Top 10 Red Dirt Albums of the Year: By Rick Owens
Best Top 10 Ever
Hello, music lovers, musicians, musician lovers, and the like. My name is Rick and I am fortunate enough to have a platform for which, at the very minimum, you are reading my meanderings here today. Ms. Little Okieland has asked me to contribute content for her website. Perhaps an album review, a Top 10 list, or some of my personal stories of the little time I got to spend with Tom Skinner. Fortunately for those of you that need a cure for insomnia, I'll be contributing all three, in a somewhat unconventional manner. Creative license will be my writing partner throughout my mini-series. I hope you all enjoy.
As 2017 draws to a close, you may or may not notice several Top 10, 20, or even Top 100 Countdowns to help recap the year. This is intended to bolster some nostalgia, or perhaps to serve as an informational recap of the events of the last twelve months. When approached about doing a Top 10 Red Dirt Albums of the Year, I immediately thought of lists that I've read in the pasts, along with all the comments from fans stating "Why didn't you include so-and-so, or such-and-such!?!?!?" "How could you make a list without mention of MY favorite artist/album!?!?" Of course, the comments weren't exactly that, but that was the overall sentiment. So I thought to myself at first, holy hell, I'm not even going to attempt to write a Top 10 list to save my life. That's when I knew I had to do it. My version, of course. I am the fella writing this little homage. I'm just going to reformat a bit and everything will be just fine.
Number 10: Just kidding. This isn't going to be that kind of list.
Most of my friends are musicians, friends of musicians, or at the very least, they are music lovers. And people who produce music do it from a special place in their soul, in their heart, in their being. They write what they feel. Something that connects to them, so they put it out into the world for people to enjoy. Whether you're selling out Cain's Ballroom, or playing the Best Western Hotel bar for six people, I as a music fan can love them both equally. None of Oklahoma artist that are on my list sound the same, and so therefore they are not comparable, nor should they be ranked against each other.
Having said that, here are the artists that I think are better than the others. Haha, jokes again with this guy. Seriously though, another reason I don't like this kind of assignment, or list as it were, is that I know I will invariably forget someone I wish I hadn't. I acquiesce the fact that this may indeed happen. Albums that I've personally enjoyed this year? John Moreland. Jason Isbell, Turnpike Troubadours, Old Dominion, Chris Blevins, BC & the Big Rig, Hosty, and Ryan Adams. Wait, Rick, some of those artists don't even belong on that list. Yeah, they do. My list. I know, I know, I forgot your favorite. Put it in the comments on this article and if I've not heard of them, I'll check them out. If I have, I'll give them another listen. This is what makes music fans like myself and my friends amazing. We just love the music.
If the music touches you personally. Then that's the #1 record of the year in 2017. Which actually brings me to my next beef with these lists. What if I still haven't gotten over last year's release? Because for starters, I can tell you Parker Millsap's The Very Last Day is a must have in any household. What if I loved Mike McClure's Ah-Coo-Stik album? Tough shit, Rick. That was two years ago. Well, I'm not going to fit in that box you're trying to put me in. That's what a lot of these lists are. How do we compartmentalize our music in Oklahoma? Well, I would like to be one of the many that stands up and says WE DON'T! I saw an interview on the interwebs, it was a couple of years old, a news station interviewing a lot of the biggest names in our "Red Dirt" scene. I remember John Cooper and Cody Canada's responses when asked if Nashville would ever figure out what we're doing here in Oklahoma and make it as big as pop country music today. Their responses were without hesitation and an unequivocal 'hell no, I hope they never do.' We don't measure success in that way. And so neither will I.
So that's it for my Top 10 Red Dirt Albums Non List of 2017. I hope I've forgotten your favorite so that you can put it in the comments below. I told you I'd check them out, and I wasn't lying. If you want to make yourself a new year's resolution for 2018, set a list of live music you'd like to go see. Buy a tee shirt and an album. Talk to the band if you can. Music is a community and you are part of it.