Rock is the New Roll: The Top 100 Albums of 2019 (80-71)

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.

80. The Black Keys – Let’s Rock

After spending time apart from each other going back to 2014 Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are reunited and it feels so good. Blues, Garage, and Old Soul are still at the core of their sound, but this time around there is a Joie-de-vie amplification that seems to have the band re-energized.

79. The Magpie Salute – High Water II

High Water II, the appropriately titled sequel to High Water I, comes so close to sounding like vintage Black Crowes it might as well be a reunion record. And no, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Heavy on rockers and blues-boogie with an occasional acoustic interlude thrown in for good measure with Rich Robinson providing the guitar riffage. In the battle of the brothers Robinson for world domination, Chris definitely has some catching up to do.

78. Flying Colors – Love Letter

A Progressive Rock supergroup channeling their inner Beatles and ELO, Mike Portnoy, Steve Morse, and Neal Morse join singer Carey McPherson in a harmony drizzled dose of Sunshine Pop. The song “Love Letter” is definitely worth the price of admission alone.

77. Quaker City Nighthawks – Quaker City Nighthawks

Formed in Forth Worth in 2012, the Quaker City Night Hawks are constantly and consistently refining their sound. On their latest self-titled record, they mix funky rockers with piano-led ballads. On “Suit In The Back” they look back to when they were pulled over and arrested for the possession of marijuana concentrate.

76. Allison Moorer – Blood

You will be hard-pressed to listen to a more poignant record this year as Mrs. Hayes Carll presents a biographical record in conjunction with a book release later in the year. Having been raised by her sister Shelby Lynne after her father killed her mother and turned the gun on himself, the album, as well as the book, will take you on an emotional journey that will make you feel alive.

75. Goodbye June – Community Inn

Nashville’s favorite sons Goodbye June finally deliver what should be their breakout album. Full of anthemic Southern Blues Rock with more hooks than a season of Dangerous Catch, this just might be the Rock and Roll record of the year.

74. Miranda Lambert – Wildcard

With her latest album, Wildcard, Miranda Lambert seems to be walking on the wild side after a much-publicized public divorce. Ditching her old producer in favor of Jay Joyce who twirled the knobs for Brothers Osbourne, Brandy Clark, and Ashley McBryde, there seems to be a bounce in her step that wasn’t there before. There is a bit of Swamp Funk on “Holy Water,” and 80’s Rock on “Mess With My Head.” This is a diverse and textured record that will reward multiple listens.

73. Lucille Furs – Another Land

With a Magical Mystery Tour as your tour guide, Lucille Furs and Another Land will time warp you back to superspy Austin Powers groovy bachelor pad at the blink of a mellotron.

72. Jade Bird – Jade Bird

One of the British shining stars on the Americana Folk scene, on her debut record there are soaring pop epics the likes of “Side Effects,” introspective slow burners with “My Beauty” where she sounds like Melissa Etheridge in her prime, and on the low and slow “Does Anybody Know” her songwriting talents really shine. This one will be on heavy rotation for quite a long time.

71. Black Star Riders – Another State of Grace

With a more than solid follow up to 2017’s album Heavy Fire, this band born from the ashes of Thin Lizzy continues to place themselves on the mount Rushmore of bands that are saving Rock and Roll. The song “Don’t Let Me Down” is a distant cousin to Lizzy’s “Dancing In The Moonlight and is worth the price of admission alone.” The title track is Thin Lizzy meets Dropkick Murphy’s.

Rock is the New Roll: The Top 100 Albums of 2019 (90-81)

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.

90. Jeremy Ivey – The Dream and the Dreamer

Mostly known for his work with Buffalo Clover as well as his role as Mr. Margo Price, Jeremy Ivey is stepping out on his own in fine fashion. Here, his 60’s County-Pop flag is flying as he carries his Laurel Canyon vibe to what should be the start of a terrific solo career. “Diamonds back to Coal” is the cream of a stellar crop.

89. Black Pumas – Black Pumas

Hard to classify this group of Austin musicians. Rock, Soul, R&B with a hint of Tex Mex? Yep, Yes, and sure. The best we can come up with is that if Marvin Gaye fronted The Black Keys, and was based out of Tijuana, they would sound like these guys. Check them out for yourself.

