Totally Biased Top 100 Australian Country Albums of All Time – (well,in rough order)

This was the toughest list that I have had to put together. I have promised it for a while, if nothing else, it may get people curious to try out some of the albums on here. I had to leave out lots of favourite artists and albums and I tried to look at the albums from a few perspectives. I chose albums that were not “Greatest Hits”, that would have added another 4,000 to the list. I had to look at them a bit critically and make sure that they were balanced albums. I chose singer/songwriters generally over people recording other people’s songs, though there are a few covers here. I tried to cover a few styles and I wanted to pick albums where every song was great….not just half the album or where all the songs were just “good”. There are some current albums, like Andrew Swift’s album that I am sure will hit this list one day. A lot of these albums have been played thousands of times and I actually have them on cassette or record, they have been part of my life for that long. I didn’t go through all of my 6,000 cassettes so I am sure I have left off some! A lot of these albums have stood the test of time for me. They are albums that I play over and over and I never get tired of them. It was hard choosing a Troy C-D album…..I like a lot of them, same with Adam Harvey, Luke O’Shea, etc. Some of them naturally popped into my head, I didn’t have to think about them too much. The order is not exact, bar from the first 10, they are just my 100 favourites, I guess. I am sure this will change again.

So here goes.

  1. Family Tree – Melinda Schneider.  I have said this before, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise! One of the most balanced albums of all time. It has some very personal, emotional songs and some funny ones and some tongue in cheek ones. Yes, Melinda is one of my favourite people but in all honesty, I have dissected this album many times and I really can’t fault it.
  2. Bottle Tree Lane – Brendon Walmsley. Again, this one is an amazing mix of songs and Brendon’s vocals are never better than they are on here. Probably the album that I have played most over the years.
  3. 3 – Amber Lawrence. This album ironically, is at 3!  I love this album so much. It has some beautiful songs on it and it really is a treasure, like its maker
  4. From The Bottom of A Well – Brad Butcher. This album won a lot of 2017 Kazzies and I have praised it endlessly on Social Media. I think that it is an album which people love no matter what kind of music they follow. I think this album will go down in Australian Music History as one of the finest albums ever written. Brad Butcher’s vocals are awesome.
  5. Michael Carr – Michael Carr – The most unoriginal title of an album, but one of the finest in Australian Country Music.  Without Michael Carr and Allan Caswell, we may not have many singer/songwriters in this country in our genre. The songs that they haven’t written, they have co-written or they have inspired many songwriters to write. It is hard to split this top ten for the same reason – they are pretty all darn near perfect.
  6. Hell Breaks Loose – Shane Nicholson – I love all Shane’s music, but this was the album that made him shine most. I play this so much that my neighbours know the words to every song. Shane Nicholson songs are complex, multi-layered and thoughtful. They are often the hardest to review because to do them justice, you have to study them hard. The study is worth it.
  7. Sweet Rebecca – Beccy Cole. I have all Beccy’s albums and there are a couple on here, and in a perfect world, I would have loved to fit a few more in. She is also the artist that I have seen the most in concert. This album is her most balanced. It has a bit of everything, like her concerts have. She makes you laugh and she makes you cry and she makes you think. Legend.
  8. The Happiness Tree – 2 album set – Darren Colston – This is a double treat. There is an album of Darren’s most loved songs and then there is an album of new songs. Darren is one of our most underrated singer/songwriters. He has one of the most unique and beautiful voices in Australia and he can write a damn fine song. This is a wonderful collection. A good introduction to his music for the L plater.
  9. Frontier – Craig Stewart – After constant nagging from a certain fan, Craig is working on a follow up to this album. It is a very clever album. Each song depicts an event or era in Australia’s History. As it only takes you up to a certain time, it was only fair that another album should be written! It is a beautifully crafted album which I think every Aussie should have in their collection. Craig has a fantastic voice, particularly for songs of this nature. It is a rare treat.
  10. Rules For Love – Allan Caswell. There are a few more well known Caswell albums on this list, but this one gets the number 10 slot chiefly because it holds my favourite Caswell song, Stolen Roses. It has some great duets on here and some of Sir Allan’s more romantic songs. A gem.
