The Secret Sisters–“Carry Me”
  • Kasey Chambers–“Jonestown”–
  • Colter Wall–“Kate McCannon”
  • The Steel Woods–“Straw in the Wind”

#13: Chris Stapleton–“Scarecrow in the Garden”

From From a Room, Volume 2

This song perfectly explains the reason we wait until mid-December to publish these. An incredible story song of a family farm started by an Irish immigrant and then passed down through generations, through seasons of prosperity and hardship, until the current narrator, the grandson, is faced with seeing the land he loves deteriorate around him. There are also biblical undertones to this, underscoring possible sin haunting the family, as the grandson sees Lucifer in the scarecrow in the garden and reads Revelation with a pistol in his other hand.

#12: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real–“Forget About Georgia”

From Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

What a brilliant way to write a song, linking the name Georgia with the state and his father’s song “Georgia on my Mind.” Of course he can’t forget Georgia because he’s forced to say her name in the song each night; it makes perfect sense, and even though it’s specific to this woman and that song, it’s universal because we all have associations like this that will forever make us think of certain things and people. “I pray I’ll forget about Georgia, but a part of me hopes that she’ll never forget about me” is right up there for Lyric of the Year. Also the guitar outro is definitely the Instrumental of the Year.

#11: Turnpike Troubadours–“Pay no Rent”

From A Long Way From Your Heart

Written about Evan Felker’s late aunt, but also written in that universal Evan Felker way that makes it somehow relatable to anyone who has ever lost someone. It’s even ambiguous enough to mean a former friend or lover, but at the same time, it’s the detail and unique turns of phrase that elevate this above so many other songs about loss. It’s at once grieving and reflective, sad over the loss but looking back fondly at the memories. And “in my heart you pay no rent” is up there for Hook of the Year.

#10: Angaleena Presley–“Wrangled”

From Wrangled

This is a gorgeous song both melodically and lyrically, and yes, wins Melody of the Year. There are a lot of frank moments of honesty on Angaleena Presley’s latest record, but this one is delivered in such a subtle way. The woman in question is not angry so much as tired, defeated, sick of her life and her husband and perhaps most underrated about this song, sick of the church women around her who seem to enjoy all of this. I think Presley is saying so perfectly what so many women are feeling and probably would like to say, but she’s also not saying it with hatred or in a polarizing way, just a quiet, calm resignation that ultimately speaks more.

#9: Sarah Jane Scouten–“Acre of Shells”

From When the Bloom Falls From the Rose

This one I’m actually struggling for words to explain, as it’s just the beauty in hearing it. A brilliantly written love song; I know in that department this year, we’re all focused on “Vampires,” but this is just as hard-hitting. And the actual Lyric of the Year goes to “How could I ever love somebody else? IN an acre of shells, you’ll find just one pearl. And how could I ever love somebody else when I know that you’re in the world?” What a perfect illustration; stand on the beach and think of the infinite number of shells around you. Hell, think of the number of shells just within your reach or field of vision…and in all that space, you’ll find just one pearl. What a special and simple way to describe someone you love.

#8: Jaime Wyatt–“Wishing Well”

From Felony Blues

I wish I could give this Opener of the Year, and if it weren’t for a song coming up on this list, I would award it. You think we can’t have fun songs up here in the top ten of the year? Well, Jaime Wyatt can. And it’s because despite this one being easily the most playable and fun, even almost radio-friendly, of the bunch, it’s a deep and personal song to Jaime about second chances and starting over in life. And we can all relate to it, maybe not to her exact circumstances, but to that feeling of praying for better days but learning to deal with what we have–“bought my ticket for the rainbow, but it just hasn’t come through” is another incredible lyric and something we can all understand.

#7: Shannon McNally–“Banshee Moan

From Black Irish, featured in Memorable Songs

If you’re saying: “who?” right now, please listen to this ridiculously underrated song. This is why we have the Memorable Songs feature, as this gets the honor of being the only one here not from an album we reviewed. This is what Keith Urban couldn’t say with “Female” and what Margo Price could have said with “Pay Gap,” but the former was made for radio, performed by a male, and written by committee, and the latter was too shallow for these kinds of sentiments. This is a beautiful, subtle, yet timely and honest portrayal of the discrimination that women do face in the workplace and in society, as well as a call to those women to mourn for all their sisters, past and present, who have gone through this.

