Every year, the Nashville Scene polls 80 music critics around the country who write for a variety of publications. The products of all this polling are various Top 10 and Top 20 albums, songs, singles, etc. I don’t consider myself a country music fan–I never listen to country radio stations–but I’m surprised at how many groups and individuals I like are on the Top 20 album list. At Number One are the Dixie Chicks, and further down on the on the album list is Bob Dylan and Solomon Burke.
In addition to the lists, the Scene delivers commentary from many of the critics on various artists. Here are two comments I appreciated, both about Bob Dylan:
“I found way more interesting country music this year on Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour on XM Satellite than I did on any particular “country station” in my geography of choice. At the end of the day I end up thinking of country as “soul music for the culturally repressed” in this post-attention-deficit age, in a culture still trying to define itself, what it believes in, surrounded by the flotsam and jetsam of political destruction, senseless war and societal ruin.” —COREY DUBROWA, SEATTLE WEEKLY”
“Bob Dylan throws together a mish-mash of public domain blues lyrics, 19th century poetry and random observations, takes the writing credit for all of it, and croaks it out over a hot little rock ’n’ roll band. This is the country album of the year? Well, yeah. I can’t explain it, but I can’t stop listening to it.” —RICK MITCHELL, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PRESS