Rock is the New Roll: The Top 100 Albums of 2019 (50-41)

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.

50. Renée Wahl – Cut To The Bone

With a spaghetti western Quentin Tarantino vibe courtesy of her Cracker Jack band The Sworn Secrets, this one sounds like a cross between Melissa Etheridge and Nicki Bluhm.

49. Dale Watson – Call Me Lucky

Truly an original, step back 50 years into Dale Watson’s Honky Tonk World.

48. Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse – Love & Murder

Lead singer Greta Valenti is the straw that stirs this drink, but it doesn’t stop there. This is a lot of Country Blues swagger to love about this album.

47. Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready

This one is for this of us who think they don’t like bluegrass. With stellar playing and vocals that would make Mary Chapin Carpenter blush, Molly Tuttle should be on your own personal best new artist list.

46. Kingfish – Kingfish

20-year old Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is nothing short of the next great blues prodigy. Growing up in the Mississippi delta just a few miles from the actual “crossroads” just listen to the tone coming from this guy.

45. The Teskey Brothers – Run Home Slow

The Teskey Brothers, and yes, they are real brothers, channel Motown, Blues, Funk, and Blue-Eyed Australian Soul.  With a shuffling rhythm that hooks you on every note, their sound bears similarities to Michael Kiwanuka. Listener beware though, the hipsters are starting to catch on to this band.

44. GospelbeacH – Let It Burn

Much like he did with his former band Beachwood Sparks, with GospelbeacH, lead singer Brent Rademcker, channels Tom Petty and the Laurel Canyon sound with a Country Rock vibe that is timeless. Adding even more to the Pop credentials laid down on the highly excellent 2017 release Another Summer of Love, “Dark Angel” could have been a long lost Heartbreakers song, and even when the band goes low and slow like they do on “Get It Back” there is a cool nostalgia that can be traced back to The Long Run era Eagles. The late Neil Casal, who was a member of Beachwood Sparks, contributes searing solos throughout the record and is a bittersweet presence on an uplifting record.

43. Jade Jackson – Wilderness

No real new ground is broken here, just a solid set of highly listenable Pop tinged Americana tunes. And, that is very special.

42. The Pearlfishers – Love & Other Hopeless Things

This fine Scottish Pop group delivers an often time glorious Brian Wilson inspired set of songs.

41. Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real – Turn Off The News (Build a Garden)

As the son of Willie Nelson and the bandleader for Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born, Lukas Nelson is as hot as a firecracker right now. Lukas and his boys have even found the time to release a new record in between concerts as the backing band for Neil Young. With a Traveling Wilburys vibe in places and a widescreen pop dusting in others along with a scent of herbal hippie sensation wafting across the entire proceedings, the experience of listening to this album will be mind-altering.

The Top Songs of 2019 (85-81)

There have been a lot of really great songs released in 2019. This year, we will be revealing our top 100 songs five tunes at a time all the way to number one. Here are our picks for 90-86.

Go back in time to picks 100-96

Go back in time to picks 95-91

Go back in time to picks 86-90

85. The Cactus Blossoms – Desperado

When the guitar kicks on at about the 1:30 mark you can pretty much close your eyes and picture yourself sitting in a bar in North Beach S.F. listening to the Everly Brothers play a set just before the last call. This song is some sort of devil hybrid of The Righteous Brothers, The Everly Brothers, and Simon and Garfunkel. To add to the sweetness here, the record was produced by Rock is the New Roll favorite, Dan Auerbach.

84. Cherie Currie, Brie Darling – The Motivator

What do you get when you combine a favorite Runaway, Cherie Currie, along with the drummer from the 70’s all-girl band Fanny, Brie Darling, with a covers album of under the radar and over the radar hits? A cool as hell record, that’s what. The best of the lot on this highly listenable album is the outstanding cover version of the T Rex classic, “The Motivator.” Glam respects Glam.

83. Dale Watson – Call Me Lucky

When all is said, as the old school Honky Tonk singers are one by one carried by six white horses to the pearly gates, Dale Watson just might be the last sawdust dance floor crooner standing. On his latest record, Watson isn’t reinventing the stetson, he’s just doing what he does best. “One on the right, one on the left one is a blonde one’s a brunette if you don’t know my name I bet that you can guess, they call me lucky.”

82. Durand Jones & The Indications – Cruisin’ To The Park

Duran Jones along with his band, The Indications, has released quite probably the Soul record of the year, American Love Call. With retro-coolness inherent in everything they do, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye all come back to life right before our very ears. “Cruisin’ To The Park” is not from their 2019 release, it is a surprise throw-out single, but don’t sleep on it. This one should be your slow jam get jiggy with it in the boudoir song of the year.

81. Flying Colors – Love Letter

A supergroup of sorts consisting of members culled from Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard, and The Dixie Dregs, this one is for fans of ELO, Queen, 70’s era Beach Boys, and Pre-“Show Me the Way” Peter Frampton. Soaring harmonies, crisp melodic instrumentation, and skin-tight drumming courtesy of maestro Mike Portnoy all adds to the fun. Don’t let that slight wafting of progressive rock courtesy of the bong smokers in the corner steer you away from this one.

 

Five Cool Ones: The Bourbon Trail, Five Cool Bourbon Inspired Songs

Here at Rock is the New Roll we are big fans of the Rockin’ The Suburbs Podcast. Their latest episode features Bourbon songs. At the end of the episode they asked for listeners to come up with their own Bourbon song list. So, it seemed like a good time for Bernie Sparrow, Jeremy Wren, Nigel Owl, Cletus Crow and the rest of the Rock is the New Roll editorial staff to get their Bourbon Mojo going.

James LeBlanc – Five Star Dive Bar

A five star dive bar seemed to be a good place to start a Bourbon crawl. So, we powered up the Chevy and headed to the levy looking for some Neon Lights.

The Cadillac Three – All The Makings of a Saturday Night

This one pretty much says it all as we start climbing the party hill.

“Conway, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels, Jim Beam Black Label sip sip fast.”

“That spot nobody knows just me and my bros and my special lady friend shaking that ass, we got all the makin’s of a Saturday night.”


John Lee Hooker – Big Legs, Tight Skirt

We are on the third round now, that’s 9 fingers if your scoring at home, and the buzz is starting to kick in as you check out the clientele in the dive bar.

Dale Watson – Call Me Lucky

We are in the dive bar sweet spot now. 12 fingers, four drinks down the pipe now and we are on warp speed. Tensions are released, inhibitions are slowly melting away.

“One on the right, one on the left, one is a blonde, ones a brunette, if you don’t know my name, I bet you can guess, they call me Lucky.”

Tom Waits – The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)

We now have crossed the Cape of Good Hope and are in uncharted territory, so much so that we have lost track of how many Bourbons we have had. Naturally, there is no better time than the present to show off my musical prowess by getting up in front of the crowded bar to tickle the ivories. There are two problems with this however. First, I don’t know how to play the piano, and second, there is no piano in the dive bar. Stay tuned for “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”