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.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (September 6, 2019)

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.

Crystal Gayle – You Don’t Know Me

Her first new record in 16 years, Crystal Gayle goes back to her country roots covering classic country tunes the likes of “Walking After Midnight,” “Crying Time,” and “Hello Walls.” “Put it Off Tomorrow” with Tanya Tucker and Peggy Sue Wright lending their voices is a highlite. Extra credit is given for not including her mega-hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” on this set.

Iggy Pop – Free

These days it seems that Iggy Pop is trying to channel his inner David Bowie, and truth be told, this is a bit of a miss-step for the godfather of Punk. This record is an odd patchwork of free-form jazz, poetry, ambient sounds, and beat poet musings and it does not quite hit the mark. It seems he has lost his lust for life a bit. But, If you are an Iggy fan you have another era in his storied career to savor.

The Highwomen – The Highwomen

A somewhat hipper spin on the Highwaymen since Brandi Carlile Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby are all pretty much in the prime of their careers, unlike their semi-namesakes that were already on the other side of the hill. Here, the songwriting is crisp, the chemistry is electric, and even though this record was put together pretty quickly there is no sense that this is a one and done project.

Paul Cauthen – Room 41

His 2016 album My Gospel was a terrific record, and this one is even better. Written mostly in room 41 in artist haven that is The Belmont hotel in Dallas, Cauthen’s voice has been said to sound like all four of the Highwaymen combined.