88. Camila Meza – Ambar

A bonafide triple threat Camila Meza Sings plays exquisite guitar and writes most of the songs on her latest release, Ambar. Singing in both her native Chilean tongue as well as English, her George Benson, and Pat Methany influenced soundscapes with full orchestral accompaniment are delicately nuanced wonders.

87. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

And speaking of Jack White, The Raconteurs are back. This is notable mostly in that we get a Halleys Comet type appearance from the Power Pop genius Brendan Benson who inexplicably only shows up in Jack Whites’ side-piece band. The Ying to White’s Dirty Blues Yang. If you haven’t heard Benson’s 1996 album One Mississippi search it out.

86. Josh Ritter – Fever Breaks

Superbly backed by Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit, this record just might be Ritter’s best yet, easily his best in several releases. Every song is a cracker with Josh easing into each song like a hand in a glove.

85. Cody Jinks – After The Fire

With each successive record he releases Cody Jinks seems to channel Chris Stapleton more and more, and that is a very good thing. Now that he is back to being independent after a brief dance with Rounder Records, Cody delivers a solid set of Outlaw Country complete with Honky Tonk blazers and mellow ballads. Jinks blends the darkness with the light with a nimble touch and his Randy Travis Meets Garth Brooks croon is wearing very well on him.

84. BAILEN – Thrilled To Be Here

If you are a fan of the Laurel Canyon multiple harmony sound and groups like The Milk Carton Kids or the new Cactus Blossoms record then Thrilled To Be Here will be your new jam. Featuring fraternal twins Daniel and David Bailen along with their younger sister Julia, there is a First Aid Kit meets Dawes aura going on here with this impeccably produced record. There is even a dusting of Fleetwood Mac on “I Was Wrong.”

83. Janiva Magness – Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty

As big fans of Janiva Magness when she plays it straight, and here where she covers some of our favorite John Fogerty songs we are all in as well. Thankfully no “Centerfield” here, but with such afternoon delights as “Lodi” with Sam Morrow, Rock is the New Roll favorite “A Hundred and Ten in the Shade,” and a sublime version of “Have You Ever Seen The Rain, this one is a stone-cold winner.

82. Jimmy “Duck” Holmes – Cypress

Another stellar and eclectic release from the Nashville based Dan Auerbach studio, Easy Eye Sound, the outfit that brought you Yola, Dee White, and Shannon Shaw just to name a few. Now, with Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, we are introduced to one of the last living bluesmen. Mixing a fuller sound than you would expect, drawing in a full band that includes Marcus King on a couple of songs with just Jimmy and his guitar on others, the essence of a real Mississippi juke joint is on full display with every guttural vocal and every greasy guitar lick.

81. Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

This band hot fuzzes ferocious Post-Punk with a literate sensibility with a Clash, Meets The Waterboys, Meets The Pogues bombardier approach to their music. Dogrel is entirely listenable and firmly aligns itself in the Irish tradition that would make the Drop Kick Murphys proud.

 

Rock is the New Roll: The Top 100 Albums of 2019 (100-91)

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.

 

 

New Music Friday: What We’re Listening To (September 6, 2019)

Greta Van Fleet – Always There

We have a bit of a love/hate relationship band with this band of brothers. While the music they make is stunningly good despite the obvious comparisons to Led Zeppelin, the narrative that they are the sole saviors of Rock and Roll is simply not true. This latest track from the Movie A Million Little Pieces shows a band maturing before our very ears.

Trigger Hippy – Strung Out On The Pain

Yes folks, the rumors are true. Trigger Hippy has a new record coming out, the drop date is October 11, and we cannot wait. “Strung Out On The Pain” is the third single to be released by this Nashville band that will have you reaching back to dig out your old Poco and Pure Prairie League records.

The Down ‘n’ Outz – Another Man’s War

Joe Elliott, front man for Def Leppard, is a huge fan of Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople. When performing with his side-piece band The Down ‘n’ Outz, they will cover most of the Mott catalog along with selected really cool covers. Here, they are getting ready to release an album of original songs. “Another Man’s War is the second single to be released from their soon to be released record.

