David Royko Psy.D

david@davidroyko.com

 

Village Voice Pazz and Jop / Nashville Scene Best of the Year

These are my picks for two yearly critics polls: the Nashville Scene Best of the Year, and the Village Voice Pazz and Jop. The two differ in genres covered (Nashville Scene is country and related, Village Vanguard’s Pazz and Jop is much wider), though I stick mainly to bluegrass for both polls since that’s what I’ve covered most over the years. Because the Pazz and Jop poll covers a broader range, my lists (for the years I have contributed to both) differ slightly. 2005 was the only year I included comments with my picks for the Nashville Scene.

From 1993 through 2008, the Chicago Tribune published my “Best of the Year: Bluegrass” picks (click hither to go yonder).

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NASHVILLE SCENE
Best of the Year Critic’s Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Ten Best Albums of The Year 2003:

1. Sam Bush & David Grisman: Hold On We're Strummin' (Acoustic Disc)
2. Del McCoury Band: It's Just The Night (McCoury Music)
3. Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show: Worries on My Mind (Rebel)
4. Various Artists: Dolly Parton: Just Because I'm A Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton (Sugar Hill)
5. Team Flathead: The Huber Banjo Sessions (Huber)
6. Whitehouse: Whitehouse (Pinecastle)
7. Allen Watkins: Light of The Crescent Moon (Battleground Music)
8. Rhonda Vincent: If Heartaches Had Wings (Rounder)
9. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Thank God (Crossroads)
10. Scruggs/Watson/Skaggs: The Three Pickers (Rounder)

Five Best Reissues Of 2003:
1. Tony Rice: Bluegrass Guitar Collection (Rounder)
2. Muleskinner: Muleskinner (DBK Works)
3. Stanley Brothers: The King Years 1961-1965 (King)
4. Country Gentlemen: Can't You Hear Me Callin' (Rebel)
5. Bluegrass Cardinals: The Essential (CMH)

Best Male Vocalists 2003:
1. Del McCoury
2. Doyle Lawson,
3. Ralph Stanley

Best Female Vocalists 2003:
1. Dolly Parton
2. Rhonda Vincent
3. Liz Meyer

Best Duos, Trios Or Groups 2003
1. Del McCoury Band
2. Mark Schatz & Friends
3. The Gibson Brothers

Best Live Acts 2003
1. Nickel Creek
2. Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show
3. Sam Bush Band

Best Instrumentalist 2003
Chris Thile

Best New Act 2003
Daybreak

Best Overall Act 2003
Del McCoury Band

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Nashville Scene
Best Of The Year Critic’s Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Ten Best Albums Of The Year 2004

1. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder - Brand New Strings - Skaggs Family
2. Demolition String Band - Where The Wild, Wild Flowers Grow - The Songs Of Ola Belle Reed - Okra-Tone
3. Alison Krauss & Union Station - Lonely Runs Both Ways - Rounder
4. Noam Pikelny - In The Maze - Compass
5. Biscuit Burners - Fiery Mountain Music - Indidog
6. Andrew Collins & Marc Roy - Likewise - Sytesounds
7. Nashville Bluegrass Band - Twenty Year Blues - Sugar Hill
8. Danny Roberts - Mandolin Orchard - Butler Music Group
9. Various Artists - All-Star Bluegrass Celebration - Sugar Hill
10. Liz Meyer - The Storm - Strictly Country

Best Instrumentalist 2004
Chris Thile

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VILLAGE VOICE
Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Best Albums 2004

1. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder - Brand New Strings - Skaggs Family
2. Red Allen - Keep On Going—The Rebel & Melodeon Recordings - Rebel
3. Demolition String Band - Where the Wild, Wild Flowers Grow—The Songs Of Ola Belle Reed - Okra-Tone
4. Alison Krauss & Union Station - Lonely Runs Both Ways - Rounder
5. Noam Pikelny - In the Maze - Compass
6. Biscuit Burners - Fiery Mountain Music - Indidog
7. Andrew Collins & Marc Roy - Likewise - Sytesounds
8. Nashville Bluegrass Band - Twenty Year Blues - Sugar Hill
9. Danny Roberts - Mandolin Orchard - Butler Music Group
10. Various - All-Star Bluegrass Celebration - Sugar Hill

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NASHVILLE SCENE
Best of the Year Critic’s Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Seven Best Albums of the year 2005

