Monday, January 12, 2015

Best Folk Albums of 2014 / Best Folk Reissues of 2014

Best Folk Albums of 2013


It's your cousin Ursell. It's been a while. Let's talk.

If you've followed No Words this past year, then you know there wasn't much to follow. 2014 was the least active year in the site's seven-and-a-half-year history. So let me take this moment to formally announce that No Words is essentially dormant at this time. I may continue to post relevant songs on occasion, and perhaps I'll even create a mix here and there. But I have no plans to become active with the site again. (Never say never, but I just don't see it as likely.)

The reason for this is partly to do with adulthood busyness and partly to do with the state of things with this lovely acoustic stuff I call "folk music." The great folk records are becoming fewer and farther between, so spending hours on end looking for that great tune or album is a chore that feels less and less rewarding with each passing year. Perhaps this will change in a few years or even in 2015, but until then, it makes sense to scale things down and not force content.

I salute the modern icons of this music who have released work consistently and kept my interest peaked throughout the duration of No Words: Marissa Nadler, James Blackshaw, Jessica Pratt, Josephine Foster, Alasdair Roberts, and many more.

If you have shared a kind word with me or linked to No Words at any point over the years, I want to say THANK YOU!!! This has been a small operation from the get-go, so to those of you who have taken a moment to show your appreciation, please know that it has not gone unnoticed.

In any case, I was very close to not compiling this list at all. But I reluctantly decided to play catch-up and spend time with folk music released in the year that was. This list isn't as robust as I usually make them, but it was important to me to get it out there in some form.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL: If I get five or more comments (from different users) on this post, I will compile and post MMXIV, which would be a mix of the the past year's best folksongs.

In closing, I want to invite you to email me any thoughts about No Words and what it's meant to you over the years. Hearing from some of you would mean so much to me.

All yours,


Top Folk Albums of 2014: Year of the horse (in no particular order)

Luluc • Passerby • Sub Pop
Julie Byrne • Rooms With Walls and Windows • Ordinal
Emma Tricca • Self-Titled • Bird
Vashti Bunyan • Heartleap • DiCristina Stair Builders
Sproatly Smith • Thomas Traherne • self-released
Crying Lion • The Golden Boat • Honest Jon's
Myriam Gendron w/ Dorothy Parker • Not So Deep As a Well • Mama Bird
Arch Garrison • I Will Be a Pilgrim • The Household Mark
Marissa Nadler • July • Sacred Bones
Linda Perhacs • The Soul of All Natural Things • Asthmatic Kitty
Oliver Cherer • Sir Ollife Leigh and Other Ghosts • Second Language
RM Hubbert • Ampersand Extras • Chemikal Underground
Grouper • Ruins • Kranky
Nathan Bowles • Nansemond • Paradise of Bachelors
Robin Allender • Foxes in the Foyer • Scissor Tail
Wes Tirey / Andrew Weathers • Split • Scissor Tail
Diane Cluck • Boneset • Bone & Bloom Publishing

Honourable Mentions: Electric albums, EPs, etc. (in no particular order)

Jane Weaver • The Silver Globe • Bird
Various Artists • Crystal Plumage • Bird
Melodía • Diario de Viaje • Home Normal
Angel Olsen • Burn Your Fire for No Witness • Jagjaguar
James Blackshaw • Fantômas: Le Faux Magistrat • Tompkins Square
Wooden Wand • Farmer's Corner • Fire
Sam Amidon • Lily-O • Nonesuch
Alela Diane • About Farewell: B-Sides & Scenic Burrows Sessions • Rusted Blue

Reissues (in no particular order)

Smoke Dawson • Fiddle • Tompkins Square
Michael Yonkers • Michael Lee Yonkers • Drag City
Jim Woehrle & Michael Yonkers • Borders of My Mind • Drag City
Aquariana • Self-Titled • Drag City
Bruce Langhorne • The Hired Hand • Scissor Tail
Sproatly Smith • Greatest Hits, Volume 1 • Folk Police


txnash said...

THANK YOU for posting a 2014 list! I've had each of your end of year lists on my phone since 2010, and each has given me not only a stack of extra pleasure but an entirely different set of favourite songs for each year that I doubt I'd ever have heard if it wasn't for you and your blog. THANK YOU AGAIN.

SP said...

I've been checking back here periodically over the past few months hoping you'd be back with an end-of-year post! I didn't keep up very well with releases in 2014, and just knew you'd have some fantastic recommendations - so excited to dig into these albums :^)

Anonymous said...

RIP No Words.

You'll be missed.

Thanks for all the tips.

Ama said...

These lists have been amazing! I've discovered so much great music through this blog. Thank you.

bernard camus said...

Thanks - merci - for the No Words. Please keep doing it, even at a sparse rhythm. Slow is good, often better. Your list is very sweet.

Anonymous said...

hi there, i guess there are more people out there who really appreciate what and how you do it than you might think. in any case, bog or no blog keep enjoying the music!

petr said...

Tx for evryth, appreciated even withou comm...but think u bit overlook mostly amerixans like marika hackman, gundersen and couple othrrs, dont u? Keep it run, just time to t, eh (Im facing similar troubles..) cheerio Pe

DNC said...

Count me as someone who has read an appreciated your posts for a few years. I've loved your mixes, especially the Christmas mix (Miriam) which I've listened to quite a bit the last couple holiday seasons.

confusionists said...

I am always a fan of your blog and music selections or even for the cover art. You've pushed my music horizon. I'm really thankful.

Anonymous said...

I commented before, so that doesn't count for the "5" but anyway: I like that you file Grouper under "folk".

Ossia said...

I've loved this blogs for a long time but never commented to say so before. Thank you Ursel! Your suggestions and compilations have been wonderful companions in my life for the past few years.