My annual foray into the music world (in terms of this blog) continues. I insist you check out the list below and flood the songs to your playlists. A quieter year on the scene for me with the arrival of my first child in June. However, this did provide ample of time walking the little one with headphones in. Music for the early mornings may have affected this list. Here are my best albums of 2017:
Gentlewoman, Ruby Man – Flo Morrissey & Matthew E. White
A sumptuous collection of covers that both artists have found influential in their careers so far – consisting mainly of light, summertime duets re-imagined as glorious alt-pop anthems. Perfect for a day at the beach, or an afternoon basking in the sun.
Honest Life – Courtney Marie Andrews
A stunning debut alt-country album from an artist whose voice seems to echo back to the golden age of Johnny Cash. Heartrendingly honest, a raw and unique songwriter with bags of potential.
Little Fictions – Elbow
Ever the most hardworking and adventurous of artists, Guy Garvey turns the spotlight onto his own personal life changes over the past year, namely the arrival of his new daughter. The reflective nature of this music evoked similar sentiments and feelings in me.
Semper Femina – Laura Marling
Imagine a chilling winter night, the people who matter to you the most all gathered around a camp fire pouring out the songs of their lives. This is the sound this record achieves. It is at times medieval in its simplistic form, oral storytelling lightly accompanied by the softest strum of guitar. Remarkable work.
Sleep Well Beast – The National
A number of solo projects seems to have given Matt Berninger a clear vision for the future of The National, and I love it. This is their most aggressively human record in the last decade, and every listen offers more and more reward.
Kids in the Street – Justin Townes Earle
One of the most original country artists making music today. From pure Tipitina’s nightly jams to the ethereally nostalgic title track, it is an album of memories, dust and hope. The production on the record is faultless, a huge achievement in modern music storytelling.
The Waters of Leith – Blue Rose Code
Reaching back to the Jazz-folk days of compatriot Van Morrison, Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose Code) serves up another exploration into the roots of Scottish music reinvigorated for the generations of today. At times quiet and beautiful in songs such as Sandiag, and at others raucously optimistic.
A Deeper Understanding – The War on Drugs
I have been a middle of the road fan with this band for a few years now – enjoying their albums but never really losing myself in them. That all changed with the release of this record. Never has anyone sounded more like Springsteen in his prime than Adam Granduciel, and I think that helps the record achieve a sound rarely heard since those heady Bruce days. A close contender for my most favourite album of the year.
Stranger in the Alps – Phoebe Bridgers
Phenomenal debut album from Ryan Adams’ gem of a find in the Americana scene stateside. Bridgers explodes with a raw energy in her delivery and the most intelligent of lyrics.
Beast Epic – Iron & Wine
An illustrious return from the English singer-songwriter who blends a perfect concoction of creative sound and lyrical storytelling to give us his best record in years. Second place in my favourite albums of the year.
Prisoner – Ryan Adams
My favourite album of year comes from my most cherished artist of all time. The most intimate and persoanl record of his since Heartbreaker, you really feel like he laid everything out on the table here. The album I kept coming back most weeks of the year.