Fervor Coulee’s Favourite Roots Compilations, Tributes, & Archival Albums of 2022

This is my annual ‘odds & sods’ category, those roots albums that are various artist tributes to artists or subjects, archival recordings, or compilations created to highlight a style of music or an artist’s catalogue. Bluegrass Favourites of 2022 previously posted, with Blues and the overall Roots lists to follow.

As my #1 bluegrass album of 2022 is a compilation, #1 here is a given. The rest of the albums duke it out for second on down. Very good releases here; would be lovely to get serviced by some of the companies putting out the big box sets: I can’t afford those!

1 James Reams Like A Flowing River- James Reams was a bluegrass friend of mine. His passing in June both shocked and saddened me to a degree I am unaccustomed to experiencing for people in whose presence I spent a total of about four hours.

This artfully curated, two-disc set accompanying the movie (in which I am a very small part) documenting Reams’ bluegrass journey is a fitting capstone to a 25+ year career in bluegrass. It isn’t perfect, it sure isn’t smooth, but it is everything I want my bluegrass to be—honest, true, original, and inspired. Review here. Serviced CD.

2 Various Artists- Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson This is what an artist tribute should be like. Holy, crap is it good. Wonderful recordings from John Prine, Del McCoury, Gillian Welch, Nathaniel Rateliff, Jamey Johnson—in all, more than a dozen of Americana and roots music’s finest tipping the Stetson to one of country music’s most unique and classic vocalists. More female voices would have been appreciated, but I think they were limited to keep to a single vinyl volume. Purchased download.

3/4 Tony Rice- Autumn/ Tony Rice- Guitar A pair of vinyl and CD reissues of essential Rice Rebel Records albums. Reviews here and here. Serviced Vinyl

5 Various Artists- Americana Railroad Carla Olson and crew revisit classic folk and roots artists’ railroad/railway songs. Review here. Serviced CD.

Son House- Forever On My Mind Rescued from obscurity, these 1964 recordings are absolutely spellbinding. Review here. Serviced download.

7 Dan Tyminski Band- One More Time Before You Go: A Tribute to Tony Rice Review here. Serviced download.

8 Various Artists- Live Forever: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver– It is always surprising to me how many roots fans are not familiar with Billy Joe Shaver. No such problems in my house. This set is great in most places, as when (to my surprise) Willie Nelson is singing, when Margo Price steps up, and when Allison Russell closes the proceedings. Nice to hear several females given prominence. Docked points for including a couple/three songs-performances I have no memory of- even when I am listening! Purchased download.

9 Sam Bush- Radio John- The Songs of John Hartford The title cut is very good and was the reason I purchased the download. It was the highlight. The bulk of the album is only okay, a bit sterile even—definitely not what I was expecting from Sam Bush. His voice isn’t strong enough to carry some of these songs (“A Simple Thing As Love,” “In Tall Buildings.”) The song selection is less than impressive, in my opinion, and skips over several Hartford ‘must-haves’ including “The Julia Belle Swain,” “Steam-Powered Aereo Plane,” and “Gentle On My Mind.” But that title cut is great, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I’m in the minority about the rest. Purchased download.

As always, thanks to all the PR folks, record labels, and artists who took the time to ensure the music got into my hands and ears. All the best in 2023.

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