Monday 11 April 2022

ANOTHER COUNTRY with Ricky Ross - The Best Music of 2021 (Flac)

Continuing our look at some of the best DJ's and radio programmes that the UK has offered past & present.

Like the Bob Harris Country show, this programme has been running for over ten years on UK radio. This complete show was the final programme of 2021. It has an in-depth look at some of the best artists and songs from the 'Americana' genre released in 2021. Call it Alt Country, US Roots music or whatever name suits you best. 

The programme runs for over two hours but includes two five minute+ chunks given over to the news and weather. This cuts the running time down to around approximately one hundred and nine minutes.

Part one is included in this post with the second following next month.

BBC Radio Scotland FM Stereo - Another Country with Ricky Ross
Broadcast: Tuesday 9 November, 2021 / 8-10pm

The Best Music of 2021 part one

Ricky Ross showcases his favourite music of the year as played on Another Country - a guide to the best Americana and country releases of 2021.

01. Eric Church - Heart On Fire 
02. Lainey Wilson - Things A Man Oughta Know
03. Allison Russell - Nightflyer | Outside Child
04. The Wallflowers - Roots and Wings | Exit Wounds
05. Natalie Hemby - Radio Silence | Pins And Needles.
06. Tre Burt - Sweet Misery
07. Todd Snider - Handsome John
08. Saint Sister - Oh My God, Oh Canada
09. Teddy Thompson & Jenni Muldaur - Just Someone I Used To Know | Teddy & Jenni do Porter & Dolly: A Tribute To the Duets...
10. Saint Sister - Oh My God, Oh Canada Pillar of Salt
11. Amythyst Kiah - Fancy Drones (Fracture Me)
12. Charlie Worsham - Fist Through This Town

01. Eric Church - Heart On Fire | Single        
Released as the second single from Church's studio album Heart. In a press release Church said: "Heart On Fire" was the first song we recorded when we got to North Carolina, I already had pretty much, I wrote this song by myself, but I already had this song on the rails and we were heading down the path of what this was going to be. I thought we needed to kind of break the ice and get started on something, [...] This was the song that was kind of the icebreaker for the whole project, and I credit this song a lot for getting us to where we ended up getting to with the project." Website described "Heart On Fire" as "an up-tempo, Southern rock-infused track looking back on a young love".  released July 12, 2021


02. Lainey Wilson - Things A Man Oughta Know | Single
“Things A Man Oughta Know” reflects Lainey's honesty and self-conviction. “I can hang a picture same as I can take it down/ And how to keep it hidden when a heart gets broke/ Yeah I know a few things a man oughta know,” she croons on the track. Written with Jonathan Singleton and Jason Nix, “It’s really a song about having good character and a song about treating people the way that you want to be treated -- something that we all should know,” she explains. “It’s about standing up for what’s right. I would like for people to hear that through my music too.” It was released as a single in August 2020 and later included on the studio album Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' released February 19, 2021


03. Allison Russell - Nightflyer | Outside Child
Outside Child, says Russell “is about resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.” Singing about this on “Nightflyer,” Russell ponders the healing power of motherhood, using the track’s wide-open expanse to convey the strength she didn’t know she had. Here, the line “I am the mother of the evening star / I am the love that conquers all” is “the most defiantly triumphant, hopeful line I've ever written...that's about the birth of my daughter and how that transformed me.” Though they had a fraught relationship, Russell remembers how she’d crawl underneath the piano and listen to her own mother play. “I would hum along with her,” Russell recalls. “She said I was humming before I could talk. I was able to feel some kind of comfort or love or connection in a way that she couldn't verbally or physically express - but I could feel in her music that there was love in her.”  released May 21, 2021


