When a song comes out at the end of the year, it can end up on lots of “Best of” lists as writers/listeners scramble to make their year-end list. Or sometimes it slips away and is forgotten before the next year’s list comes along.

I don’t want the album South by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings to be forgotten. I think it was technically released last December, but after I had compiled my list. It arrived and I was quite taken by it and started my 2014 list with it. I fully expected to add to the list through the year, but December rolled around and South was the only album I had deemed worthy of writing down. I still like the entire album, but the song “I’m Still Loving You” is outstanding.

There were some other great albums that I kept going back to:

Too Blessed to Be Stressed – Paul Thorn (Love him!)

Single Mothers – Justin Townes Earle

Parker Milsap – Parker Milsap

Metamodern Sounds in Country Music – Sturgill Simpson

Our Year – Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis

Remedy – Old Crow Medicine Show (especially the song about my hometown, “Sweet Amarillo”)

As you can tell, Americana music is my favorite music, but, lest you think I have a one track ear, 1989 by Taylor Swift is also on my “Best of” list for 2014. Great packaging, lyrics, and catchy catchy tunes. I am pleased she has moved fully into pop now.

And lots of new artists I will be watching and waiting for more: Lake Street Dive, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and Shakey Graves. And great albums this year from great artists: Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Lucinda Williams.

Every year when I do this, make my list, it just makes me eager for the New Year to see what will thrill me!

– Submitted by Janice Williams, Music Design