The best albums of 2022: Willie Stratton’s Drugstore Dreamin’ | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Willie Stratton has been a fixture in Halifax's music scene since the 2010s.

The best albums of 2022: Willie Stratton’s Drugstore Dreamin’

Retro-feeling country rock for fans of Orville Peck and early Johnny Cash sees Stratton earn a spot on our list of the year’s best records.

It's been a big year in local music, with countless new releases from newcomers and scene veterans alike. As we look back on 2022, The Coast is naming its top 10 albums of the year (in no particular order). Peep the full list here.

I’m not alone in my love of Drugstore Dreamin’, the retro, country-rock album Willie Stratton released in 2022. In fact, fans of the album tally well into the thousands, as Stratton’s double Best of Halifax Readers’ Choice Award win—for best country artist and best folk artist, respectively—prove. Then there’s the Music Nova Scotia award for Americana/Bluegrass Recording of the Year that Stratton took home at the industry awards this November.

Now, it’s your turn to get into the hype. As the disparate awards named above show, Stratton isn’t one to be overly bound by genre—but part of what made Drugstore Dreamin’ his strongest album to date was tearing down the walls between the types of music he loves to deliver something that felt less tried-on and more lived-in.

The multiple ECMA nominated singer-songwriter’s latest immediately brings Sun Records-era Johnny Cash to mind, or a less-theatrical Orville Peck. Straddling two genres where authenticity is everything, Stratton’s stripped-back lyrics (and devotions to the details of each sound) prove him to be the genuine article. “The idea [with Drugstore Dreamin'] was to almost make a weird area in my brain where they co-existed with folk and surf rock and rockabilly. All those things I love, mix ‘em together,” Stratton told The Coast when his Best Of wins were announced.

The result? An old-fashioned vibe, twangy electric guitars and crooned choruses that rattle around your ears for days.

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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