1. Jamie Hartford: Part of Your History - The Songs of John Hartford (New Sheriff)
Great songs, great musicians, magic results.
2. Psychograss: Now Hear This (Adventure Music America)
Progressive instrumental bluegrass that is complex, challenging, accessible and instantly appealing.
3. Kenny & Amanda Smith Band: Always Never Enough (Rebel)
Exciting bluegrass at its most beautiful.
4. Peter Feldman: Grey Cat on the Tennessee Farm – Songs of Uncle Dave Macon (Hen Cackle Records)
A tribute to a great entertainer from another era, updated and energized.
5. Del McCoury Band: The Company We Keep (McCoury Music/Sugar Hill)
Yet one more stunner from Del McCoury who, with his band, remains among the most creative forces in bluegrass.
6. Various Artists: Telluride Bluegrass Festival - 30 Years (Rounder)
From Hot Rize and Sam Bush to Nickel Creek and the Horseflies, Telluride defines bluegrass in the broadest possible terms.
7. Jesse McReynolds & Charles Whitstein: A Tribute to Brother Duets (Pinecastle)
Two surviving halves of two brother duets pay a moving tribute the some of their favorite musical brethren.

Top 3 Reissues of 2005
1. New Grass Revival: Grass Roots: The Best of New Grass Revival (Capitol, 2 discs)
Finally, the now-legendary group that boasted a final line-up of Sam Bush, Pat Flynn, John Cowan, and Bela Fleck when it disbanded in 1989 gets a respectful nod with this cross-licensed, well-chosen anthology that contains a healthy dose of previously unissued material, and traces the band from their early-70s beginning to, literally, the end by including performances from their final performance.
2. Andy Statman: Flatbush Waltz (Rounder Archive)
One of the true masterpieces of the Rounder catalog, Flatbush Waltz is a jazz-klezmer-worldgrass tour de force from 1980, now available via the download-or-mailorder Rounder Archive program.
3. Various Artists: Clawhammer Banjo, Volumes 1-3 (County, 3 discs)
Clawhammer predates 5-string bluegrass picking, but packs a power - driving yet delicate - that is unique.

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VILLAGE VOICE
Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Best Albums 2005

1. New Grass Revival - Grass Roots: The Best of New Grass Revival - Capitol
2. Jamie Hartford - Part of You History- The Songs of John Hartford – New Sheriff
3. Psychograss - Now Hear This - Adventure Music America
4. Kenny & Amanda Smith Band - Always Never Enough - Rebel
5. Peter Feldman - Grey Cat on the Tennessee Farm-Songs of Uncle Dave Macon - Hen Cackle Record
6. Andy Statman - Flatbush Waltz - Rounder Archive
7. Del McCoury Band - The Company We Keep - McCoury Music/Sugar Hill
8. Various Artists - Telluride Bluegrass Festival: 30 Years - Rounder
9. Various Artists - Clawhammer Banjo, Vol 1-3 - Country
10. Jesse McReynolds & Charles Whitstein - A Tribute to Brother Duets - Pinecastle

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NASHVILLE SCENE
Best of the Year Critic’s Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Ten Best Albums of the year 2006

1. Chris Thile: "How To Grow a Woman From the Ground" (Sugar Hill)
2. Dale Ann Bradley: "Catch Tomorrow" (Compass)
3. Michael Cleveland: "Let 'er Go, Boys!" (Rounder)
4. Jim Van Cleve: "No Apologies" (Rural Rhythm)
5. Andy Statman: "East Flatbush Blues" (Shefa)
6. Sam Bush: "Laps in Seven" (Sugar Hill)
7. Gil, Cartas & Tuey: "The Lonely Hippo" (gilandtuey.com)
8. Curly Seckler: "Bluegrass Don't You Know" (Copper Creek)
9. Mike Compton & David Long: "Stomp" (Acoustic Disc)
10. Jimmy Arnold: Riding "With Ol' Mosby" (Rebel)

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NASHVILLE SCENE
Best of the Year Critic’s Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Ten Best Albums of the year 2007

1. Tony Trischka: Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular (Rounder)
2. Bill Monroe: My Last Days On Earth (4 CDs) Bear Family)
3. Special Consensus: The Trail of Aching Hearts (Pinecastle)
4. Darol Anger and Mike Marshall: Woodshed (Adventure Music)
5. Russ Barenberg: When At Last (Compass)
6. Kathy Chiavola: Somehow (My Label)
7. Jim Hurst: A Box of Chocolates (Jim Hurst)
8. Charlie Sizemore Band: Good News (Rounder)
9. John Reischman and The Jaybirds: Stellar Jay (Corvus)
10. Buddy Greene: Happy Man (Rufus)