  11. What We Know Now – The April Family. I have listened to music my whole life and no album has surprised me as much as this album did. I knew Michael from his association with Karl Broadie and knew his name around the traps. When I was waiting outside the Tamworth Town Hall in 2017, to go into Country Music Cares, this exotic young lady was walking in. We don’t get many women looking like that around Tamworth. It was a face that I was going to remember, but not just for how cool she looked amongst us average looking denim wearing folks. Then I met them inside during the break….Kylie, Casey and Michael. “We have a new album coming out this year. ” Then I bought this album that they had, without hearing anything, not realising that this was the “new album”. The rest, as they say, is history. I have seen them live a few times now, and they know how much I love them. Three very different folks who have produced one of the best albums in Australian Country Music history.
  12. Sideshow – Michael Bryers. If the last album was my biggest surprise, this album was the least surprising for me. I knew that it was going to be great because for about 6 years, I had been hearing every track on the album at gigs. Finally, we were rewarded with this amazing album. It was worth the wait.
  13. Queen of Boomtown – Gretta Ziller This woman could sing the phone book. She has the most amazing voice and she writes songs which are all very different and she covers just about all of the 79 types of country music. I call her the Queen of Melbournetown and she is. She is one of the hardest working, versatile performers in country music and this album is genius.
  14. The Wreckage – Melody Moko The woman of many last names has many talents. This fine album produced by her husband and magnificent muso, Michael Muchow, and another awesome talent, Catherine Britt, is a masterpiece. The songs are incredible and Melody is in fine form. One of the best albums of the last few years and a very underrated one.
  15. Cry Like A Man – Anne Kirkpatrick – The girl who would be Queen, our Queen Anne. How could she miss? From one of Australia’s most famous families, let alone Australian Country Music’s famous families, Anne was either going to sink or swim. Not only did she swim, she swam a marathon, and she still is doing that. She has been a trailblazer for many Australian Country Music female singers and this album is one of the reasons why.
  16. Prodigal Son – Luke O’Shea – It is no secret that Lukie is one of my favourites and it is hard sorting out which album of his comes first, let alone deciding which ones fit into the 100. This one contains my second and third favourite Luke songs, so it was an obvious choice in the end. It probably contains more well known tracks than any of his other albums.
  17. Life and Breath – Wendy Wood – One of Australia’s finest songwriters and a woman with a voice that haunts and heartens, this album is just incredible. I did get a sneak peek to this one and I knew that it would be a beauty. Perhaps one of the surprises on this list to many, but listen to it and you will know why.
  18. Every Minute – Carter and Carter – Together with Allan Caswell, I think that they have just about taken out every award at Mildura, and this album (I own all of theirs) is my favourite. It does have my favourite Carter and Carter song on it, Candlelight and Kisses but it is just a good all ’round album and an incredibly uplifting one.
  19. Before Darkness Comes-A-Callin’ – The Weeping Willows – I had never seen a couple on film that have more chemistry between them than Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward until these two. This album is the album that won lots of Kazzies but more importantly, saw them skyrocket to huge success with Golden Guitar nominations and national and international acclaim. An amazing follow up to Til The North Wind Blows, which flew under the radar a bit but is also on this list.
  20. The Mountain – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes.  These guys can’t do any wrong in my book. Every album that they produce is amazing. This is a fine work of alt. country fabulousness and a well respected album amongst their peers.
  21. Listen To The Words – Luke O’Shea and the Medicine Wheel – The title track is my favourite Luke O’Shea song. This album is one of Luke’s finest and it was one of the first that I had heard from him. Still a favourite, though I have all of his albums.
  22. Cautionary Tales – Harmony James – One of the most beautifully written and polished albums on this list. The absolutely incredible talent that Harmony James has in producing this album is thankfully going to be released to us again this year for a long awaited new album. In the meantime, listen to this, it is food for the mind and music for the heart.
