Published Jan 28, 2010Exclaim! Readers' Favourite Country and Folk Albums of 2009:
1. Taylor Swift
2. Neko Case
3. Timber Timbre
4. Great Lake Swimmers
5. Monsters of Folk
6. Tim McGraw
7. Corb Lund
8. Carrie Underwood
9. Keith Urban
10 (tie). Dan Mangan
10 (tie). Cuff the Duke
1. Taylor Swift Fearless (Universal)
"Music to listen to when my girlfriend does not feel like rock."
Dave MacLean, Toronto, ON
"Didn't like her at first, but then her songs were catchy and now I love playing her music all the time! Love 'Romeo and Juliet.'"
Tanya Maibroda, Montreal, QC
"Has built her music perfectly to relate to a wide-range of listeners. From the 13-year-old girls who are looking forward to their first days in high school to the 30-some-odd year-old women who can reminisce life when they were younger or are still living some of the experiences. A top-notch album all around."
Jeremy King, Ottawa, ON
"I thought this was a great album for someone who likes crossover country."
Janice Cournoyer, Lorette, MB
"Not even Kayne can keep this young lady from being a star."
Ken Robinson, London, ON
2. Neko Case Middle Cyclone (Anti)
"I love this woman. She is a very strong songwriter. She is also beautiful and I want to marry her."
Jean-Philippe Mawson, Vancouver, BC
"It didn't seem like folk music had a much of a chance this year with most of the year's winners choosing to bury themselves in washed out tape hiss and shoegazer fuzz. However, Neko Case wrote an album that proves good songwriting can't be forgotten in a sonically hazy year. Middle Cyclone was an accomplishment for Case, by proving she still has what it takes to make a great album, but it was also proof that folk music is still a powerful engine. Neko Case lets me know I can still feel something, even when it only comes from a six string."
Chris White, Dundas, ON
"More experimental than country. Amazingly unique and nearly unclassifiable. Exceptionally talented lady and group of musicians."
Eda Ataergin, St. Catharines, ON
"More neck tingling music - nobody does it better."
Eric Rumble, Oshawa, ON
"While I loved the more trad-country releases by Case, the sound and structure of this record are more timeless than anything she's released. Great tunes, too."
Kevin O'Brien, Kitchener, ON
"Music crush aside, this album completely displays the talent that is Neko Case. I've always considered myself more of a music guy but lyrically on Middle Cyclone she's on top of her game."
Michael Detto, Toronto, ON
"One of the best albums of the year in any genre by far. With each release I think she's topped herself, but she improves by leaps and bounds on every CD. Middle Cyclone is beautifully written, lyrically and musically. I'm still discovering new things on it, and as usual Neko's amazing voice is at the forefront."
Josee Lacroix, Gatineau, QC
3. Timber Timbre (Out of This Spark)
"The perfect soundtrack for burying someone alive."
Adrian Pratt, Toronto, ON
"Great album that is severly under appreciated."
Andrew Reynolds, Albert Bridge, NS
"Haunting, macabre, beautifully dark. Easy terms to throw around, however tres apropos for Timber TImbre. Sounding a lot like a distant third cousin of M. Ward. Yes let the name dropping begin. Whatever comparisons used, this dude has a knack for conjuring goose bumps and introspection."
Adam Harrison, Regina, SK
"There are few albums that balance reverence for the old with the freshness of the new so well. He's created a stunning atmosphere and done what countless music fans/musicians wish they could do."
Shaun Weadick, Montreal, QC
"I put this on around midnight just as i was about to sleep, but then I listened to it three times in a row. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Felt like someone was haunting me. I've listened to it almost daily since then."
Darryl Brant, Toronto, ON
"Like a bluesy goth band mixed with Tom Waits. Great lyrics and very original."
Scott Breese, Scarborough, ON
"I heard from someone that Taylor Kirk said every song on this album is about revenge. I'd like to believe this is true."
Adam Medley, Toronto, ON
4. Great Lake Swimmers Lost Channels (Nettwerk)
"Continues a nice progression from Ongiara, adding other layers and sounds yet still retaining the haunting songwriting and vocals."
Jean-Philippe Veilands, Pickering, ON
"This album defined 'transcendent' in 2009. By the third song, you know you're listening to an instant classic, and there are nine more tracks still to hear."
