Ten Albums and EPs From the First Half of 2014 You Should Own

Choosing Records

We’re halfway through 2014 and it’s already shaping up to be a good’un in the world of folk, alt-country and acoustic music with some ripper albums released in the last 6 months. While we normally save our “best of” lists for the end of the end of the year we thought it might be worthwhile to give you a list of what we’re digging so far and what you should be adding to your collection (if you haven’t already).

Stay GoldFirst Aid Kit

Stay Gold

First Aid Kit’s 2012 album The Lion’s Roar took the folk world by storm and Stay Gold is more of the good stuff. Filled with lush arrangements, beautiful harmonies and their trademark cascading lyrics, Stay Gold transports you to a 70s summer somewhere on the west coast of the USA. Devine.

WanderlustDavidson Brothers

Wanderlust

Despite being a fan of the Davidson Brothers for a number of years it took me until this year’s National Folk Festival to see them live – and they blew me away. They’re not only some of the best musicians – of any genre – in Australia but they’re also amazing bluegrass songwriters. They gave me a sneak peak at Wanderlust a few days before it was released and I just couldn’t stop listening to it.

AubergineGreen Mohair Suits

Aubergine

With their new EP Aubergine the Green Mohair Suits have well and truly shaken off their original standing as a tongue-in-cheek side project for a bunch of highly respected Sydney artists and become a must seen act live. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like Aubergine as much as I do but I was so impressed with just how tight it is, how good the songwriting is and how much fun these guys are having taking Bluegrass seriously.

Any Other MorningJack McNeill and Charlie Heys

Any Other Morning

I sometimes feel like I may be the only one in Australia listening to UK duo Jack McNeill and Charlie Heys but I’m doing everything in my power to get the word out here. Any Other Morning is a another contemporary folk gem, combining fiddle, guitar and the duo’s beautiful voices in some of my favourite tracks of the year. Buy this album now.

Post TropicalJames Vincent McMorrow

Post Tropical

When a preview copy of Post Tropical landed in my mailbox last year I have to admit I was bindsided. Up until this point I had always known James Vincent McMorrow as an acoustic singer-songwriter, and here was his debut album full of blissed out synthesizers and drum samples. Is James Vincent McMorrow folk enough for Timber and Steel now? Probably not, and if he stays in this musical vein we’ll probably stop covering him in the future. But Post Tropical is just too wonderful to ignore.

Winter PickJustin Bernasconi

Winter Pick

I’m going to stop referring to Justin Bernasconi as “the guitarist and singer from The Stillsons” because with Winter Pick he’s showed himself to be a solo artist to watch. Quite simply Justin Bernasconi is one of the best folk/country/blues guitarists in the business right now and Winter Pick is full to the brim with awe inspiring instrumentals and deceptively laidback songs. The more I listen to this album the more I get into it.

First MindNick Mulvey

First Mind

When he first came to my attention as part of the UK Communion “family” of artists, I picked Nick Mulvey as an singer-songwriter to watch. First Mind is one of those albums that I feel is going to be a slow burner in this country – it’s been out for a while but people probably won’t pick up on it until after Mulvey visits our shores for Splendour in the Grass. Which is a shame because it’s such a beautiful, fully formed piece of art and deserves to be on high rotation everywhere.

A Dotted LineNickel Creek

Dotted Line

I’m not sure many people thought there’d be another Nickel Creek album. With all three members busy with multitude other projects we’d kind of assumed Nickel Creek had been left behind. So I’m glad Chris Thile, Sean Watkins and Sara Watkins decided another turn around the block was in order as A Dotted Line is a masterpiece of modern bluegrass and country music. When you get three virtuosos in a room together you can’t go wrong.

One Up, Two DownOne Up, Two Down

One Up

The self-titled EP from George Jackson, Andrew Small and Daniel Watkins is a piece of pure folk gold. It’s a shame that Small lives in the states as the opportunities to see One Up, Two Down are limited, but if you do get a chance to see them grab it with both hands. On the surface this is a bluegrass release but these guys are so well versed in the folk traditions that you can feel celtic, blues and country influences creeping in to make a wonderful, folky mess.

WhispersPassenger

Passenger

How do you follow up your last record after you went number one in over twenty countries? If you’re Passenger you do what you do best and write some stunning story songs. I feel like Whispers is Passenger’s most slickly produced album since he took the moniker solo, but it doesn’t suffer from too much sheen with his lyrics and songwriting still front and centre. It helps that “Heart’s on Fire”, my favourite live track for a while now, has made this album

4 Comments

  1. July 4, 2014 at 16:35

    […] We’re halfway through the year and we’ve picked 10 albums and EPs from 2014 you should own including releases from First Aid Kit, Davidson Brothers, Green Mohair Suits, Jack McNeill and Charlie Heys, James Vincent McMorrow, Justin Bernasconi, Nick Mulvey, Nickel Creek, One Up, Two Down and Passenger. Blog here […]

  2. July 14, 2014 at 11:34

    […] recently released his new album First Mind which has generated a lot buzz (we picked as one of our top ten of 2104 so far) so this gig is going to be pretty […]

  3. July 16, 2014 at 10:14

    […] my Ten Albums and EPs From the First Half of 2014 You Should Own piece from earlier this month I said “I sometimes feel like I may be the only one in […]

  4. December 15, 2014 at 09:27

    […] was so difficult – you’ll notice that there’s a few omissions that were on our Ten Albums and EPs From the First Half of 2014 You Should Own showing just how strong the last six months […]


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