#6: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit–“If we Were Vampires”

From The Nashville Sound

What a beautiful and terrifying way to look at love, knowing you or your lover will one day be gone. It’s both a morbid way to look at things and a reminder to treat each day as if it were your last; indeed, as Isbell sings, “maybe time running out is a gift.” Another thing that hasn’t been praised enough about the song are the little details in the first verse that he lists off; he’s saying “it’s not” to all of these things before explaining that “it is” the fact that one day one of them will be gone which gives him urgency. We get to that part and forget the specificity and the beauty in all of the “it’s nots,” as he lists unique details that could only be specific to Amanda Shires and speak of a love deep and familiar. Add the fact that she sings with him here, and this is just a brilliant song through and through.

#5: Jason Eady–“Barabbas”

From Jason Eady’s self-titled record

IN terms of sheer idea for a song, this has got to be the best of the year. It’s written about the man who was set free in order that Jesus might be crucified, yet nowhere, aside from the title, do we hear Barabbas or Jesus mentioned. It’s both deeply personal to those of faith and universal to all, and this speaks to the subtlety in the storytelling of Jason Eady. Also, we like to talk about Amanda shires and Morgane Stapleton adding a lot to their husbands’ records, but Courtney Patton’s harmony here adds a gorgeous element to this as well.

#4: Aaron Watson–“Clear Isabel”

From Vaquero

This song is the perfect explanation for why we have to separate songs from albums, and even songs from artists. Yeah, Aaron Watson made a pretty light, fun record–and then there’s this, the best story song of the year. It’s the tale of Mariano and his daughter, Isabel, who flee to Texas to escape the cartels of Mexico. It ends happily for Isabel, as she ends up married to the narrator. But Mariano is deported and ends up shot in the back before he can come to America legally. Another timely song that speaks to issues facing us in 2017, but again, not told with hatred, but rather told in the form of a story, to educate and unite as only music can. Add in the instrumental prelude, “Mariano’s Dream,” and this song gets even better.

#3: Angaleena Presley: “Dreams Don’t Come True”

From Wrangled

Well, this definitely gets Opener of the Year. Who opens a record by telling their audience dreams don’t come true, and not only that, “don’t let anyone tell you they do?” It’s 2017, we’re all supposed to be living our lives to the fullest and such; there are so many songs telling us we’re perfect how we are, and if we believe in ourselves, our dreams will certainly come true…and then this comes at you like a complete reality check. Instead of making hit records, Angaleena wound up pregnant. Instead of being famous for three chords and the truth, she’s struggled in the industry to get the recognition she deserves. And it’s sadly a reality much truer for many of us than the platitudes we hear so often these days. Yet this song is told with enough humor that it lightens the blow a little and is delivered as fresh, candid honesty that sometimes not even our closest friends and family can give us.

#2: Jason Eady–“Black Jesus”

From Jason Eady

This one was only an Honorable Mention on my midyear list, but it has come out of the blue over the past few months to earn its place here. This is exactly the song we need in 2017, not dividing us into races and classes and sexes, yet not preachy and judgmental and ultimately accomplishing nothing with its message. Its subtlety was the reason it hadn’t earned a top spot by the middle of the year, but that’s the exact reason it has earned this now–Jason Eady simply tells a story of two men, one white and one black, coming together, side by side at work, bonding over music. We need more songs like this, spreading unity and peace, and yet at the same time, there are a lot of them that just come off preachy. This song has been covered on two other albums that I know of in 2017, and that speaks to how it’s impacting many people in its own special, subtle way.

Song of the Year: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit–“Last of my Kind”

From The Nashville Sound

This, as I say, was a ridiculously difficult list to make, but I kept coming back to this song. It’s a picture of nostalgia for days past and people now gone, something we can all relate to, but it’s the aforementioned details in Jason Isbell’s writing that blow me away here. The narrator is unhappy with life in the city; seems like an ordinary theme, but a line like “nobody here can dance like me, everybody clapping on the one and the three” is just insane. It’s a sentiment many of us can understand, yet it also seems to be personal to Isbell, reflecting the dichotomy he experiences as a Southerner with often very different views from those around him. It’s that feeling of being caught in the middle, of never belonging, of life seeming to have passed you by. It’s ironic that he feels like the last of his kind because so many of us feel this way too. Ultimately, this is that perfect balance of personal and universal, specific and timeless, and this, in a very strong list, is the best song of 2017 and the one that has affected me the most.

