Best Texas/Oklahoma Albums of 2011- Our Top Ten
2011 was a great year for music in Texas and Oklahoma. There were far too many terrific albums in far too little time. While you might not know some of these guys, there were an abundance of albums from Texas and Oklahoma artists that made us turn our heads and open our ears. Take a look at our top 10 albums from Texas and Oklahoma and tell us who you think was left out.
Kevin Fowler returned in 2011 with Chippin' Away, which has found success thanks to singles like “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer,” and “That Girl.” The album is classic Fowler, which always makes for one hell of a listen.
This one kind of caught us by surprise. After hearing the opening track of “Better Place to Start,” we were hooked. The album is solid from start to finish and includes some real diamonds in tracks like “Fool's Gold” and “Through The Fire.” This may make the perfect album for putting on and taking a back road just driving around and listening.
Like The Damn Quails, Sons of Fathers caught us completely off guard and knocked us back. The debut self titled album from Sons of Fathers makes you think their four or five albums in. Their mature far beyond their young age in both songwriting and musical ability. The highlights of their debut include a song that shares the same name as the album and band in “Sons of Fathers” and a toe tapper in “Out of Line.”
The boys from Oklahoma are back with a new sound and new album as Cross Canadian Ragweed frontman, Cody Canada, delivers a fantastic collection of songs with 'This Is Indian Land.' The album blends a true sound with true words to make true gem in Texas & Oklahoma music. It's a newer sound from Canada and it's easy to fall in love with. Though we were sad to see the end of Cross Canadian, we're anxious to hear what's next from The Departed.
At first we were a little perturbed that it took over five years to get a new album from Stoney LaRue, but after the first listen of 'Velvet' we knew why we had to wait and weren't upset any longer. The album was more than a nice welcome back for Stoney with tracks that hook you instantly like “Velvet,” “Dresses,” and “Look At Me Fly.” We can't say enough good things about this album, so it's time you picked it up.
Rancho Alto is Jason Boland doing what he does best. It's true songwriting, impeccable storytelling and a sound no one but Boland and crew can deliver. Rancho Alto might be a little tense and slightly politically driven sounding, but it's an album that opens your eyes and ears to the world around you. It's worth its weight in gold and another stellar release from Jason Boland.
Flawless is the only way to describe 'Good Luck & True Love,” the newest release from Reckless Kelly. In true Reckless Kelly form, the songwriting and storytelling are put front and center with a sound that's bigger than the Lone Star State. “Save Me From Myself,” “Hit The Ground Runnin'” and the title track, “Good Luck & True Love” stand out as tracks that show off the freedom of songwriting that Willy and gang have with their music.
Released in the early part of 2011, 'KMAG YOYO (& Other American Songs)' might be one of the more celebrated albums among fellow musicans. Hayes Carll brings a refreshing sound to country/alt. country/americana/anything else you want to call it. Nearly every musician we've talked to this year say Hayes Carll is the next big thing in country and we would have to agree. Already getting attention nationwide, Carll and his latest release bring a rejuvenated since of songwriting to music that has been in need of it. Carll knocks it out of the park with KMAG YOYO. All we want to do now is Stomp & Holler.
'Unfolding' is quite possibly the best debut album from any band that we've heard in the past ten years. The Folk Family Revival deliver their own distinctive sound and matured beyond their years songwriting with their debut. It's astounding to think that a band so new on the scene can have a sound so large and so seasoned. Some readers have might not even heard of the band but it's release only a few months ago has already left us wanting more.
'Sorrow & Smoke' is the only live album to make the list and it just so happens to land at #1. Slaid Cleaves brings his haunting lyrics and incredible voice to life, live from the Horseshoe Lounge in Austin, TX. It's one thing to listen to a Slaid studio album and get chills but those chills are magnified when you hear them live. From Slaid staples like “One Good Year” & “Breakfast in Hell” to yodel cover's of Don Walser songs, 'Sorrow & Smoke' was easily our favorite album of the year. The music will speak for itself, all you have to do is listen. It's a true folk and Americana sound that only Slaid can deliver.