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The Best Albums of 2008 That No One Told You About
by Steve Circeo

If you're a fan of Americana or Texas music, you probably already know about the latest albums released last year by such musical luminaries as Chris Knight, Hayes Carll, Reckless Kelly, Micky and the Motorcars, James McMurtry, Eliza Gilkyson, Lucinda Williams, Alejandro Escovedo, Old Crow Medicine Show, and others. Because those guys and gals get all the press, we want to tell you about the best records that you may not have heard.

This year we've done a countdown in audio format, so you an actually hear a song from each of the albums, plus a couple of bonus tunes. All you have to do is click the play button on the ipod-looking thing to listen to our audio report by Americana music critic Steve Circeo.

We hope you'll listen to the report, but if you don't, here are the albums:

#1 Walter Hyatt - Some Unfinished Business, Vol. 1
Best album of the year from the man who died in 1996. Old tapes have Hyatt in fine voice and the various musical styles keep things exciting and fresh from start to finish. Simply a great record.

#2 Emory Quinn - The Road Company
A beautiful effort from the San Antonio band. Stunning musical arrangements back up engaging songwriting in a primarily Americana setting.

#3 Charlie Shafter Band - 17th & Chicago
Just plain good Texas country music. Shafter's sense of melody is remarkable. The song "Diamonds" is a true standout.

#4 Rebel Red - Sex Religion Politics
With a voice that sounds like a cross between Grace Slick and Jim Dandy Mangrum, Red, as the album title suggests, has something to say and says it well.

#5 Scurvy Otto & the Rickets - From Austin to Abbey Road
These guys set pop music back 40 years -- and I love it! Their sound is classic and fresh at the same time. Wow.

#6 The Dedringers - Sweetheart of the Neighborhood
Speaking of "classic and fresh," that describes The Dedringers, too, as they blend British Invasion sounds with Townes Van Zandt sensibility.

#7 Glambilly - Glambilly!
Hans Frank is alive and well in his post-10 City Run incarnation as Glambilly. Songs like "Bleed" and "Tar Tool" let us know that Frank has the chops to stay on top.

#8 Shurman - Waiting for the Sunset
Full of energy and meaningful songwriting, Sunset really rocks out. If you've never heard of Shurman, this record is a cool introduction to the band.

#9 Rodney Parker & Fifty Peso Reward - The Lonesome Dirge
Imaginative production complements beautiful songwriting on this record that definitely takes Parker to the next level.

#10 Eric Hisaw - Nature of the Blues
One of the top songwriters in Texas, Hisaw has flown under the radar far too long. "Shout Out Loud" is one of the best songs of the year.

The report also features music by Denice Franke and Mike Blackwell.

Did we miss something? Maybe we didn't get your record. Please mail your new releases to our PO Box and we'll give them a listen.

You can contact our TMT writers from our contact page.
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