Some Second Impressions of 2017 Albums

Before I get to the flurry of year-end lists, I’d like to address a few things I’ve got significantly different opinions on now than when they were first reviewed. The rating is not the important thing to focus on with these year-end lists because certain things hold up over time better than others, and you will find some albums high on that list that weren’t rated as highly originally. Music changes over time, as do our reactions to it, and there are albums I’ve both overrated and underrated in 2017. This post will reflect these and hopefully shed some light on the upcoming albums list.

Albums I’ve Underrated

Robyn Ludwick–This Tall to Ride
I even said this during my midyear list, but the main reason for the underrating of this was I doubted its ability to be replayed over time, but it holds up quite well and continues to get better. Originally a 7.5, this would get a strong 8 now.

Tyler Childers–Purgatory
This just gets better with each listen. Some albums this year were great at first but had no sustainability (see below.) This still really doesn’t have one defining song, but it’s great all the way through and is one of the best albums of the year. It’s also my most played, with the possible exception of Colter Wall’s self-titled release.

Crystal Bowersox–Alive
I don’t care that this is a live album. I don’t care that a bit of the material appears on Crystal’s previous records. If there is one album I could recommend to all you critics that I see getting criminally overlooked, that I wish you would pull off your back burners and give a proper review to and consideration of in your endless lists, it’s this one. And I’ll go ahead and say it–this is the best album vocally of the year, bar none.

Zephaniah Ohora–This Highway
This one was done by Brianna, and she gave it a 9, as it rightfully deserves, but I have to say, it took me months to come around to this. And this is a brilliant album, definitely one of the best of the year.

Albums I’ve Overrated

And now for the controversial bits of this piece…

Willie Nelson–God’s Problem Child
Still a great listen, but it doesn’t have much staying power or relatability. I don’t really know what else to say.

Sunny Sweeney–Trophy
Look, I know this is high on a lot of year-end lists, and it’s a good record. It’s just, for me, not her best record. It was the album I was most looking forward to in early 2017 because I am a huge Sunny Sweeney fan, and taken as an album, there’s not much to criticize. But it hasn’t held up at all…I wish I could say more, and I did enjoy some of these songs better live, but this just didn’t stay with me.

Chris Stapleton–From a Room, Vol. 1
I’ve said it already, but if Stapleton had combined these releases, this would be a different story. As it is, we’ve got two decent albums, both with some filler, and neither with too much longevity.

Angaleena Presley–Wrangled
This is still one of the best albums of the year, but I would not give it a 10/10 if reviewing today. Still one of the top 5, maybe 3 albums of the year, but I’d have to pull back slightly from that perfect grade.

I’ve got some slightly different opinions on several other albums this year, but these are the most significant and will be most reflected in the year-end list. Above all, music is meant to be enjoyed and played, and these ratings ultimately mean nothing if the music doesn’t hold up throughout the year. I’ve tried to be less rigid in my opinions this year than in the past, and these changes are honest reflections of that. I look forward to sharing all the year-end lists with you all!

Collaborative Review: Chris Stapleton–From a Room, Volume 2

Our collaborative reviewing began with Chris Stapleton, and it seems, due to the ill-advised releasing of this album in December, our last joint effort for 2017 will also be Chris Stapleton. December is notoriously horrible for album sales, and I can only guess at why we’re getting this release now…but anyway.


Megan: So, before we talk about Volume 2 itself, how are you feeling now that you’ve heard both albums? My biggest takeaway from this whole thing is that 1 and 2 together would have made a great single album, maybe trimmed down some. As it is, these are both just decent albums. Also, we collectively gave Volume 1 an 8, and I’d be interested to know how it’s holding up for you at this point.

Brianna: I think they would have made a really good album combined and trimmed down, too. As it is, these are really just too short, and I think they suffer for that. I still feel the same about the songs, but I don’t think Volume 1 was his best work. Or, for that matter, Volume 2.

