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Schwindy’s Buzzin’ Dozen: Best Albums of 2021

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Schwindy’s Buzzin’ Dozen: Best Albums of 2021

It’s been a rough couple of years for all of us. One thing we have learned in the music world is that when confronted with copious (yet unexpected) free time, musicians will come up with some really good albums. A lot of good albums were released this year. Here are 12 (listed in alphabetical order by artist) that you might put into your heavy rotation.

[Click anywhere in bold to follow links to listen to and order the artists’ music.]

Alabama Slim The Parlor – Who would have thought that you could get an old-time blues record in 2021? That’s exactly what you get with this record. “Freddie’s Voodoo Boogie” for example, channels John Lee Hooker. Just pick any song on this album, and you’ll be reminded of some of your favorite classic blues artists.

Blackberry Smoke You Hear Georgia – You know what to expect from a Blackberry Smoke: a lot of big melodies with hooks for days. This band specializes in songs that everyone in a venue can sing along with, and that is exactly what they deliver on this album. On top of that, this album also features gues appearances by Jamey Johnson and Warren Haynes. It stands up with your favorite Blackberry Smoke albums, and that’s no small feat.

Corey Ledet Corey Ledet Zydeco – There is just something about zydeco. Every song is upbeat and seems like a celebration. Yes, it does feature the accordion heavily, but just try sitting still when you listen to any song on this album. It’s practically impossible to do. And it might be a little brag, but Ledet isn’t lying when he sings in the opening track, “I’m never gonna be just an average Joe ‘cuz I’m one of the best they got in zydeco.”

Gov’t Mule Heavy Load Blues – It’s not unusual for a Gov’t Mule song to incorporate some blues sounds. This is an entire album of blues where you’ll find plenty of great slide guitar, harmonica, and everything else that makes the blues great. The band covers some classic songs like “Snatch It Back and Hold It” and “I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)” as well as some originals. And if you’re really in the mood for blues, the deluxe edition contains 18 songs.

Jeremy Pinnell Goodbye L.A. – On his previous albums, Pinnell has more or less created his own honky-tonk sound with plenty of pedal steel. On this album, you still hear plenty of pedal steel, but the sound on this one turns more toward the A.M. country-rock sounds of the 70s. One thing that hasn’t changed is that this album, like his previous ones, has plenty of songs you can dance to.

The Shootouts Bullseye – There are a lot of ways to measure success for a band. Some bands measure success with hit singles, some with album sales. Others are successful because they can write an entire album of songs that are good listening. This album is a success because it is 12 songs that will have you singing along and dancing whether you’re in a car or a dark honky tonk.

Erik Shicotte Miss’ry Pacific – Yes, this EP is only six songs, but those six songs have a lot of classic country in them. Shicotte (an ironworker by trade) brings a storytelling spirit similar to Marty Robbins while singing in a deep voice that brings Colter Wall to mind. At a time when a lot of country singers sing about pickup trucks and red dirt, Shicotte sings about classic themes like trains and does it while telling good stories.

Side Pony Lucky Break – Caitlin Cannon and Alice Wallace started writing songs together after COVID hit, and that was indeed a lucky break for listeners. The two voices blend together perfectly whether they sing a twangy ballad like “All I Have Is Want” or a song like “Heels”, which is both humorous and made for dancing. This album will leave you hoping that Cannon and Wallace continue to work together.

Connie Smith The Cry of the Heart – You’re probably thinking that this is an obvious choice for a year-end list. You’re absolutely right. After all, not every artist can produce an album full of hits. That is exactly what Smith does on this album. These are songs of the type that have played on jukeboxes as long as country music and jukeboxes have existed. If you need an example, listen to “Look Out Heart” and see if you disagree.

Tylor and The Train Robbers Non-Typical Find – You’ll find plenty to love on this alt-country album that provides healthy doses of the Bakersfield sound with plenty of spacey pedal steel. In addition to the sound is the storytelling ability of Tylor Ketchum. He has a way with words that put you right into the stories of these catchy songs.

Volk Cashville – This cowpunk duo grabs the attention right from the beginning of “Welcome To Cashville” when the first words you hear are, “All right, you human piles of filth!” Most of the 12 songs on the album are absolute blazers that might have you looking for a circle pit while “Old Palestine” is a slow-burning blues song. If you’re looking for a record to play far too loud, this is a good choice.

Ghalia Volt One Woman Band Volt became a one-woman band as a result of the quarantine from COVID-19. It wasn’t an easy move for her after working with some of the finest blues musicians in New Orleans. This album shows it was the right move. She lays down some groovy delta blues originals as well as a lowdown and fuzzy version of the classic “It Hurts Me Too”. In the process, she proved that she doesn’t need a full band behind her because she can do just fine on her own.

Vote for your own favorite album of 2021 here: Vote For Favorite Album of 2021

Enjoy our playlist of New Americana Music, here: New Americana Music playlist by Americana Highways









Schwindy’s Buzzin’ Dozen: Best Albums of 2021

Schwindy’s Buzzin’ Dozen: Best Albums of 2021

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