Here it is, the long-awaited list of the best albums of 2019. It has been a really great year for music. We heard from a couple of deceased legends in Harry Nilsson and Leonard Cohen, were treated with new records from Texas Honky Tonk legends Jack Ingram, Corb Lund, and Dale Watson, and bright lights shone for the first time with a bevy of new artists to discover including the one name wonders Lizzo and Yola.
Rock is not dead with White Reaper, Drugdealer and Balck Country Communion all inviting us to a party like it’s 1979. And of course, the singer-songwriter is back. The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, is back and better than ever and Rock is the New Roll favorite Tom Russell gave us a history lesson in 11 songs with October in the Railroad Earth.
This year we will be releasing our top 100 list 10 tasty gems at a time, so sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy the ear-pleasing top 100 records of the year.
100. Pip Blom – Boat
Fervent fans of the Indie Rock scene of the ’90s, the Dutch band Pip Blom has released their most fully realized effort to date. Sonically excellent lead singer Pip Blom sounds a bit liked an escaped Runaway. The guitar pop on this one is the next level. If you are looking for a rambunctious romp through a 90’s Post Punk garden this is your jam.
99. Liz Brasher – Painted Image
This one is likely to be on the list of best debut albums of the year. With vintage Dusty Springfield, old school grooves mixed with contemporary Blues swirling throughout there is a definite new age feel to the record to complement the vintage sounds. “Cold Baby” sounds like Otis Redding’s long lost sister.
98. The Steel Woods – Old News
This Americana and Outlaw Country by way of Southern Rock band is the real deal. The opening couple of riffs on the lead-off song, “All of These Years” will have you digging out your old Lynyrd Skynyrd records, and if that’s not enough, their cover versions of “Whipping Post” along with Petty’s ” Southern Accents” will direct your attention to the music that these guys discovered when they were growing up.
97. Justin Townes Earle – The Saint of Lost Causes
Steve Earles’s Son Justin Townes Earle is back with another solid set of introspective songs. This time, turning to more expansive road themes instead of the deeply person familial portraits he shared on his last two records, the results are equally impressive.
96. Joan Shelley – Like The River Loves The Sea
This record is a slow burn. After one listen you will go, ok, Joni Mitchell for the new millennium. After a second listen you will think there is something a bit deep going on here. And, after a third listen, you will be putting this record on your own personal best of the year lists. This record is sensual, provocative and alarming all at the same time.
95. Madison Cunningham – Who Are They Now
It seems appropriate that Madison Cunningham would eventually land on the Verve record label. Her nuanced and sophisticated guitar playing, as well as her vocal delivery, will remind you of Joni Mitchell in her prime. The songwriting and pop sensibilities are pure Karla Bonoff.
94. Garrett T. Capps – All Right, All Night
If Townes Van Zant was just a little less screwed up and depressed, he might have been Garrett T. Capps. All killer, no filler the title track is great, and songs like “Sunday Sun” and “Babe, I’ve Got To Go” are quite possibly even better.
93. Samantha Fish – Kill or Be Kind
Six albums in, and her first on Rounder Records, Samantha Fish is still somewhat of an unknown quantity. Whether she is laying down a greasy blues riff or belting out a Soul screamer, Samantha is a Swiss Army knife of talent. And, and if there is a musical God, her new record should land her on the music radar right alongside Beth Hart and Bonnie Raitt.
92. Elles Bailey – Road I Call Home
Finally, Elles Baily has a proper release under her belt. Part Blues, some Country, all very cool, Elles Bailey is on the verge of stardom. After touring with Eric Gales and garnering high billing on several festival circuits this one just might be the breakthrough she so richly deserves.
91. Daddy Long Legs – Lowdown Ways
If Little Walter was in the Stray Cats you might get Daddy Long Legs. Just listen to “Mornin’ Noon & Night” and tell me I’m wrong. This record is a smasher from “Pink Lemonade” all the way to “Ding Dong Dang.” Old-School meets New-School in all the best of ways on this one.