**Updated 01.05.13 after listening deeper to some of the late-year releases.
1. Jason Isbell – Southeastern
2. Holly Williams – The Highway, Brandy Clark – 12 Stories, and Ashley Monroe – Like a Rose (tie)
5. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
6. Trent Dabbs – The Way We Look at Horses
7. Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer, Different Park
8. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
9.  The Head & the Heart – Let’s Be Still
10. Laura Marling – Once I Was an Eagle
11. Leagues – You Belong Here
12. Charlie Worsham – Rubberband
13. The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars
This was a pretty fantastic year in music, all the way around. Even mainstream artists made some cool efforts. Cuts by everyone from Justin Timberlake to Keith Urban have made various playlists for me in 2013. While I can’t even be bothered to listen to Robin Thicke or Miley Cyrus, that little Taylor Swift caught my ear with her roots-tastic rendition of “Red” with Vince Gill, Allison Krauss, Sam Bush, and others on the Country Music Awards. It was the first time I listened to one of her songs in its entirety… and repeatedly. (It was also the first time I watched the CMAs.)
All in all, the Americana genre really, REALLY came to life this year with stunning releases from Jason Isbell, Holly Williams, Kacey Musgraves, and so many more that couldn’t fit into my top 13 — like Julie Lee and Robbie Fulks. Though I have grown to love Sheryl Crow’s official foray into country music — Feels Like Home — it also didn’t make the cut. I blame “Waterproof Mascara” in all its overwrought glory. (I will always love Sheryl and support whatever she does, but I do question why anyone would take career advice from the brain trust behind “Accidental Racist.” Yeah, I’m looking at you, Brad Paisley.)

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