Megan: Volume 1 just hasn’t held up at all for me despite it being a really good listen. There’s not too much to point out that’s wrong with it, but you’re right, it’s just too short. It wouldn’t even be top 25 for me at this point for albums this year, and it was on my midyear list. That’s how much it’s fallen off. No staying power long-term. I see less consistency in Volume 2, but I also see a few much better songs and more variety in terms of production.

Brianna: I just go back and listen to individual songs off of Volume 1, so I have to agree. As for this one, I do like all the variety in the song production and in the tempos. But yes, the songs are somehow just more forgettable this time around.

Megan: The production for me is a plus. We didn’t have something upbeat like “Midnight Train to Memphis” the first time. It was all just kind of mid-tempo. That song is one of the highlights for me here.

Brianna: That’s what i like. A lot of songs on both Traveller and Volume 1 were mid to slow tempo. This one’s got all different kinds, and I really enjoy that a lot. It’s great because he shows off how he can do blues, rock, and country.

Megan: Yeah. So, what were the biggest highlights for you as far as individual songs? I know we agree on at least one of these.

Brianna: “Scarecrow in the Garden” is one of his top songs to date. I love the melody, the production, the lyrics…My second favorite is “Millionaire.” It reminds me a little bit of “Broken Halos” because of how much the guitar leads and the tempo, but the lyrics make them two very different songs. “A Simple Song” is amazing because I love how it gives little snapshots of life’s sadness, but he’s got his family, so everything is ultimately all right.

Brianna: Ooh, and I like “Drunkard’s Prayer” too. It’s ultimately a heartbreak song, and I love the acoustic production. It lets his voice shine. What about you?

Megan: I definitely agree on “Scarecrow.” For a little more detail, it’s the story of a family farm passed down through generations that is now basically falling apart. I also think this one is made better by the fact that Stapleton for once isn’t belting, and his telling of the story is nuanced and respectful, keeping you focused on the most important part. I’d echo you on your other three pretty much word for word. If I could have these four plus “Midnight Train to Memphis” plus some of Volume 1, this would all become miles better.

Megan: Another note on the belting…that singlehandedly distracts me from “Nobody’s Lonely Tonight” here because in the chorus, I can’t always understand what he is saying since he is too focused on well, belting. He can sing the phone book in a technical sense, but much like “Death Row” from Volume 1, his delivery kind of ruins that song for me.

Brianna: You know, I think the fact that he just sings the lyrics on “Scarecrow” without any real embellishment makes it that much better. I’m glad you pointed that out. “Friendship” has a nice melody and message about being good friends, but it’s otherwise not memorable. “Midnight Train to Memphis” is a nice rock song about a prisoner, but it just doesn’t do it for me like it does for you. As for the rest…I can’t lie, they really bore me and don’t stick out. Like you, I’d combine about half of this album with some of Volume 1 to make one great album.

Brianna: And I agree on his singing of “Nobody’s Lonely Tonight.” I mean, yes, he can sing, but the world knows that by now. He’s got a great voice, but I do wish he wouldn’t overdo it sometimes.

Megan: As for “Friendship,” I actually found that song to be pretty much God-awful, lol. It just says nothing, other than some ultra sappy crap about being friends. The rest of the album is just boring and forgettable. “Hard Livin'” is very cool instrumentally, but unlike “Midnight Train,” it doesn’t stick melodically or lyrically. “Tryin’ to Untangle my Mind” I actually really enjoyed live, but the recorded version just lacks something.

Brianna: NO, “Hard Livin'” definitely doesn’t stick for me at all. I have to go back and listen just to refresh myself, and that’s not a good thing. “Tryin’ to Untangle my Mind” somehow manages to bore me. I should like both of these songs because they’re different from all the others production wise, but still, there’s something missing. I guess for me, Chris Stapleton either has songs that are really awesome or songs that are just kind of forgettable.

Megan: This is really hard to rate because of its size. As an album, I would give it a 6.5, but I will also come back to it more than Volume 1, at least as far as individual songs. Personally, I gave Volume 1 an 8.5, and speaking today, I would lower that to your grade of 7.5. The difference is that Volume 1 is a more solid, consistent effort, and this one has some infinitely better songs mixed in with some complete filler. The good songs here are usually much better than those on the first volume. But it’s a nine-song effort, and there’s not any room for error. And as an album, it’s just not that memorable. That said, if I could take the best from both albums and combine them, it would be an 8 or a 9.