04. The Wallflowers - Roots And Wings | Exit And Wounds
It’s been nine long years since we’ve heard from the group with whom Jakob Dylan first made his mark, the Wallflowers are silent no more. And Dylan always knew they’d return. “The Wallflowers is much of my life’s work,” he says simply. That life’s work continues with Exit Wounds, the brand-new Wallflowers studio offering. The collection marks the first new Wallflowers material since Glad All Over. Exit Wounds, which, true to its title, is an ode to people – individual and collective – that have, to put it mildly, been through some stuff. “I think everybody – no matter what side of the aisle you’re on – wherever we’re going to next, we're all taking a lot of exit wounds with us,” Dylan says. “Nobody is the same as they were four years ago. That, to me, is what Exit Wounds signifies. And it's not meant to be negative at all. It just means that wherever you’re headed, even if it’s to a better place, you leave people and things behind, and you think about those people and those things and you carry them with you. Those are your exit wounds. And right now, we’re all swimming in them.”  released July 9, 2021

05. Natalie Hemby - Radio Silence | Pins And Needles
Revered as one of the music industry’s most notable songwriters creating hit after hit behind the scenes. Now, poised for a breakout, with the release of her exceptional sophomore album. Title track “Pins and Needles was the first song I ever wrote with Brothers Osborne,” says Hemby. "I have always loved this song, and I have always loved them. They almost put it on their record. Years after, I asked them if I could have it. They said yes, so I decided to record it and make it the title track. It’s one of my favorites."
Known for the versatile sonics and storytelling that earned her eight #1 singles, Hemby explores a full range of her musical gifts, spanning influences from Tom Petty to Sheryl Crow and the early 90’s rock and roots she was raised on — with incomparable individuality. “Pins and Needles is the record I never got the chance to make and I always wanted to,” adds Hemby. “It’s the late 90’s sound, which is the sound of my young adult life.”
Like Bonnie Raitt a generation before, Hemby is reaching the pinnacle of her artistry in her 40s.  released October 8, 2021


06. Tre Burt - Sweet Misery | You, Yeah, You
Tré Burt is a singer-songwriter based in Sacramento, California and the newest signing to Oh Boy Records. “Caught It From The Rye” Tré Burt’s debut album, was re-released on the label January 31, 2020. It showcased Burt's literary songwriting and lo-fi, rootsy aesthetic, which he honed busking on the streets of San Francisco and traveling the world in search of inspiration. Like his label mate and songwriting hero John Prine, Burt has a poet's eye for detail, a surgeon's sense of narrative precision and a folk singer's natural knack for a timeless melody.
His second album 'You, Yeah, You' is a narrated collection of songs featuring a cast of invented characters; heroes, villains, those destitute of salvation, and those seeking it. The album represents a summoning of the will to fight the unknown rather than surrender to fear and fatigue.  released August 27, 2021


07. Todd Snider - Handsome John | First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder
“After my last album Agnostic Hymns, I felt like I was out of ideas and I just didn’t know where to go next,” Snider says. “I tried to study music by other people, and come to this record hoping that I’d have something new to say. I wanted to do what I was calling ‘funk in back and busking up front, with White Album-y shit scattered about.’ I had done a lot of listening to Parliament and James Brown and lots of reggae music, too. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’ve been trying to think of this sound all my life. This is the closest I’ve come to thinking, ‘Man, I don’t know that I’ve heard anything like this before.’”
Although Snider is broadly speaking an americana artist, the record is described as “more funk than folk, more Sly Stone than singer-songwriter, its fatback-style grooves, full of ghost notes and disparate syncopated elements, slither and slide around Snider’s acoustic guitar with caduceus-like precision.”
Amidst the groovier, more playful songs are two sombre centerpieces about mortality –  ‘Sail On, My Friend’ and ‘Handsome John’ – the latter a gorgeous tribute to John Prine.  Nobody was as important to Snider as a friend and mentor.
Snider says: “I started singing that song about him almost right after he died. Nobody had ever been kinder to me, more vulnerable with me. He’d take the time to sit down and generously explain something that he believed was not serving you. I was young when I met John, so I’m embarrassed to tell you that the lecture that I got from him was a painful one, but it saved my life. It changed my songs completely. I remember I was withdrawing on a plane, and he said, ‘You’re doing this wrong.’ And I had seventeen songs, and he was the only who’d heard them, and he said, ‘You’ve got two songs here.’ And I said, ‘What about the others? And he said, ‘Yeah, let’s talk about those.’ Those conversations changed everything about the way I approached my life. People don’t want to tell everybody what the therapist said, so I’ll leave it there. But very compassionately, he said, ‘Here’s why you’re not happy.’ Of all the people I know who wrote songs and sang, he was the happiest and the one who’d most dialled the troubadour life in and made peace with it. I loved him.”  released April 23, 2021


