Editor’s Pick: 20 Roadtrip Earworms for 2019; with Playlist

Reviews

I really believe it’s important to honor the concept of the unified overall album, but sometimes you just need that hooky, mixed tape playlist, especially for a road trip on the Americana Highways. Here’s mine from this year, with a few words of what I find amazing about each one of these songs. Also, with an acknowledgement that any attempt at categorization inevitably creates overlaps and deviation, these are categorized under two broadly general types. They are in no particular order, because each one is special in its own way, and there’s a playlist at the bottom; play it on shuffle and have a peaceful holiday season! Click on the song titles for more info.  Also feel free to share your own list in the comments section!

moving lyrical tales:

Dan Navarro. “Shed My Skin.”  This song will clench the back of your neck with perpetual chills running own your spine again and again long after you’ve hit replay a dozen times.  The whole album is highly worth owning, but this song in particular won’t leave you. http://www.dannavarro.com/dannavarro/home.html

Todd Snider. “The Blues on Banjo.”  This delightful, complex offering from Todd Snider’s Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3 is a thrilling example of Snider’s complex poetic storytelling lyrics over banjo, with signature laugh out loud lines like “Zippedy Do Dah M-F*ker” to top it off. https://toddsnider.net

Benjamin Tod. “Sorry for the Things.” This song is gripping, compelling, and will wrench your heartstrings while you simultaneously shed tears of relief and understanding. https://benjamintod.bandcamp.com

Mercy Bell. “Chocolate Milk and Whiskey.”  This relative newcomer is one to watch, and this song is the perfect introduction to what she does with her songcraft.  It’s being broke while trying to piece your life together over just the right imagery. You need this song. Trust me. https://mercybell.bandcamp.com

Chuck Hawthorne. “Amarillo Wind.” Hawthorne croons with a powerful, lilting singing voice and you have my word this song will stick with you for miles down the road and many days of your life as you’re supported by that Amarillo wind. https://chuckhawthorne.com

Rod Picott. “Ghost.”  This song has been stuck on repeat in both my player and my mind since it appeared this summer. There is something so irresistibly poignant about the idea that “I’m hard as nails, thin as hope, I’m the punchline of my own joke, and I’m broken as a bone.”  You won’t be able to get past the wounded poetry, nor should you want to. http://rodpicott.com

Our Native Daughters. “Black Myself.”  This song is able to hold your feet to the painful fire of truth over the catchiest of musical arrangements and lyrics that get straight to the heart of the matter. https://folkways.si.edu/songs-of-our-native-daughters

Meghan Hayes.  “Georgette.” This song from Meghan Hayes will capture and hold your attention as its sorrowful tale unfolds, holding you completely under its spell. https://meghanhayes.com

Chris Carroll and Adam Carroll.  “Hi Fi Love.” Simply put, this is utterly, winsomely appealing.  The vocals wind and intertwine in just the right blend of angelic earnest grit. https://www.adamcarroll.com/bio  https://chriscarrollsongs.com

 

musical innovation:

Leo “Bud” Welch. “Don’t Let the Devil Ride”.  This song from the posthumous release by Leo “Bud” Welch is as bluesy-groovy as they come, and he had a unique rhythm you absolutely must hear to believe. https://www.fatpossum.com/artists/leo-welch/

Keb’ Mo’. “I Remember You.” This is the sexiest, sultriest track of the year with its fantasy one-night innuendo and the lead character in her red dress. https://kebmo.com

Anna Tivel. “Worthless.” This song will wind you through the real effects of abuse, as it all takes place under mesmerizingly beautiful, groovy hypnotic music.  Tivel is pure genius.   http://www.annativel.com 

Jimbo Mathus. “Alligator Fish.” Oh Jimbo Mathus, this song is a flat out rollicking low end, low brow blast, and sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered. https://www.therealjimbomathus.com

Liz Brasher. “Moon Baby.” Multi-instrumentalist Liz Brasher christened the year with a fantastic album that combined mysterious Southern Gothic tales with really compelling music, and this song is the centerpiece of the whole thing. https://www.lizbrasher.com

Southern Avenue Band. “Whiskey Love.” This song tackles some hard abuse dead on in the remarkable bluesy style unique to Southern Avenue Band with their Memphis-Israeli roots. https://www.southernavenuemusic.com

J.S Ondara. “American Dream.” This song showcases J.S. Ondara’s adept capability of turning simple lyrics into an amazing musically extravagant song you will wake up humming and will sing all day.  Quality innovation. https://www.jsondara.com

The Steel Wheels. “Rains Come.” This band is really onto something with its funky groove/Americana blend. One listen and it’ll ease your road trip as you opt to repeat it again and again. Yes it’s that good. https://www.thesteelwheels.com

The Highwomen.  “Highwomen.” The addition of Yola on this song turned a great song superlative.  You’ll have chills as the pages turn one by one, spotlighting different women who have struggled and died around the globe. https://www.thehighwomen.com  

Molly Tuttle.  “Take the Journey.”  Tuttle’s ultra catchy, pro guitarplaying is the key to this song’s longevity. And it’s fantastic. https://www.mollytuttlemusic.com

Kelsey Waldon.  “Anyhow.” This song is an uplifting, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps number with layers of country rock sounds at a quality pace.   https://www.kelseywaldon.com

 

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