Brianna: I think I have to give it a 6.5 as well. I’d even go so far as to just give it a 6, but since the production and song tempos vary so much, 6.5 is probably better. I’m sad to say that only four out of the nine songs are ones I’ll come back to. Like you, I really, really wish he’d taken the best songs off these two albums and combined them, trimming the least memorable ones along the way. I think an album like that would have been pretty amazing.

Collective Rating: 6.5/10

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Album Review: Billy Strings–Turmoil & Tinfoil

Rating: 6/10

Another album here that comes from my back burner, and another one of the few bluegrass projects I’ve been able to cover this year. With the incredible amount of music to listen to, you might look at this rating and find it strange that I’d choose to pull this one from the back burner and make sure it got a full-length review in 2017. Surely there might be better stuff to highlight?

But it’s not the rating that’s important here; there are some truly disappointing sixes–as you’ll see soon–because you feel like an artist is capable of so much more. And then there are sixes where you’re excited because an artist is still developing, and you see past this project to the full potential, and with this album, it’s definitely a case of the latter.

With bluegrass in particular, there’s this stereotype hanging over the music, and often for good reason, that much of it is the same. It’s great that it stays so connected to the roots of that genre, but it often lacks the vibrancy and youthfulness needed to keep it interesting and sustain it in these times. And because of the potential for sameness, there’s also an even more pronounced urgency to set yourself apart from the rest. With Flatt Lonesome, it’s the songwriting and the sheer vocal chemistry and talent. With the Infamous Stringdusters, it’s the incredible instrumentation and the experiments with different sounds, like the bluesy tones of “This ol’ Building.” With Billy Strings, it’s experimental sounds as well, woven into this album so that you come away wondering why no one else has thought of this before.

This is most present on the front half of the album. “Meet me at the Creek” is just a stellar, nine-minute exhibition of bluegrass awesomeness. “Living Like an Animal,” though completely minimalist in its approach, staying on basically one chord, has an animal-like sound echoing through it that takes it from totally boring to infinitely interesting. The title track is similar, with long instrumental breaks and an almost Middle Eastern riff to set it apart from every other bluegrass tune endlessly parading along in this key. It’s the ability and ingenuity of Billy Strings to alter these songs only the slightest bit and recreate them as something fresh and vibrant within this incredibly restrictive genre while still keeping that genre’s roots intact which makes this most impressive. “While I’m Waiting Here” and “On the Line,” though not especially different instrumentally, do stand out for their songwriting on this half of the record. But again, songwriting is not the ultimate strength of Billy Strings or of this project, it’s the fresh, forward-thinking approach brought to the instrumentation and sound, especially on this front half.

And that’s why this particular album falls short in the back half. It starts to become no different than any other bluegrass record. Well, except for the incredibly weird, acid-dropping experience that is “Spinning,” but that’s not experimentation with bluegrass, that’s just a strange rambling about multiverses and women with skirts made of various body parts…yeah. The message is that we should all work together, but it’s delivered in the strangest way humanly possible. Other than that, though, the album is just pretty typical in the back half. That’s not to say it’s necessarily bad, and if you’re more of a bluegrass fan, you might like it better. For me, seeking out only the best in the genre, this half does little to establish Billy Strings as anything different than what’s going on in the rest of bluegrass.

However, it’s the cool, promising stuff on the front half of the record that makes Billy Strings someone to keep an eye on and which leaves me excited as a listener. This hasn’t been one of the easiest reviews to write because there’s just not a ton to say for me, especially given the boring parts of this album. But the parts of this record where Billy shines, so infused with life and spirit and bringing something absolutely unique and fresh to this genre, cannot be ignored and are the reason I kept coming back and searching for words for this project. This is not the best bluegrass album I have heard all year, but indeed, some parts of this constitute the best and most interesting bluegrass I have heard in my entire, though incredibly limited, experience with this genre. I am certainly looking forward to what Billy Strings could develop into, but for now, we definitely have some promise here.