  23. More than meets the eye – Aleyce Simmonds  I love all of Aleyce’s stuff, but this album as a whole is her best. It has more variety, more style twists and it is a very honest and personal album. Deservedly the album that received so much acclaim.
  24.  There to Here – Drew McAlister – Drew’s first solo album and I still believe that it is his best. This album should have won him the GG for Best Male Vocal that year. At least he was nominated.
  25. A Good Place – Doug Bruce – Doug doesn’t make bad albums – every one of them is terrific. This is the one that I play the most.
  26. This Here Cowboy – Roo Arcus – I could listen to Roo all day. He is so easy on the ears. Roo is the real deal.
  27. Cowboys and Sunsets – Roo Arcus – I put these two together because I found it hard to split them. I usually put them on together on my stereo and they tend to blend together. They are like Siamese twins really…with cowboy hats on.
  28. Then There’s Me – Diana Corcoran Probably, technically, the best country female voice in Australia (when she is not living overseas!). This album is my favourite of hers, though I love them all. The girl from Parkes is doing great things overseas.
  29. Driver’s Seat – Tracy Killeen A wonderful near perfect album. One of the best and most underrated female talents in this country. Brave is one of my favourite songs.
  30. Wild One – Sovereign I came across this band by accident. One of the few country music acts in Australia that other people knew about before me. One of my most often played albums.
  31. Too Far Gone – Catherine Britt – One of our finest and bravest. Forever evolving and now a veteran of Australian Country Music, despite her young age and fresh outlook on life and her music. This is a classic.
  32. Legend – Mike Carr – Title says it all really. Then, I am totally biased. A truly amazing album. Mike has only done two solo albums. He is too busy helping everyone else out.
  33. Stories Through Time – Billy Bridge – One of the albums that started the ‘concept’ idea. The album has launched a thousand singles….well, it seems that way. A ripper of a story album.
  34. Till The North Wind Blows – The Weeping Willows – I go through moods where this is my fave Willows’ album and then other times when the other one is. I think overall, the one up a bit higher is a better album, but this one has a couple of my absolute faves on it.
  35. What’ll Happen To Me Now? Allison Forbes – Some people would argue that this is not really an album….I call it an EEP, and extended, extended play or a mini album. Close enough. Quality over quantity. Two of my favourite Australian Country Music songs on this little gem. Just an awesome little album.
  36. Butterfly – Susan Lily – Some of the best written personal songs on this album. An artist who just keeps getting better and this was an early offering. Amazingly versatile singer.
  37. I’m Stronger – Sandra Humphries – An artist who is retiring early gets both the next two spots. Not much between these two albums though they are very different on several levels. I think one kind of leads into the other.
  38. Walk in Circles – Sandra Humphries  See above!  Truly one of the finest singers in this country and many think that she is the best.
  39. Golden Road – Keith Urban – One of our greatest exports. I do like the early stuff best. This is one that he did half way through his career, probably one of the first big albums overseas. Still has some great songs on it.
  40. Sugar Talk – Adam Harvey I have all of Adam’s albums and this is my favourite. There are some that are nipping at its heels, but this does it for me.
  41. Warnings and Wisdom – Jen Mize – We adopted this gal from Vegas and I am so glad that we did. Such a wonderful album from first til last.
  42. 50 years in Oz – Allan Caswell – This album was co-written with many of Allan’s friends who also feature on this chart. It was a landmark album for Allan, as the title says but also because it was probably his most winningest album.
  43. Sing You Up – Luke O’Shea – The usual feast of fabulous songwriting from one of the leaders of the pack.
  44. Dusty Smiles and Heartbreak Cures – Catherine Britt – An early gem from one of the Queens of Australian country music.
  45. Foolish Things – Amber Joy Poulton – A.J, like Sandra Humphries has the ability of making a classic sound like something new and something new sound like a classic. This is a perfect example of that.
  46. Live at Lizottes – Beccy Cole – The first album that I put on when I am going on a long trip. It is like a little concert that you can take with you. The cd also had a dvd with it, doing just that, so it was a bonus.