08. Saint Sister - Oh My God, Oh Canada | Where I Should End.
“Oh My God Oh Canada is about the intricacies within your most cherished and complicated relationships. It’s about not knowing where the line is, finding yourself on the wrong side of it and spending months trying to find your way back to the right place. It’s about saying too much and at the same time, nothing at all, giving too much of yourself in one moment but not showing up when you’re needed most I wrote it about wanting to be a better friend, but knowing I never would be.” Hailing from the north of Ireland, Morgana MacIntyre (Belfast) and Gemma Doherty (Derry) met in Dublin in 2014. Both had graduated from the same college that summer and stayed in the city to pursue music.  released June 25, 2021

09. Teddy Thompson & Jenni Muldaur - Teddy & Jenni do Porter & Dolly: A Tribute to the Duets of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton | 4-track digital EP
The first of three EP's honouring the great music duet partnerships. Released by producer & multi-instrumentalist David Mansfield. He says that "The Thompson/Muldaur classic country duets project, grew out of his pandemic-fueled creativity. “I had to--and wanted to--make my own work when the biz was shut down,” says Mansfield. “And I went down the rabbit hole listening to the NPR podcast Dolly Parton's America.”
Teddy Thompson was the first guest on the streaming Fallout Shelter concert series I did during the pandemic. It all just seemed perfect. In fact, the Porter & Dolly tracking session was an episode of the concert series. It went so well that expanding it seemed like a great idea.”
“I’ve been a big Porter-Dolly fan for years, and this [project] is a combination of knowing that Jenni has always had an affinity for Dolly’s music, and Teddy has a real soft spot for hard country-western. He made a straight country-western album of his own [Up Front and Down Low] and I toured with him on that.”
“It’s something of a ‘preservation mission’ for all concerned,” concludes Mansfield. “I strongly feel this is stuff that is fast receding into the distant past--and it shouldn’t be.”  released on May 21, 2021

10. Noah Gundersen & Phoebe Bridgers - Atlantis | A Pillar Of Salt
This track is from US singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen latest album, ‘A Pillar of Salt’. The sombre track sees Gundersen grappling with regret and sorrow with Bridgers over an understated indie folk arrangement. “It’s overdramatic, yeah, I know / Somebody cast me in a TV show / Where I play an addict, a drunken romantic / Always reaching for another drink,” they sing in its chorus.  released October 8, 2021

11. Amethyst Kiah - Fancy Drones | Wary + Strange
With an unforgettable voice that’s both unfettered and exquisitely controlled, the Tennessee-bred singer/songwriter expands on the uncompromising artistry she most recently revealed as part of Our Native Daughters, an all-women-of-color supergroup whose Kiah-penned standout “Black Myself” earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best American Roots Song and won Song of the Year at the 2019 Folk Alliance International Awards. Kiah’s songwriting and sound is a raw yet nuanced examination of grief, alienation, and the hard-won triumph of total self-acceptance.  released on June 18, 2021

12. Charlie Worsham - Fist Through This Town | Single
In a press release, Charlie Worsham recounts how the song "fell onto the page late one solitary night in a little house I used to rent on Lillian Street ... fueled by whiskey and a season of frustration, watched over by a painting of George Jones hanging on the wall, illuminated by the glow of hand-me-down lamps." "I think we all go through those times when it feels like the world is against us, and that’s especially true for anyone who dares to chase down their dream," Worsham reflects. True, "Fist Through This Town" could apply to anyone facing a hurdle in their career or personal life, but for Worsham, the song, he says, "was the first time I got that honest with myself about my anger." "My hoe is that this song can be rocket fuel for everyone else out there struggling to will a dream into existence," Worsham adds.  released April 17, 2021

LINK pt. 1


  1. This is awesome. Thanks so much. Is there a Part 2 available?

  2. Please ignore my stupid comment about Part 2. Helps if I read.

  3. Thanks for the reminder! It will be up this week