As the owner/editor of Americana Highways I listen to a lot of new music, but I also miss quite a bit more, so please take this 2019 top favorite albums list with that grain of salt.
On the other hand, that truth is not meant to detract one iota from these ten amazing albums. Presenting my top favorite albums of 2019: (these are not in any particular order, except the top three.)
[Click on anything in bold to read more about the artist; click to purchase for your very own if you haven’t already; then scroll to the bottom for playlist and follow all of them. Play it on shuffle!!! ]
1)Todd Snider’s Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3. Why volume 3? Read our earlier interview to find out, and how the album involves Loretta Lynn. REVIEW: Todd Snider’s Cash Cabin Sessions Vol 3 Validates His Unique Brand of Music. Todd Snider is simply genius; take a listen to “Blues on Banjo” and you’ll be instantly rewarded. The album itself has an overall balance and in his signature style, every single song is enchanting. https://toddsnider.net/
2)Robert Mark Abrahams Matinee. Run, do not walk, to hear this album. It is, in a word, astounding. What drew me to click on this emailed link from an independent artist I had never heard of, among the thousands of music submission emails I receive a month? There will not be any satisfactory answer to this other than luck. Produced by Walt Wilkins, the first song “Lost in the Light” features a vocal track with Libby Koch that will transform you. I assure you, you have never, ever heard anything like this. Ever. The entire album is one lingering haunting tale of melancholy after the next. “Mamma’s Eyes” seals the deal. https://marcusabrahamsmusic.com/robert-mark-abrahams-music
3) Anna Tivel’s The Question. This record is impeccable in all the ways a top quality Americana album needs to be. Tivel’s unique chilling storytelling lyrics are the right blend of unexpected and immediately understandable. The music is eclectic and innovative. The album tackles ultra significant cultural experiences in the cloak of subtlety. http://www.annativel.com/
Tied for 4th:
Liz Brasher’s Painted Image.
This album showcases a multi-instrumentalist with a mysteriously woodsy, Southern gothic lyrical vision. The musical arrangements are fabulous. All this, plus it has Memphis written all over it. A Fat Possum hit. https://www.lizbrasher.com/
The Steel Wheels Over the Trees. This is a string-and-percussion based album with driving grooves and philosophically introspective lyrics. The big band instrumentalism propels you through the album from one moment to the next in waves of inviting innovation. Catch more about this Virginia string band: https://www.thesteelwheels.com/
Rod Picott’s Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil. With a Shakespearean quote for a title, Rod Picott shows you his literary hand from the outset. Good songwriting captures elements of the catchy hooks, as Picott does on “Ghost”; poignancy, as in the co-write with Slaid Cleaves, “Mama’s Boy”; and twisted tales as in “.38 Special & a Hermès Purse. The co-write with Ben de la Cour: “A Beautiful Light,” is another standout. Cheers all around. http://rodpicott.com/
Eilen Jewell’s Gypsy. This album is potent and comes on strong in all the best possible ways: lyrically and musically with a sense of joyfulness. No shrinking violet, Eilen Jewell presents a range of powerhouse songs covering the gamut from blues, to 70s rock to countrified grooves. http://www.eilenjewell.com/
Benjamin Tod’s A Heart of Gold is Hard to Find. This album is one destined for awards, assuming it’s placed in the right hands. It’s the album that some with more notoriety can only dream of writing. Tod’s songcraft is superb and will wrest emotions from you that you didn’t know you had lurking. https://www.benjamintodmusic.com/
Leo “Bud” Welch. The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name. This album is a gem by a bluesman who spent his life as an obscure diamond in the rough. The fact that Welch was too impoverished to record before he was in his 80s adds reverence to the experience while you listen. His style is exceptional and his music comes directly from the heart. This posthumous release was produced by Dan Auerbach and is fantastic. https://www.amazon.com/Angels-Heaven-Done-Signed-Name/dp/B07MGJ6K6W
Bill Scorzari’s Now I’m Free. There’s an irresistibly compelling quality to Bill Scorzari’s cadence; his syncopated style directly hits an uncanny spot in your heart. And his subtlety both in inflection and lyrics mirrors a profound depth. See for yourself. https://www.billscorzari.com/