  47. Camille and Stuie – Tahi – The finest effort from these two, though all of their stuff is great. Fabulous guitar playing from Stuie and beautiful vocals from Cam.
  48. Colin Buchanan – Edge of The Kimberley – I haven’t played this album for a while but I used to play it a lot. I recently put it back on and it has stood the test of time. Still an awesome album.
  49. December Moon – Tania Kernaghan – Still my favourite Kernaghan, and I can’t wait to see her in Tamworth this year. I just about played the silver colour off this album. Some of my favourite Aussie tracks on this one….it doesn’t get much more Aussie than this.
  50. Hard Light – Travis Collins – I have all of Trav’s albums and this is definitely his best.  Totally deserving of all the accolades that he received.
  51. Ricochet – Kristy Cox. I love all of her albums but this has the most variety. It shows her versatility.
  52. Stronger – Melinda Schneider – Melinda is at her best when she is writing about things that she has lived through. This is a wonderful album which has some strong and tough messages.
  53. Barricades and Brick Walls – Kasey Chambers – I have all of Kasey’s albums and I am very proud of what she has achieved. This is my personal favourite.
  54. Rattlin’ Bones – Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson – Together and alone, these two are hard to beat when it comes to Australian Country Music.
  55. Darren Coggan – The Wide Horizon – He records very few albums but they are all top notch. This won a swag of awards at Mildura and deservedly so. One of the most versatile artists in Australia.
  56. Albany – Jo Caseley – One of those artists whom you know very little about then want to buy everything that they have recorded. A very emotive album. Top shelf.
  57. Lighthouse – Ashleigh Dallas – Another album from country music royalty. One of the most dominant families in Australian Country Music and one of the most talented. Ashleigh is about to deliver a member of the 4th generation! Born with a fiddle in hand, no doubt! An incredible album from an artist who performs beyond her years.
  58. Roovolution – The Bob Corbett Band – We played this album a lot on community radio and with good reason. The Toyota Starmaker Winner produced his best album here.
  59. Rebel With A Cause – 8 Ball Aitken – I love 8’s albums but this remains my favourite, though his current one may give it a push one day.
  60. Out of The Blue – Anne Kirkpatrick – Many prefer this one over the one that I mentioned previously, but they are both great, just different.
  61. What we might be – Michael Waugh – One of the most honest songwriters around. This album made me laugh and made me cry. His latest album is pretty good too.
  62. Mexico – Allan Caswell – In time this one will rise higher. It is a labour of love with some of his mates from “Mexico” – Victoria and a few others. Prepare for a sequel.
  63. In This Life – Paul Costa – I had a Paul Costathon the other day to make sure that I was picking the right one. It just edged out another couple.
  64. Darren Colston – Darren Colston – A fabulous album by one of my favourite guys.
  65. Come By Chance – Darren Colston – I put these two together. We are lucky as a lot of the songs from these two albums are featured on The Happiness Tree album double, but I put these in to cover the songs that aren’t there.
  66. Livin’ The Dream – Dan Murphy – One of my go to albums, especially on a long trip. Countryas.
  67. Let Me In – Rick Hart – One of my more recent favourites, not only on stage and on record but also as a friend. Stay tuned. The best is yet to come.
  68. One of These Days – Mitchell Shadlow – I remember when this album was released, Anne Kirkpatrick thought he was the next big thing. There were a few hitches but he has returned to the fray. This was extra special.
  69. Gina Jeffreys – The Flame – A classic album if there ever was one. And she’s coming back.
  70. Holding My Breath – Adam Toms – Recently back in the saddle, all of Tomsy’s albums are cool. This one is special for me.
  71. Tea for Three – Saunders, Kane and Del – This was the Australian equivalent of Dolly, Emmylou and Linda getting together. An amazing album, beautiful songs and harmonies.
  72. There’s Another Way to Where You’re Goin’ – John Flanagan – Australia’s answer to James Taylor but songs with a distinctive Aussie flavour. Never one to mince words, this is an incredible album.