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NASHVILLE SCENE
Best of the Year Critic’s Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Ten Best Albums of the year 2008

1. Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet: Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet (Nettwerk)
2. Punch Brothers: Punch (Nonesuch)
3. Corbett/Chrisman/Tice: Corbett/Chrisman/Tice (Patuxent)
4. Ralph Stanley: Old-Time Pickin'--A Clawhammer Banjo Collection (Rebel)
5. Bela Fleck & The Flecktones: Jingle All The Way (Rounder)
6. Waybacks: Loaded (Compass)
7. Ricky Skaggs: Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass (Skaggs Family)
8. Jimmy Gaudreau & Moondi Klein: 2:10 Train (Rebel)
9. Cadillac Sky: Gravity's Our Enemy (Skaggs/Fontana)
10. Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper: Leavin' Town (Rounder)

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VILLAGE VOICE
Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Best Albums 2008

1. Abigail Washburn - Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet - Nettwerk
2. Punch Brothers – Punch - Nonesuch
3. Corbett/Chrisman/Tice - Corbett/Chrisman/Tice - Patuxent
4. Ralph Stanley - Old-Time Pickin'--A Clawhammer Banjo Collection - Rebel
5. Bela Fleck & the Flecktones - Jingle All the Way – Rounder
6. The Waybacks – Loaded - Compass
7. Ricky Skaggs - Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass - Skaggs Family
8. Jimmy Gaudreau & Moondi Klein - 2:10 Train – Rebel
9. Cadillac Sky - Gravity's Our Enemy - Skaggs/Fontana
10. Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper - Leavin' Town – Rounder

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NASHVILLE SCENE
Best of the Year Critic’s Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Ten Best Albums of the year 2009

1. Dede Wyland: Keep the Light On (Patuxent)
2. Sam Bush: Circles Around Me (Sugar Hill)
3. Bryan Sutton and Friends - Almost Live (Sugar Hill)
4. Missy Raines and The New Hip: Inside Out (Compass)
5. Stevie Coyle: Ten In One (Tuna Mine)
6. Danny Barnes: Pizza Box (Ato)
7. Sarah Jarosz: Song Up In Her Head (Sugar Hill)
8. Mike Marshall's Big Trio (Adventure Music)
9. Frank Wakefield: Ownself Blues (Patuxent)
10. Casey Driessen: Oog (Red Shoe)

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VILLAGE VOICE
Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Best Albums 2009

1. Dede Wyland - Keep the Light On - Patuxent
2. Sam Bush - Circles Around Me - Sugar Hill
3. Bryan Sutton and Friends - Almost Live - Sugar Hill
4. Missy Raines and the New Hip - Inside Out - Compass
5. Stevie Coyle - Ten in One - Tuna Mine
6. Danny Barnes - Pizza Box - ATO
7. Sarah Jarosz - Song Up in Her Head - Sugar Hill
8. Mike Marshall's Big Trio - Mike Marshall's Big Trio - Adventure Music
9. Frank Wakefield - Ownself Blues - Patuxent
10. Casey Driessen, Oog - Red Shoe

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NASHVILLE SCENE
Best of the Year Critic’s Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Ten Best Albums of the year 2011

1. Chris Thile , Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer: Goat Rodeo Sessions (Sony)
2. Danny Barnes: Rocket (ATO)
3. Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers: Rare Bird Alert (Rounder)
4. Sarah Jarosz: Follow Me Down (Sugar Hill)
5. Ralph Stanley: A Mother's Prayer (Rebel)
6. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Rocket Science (EONE)
7. Noam Pikelny: Beat The Devil and Carry a Rail (Compass)
8. Andy Statman: Old Brooklyn (SHEFA)
9. Matt Flinner Trio: Harvest (Compass)
10. Cahalen Morrison and Eli West: The Holy Coming of the Storm (Hearth)

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VILLAGE VOICE
Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
David Royko’s Picks
Best Albums 2011

1. Andy Statman - Old Brooklyn - Shefa
2. Danny Barnes – Rocket - ATO
3. Tom Waits - Bad As Me - Anti
4. Bela Fleck & the Flecktones - Rocket Science - eOne
5. Noam Pikelny - Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail – Compass
6. Chris Thile & Michael Daves - Sleep With One Eye Open - Nonesuch
7. Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers - Rare Bird Alert - Rounder
8. Sarah Jarosz - Follow Me Down - Sugar Hill
9. Ralph Stanley - A Mother's Prayer - Rebel
10. Matt Flinner - Winter Harvest – Compass

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