Roy Harper - Man & Myth
Had to be this one from the great man. January Man is beautiful and plaintively honest in its reflection on age and regrets; Heaven is Here is a Harper tour de force.
Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – Seesaw
Bonamassa is the current guitar genius out there, and songwriter. Paired with the astonishing vocal of Hart and this has to be a winner, and is.
Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses) - The Low Highway
Always brilliant. Always.
Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit
Third album of superb jazz vocal, his most mature to date.
Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Could have had this at number one if I listened to Elephant again, perhaps the strongest song written this year. Beautiful and painful.
Low - The Invisible Way
Exquisite harmonies on beautifully written melodies.
Fire! Orchestra - Exit!
Blew me away when I first heard it. Such energy and power. Phenomenal jazz.
The Temperance Movement - The Temperance Movement
Of all the current retro rock bands, the most deserving of an accolade. Have worked hard at earning recognition above and beyond the quality of their playing and songwriting. Seeing them live was icing on this presentation cake.
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Made Up Mind
A stunning set of songs played excellently throughout.
Caroline Rose - America Religious
As a new singer/songwriter she has established herself firmly with this honest and poetic reflection.
Kings Of Leon – Supersoaker
It’s what they do and continue to do so well. RockPop of the highest quality.
Dhafer Youssef - Birds Requiem
The vocal is sublime. Stunning beauty.
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell - Old Yellow Moon
Pairing of two greats = greatness.
David Bowie - The Next Day
As crucial as ever, Where Are We Now? sends chills when I listen.
Darrell Scott & Tim O'Brien - Memories and Moments
Such a spontaneous feel with superb chemistry. Virtuoso playing, and Country blues par excellence.
Boz Scaggs – Memphis
Mr Cool as smooth as the coolest smooth on this mainly laid-back gem.
Linda Thompson - Won't Be Long Now
As with so many others in this selection, when you are one of the greats, your greatness continues. If I Were A Bluebird is special.
Nick Harper – Riven
No accident to join the list with his father: an album of dynamic songs and distinctive performances.
Patrick Sweany - Close to the Floor
New to me and not that well known [unless it’s just me] but some outstanding songs.
London Grammar – If You Wait
A late entrant and winner as I’m only just discovering. Hannah Reid’s vocal is special and carries it for me: and yes, my contempt for the otherwise contemporary female vocal affectation is thoroughly repressed by Reid’s pure and powerful voice.
NB I'd read somewhere that Uncut had chosen Roy Harper's Man & Myth as its number 1 album of the year, but this isn't true. The magazine's editor Allen Jones did, but the magazine as a whole selected My Bloody Valentine's m b v. Mojo magazine choose Bill Callahan's Dream River.