Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Best of 2018

I once again reviewed the many "Best of 2018" lists from many print and internet sources. I went and listened to samples and found what I found last year: I'm old and no longer musically relevant. But if you don't care for Rap, Hip Hop, Nu Soul, and manufactured Pop product, then maybe you'll like some of these. These are all records that I own, and the list doesn't include lots of great stuff I didn't get a chance to hear. But here they are, my favorites from 2018.
Kelly Willis Back Being Blue
Today's best country singer releases yet another stone classic. Great songs, perfect sympathetic arrangements, solid band, beautiful recording. My vote for record of the year.

Boz Scaggs Out Of The Blues
Scaggs continues to impress with his late-career revitalization. This time he does what he does best: smooth voiced blues and R&B with a solid band behind him and great (mostly) new songs.

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio Close But No Cigar
Soul-jazz-funk perfection. Brilliant guitarist Jimmy James takes them from very good to excellent. Like Booker T. and the MGs with a large infusion of jazz.

Sloan 12
Canadian Power-popers Sloan continue to make great records twenty-five years in. Nothing fancy, just solid rock and roll songs with a pinch of magic.

Jennifer Warnes Another Time, Another Place
Laid-back beauty. Breathtaking singing. Complementary arrangements. Great songs. Wow.

The Jayhawks Back Roads And Abandoned Motels 
All but two of the songs were written with other artists for various projects. Because of this, the songs are less same-y than most recent Jayhawks fare with Gary Louris doing all the writing. It sounds more like the early years of the band when Mark Olsen shared writing credits.

Robin McKelle Melodic Canvas
Musical chameleon McKelle returns to jazz on this her seventh release. After a career that started with big band jazz and veered into pop and soul, she returns with an intimate jazz recording featuring her own solid songwriting and lovely voice and phrasing.
Kim Richey Edgeland
Always entertaining, Richey gets help from Chuck Profit, Brad Jones, and a stellar supporting cast. None of the all-star help is wasted.
Belly Dove
Twenty years after the break-up they sound like they never left.
JD McPherson Socks
Yes, it's a Christmas record. But McPherson writes a bunch of fun songs and applies the same rockabilly perfection that fills his other records.

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