Here we are again, folks. The end of another year where “no good music came out.” Or at least that something that seems to be said frequently. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not one of the people who believes that. You know that there was a TON of good music released this year, it’s just not spoon fed to you over commercial radio.
With that thought in mind, below is a list (in no particular order) of this year’s music that grabbed my ears by the face and wouldn’t let go. And since we’re all in a rush at this time of year, I’m once again adopting the style of the #50WordReview for each of the write-ups below.
Oh, and if you know a person who says the “no good music” thing, consider sending them a list of your own favs. Or send them my Best of (mostly) 2017 songs list and fill their musical coffers with another 9.21666667 hours of wholesome-ish entertainment. I recommend hitting shuffle.
OK enough babbling.
Be well, all. Here’s hoping ’18 is just a little bit less bananas than ’17, with just as much good music.
See ya in the pit!
Colter Wall — Colter Wall
It took all of about three notes out of his mouth for me to fall deep into a Colter Wall rabbit hole. The Canadian troubadour brings classic Country back with a badass baritone that will make your knees weak and your roof leak. Another Dave Cobb produced gem makes good.
Modern Pressure — Daniel Romano
With seven albums to his—and none of them alike—one of Romano’s efforts is bound to hit everyone. Modern Pressure’s retro sound, spot-on execution and tremendous writing make you feel as this album fell right out of the late 60s / early 70s and right into your lap.
Waiting On A Song — Dan Auerbach
I admit to being a fanboy, but this album deserves the praise. Certainly not the grungy rock n’ roll that brought him to our attention (this album probably closer to dad rock, if that’s a thing,) Auerbach has put together an album full of un-skippable songs for an older generation.
Canyons of my Mind — Andrew Combs
One of the first albums to make this year’s list, Combs’ third full-length album finds him doing more of the same while taking a completely different angle. The crooner bring his timeless voice to not only love songs, but also everything from the environment to politics. A sure-fire winner.
Purgatory — Tyler Childers
For every time I pushed Colter Wall on my friends, one of them would serve up a heaping of Childers right back. And I have to admit they were absolutely right. He’s the Yin to Wall’s Yang. Also, when Sturgill Simpson gets behind something, it’s usually best to take notice.
Free Days — Tall Tall Trees
In February 2017, when winter seemed destined to hold us in a never-ending frozen grip, Tall Tall Trees released this album full of sunshine, and hope for warmer days was reborn. The eight months taken to produce this album was well worth it for this banjo badass… and for us.
Tongue Tied — Earl
The Alaskan-born enchantress (Kate) Earl’s debut Tongue Tied combines jazz, swing, pop, and—dare I say—fun, in an album that should be on more year-end lists. You can sing to it, you can dance to it, you can **** to it. Above all, you can straight up enjoy it.
Keepsake — Elizabeth & the Catapult
There something about this album that makes it at once completely relatable and completely fantasy. Perhaps it’s the effortless melding of classical piano with looping vocals. Or the dreamlike tales that Elizabeth weaves directly into our everyday world. Or maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever it is, I’m completely hooked.
Does What He Wants — Matthew Logan Vasquez
Fatherhood does different things to different people. The arrival of Vasquez’s son certainly brought a whole lot of inspiration. Vasquez locks in with a collection of songs blending his present state of parenthood, good times making bad decisions and being stuck in the same old, same old. Rock n’ Roll.
From a Room: Volume 1 — Chris Stapleton
The secret has long been out, but that doesn’t mean his releases are any less worthy of note. On From a Room: Volume 1, Stapleton continues to pave the road to great Country music for one and all with whiskey-drenched songs about the everyday adventures of everyday Joes world wide.