1. Vince Gill: These Days (MCA)
This is one of the most ambitious and outstanding releases I have seen in years. Four Cds and not a single bad track. An excellent album filled with rock, country, gospel and bluegrass, and some amazing vocals from Bekka Bramlett.
2. Gov’t Mule: High and Mighty (ATO)
The mighty, mighty Gov’t Mule released their best post-Woody CD to date. Warren Haynes rocks from beginning to end.
3. Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways (American/Lost Highway) Johnny Cash was my hero when I was a kid. He still is. On this, his final collection, he sounds wonderful, cracking voice and all. An amazing album.
4. Dickey Betts: Bougainvillea’s Call :The Very Best of 1973-1988 (Raven) This is a great collection of Dickey’s solo material, including some Volunteer Jam stuff, and liner notes by a certain Gritzman.
5. David Allan Coe & Cowboys From Hell: Rebel Meets Rebel
(Big Vin Records) Coe and Pantera rock the house, sounding more Southern rock than Outlaw country. Dimebag Darrell’s final performance, and a true original.
6. Jerry Lee Lewis: Last Man Standing (Artist First) I have always loved The Killer, and this one is a real tribute, teaming Jerry Lee up with everyone from Buddy Guy to Kid Rock. A truly great record.
7. Marshall Chapman: Mellowicious (TallGirl)
Nashville’s coolest singer/songwriter and a real Southern Rocker at heart. “Call The Lamas” is a great song.
8. Bonnie Bramlett & The Mr. Groove Band: Roots, Blues, and Jazz (ZOHO Music) What a year for Bonnie, appearing on the silver screen again in The Guardian, jamming with The Capricorn Rhythm Section and cutting this great blues rock album. I love Southern Rock Soul Sister Number One, Bonnie Bramlett.
9. Hank III: Straight To Hell (Bruc)
Hank Williams III rocks. He delivers a classic country sound reminiscent of his grandfather one minute, then rocks out Southern style the next. The bonus disc mash-up is awesome.
10. Capricorn Rhythm Section: Alive at 2nd Street Music Hall (Rockin’ Camel) It has been great seeing these guys reunite and play again, and this CD covers all the bases, including some Eddie Hinton covers and a great version of Boyer and Talton’s Cowboy classic, “Please Be With Me.”
Happy birthday today (December 12) to brother Dickey Betts, 63 years young!
Keep it Real. Keep it Southern!