10 Best Country Albums of 2013

The ladies took the lead in Nashville

Robbie Fulks, 'Gone Away Backwards'
Courtesy of Bloodshot Records10/10

10. Robbie Fulks, 'Gone Away Backwards'

The Yankee singer whose country songs have seemed as much genre satires as reverent craft exercises (see "Fuck this Town") makes what might be his most seamlessly integrated set. It's mostly unplugged, rooted in bluegrass and old-timey styles, and beautifully sung. And it makes peace with a tradition that Fulks is now fully part of, Ivy League wit and all. "Can't tell I'm country? Just you look closer," he sings on the potent "That's Where I'm From," one of many songs Nashville songwriters could learn a thing or two from.