The editors and contributors of Acoustic Guitar magazine have compiled their personal lists of their favorite acoustic albums of 2011. Each contributor picked their ten top albums, making for a total of 100 CDs chosen. While a good many of the records were from several different genres, bluegrass and bluegrass-related artists were well represented.
When perusing each list a few projects kept coming to the forefront. Gillian Welch’s The Harrow and the Harvest and Sarah Jarosz’s Follow Me Down, both made their way onto more than half of the lists.
Kenny Smith was on mentioned twice for his album, Return. Acoustic Guitar editor, and noted bluegrass/acoustic guitarist Scott Nygaard said that Kenny is…”One of the most creative and widely imitated flatpickers in the bluegrass business.” I would tend to agree.
The brother duet influenced CD, Sleep With One Eye Open by Christ Thile and Michael Daves, also popped up on a couple of lists. Other releases of bluegrass interest include Jim Lauderdale (Reason and Rhyme), Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver (Drive Time), Blue Highway (Sounds of Home), Sierra Hull (Daybreak), and Noam Pikelny (Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail).
It was a surprise to me that popular bluegrass stalwarts Alison Krauss and Union Station only received one nod for their release Paper Airplane.
At any rate, a big thanks to the folks at Acoustic Guitar for letting their readers know about the many fine bluegrass projects released in 2011.