Mean Old World – North Mississippi Allstars (feat. Jason Isbell, Duane Betts)

The North Mississippi All Stars get a lot of play in the offices at Rock is the New Roll, and Jason Isbell and Duane Bett’s ramp up the coolness even more on this one. For extra credit check out the new album by the Allman Betts Band, Down to the River

Airbourne – Boneshaker

Much in the same way that the Van Fleet boys evoke Led Zeppelin, the band Airbourne is pure AC/DC. And, since Angus and company won’t be coming out with a record anytime soon, these rock & rollers are a pretty good substitute.

Devendra Barnhart – Taking a Page

The latest single from his forthcoming album, Ma, to be released on September 13th. The song, heavily inspired by Carole King, share a line and melody form “So Far Away.”

New Music Friday (August 2, 2019)

Yola – Shady Grove

The latest video from Yola’s debut record, Walk Through Fire.” A top 20 record for sure.

Starcrawler – Bet My Brains

Starcrawler, one of our favorite over the edge Rock Chick bands are back witba new single and video.

Trigger Hippy – Don’t Wanna Bring You Down

In 2014 Trigger Hippy, a supergroup consisting of Nashville session musicians released a self-titled album that was one of the best of the year. Here they pop up out of nowhere with a scorching new single.

Midland – Cheatin’ Songs

Normally, we would cry fowl on a band that travels the 80’s Country landscape, but for Midland all bets are off. We are all in. Here is their latest Garth Meets George gem.

The Allman Betts Band – Shinin’

Formed by the sons of Gregg Allman and Dickie Betts the Southern Rock torch has Ben duly passed. Close your eyes and you will think it is 1975 all over again.

Demob Happy – Autoportrait

This Psych Rock trio turns up the burners on this one to deliver the headbanger of the week.

Moon City Masters – The Price You Pay

A strong 70’s filter on this one picture Blind Faith jamming on stage with The Allman Brothers and you will pretty much get the idea.

Goodbye June – Universal Mega Love

These guys already have the chops to Greta Van Fleet and Rival Sons. A Rock band on the rise look for their new record Community Inn to come out in October.

Elles Bailey – Deeper

A vibrant Blues/Soul singer Elles Bailey could be the younger sister of Beth Hart.

New Music Friday (July 26, 2019)

Crowded Table – The Highwomen

The second release in short order in advance of their September release.

Lodi – Janiva Magness and Sam Outlaw

Outstanding version of the CCR Classic.

Dirty Finger – Texas Hippie Coalition

With this ode to flipping the bird the mighty THC have become our new guilty pleasure band.

Summertime Vibes – Lewis Brice

It’s never too late in the summer to listen to your new summer jam.

Stay High – Brittany Howard

The Alabama Shakes leader goes solo.

Real Long Time – White Reaper

This one is getting a lot of air time at Rock Is The New Roll HQ.

New Music Friday (July 19, 2019)

Midland – Put The Hurt In Me

Gearing up for the release of a new record, these boys do 80’s Country with the best of them. I’m really trying not to like this band, but they are definitely growing on me.

Rodney Crowell and Lyle Lovett – What You Gonna Do Now

We already putting a placeholder for Rodney Crowell and his new album Texas in the top ten of albums of the year, but in the meantime here is another song to be enjoyed.

Jesse Malin – Meet Me At The End Of The World

Jesse Malin, a favorite of Rock Is The New Roll, absolutely never disappoints. Here, he is a bit more upbeat and his Lou Reed vocal delivery seems to go places we have not heard in a while.

Corb Lund and Hayes Carll – On The Cover of the Rolling Stone

A single released in advance of his new record, here he teams up with Hayes Carll to deliver a pretty darn good ‘make it their own’ version of a terrific song. Maybe they’ll get their picture on the cover.

Leon Bridges – That Was Yesterday

The latest from the San Cooke Meets Marvin Gaye Soul Singer.

DeWolff – Share the Ride

One of our favorite Rock and Roll bands du jour, DeWolff brings a template of 70’s rock with a modern flair. Listen closely for a touch of Creedence as well.