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Album Review: Travis Meadows–First Cigarette

Rating: 8/10

Travis Meadows adds his name to the growing list of professional songwriters who are gaining a name for themselves and finding more success with their own material. As for songs written by Meadows, try “Knives of New Orleans” by Eric Church, “Riser” by Dierks Bentley, and “What We Ain’t Got” by Jake Owen. These should be enough to get your attention and keep his third album, First Cigarette, firmly on your radar.

I’ve spent a lot of time in 2017 criticizing various independent/Americana singers for their vocals. It doesn’t matter if you can write a good song if you can’t remain on pitch and/or sing with any emotion. But there’s another side to this too, and that’s understanding your tone as a singer and writing and performing songs to suit you. Travis Meadows brings a weathered, unpolished quality to his singing, and no, he’s not the greatest vocalist in that sense, but he is a fine interpreter, able to capture perfectly all the raw emotion on this record. Plus, he can indeed stay on pitch, so that’s just a bonus…but I digress. His tone may not be for everyone, but he utilizes it well here, allowing it to become a feature rather than a flaw.

And his tone actually suits the material here very well, speaking also to his talent as a songwriter, his ability to write according to his vocal strengths. The rough edges in his voice only serve to elevate this particular record because it’s a self-reflective album, sometimes looking back on the past and other times hopeful for the future, at once wistful and content. “Sideways” sets the mood perfectly, opening the album with the hard-hitting statement: “If I could buy myself a conscience that wasn’t broken, Mend every fence I drove my hard head through. Re-lock all the doors I wish I’d never opened, unlearn the things I wish I never Knew.” Meadows thinks back with nostalgia on his youth on “McDowell road” and “Pray for Jungleland,” and looks forward to making life better for his son on “Travelin’ Bone.” (And by the way, “Pray for Jungleland” is actually a good example of how a song about remembering some girl in tight jeans in your car can actually convey a real emotion and tell a real story.) He’s leaning on friends to help him through hard times on “Better Boat” and seems restless on “Hungry,” but he’s perfectly happy with his life on “Guy Like Me.” It all appears to come together on the title track, as he has learned to appreciate the little things in life, like that feeling of the first cigarette in the morning. He also states that he’s “a little more content with who I am than who I was,” which seems to be the thesis of this whole thing.

The production is another thing I’ve harped on many times in 2017, and yet this record manages to get it exactly right. Travis Meadows said that can be attributed to his producers, Jeremy Spillman and Jay Joyce, wanting it to sound like Travis would sound live in a bar. And it does sound rather organic and unpolished like that, very real and raw and fitting for this journey. Also, every song flows straight into the next, with little instrumental interludes to connect the tracks, so you take this trip right along with Travis. It’s a small detail, but it really adds a lot to this album and the sentiments being conveyed here. It makes this not an album of different songs about finding contentment with who you are and where you’ve been, but rather a single experience, a process that is being carried out throughout the record.

The album needed some brighter moments to lighten the mood and in turn make the serious, reflective stuff stand out all the more, and we get that in several places. It doesn’t quite work on “Underdogs,” as this one is kind of generic and doesn’t really say much when you get right down to it. There are a thousand songs out there like this, and while it will probably really excite live crowds, it doesn’t exactly add much to the project. It doesn’t necessarily take away much either, but lighter moments are pulled off better with “Guy Like Me” and “Long Live Cool.” The former has the personal detail which “Underdogs” lacks, seeing Travis content and happy with his life and circumstances. The latter is a nice, catchy ode to rock ‘n’ roll. This one features some lively harmonica and some nice electric guitar. This one fits well within the album context despite it being lighthearted because it carries that nostalgia so often explored on this record.

First Cigarette is getting slightly underappreciated, and I honestly can’t understand why. Travis Meadows isn’t the greatest vocalist in the world, but the roughness in his voice only adds to this record. The production is some of the best I’ve heard this year, and there’s enough sonic variety to keep it from being sleepy. The writing is nice too, and there’s a thematic structure to this album as well, not something we see on many records these days. Not a concept record, but definitely one continuous journey that finds its conclusion in the title track. It’s not a perfect album, but it’s a damn good one and is not to be overlooked in the frenzy of year-end lists. Highly recommend giving this a listen.

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