|Some Awe dressed for the occasion|
Steve Tilston – Truth to Tell
Sam Lee - The Fade in Time
Shelby Lynne – I Can’t Imagine
Dave Rawlings Machine - Nashville Obsolete
Chris Stapleton – Traveller
Trembling Bells - The Sovereign Self
Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color
Arabs In Aspic - Victim Of Your Father's Agony
Trixie Whitley – Porta Bohemica
The Delines - Scenic Sessions
Kurt Elling - Passion World
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
Ryley Walker - Primrose Green
Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free
Rickie Lee Jones - The Other Side of Desire
David Ramirez – Fables
James Taylor - Before This World
Eliza Neals - Breaking And Entering
Fernando - Leave The Radio On
Keith Richards - Crosseyed Heart
This is it - what you have all been waiting for! Oh, it was tonight's party? Sorry, I got that wrong. But here it is all the same.
Probably no surprises to those who follow this blog, and not to me [you'd think obviously] but I am a little by how singer-songwriter/solo artist oriented it is, and how predominantly un-heavy, especially with so much retro-rock listened to, liked and reviewed this year on the blog - but the prefix retro gives that factor away, I think.
I thought Sam Lee would likely lead this year's list, and his album is sublime, but it goes to Tilston because, as with many of the choices, there is often a history within the many elements of deciding. His 1976 album Songs from the Dress Rehearsal is one of the finest ever recorded, and this year's Truth to Tell is on such a par with this and I am so impressed with the sustained quality of that writing and performing: I saw both Tilston and Lee live this year, and both of these gigs also inform the deciding.
The 'heavy' element - missing in more obvious ways - is provided by Trembling Bells whose heavy folk is brilliant, reminding of those early 70s moves to this, and I am still sorry I missed them playing locally. Two of the tracks on Alabama Shakes' album are some of the best this year [and Sexwitch is another fine loud band] and Arabs in Aspic get a pick because of the brilliance of their retro leanings.
Trixie Whitley deserves more recognition for her stunning vocal, and both Shelby Lynne and Rickie Lee Jones produced further quality work this year, though they too have my long-liking history informing their selection.
Eliza Neals is the new kid on the block, and how she rocks. Fernando too - though he is a seasoned performer - is selected for his re-emergence on the scene with such a fine solo album I am yet to review. I also met him very briefly when seeing The Delines in Bristol, and he is such a warm and friendly person/musician and his love of playing deserves its recognition.
Elling will always appeal to me; Taylor too, and though his album is in many ways predictable, that is what one wants/expects, and Stretch of the Highway is such a funky song!
I won't write about all, but I should mention that Chris Stapleton also almost made it to the 'top', his album such a gritty as well as beautiful set of songs.