Nigel Moore, Winnipeg, MB
"This bands evolution has been amazing, so much different from their self-titled, much more polished, much more organized."
Matthew Smith, Brooklin, ON
5. Monsters of Folk (Shangri-La)
"Great album by the super group. I can only hope that they keep going after this great effort."
Jean-Francois Seguin, Ottawa, ON
"The MOF record just blew me away, and it's not often that a 'supergroup' actually works - hell, the more I listen to Them Crooked Vultures, the more I'm kinda disappointed (and I'm very shocked to even admit to it). I also loved the Devendra Banhart record, which could be placed into a few categories here, or the Julian Casablancas record which sounds like urban country. Does Little Joy count as folk? It was brilliant also."
Dave Syrie, Mississauga, ON
6. Tim McGraw Southern Voice (Curb)
"Good songs with lots of beat as well as provocative lyrics."
Georgia Bell, Gold River, BC
7. Corb Lund Losin' Lately Gambler (New West)
"Great album even for people who don't necessarily like country or folk music, however, since I found out he ripped off Canadian legend Stan Roger's 'The Idiot' for his 'I Want To Be In The Cavalry' track, I've found it harder to full appreciate Corb."
Mac Fairbairn, Vancouver, BC
"Not as strong as his last album, but still a unique Canadian voice."
David Peplinski, Waterloo, ON
"Lund takes country back to music about people rather than whiny corny Nashville pap."
Terry Labach, Waterloo, ON
"Stepping away from the heavy imagery of his last effort, Corb releases an album that is accessible in a good way. While there are cheesy songs to satisfy the masses, he also delves into experimentation. Ranging from the Spanish flavor gunfighter ballad to a risky look at the raping of Alberta by the mining and oil industries (who make up a large portion of his fan base), the album portrays the things that made the band popular, while not being afraid to experiment. As a fan since the smalls days, my heart hurt for him when I heard the sad songs written for Deb. From a guy who doesn't write love songs, he certainly excels. These are more powerful than the average Nashville fodder."
Dustin Blumhagen, Galahad, AB
8. Carrie Underwood Play On (Arista)
"Some surprisingly good tracks like 'Change' and 'Someday When I Stop Loving You' make this my choice."
Harrison Fine, Toronto, ON
"I like the new contemporary feel of this album."
Laurie Friesen, Landmark, MB
"I love her voice and that she sticks to the genre of country!"
Jodie Hendren, Regina, SK
9. Keith Urban Defying Gravity (Capitol)
"Wow! Lots of potential hits. 'Only You Can Love Me This Way' is great but Keith didn't write it."
Trev Schwan, Pembroke, ON
"A wonderful mixture of country, rock and folk."
Mark Peterson, High Prairie Alberta
"His music is amazing. His new album is even better because he's got his hunnie and new baby for inspiration."
Belinda Skuta, Welland, ON
"I have always been partial to country/rock. Good tunes (and I understand the words - mostly)."
Irene Dalzell, Winnipeg, MB
10 (tie). Cuff the Duke Way Down Here (Noble)
"Yet another great album by the always engaging Cuff the Duke. Trading in some of their louder tendencies on this album for more harmonies and outright beauty."
Ryan Montemurro, Calgary, AB
"Really nice album. Great Cuff the Duke feel."
Melissa Bhagwandin, Toronto, ON
"Mellower than their last release, but still a great record."
David Kalviainen, Banff, AB
"Cuff the Duke's fourth studio album, Way Down Here, is potentially their strongest thus far. They seem to be really getting into their element, allowing their wide array of instruments and sounds to blend together smoothly instead of playing off of one another."
Alex Carter, Toronto, ON
10 (tie). Dan Mangan Nice Nice Very Nice (File Under Music)
"Mangan's unorthodox vocal phrasing and intense passion turn what could have been merely a great folk record, and turn it into something much deeper and more emotionally affecting."
Adam Burns, Sydney, NS
"Dan's a great guy, making some great music. I used to run a youth retreat in Vancouver, and we got him to do music for us a few times before he really took off. I didn't even know how lucky we were, at the time; while he's only improved with age, he started off pretty incredible, what he's put out in this album utterly shows why he's made it this far."
Thomas Saxon, Waterloo, ON
"Great album, full of melody and soul, great for those long drives."
Lucas Kitchen, Victoria, BC