51. Wayne Scott- This Weary Way 2005 We may never hear another album from Darrell Scott’s father, but with songs like “It’s the Whiskey that Eases the Pain” and “I Wouldn’t Live In Harlan County,” I’m glad we got this collection of songs that stands beside the best of Kristofferson.
52. John Stewart- The Day the River Sang 2006 Nothing fancy, just great songs and performance. I cried when I heard he had died, something I don’t do when hearing of the death of someone I don’t know, or do know for that matter.
53. David Grisman- Life of Sorrow 2003 Considering the range of voices, instrumentalists, sessions, influences, and years represented on this collection, one may be incredulous at the cohesiveness of the bluegrass vision this little album contains.
54. Ola Belle Reed- Field Recorders’ Collective Brandywine 2005 Rescued from obscurity, these early 1970s (I think) performances by Ola Belle and various sidemen and family members is a wonderful addition to a scant catalogue.
55. Sam Baker- Mercy 2004 Really, the only Baker album one needs, but why stop there?
56. Rodney Crowell- Fate’s Right Hand 2003 Letting everyone know that The Houston Kid was not a fluke of timing and inspiration.
57. Kate Campbell- Blues & Lamentations 2005 An understated album that captures all of Campbell’s influences.
58. Dry Branch Fire Squad- Live at the Newburyport Firehouse 2005 For a long while there, the most entertaining live bluegrass band on the planet.
59. Marty Stuart- Badlands 2005 Marty does little wrong, although the live bluegrass album was underwhelming; a prior album, 2003’s Country Music is pretty good, too.
60. Greg Brown- The Evening Call 2006 Continues a tradition of excellence
61. Blackie & the Rodeo Kings- BARK 2003 (Canadian)-The supergroup’s most complete recording
62. Various Artists- Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo 2004 With maybe the finest lineup of mid-decade Americana and our kind of music performers aligned, the interpretations of Escovedo’s songs range from merely good to incredible.
63. Diana Jones- My Remembrance of You 2006 From out of nowhere, one of those albums that captures a specific week in my life; an amazing writer with a fine voice. I thought she may replace the void left by Iris Dement.
64. Aengus Finnan- North Wind 2002 (Canadian)- I forget about this album until I again listen to it. Lovely folk sounds.
65. Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum- Guest House 2004 A complete album, with several essential tracks
66. Tim O’Brien- Traveler 2003 An album that one can play and play and play
67. James King- Thirty Years of Farming 2002 For me, one of the top bluegrass voices I’ve ever heard and an album that is almost free of filler- a rare thing in the bluegrass world.
68. Darrell Scott- Theatre of the Unheard 2003 Rediscovering his own songs, masterfully
69. Various Artists- Harlan County USA: Songs of the Coal Miners’ Struggle 2006 Largely a reworking of previous compilations, the lineup- Hazel Dickens, Phyllis Boyens, Doc Watson, Johnson Mtn Boys, and others- and songs- from ”Coal Tattoo” through “Black Lung” and “They’ll Never Keep Us Down”- are stellar. Did I mention Hazel Dickens?
70. John Wort Hannam- Two-Bit Suit 2007 (Albertan/Canadian) No Alberta folk singer has produced a finer book of universal songs while retaining the elements that provide the important local connection
71. Gurf Morlix- Cut and Shoot 2004 Just a guy and a friend doing his songs- no big deal, except the songs and performances stop time.
72. Chuck Brodsky- Color Came One Day 2004 An amazing writer, singer, and storyteller- this set features some of his best…even if there is only one baseball song. “Miracle in the Hills” is a Christmas favourite.
73. Steve Earle- Transcendental Blues 2000 I was surprised I didn’t have other Earle albums on this list, but there she goes.
74. Mike Plume Band- 8:30 Newfoundland 2009 (Albertan/Canadian) A grand return for the alt.country guy a lot of us had put our money on, only to see him disappear
75. Jenny Whiteley- Jenny Whiteley 2000 (Canadian) Handed to me by the singer at Wintergrass 2001, and it became a favourite. What a voice!
76. Jim Lauderdale- Headed for the Hills 2004 It’s all about the songs. And the voice. And the arrangements.
77. The Swiftys- The Swiftys 2003 (Albertan/Canadian) And when it isn’t about the songs, voice, and arrangements, it is about the passion. But the songs, voices, and classic arrangements are here, too.
78. Various Artists- Country Got Soul Volumes 1 & 2 2004 Changed my music listening life as I had never been exposed to the swampy sounds of southern country soul, and should likely be higher up on the list. In fact…I’m moving it right now. There, that’s better. Deserves mention if only to introduce folks to Larry Jon Wilson.
79. Alison Krauss & Union Station- Lonely Runs Both Ways 2004 The best from a fairly quiet decade from the band that transcends bluegrass
80. Chatham County Line- Route 23 2005 The album that showed the first wasn’t an aberration
81. Scott Miller & the Commonwealth- Thus Always to Tyrants 2001 One of the few albums I keep at work; it has propped me up on a few occasions.
82. Robbie Fulks- Georgia Hard 2005 Makes every song sound like it should have been a classic
83. Various Artists- Light of Day: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen 2003 A huge collection that works whether listened to at a sitting or on mix.
84. Chris Knight- The Jealous Kind 2003 He keeps getting better and better, but this album has the combination of production, songs, and voice that really appeals to me.
85. Dwight Yoakam- Acoustic.net 2000 Perfect.
86. Slaid Cleaves- Wishbones 2004 Not quite perfect, but close enough
87. Tom Russell- Borderland 2001 A bridge album between phases of a long career, and it works
88. Dwight Yoakam- Blame the Vain 2005 He keeps on going
89. Woodland Telegraph- Sings Revival Hymns 2008 (Albertan/Canadian) Another one of those albums that just arrived in my mailbox. Written over the course of an isolated Canadian Rockies winter, the songs benefit from the intense focus.
90. Johnny Cash- American III: Solitary Man 2000 I think I enjoy all these albums almost equally and almost put volume V on the list.
91. Dave Alvin- Ashgrove 2004 Made me feel like I was there.
92. Original Soundtrack- O Brother, Where Art Thou? 2000 Can’t argue with the performances or the influence of the album. But I haven’t listened to it in five years, so…
93. Niall Toner Band- There’s A Better Way 2003 Deep and meaningful bluegrass from Ireland.
94. Various Artists- Going Driftless: An Artist’s Tribute to Greg Brown 2002 Female voices doing Brown. Gorgeous. Too bad more didn’t hear it.
95. John Wort Hannam- Dynamite and ‘Dozers 2004 (Albertan/Canadian) My introduction to JWH. I couldn’t believe how good it was. Still can’t.
96. The Coal Porters- How Dark This Earth Will Shine 2004 Rooted in America, raggle-taggle bluegrass from across the pond that isn’t inaccessible to those who are willing to listen. Play it loud; very loud! “Teenage Kicks”, indeed.
97. Kimberly Rew- Grand Central Revisited 2002 A sublime album from the Waves chief songwriter.
98. Greg Hawks & the Tremblers- Fool’s Paradise 2001 Simply brilliant- great songs and a voice that goes for miles. Beautiful.
99. Troubled Waters- Half Mile Down the Road 2004 Maybe the best bluegrass album I heard this decade from a band I never heard of before or since.
100. Jim Lauderdale- The Bluegrass Diaries 2007 Jim can do no wrong. For my money, the Americana artist of the decade.
Come back to Fervor Coulee again. Donald