2019: Year In Review

We’re back again to close 2019 with some of the great releases (and special anniversary re-releases) that have arrived this year. Basically, if you have a bunch of gift cards that you don’t know how to use, these are all solid recommendations to have your head bobbing and toes tapping. The list is not in any real order outside of the way I chose to display them on the site. Take time for each and thank the boombox later.

“The Highwomen” Self Titled LP

If you hadn’t realized that “The Highwomen” are the real deal from their inclusion on the post about Leona General Store this year, it’s now time to smell the roses. These 4 very talented and proficient writers and performers kicked 2019’s ass with an album that cohesively restored our faith in Country Music, which admittedly is a tough road to hoe. The album has anthems and ballads; all of which will make you want to hum a melody or sing along.

Lizzo, “Coconut Oil” EP RSD Re-Release

Lizzo dominated most of 2019’s airwaves with her release of “Cuz I Love You”, but the Black Friday Record Store Day found the re-release of 2016’s “Coconut Oil”, on vinyl which boasts such hits as “Good as Hell” and “Phone”. While “Love” may have taught us that Truth Hurts, Coconut Oil was a much earlier display of self love and body positivity.

“The Black Pumas” Self Titled LP

Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada could release just about anything right now and assume that I am almost automatically adding it to my playlist. The duo craft-fully hone such an appealing collaboration that if you haven’t heard of them, this is a defining moment in your life. Take note of their tour dates, see them live, bring all your friends and buy this record. Doing so will make you the coolest person anyone knows.

Matt Nathanson, “Some Mad Hope” RSD Re-Release

Record Store Day delivered in the form of a Reissue Matt Nathanson’s 2007 “Some Mad Hope” on vinyl, and it was a dependable bright spot. Every angsty and measured line that rings true as ever was a familiarization with where I was when I first heard in 12 years ago. A solid record that might also remind you of where you have grown from.

Dessa, “Sound the Bells: Dessa and the Minnesota Orchestra”

By now, you would think I’d be a shoe in for any release that Dessa makes, but while my fandom of the artists work is great, the reason I so easily return to it is because each project is carefully and meaningfully produced. Before the recording of this live LP, by about a year or so, some initial shows which found similar compositions to accompany the singer/lyricist/author were hosted. I was fortunate to secure a ticket and attend, an experience that I wish that I could more frequently share. With “Sound The Bells“, I am now able to provide even a snippet of what seeing that show was like. Live albums are hard to refine, and with the expert and precise movement of The Minnesota Orchestra, the entire project is transformative.

Tobe Nwigwe, “Fouriginals”

I will be the first to admit that I, incorrectly, slept on the Tobe Nwigwe when a coworker tried to send me a text to listen. However, when I took the time to dig a bit, I learned that there is no better time than now to support Houston’s own S.W.A.T. (South West Alief Texas) representative. Tobe is one of the smoothest and historically sound MC’s I have ever heard. Fouriginals is a breath of fresh air while also paying homage to our City’s hip hop past with a beautiful medley.

John Prine, “The Tree of Forgiveness”

While we are on the topic of records that I may have slept on, “Tree of Forgiveness” lands in that category too. Prine’s 2018 release took me a year to find, but as I did, I knew that I wanted to make it a part of the list. I found he’s playing a concert soon, and I for sure wanted to be a part of that experience. With any luck, I’ll be able to catch a couple of songs from this release as well as some personal favorites from his prior works.

Ben Folds Five Self Titled Reissue

Folds is as magnetic of a live performer as one can imagine. He is technically the most masterful of a musician I have seen. He can compose something wonderful and original in a matter of moments, and does so each show he plays. The 2019 re-release of this 1995 LP is a hi-light with tracks like “Boxing”. So, go ahead; get the band back together.

Tanya Tucker, “While I’m Livin'”

For those of you paying attention to the many projects Brandi Carlile has had a hand in over the past year (cough, cough The Highwomen) it shouldn’t shock you to find her alongside legendary Tanya Tucker for a 2019 release. While I have a hard time defining my favorite track, I am tempted to say the rework of “The House That Built Me”. Sometimes it’s easy to let things slip in the realities of our lives. Hopefully this is one that won’t fall by the wayside.

Cake, “Fashion Nugget”

Cake didn’t reissue anything this year, fear not. However, I picked up a copy of “Fashion Nugget” on vinyl which excited me so much that I had to include it on the list. If you are lucky enough to find one of your own or see them perform, I highly recommend it.

2019 had many great releases, and the titles above are highlights that I hope, with a listen or two, you get to experience as well. I purposefully did not include links to specific retailers because I hope that you shop local whenever applicable. Happy New Year, be safe, be good to one another and thanks for following along as always.

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