At Rambling Ever On, we believe that music is important. Great music cuts through the noise and chaos of life and becomes a part of us. Challenging us. Inspiring us. Amazing us. A great song has a way of breaking down our defenses and speaking directly to our souls. Frustratingly, great music is sometimes, many times, hard to find. Never fear, we are here to serve. Below are five albums you might have overlooked in 2015.
Mumford and Sons – Wilder Mind
Remember several years ago when Mumford and Sons made the banjo cool? We all loved Sigh No More, right? Then, in 2015, they came out with another album and it sounded nothing like that first one. If Sigh No More introduced them to the world, Wilder Mind was their reintroduction. That’s not a bad thing, though. Wilder Mind stands on its own two feet. This time, Mumford went for a standard rock album and it works. It works because rock music goes really well with rage and rage is the lyrical driver. This line sums up the album: “I rage and I rage, But perhaps I will come of age.” Wilder Mind is all about the fallout. These young men are disillusioned with everything they assumed about love. Their brokenness is their inspiration for these songs. It’s not all depressing. The optimism of youth remains. The music and lyrics are a mix of anger and hope. My favorite songs are The Wolf, Ditmas and Only Love. Don’t be afraid of the lack of banjos. Give this album a try. – Brandon Atwood
Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
At Rambling Even On, we are generally not fans of country music. Boring, predictable music with dumb lyrics is far too often the norm for that genre and it is hard to get excited about that. Thankfully, Jason Isbell is none of those things. He is what country music ought to be. With his lyrics he creates memorable, believable characters, and while I don’t always agree with the decisions they make their journeys are fascinating. His music is a perfect blend of country, folk and rock. Standouts include – 24 Frames, Children of Children and Speed Trap Town. – Michael Lytle
Andrew Peterson – The Burning Edge of Dawn
I have already written 2,693 words on Rambling Ever On about this most deserving album. Bear with me as I write a few more. The Burning Edge of Dawn is magnificent. Musically, lyrically, thematically. It knocks it out of the park in every category. But I do need to offer a disclaimer: If you are accustomed to your music being positive, encouraging, and happy, then this album will likely prove challenging to you. Andrew Peterson writes about real life; not the fabricated, plastic, all-smiles life usually found on Christian radio. He asks tough questions that rarely have easy answers. Many times, they have no answers at all. He expresses doubts and fears in a way that is both relatable and brave. While his music is not tailor-made for Christian radio airwaves, if you give these songs a chance, they will reward you in ways very few other songs can. Every song on the album is worth your time, but The Sower’s Song, Be Kind To Yourself and Rejoice are great places to start your Andrew Peterson journey. – Phill Lytle
David Ramirez – Fables
Sometimes, some of the best songwriters go unnoticed below the surface. David Ramirez is one of those songwriters. I stumbled on Fables, his most current album, by accident. From the beginning I sat up and took notice of his raw honesty. That honesty can be disturbing, but confessions usually are. His style and lyrics are not mainstream by any stretch. Ramirez is more of a voice crying in the wilderness. It is a wilderness of substance abuse, relationship failures, struggling faith, and career doubt. The low, rumbling voice of this songwriter matches his themes and sad, country sound. If you’re thinking about listening, start with Harder To Lie and Rock, That Ain’t Love and a Hard Place. – Brandon Atwood
Ryan Adams – 1989
Ryan Adams is on fire right now. His prolific career spans nearly two decades, but the last two years have really been special. His 2014 self-titled release was one of the best in his catalog. On this record Adams decided to cover the entire Taylor Swift album 1989. Somehow he takes a collection of cheesy pop songs and transforms them into something poignant and beautiful. The Grammy’s honored Swift’s 1989 with album of the year. Too bad they picked the wrong one. Check out Welcome to New York, Out of the Woods and I Wish You Would. – Michael Lytle
If you are a Spotify user, we have included a playlist with some of our favorite tracks from each of these albums. Just click play to listen. Enjoy!