40 Best Country Albums of 2014

The greatest statements from the year's outsiders, small town heroes and American middle class

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Various Artists, 'Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985'
40
12/40

12. Various Artists, 'Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985'

This massive, ambitious 3-LP set is the first step in correcting the fact that there's been little exposure for folk and country from the folks who actually started the country. Culled from small-press LPs released from the 1960s to the 1980s and richly illuminated with photos and lengthy essays, this cratedigger collection documents a shamefully lost chapter of American musical history. A mix of soulful folkie testifying, native-language incantations, cross-cultural fusions, garage band honky-tonk, political testifying and life-on-the-reservation storytelling, it's stunning Americana from the original Americans. W.H.

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