D.C.'s best alt-country albums of 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 3:24 PM


"Jelly Roll"

Frontwoman Lissy Rosemont's bright and rough vocals give Junior League its signature sound. And on this album, the band makes good use of the tuba, fiddle, banjo, guitar and unexpected melodic turns. It sounds like a train wreck nearly averted, but it's all part of Junior League's charm.


"Written On"

Victor Wooten, the bass player for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, is Kayte Grace's cousin, but Grace, a senior at Columbia University from Silver Spring, is a talented musician in her own right. She writes great pop songs with smart lyrics and a country feel, and her first full-length album, "Written On," is an impressive debut.



Natalie York's soulful and warm vocals are the main draw on her debut album. The Vienna native has a sophisticated palette that incorporates elements of bouncy R&B into her acoustic-based songs. When her songwriting catches up to her obvious musical talents, her career should really take off.



Northern Virginia native Chris Eldridge plays guitar for this alt-bluegrass band formed by former Nickel Creek frontman Chris Thile. But this is not your grandpa's bluegrass. "Antifogmatic" is at times harsh and dissonant; at times fun and pretty. These guys like to play around with their sound, and they have the world-class chops to pull it off.


"A Minor Spell"

The Bob Dylan influence is obvious in Mark Charles Heidinger's emotive, honest and mellow songs on this organic, rootsy E.P. His melodies shine while Rose Guerin's beautiful, strong harmonies back him up.

- Moira E. McLaughlin

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