The Best of 2015 in Music

Jason Isbell

A few years ago a work trip took me to Charlotte where I chanced upon a station at the left end of the dial, WNCW. Remarkably, this east coast station was playing a Texas Panhandle melancholic tune from James McMurtry that I had long considered my own personal ballad  – Levelland.  I have listened to WNCW online ever since and can especially vouch for their Sunday morning Bluegrass Gospel and Classic Country radio hours as well as their Friday night Cosmic American Music Show It is difficult to pull the eclectic music mix of this show into a defining genre, but people with musical tastes as diverse as Gram Parsons, The Byrds, Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell, the Drive By Truckers, and Patti Griffin, to name but a few, will find solace here. Those that are not particular fans of those acts should still give WNCW a shot as the music is quite diverse and often off the beaten path.

The plug for WNCW complete, the purpose of this post is to provide their staff’s Top 100 list. Having listened to a great number of singles from these albums, I find it to be a great list to pass along and I personally am excited to have an early 2016 Spotify “to listen to” backlog already served up.

WNCW Top 100 from 2015

1. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
2. Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color
3. Honeycutters – Me Oh My
4. Steep Canyon Rangers – Radio
5. Warren Haynes with Railroad Earth – Ashes and Dust
6. Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete
7. Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge: Bootleg Series v.12:1965-1966
8. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – The Traveling Kind
9. Black Lillies – Hard to Please
10. Chris Stapleton – Traveler
11. Flatt Lonesome – Runaway Train
12. Aaron Burdett – Tinderbox
13. Jon Stickley Trio – Lost at Last
14. Unspoken Tradition – Miles Between
15. Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – Django and Jimmie
16. Wood Brothers – Paradise
17. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
18. Tellico – Relics and Roses
19. Nikki Talley – Out From the Harbor
20. Rhiannon Giddens – Tomorrow is My Turn
21. James McMurtry – Complicated Game
22. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver – In Session
23. Buddy Guy – Born to Play Guitar
24. Drive-By Truckers – It`s Great to Be Alive!
25. Darin & Brooke Aldridge – Snapshots
26. Dawes – All Your Favorite Bands
27. Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher`s Daughter
28. Steve Martin & Edie Brickell – So Familiar
29. Wilco – Star Wars
30. Calexico – Edge of the Sun
31. Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
32. Gregg Allman – Live: Back to Macon
33. Mipso – Old Time Reverie
34. Mandolin Orange – Such Jubilee
35. Gary Clark Jr. – The Story of Sunny Boy Slim
36. Songs From the Road Band – Traveling Show
37. Robert Earl Keen – Happy Prisoner:The Bluegrass Sessions
38. Darrell Scott – 10: The Songs of Ben Bullington
39. Lonesome River Band – Turn on a Dime
40. Steeldrivers – The Muscle Shoals Recordings
41. Mountain Faith – That Which Matters
42. Dwight Yoakam – Second Hand Heart
43. IIIrd Tyme Out – It’s About Tyme
44. Chuck Brodsky – Tell Tale Heart
45. Jim Lauderdale – Soul Searching
46. Punch Brothers – The Phosphorescent Blues
47. Los Lobos – Gates of Gold
48. Alison Brown – The Song of the Banjo
49. Patty Griffin – Servant of Love
50. Tim O’Brien – Pompadour
51. My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall
52. Gov’t Mule – Sco-Mule
53. Marcus King Band – Soul Insight
54. Various Artists (featuring Asleep at the Wheel): Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills
55. Widespread Panic – Street Dogs
56. Gibson Brothers – Brotherhood
57. Della Mae – Della Mae
58. Mark Knopfler – Tracker
59. Neil Young – The Monsanto Years
60. Galactic – Into the Deep
61. Ray Wylie Hubbard – The Ruffian`s Misfortune
62. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material
63. JD McPherson – Let the Good Times Roll
64. Iris DeMent – The Trackless Woods
65. Free Planet Radio – Global Symphony Project
66. Buena Vista Social Club – Lost and Found
67. Richard Thompson – Still
68. Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out – It`s About Time
69. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
70. American Aquarium – Wolves
71. Cracker – Berkeley to Bakersfield
72. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Easy Skanking in Boston `78
73. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Terraplane
74. Laura Marling – Short Movie
75. Pokey LaFarge – Something in the Water
76. River Whyless – River Whyless EP
77. Justin Townes Earle – Absent Fathers
78. JJ Grey & Mofro – `Ol Glory
79. Mavericks – Mono
80. Yonder Mountain String Band – Black Sheep
81. Randall Bramblett – Devil Music
82. Amy Helm – Didn`t it Rain
83. Malcolm Holcombe – The RCA Sessions
84. Chris Jones & The Night Drivers – Run Away Tonight
85. Josh Ritter – Sermon on the Rocks
86. Allison Moorer – Down to Believing
87. Eilen Jewell – Sundown Over Ghost Town
88. Cedric Burnside Project – Decendants of Hill Country
89. Milk Carton Kids – Monterey
90. New Basement Tapes – Lost On the River
91. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin – Lost Time
92. Dangermuffin – Songs for the Universe
93. Leftover Salmon – High Country
94. Phil Cook – Southland Mission
95. Big Country Bluegrass – Country Livin’
96. Blitzen Trapper – All Across this Land
97. Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band – Onward!
98. Lettuce – Crush
99. Elephant Revival – Sands of Now
100. Indigo Girls – One Lost Day

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