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2019 | Steve’s Best of the Year

Before we dig in, I wanted to express a humble thanks to you, dear reader, for following the adventures of the Music Savage gang on a weekly basis. We wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for you and your attention and love are truly appreciated.

As the title of suggests, I’ve once again compiled a list of the albums that carried me through the year and laid them out—in no particular order—below. In an effort to not bore you, I’ve also used my beloved #50WordReview style to get you to the meat of the post faster while still being able to express a bit about the album.

I’m sure some of the entries will be commonplace when compared to other lists, but I’m sure a few of the others will be less so. I hope that—if you haven’t already—you’ll give them all a chance. And if you dig them at all, please get out to see live music and support the artists directly. Not only is it possible that seeing live music may help you live longer, I can guarantee you it helps your favorite musicians live longer. Win/win.

One last thing, if you’re looking for a lengthy list of songs (8h + 9m of songs, actually,) from this year that you may or may not already love, feel free to check out and follow the playlist below:

OK, on to the listicle…


The LPs


Gold Past Life — Fruit Bats

If you listen to a band for 18 years, you’re bound to have more than “A Lingering Love” for them. With Gold Past Life, Fruit Bats reach new heights that have significantly increased not only their quiver of amazing songs, but also their fan base. See you on the rail.


Terms of Surrender — Hiss Golden Messenger

As MC Taylor’s ability to express poignant and meaningful subjects continues to grow more concise, the musicians who make up the band that supports him continues to expand in depth and breadth, creating pure, musical joy. Call it “Dad Rock” or “Americana.” Call it whatever you want. Just listen up.


Walk through Fire — Yola

In a very short time, the secret that is Yola got out. With the release of Walk Through Fire (three Grammy nominations,) the former back-up singer stepped clearly into the spotlight. Soulful lyrics, a killer sound, and a voice that makes even Sir Elton stand up and applaud. Take note.


Texas Piano Man — Robert Ellis

Speaking of Sir Elton, what would his music be like if he lived in Texas, loved smoking, abhorred passive aggressiveness, wore strictly white suits, and had a penchant for consuming a specific bubbly water with lime? You can get a pretty good idea by listening to Ellis’ Texas Piano Man.


Illiterate Light — Illiterate Light

It sometimes still amazes me the joyful noise that two individuals can make. Illiterate Light first grabbed my attention through pure energy then slowly and surely drew me in with a combination of influences that struck the exact right chords. “Sometimes Love Takes So Long,” but it’s usually worth it.


The Valley — Charley Crockett

I still can’t quite tell you exactly what draws me so quickly to Charley Crockett’s music. It could be the drawl, the soulfulness, the swinging tempos, or the stories told. Most likely it’s all of the above, combined to paint the picture of a more-than-colorful life spent on the road.


Line of Light — David Wax Museum

It’s no secret that David Wax Museum have an amazing talent for bridging cultures and putting on amazing shows, but their 2019 release pushes them to a new level. An album full of songs that would fit just as well on a soundtrack as they would on top 40 charts.


Thousand Dollar Dinners — Matt Sucich

I’ve become such a fan of Sucich’s music, he was my second most listened to artist this year. With each listen, songs that are—at their core—simple and personal, transform into universal themes. Chances are you’re not very familiar with Matt Sucich’s work. That should change as soon as possible.


Better Oblivion Community Center — Better Oblivion Community Center

What do you get when you take two indie heroes and put them in the studio together? In some cases, probably a pure disaster, but in this case, you come out with one of the best albums of the year. Here’s hoping this is just the beginning of this ride.


Kiwanuka — Michael Kiwanuka

Soul has many faces, but put my feet to the fire to choose one representative from today’s charts—Kiwanuka would be it. On his latest release, he continues to explore the harsh realities of living in our world with the vision and beauty of such legends as Withers and Redding.


The Singles


“Trouble Don’t Follow Me” — Christopher Paul Stelling


“I Am a Mountain” — SONTALK


“Westward Bound” — Emily Scott Robinson


“Let Love Run the Game” — Daniel Norgren


“How to Love You Today” — Son of Cloud


“Stars of Longing” — Andrew Combs


“St. Augustine” — Briston Maroney


“Heartbreaker” — Jonathan Something


“Get Out And Get It” — Devon Gilfillian


“Loving You” — Ian Noe


“Sisyphus” — Andrew Bird


“The Wolves” — Mandolin Orange


“Happy Reunion” — Colter Wall


“Oh No!” — Josiah and the Bonnevilles


“F.L.Y.” — Taylor Ashton


“Baby” — Francesca Blanchard

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