Michael Young’s Top 10 Albums of 2013

10. Pokey LaFarge – Pokey LaFarge
St. Louis (and one-time Louisville) musician has made riverboat chic cool with his hot swing and ragtime blues. SONG: ONE TOWN AT A TIME

9. Houndmouth – From the Hills Below the City
Precocious New Albanians’ debut hits a sweet spot between ramshackle country and classic rock a la The Band and will only get better with age. SONG: PENITENTIARY

8. Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain
Kentucky native (ex-Sunday Valley) harkens back to 70’s country outlaws and still sounds fresh. SONG: SOME DAYS

7. Blue Rodeo – In Our Nature
One of the most decorated bands in Canada cranks out consistently great roots rock on their 13th album. SONG: NEVER TOO LATE

6. The Wood Brothers – The Muse
Colorado brothers are slinky, funky and fun on this, their best album yet. Nobody’s doing what they do. SONG: HONEY JAR

5. Slaid Cleaves – Still Fighting the War
Back after a long absence of new material, this Austin, TX songwriter does not disappoint. SONG: STILL FIGHTING THE WAR

4. Bill Callahan – Dream River
Escaping his beginnings as an experimental lo-fi artist known as Smog, Callahan is really hitting his stride on this 5th solo album. SONG: SPRING

3. Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture Of You
Texas legend was a contemporary of Townes Van Zandt and was in on the ground floor of the early outlaw movement writing country hits for Jerry Jeff Walker and others. On a nice late-career roll. SONG: MY FAVORITE PICTURE OF YOU

2. Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Alabama songwriter continues to astonish with his songwriting getting better and more personal. 4th solo album is largely about getting sober and falling in love. SONG: FLYING OVER WATER

1. Mando Saenz – Studebaker
Mexican-born Saenz came up through the Houston, TX scene with Hayes Carll before settling in Nashville and delivering this masterpiece of character studies, narratives, and love songs. SONG: POCKET CHANGE

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