  73. Victim or the Heroine – Katie Brianna – This one could have gone a bit higher. An amazing singer/songwriter with so much to give. Wonderful album.
  74. Small Town Big Shot – Fanny Lumsden – A woman who has taken the Australian Country Music by storm. Incredible songs and vocals. Her shows are ones out of the box.
  75. Airborne – Kalesti Butler – An album that surprised everybody, a totally different shift in style for Kalesti but it was a winner. Critically acclaimed.
  76. Connie Kis – Connie Kis Andersen – Some wonderful songs and still one of the most played albums on community radio.
  77. Collide – Imogen Clark – Imogen is still very young, but she started younger!  An amazingly talented singer/songwriter from the first, this is her latest and best offering.
  78. True Believers – Troy Cassar-Daley – Hard to pick one, this one has most of my faves on it.
  79. Tales From A Suburban Housewife – Cathy Dobson – This one will go into the Hall of Fame one day. Such an inspirational person and singer/songwriter. A great mentor.
  80. If I Want To – Jasmine Rae – Another hard album to write, I’m sure but a magnificent piece of work and hopefully we will continue to hear from this amazing young lady.
  81. Can’t settle for less – Adam Harvey I could list all of Adam’s albums here, but I would have to kick out others!  Always gives albums that are a mix of fun and love and good times.
  82. I’ll Sing You a Song – Lloyd Clarke – another mini album. Such a wonderful songwriter and singer. I hope that Lloyd, Darren Colston and Craig Stewart get together one day and record something. I can hear it.
  83. Heart of sorrow – Lyn Bowtell – A woman who cracks me up one minute and makes me cry the next. Awesome talent with a big, fabulous voice.
  84. I’m Just A Song – Matt Scullion – Latest release from a veteran songwriter. He’s just one of the best. This is pretty well faultless.
  85. The Collective – Col Finley – A wonderful recording of lots of old and new songs, some done slightly differently. It is a celebration album and one worth celebrating.
  86. Life Gets In the Way – Rose Carleo – She’s more of a rocker these days, but this is what she does best. An exceptional album.
  87. City Bound Trains – Paddy McHugh – Love this album and everything on it. Every song means something and tells a great story.
  88. In the Shadow of the Mountain – Montgomery Church – This is a new favourite, pretty much sweeping most of my awards last year. I think that it will continue to grow in my heart.
  89. The Bad and The Beautiful – Rod Dowsett – Once a Tamworth regular, this fella can entertain everyone. Smile is one of my favourite songs ever, on the strength of that song alone, it makes it into my top 100, but there’s more!
  90. Faster – Liam Brew – This was my favourite album in the Kazzies a few years ago and still a fave. Looking forward to hearing some more music from Liam at Tamworth.
  91. Carpenter Caswell – Carpenter Caswell – Self titled collaboration which was a great hit in 2017. Combining two very talented Aussies to make a very special album.
  92. 1959 – Lee Kernaghan – I loved Lee’s earlier stuff. This remains one of my favourites, especially the title track.
  93. Dusty Sky – Dean Perrett – With bush ballads, heritage tunes and bluegrass really hitting its straps these days, this guy is one of the most consistent in all three. I love this album.
  94. Keep On Drivin’ – Benn Gunn – This album is a lot of fun. Drinking songs, ballads and a bit of cheekiness. A crowd pleaser.
  95. The Truth About Us – Seleen McAlister – She never has a bad record. She has had lots of ups and downs, the stuff that good country songs are made of. There is always honesty in her songs.
  96. This Corner – Travis List – If you want country, this is country. A fabulous album with a great mix of songs.
  97. Some Girls Quite Like Country Music – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes. This one could be anywhere on this list, as most of these albums could be, in the end, they are just my fave 100. And it was not easy.
  98. Sell My Soul – Sally-Anne Whitten – A great album from a Tamworth Sista.
  99. Believe – Aleyce Simmonds – A wonderful album from Aleyce. She doesn’t release many albums, but when she does, it is always a beauty
  100. Together with my guitar – Brendan Nawrocki – Another new favourite, the more I play it, the more that I like it.

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