By Scott Colvin
I really expected to write a lot in 2019.
In fact, as the calendar moved from 2018 to 2019 I had a bunch of concerts already scheduled to review. Was going to do some record reviews (and I even mentioned to Trailer that I might do a couple interviews which I really don’t enjoy doing). Yup. I had every intention of being a super productive member of Farce The Music’s dysfunctional writing family. Then it happened in late February. Stroke. Really.
To say I’ve been adjusting physically and psychologically since that day is an understatement. After reluctantly cancelling a few concert reviews in March and April I decided I was ready in mid-May to give it a shot.
Cracker. A slam dunk. Right? Wrong. I could barely take notes and thus had a notebook full of song titles and chicken scratches which I never could decipher. And that’s before I sat in front of my laptop to type which was almost impossible. You see the left hand was good, the right hand, not so much (don’t even get me started about the time I picked up my acoustic guitar).
Have I also mentioned the doctors at this difficult time said “no more booze?” 2019 officially sucked.
Needless to say I had a lot of time to hear a lot of new music. Sober. And I did. But, whereas most years I find myself in December going through dozens of albums to bring “The List” down to a manageable top 50 before whittling it down, I really only found 11 records that I really enjoyed this year (even if my real No. 1 is only in spirit). Here goes!
Honorable Mentions: Tyler Childers, Shovels & Rope, Frank Turner, Whiskey Myers, Karly Driftwood, Erin Enderlin, Grace Potter, Alice Merton, Maggie Rogers and Meiko.
10. Jenny Lewis – On The Line It really is too bad that the “controversy” involving Ryan Adams (producer of much of the record) was going down as this album dropped because it’s one of Jenny Lewis’s finer moments (and that includes a mostly spectacular run with Rilo Kiley). Regardless of where you stand on the Adams thing, it cannot be denied that Lewis wrote a fantastic record that was also produced by Beck, who no one has a reason to dislike.
9. Hayes Carll – What It Is It certainly was nice to see a more easy going and light-hearted Hayes Carll emerge on this album after his previous effort.
8. Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready There’s something very familiar about Molly Tuttle that I can’t put my finger on, but I know I like this. A lot.
7. Dori Freeman – Every Single Star Pretty much what I said about Molly Tuttle. I like this one a little bit more so it gets the higher spot.
6. Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury Sturgill Simpson is like a druggier Eric Church who I also seem to dig even more as he deviates from “his norm.”
5. Randy Rogers Band – Hellbent The Randy Rogers Band has been the stalwarts of the Texas country music scene for almost 20 years. Nothing flashy here, just consistently good. Like Shiner Bock.
4. Jade Bird – Jade Bird I’m pretty sure “Lottery” is the song that every alternative band in the 90s wished they wrote. And I say that as a compliment. The whole album is just wonderful ear candy that is ridiculously infectious.
3. Chris Shiflett – Hard Lessons Hard to believe that this would be the Dave Cobb produced album I latched onto in 2019 but so be it. The guy is a rock legend. Guitarist for punk greats No Use For A Name and Me First And The Gimme Gimmes (and this other band Fighters of Foo…or something like that) Shiflett released his fourth country album full of catchy So Cal country goodness.
2. Kelsey Waldon – White Noise/White Lines Kelsey Waldon is like Elizabeth Cook without the quirkiness.
1. Cody Jinks – After The Fire and The Wanting – Kudos to Cody Jinks. The man delivered two stellar albums which he released in consecutive weeks AND didn’t hide behind some lame premise like one album is my rockin’ side and the other is my sensitive side…Or in lame-ass Zac Brown Band terms my crappy pop country side and my really crappy pop side.
THE REAL No. 1 ALTHOUGH THIS ONE IS NOT OFFICIALLY ON MY LIST Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go In all reality I probably listened to this album the most. Inventive, shocking and unabashedly cool. While people in my generation were crucifying her for not knowing who Van Halen was, I was laughing because I might be able to name more of her songs than “original Van Halen” songs (despite being a huge rock/metal fan I always thought VH was kinda lame).