Favorite Albums of 2023 (So Far)

Favorite Albums of 2023 (So Far)

Bentley's Bandstand Columns Reviews


By Bill Bentley

Jim Brunberg, You. Deserve. More. & Other Sequels. If this is a sequel to anything, let it be the two lost treasures of Jake & the Family Jewels in the 1970s. Dreaming is believing and hearing is all. Shoes tied tight.

John Cale, Mercy. When it comes to those who put the avant garde in rock & roll when it really was a semi-dangerous endeavor, move John Cale to the front of the class. Now he’s come full circle and done exactly that again. May he live forever. Black Jack’s back.

Julie Christensen, The Price We Pay for Love. Though jazz has been one of this singer’s main avenues, she can also go offroad and take her music to the limits. This time she gets all the way home. Unforgettable for forever.

Mary Gauthier, Dark Enough to See the Stars. No one can zero in on the complexity of love like this woman. She brings the pain and the passion from deep down in the bayous of the heart and shows how to find the light inside it. Turn it on.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Weathervanes. There is no classification for this music or this man. It is something that can cure every illness known to humans, and even bring understanding to the modern world. Enough is all.

Rickie Lee Jones, Pieces of Treasure. This pirate of the soundwaves has always been two steps beyond the normal, and one giant leap into the center of the soul. It’s a wonder.

Tracy Nelson, Life Don’t Miss Nobody. While her first album came out in 1965 on Prestige Records, leave it to Tracy Nelson to top even herself on this one. It’s all there, and then some. She has done her part. No going back.

Margo Price, Strays. This is a singer who started way behind the eight ball and has shown the kind of grits to make the human race proud. And these songs equal her spirit, which is really saying something. Finding the lost.

Son Volt, Day of the Doug. To even entertain recording a whole album of Doug Sahm songs takes enough courage to relive the Alamo. Jay Farrar is clearly afraid of nothing, and does both Sir Douglas and Texas proud. The Groover lives.

Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire. There are those who refuse to behave and color within the lines. They are exactly the ones who promise the future is worth waiting for and living the biggest joy of all. Light ‘er up.

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