Music has always given me so many hours of inspiration and enjoyment. I have listened to hundreds of albums this year (without exaggeration) and here are the stand-outs.
Why not give them a try for yourself?
|Caro Emerald: Acoustic Session|
This album was released in 2017, but was toured during 2018, giving it every reason to be included here (the same applies to the next one on the list).
Caro Emerlad's gig at the York Barbican was one of the events of the year; a real show
with superb music and the atmosphere of an evening-long party.
|Imelda May: Life Love Flesh Blood|
I was in the very fortunate position of being able to see Imelda May for the third time earlier this year. She sang through most of Life Love Flesh Blood,
which sees her leaving behind the rockabilly roots to present a full set of thoughtful, touching and beautiful songs, which should definitely connect with all listeners on some level. One of the best albums of any
|Dawn Lanes: Meet Me At The River|
The intimate surroundings of The Basement in York gave me the perfect opportunity to spend an evening wrapped up in the music of Dawn Landes. A fabulous singer/songwriter with a really lovely voice, Dawn deserves to be much better-known in the UK.
|Christina Aguilera: Liberation|
I like music to challenge me; its an essential duty. This diverse album is not exactly easy listening but it is a real 'grower', demanding attention, focus and an open mind. It is no good using this album as background music while doing anything else! In a world seemingly awash with mush, this will make you think
|The Damned: Evil Spirits|
Remarkably, The Damned returned to their top form in 2018 with their first album in a decade, backed up by a major tour (one of the gigs of the year
). The album is full of excellent songs - Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow
, Look Left
and Evil Spirits,
to name but three - and should act as a real eye-opener for those who have neglected The Damned.
|Pistol Annies: Interstate Gospel|
The Pistol Annies (Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley) have returned with their third album. Country and Gospel - with a very sharp cutting edge. Miranda Lambert was sensational in concert last year, when I saw her in Hammersmith, and I am hoping this innovative trio will be putting together some UK dates for 2019.
|Sounds of the Sirens: For All Our Sins|
The vocals of Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood are powerful and the songs are excellent. They are all set to make a big impression in 2019, so now is the time to give their music a try. Pop/folk, for those who must have everything neatly pigeonholed.
|Hailey Tuck: Junk|
Hailey Tuck! A remarkable talent. Brilliant 'live' (as proved in Middlesbrough earlier this year) and hugely charismatic, Hailey invites you to step back to the 1920s - the era of the Flappers - while keeping one foot in the present. We need more tour dates next time!
|Jah Wobble: The Butterfly Effect|
Jah has had a very productive year. The current incarnation of The Invaders of the Heart are helping to push the boundaries and their almost constant touring has led to very fruitful studio time.
The Butterfly Effect
offers a series of challenging songs and tunes that simply need
to be listened to. Yes - of course - Jah goes all the way back to the days of Punk with PiL, but leaving the musical analysis there may be the choice of many, but it is downright lazy. The genres embraced and enhanced by this extraordinary man and The Invaders of the Heart deserve much
|Hollie Cook: Vessel of Love|
I found this wonderful album by searching out more material by Jah Wobble, who is present on some of the tracks. 'Tropical Pop', if you like...full of dreamy Reggae, powered by worthy bass. A soundtrack to my Summer, this album will prove uplifting.
|Confessin' the Blues - Curated by The Rolling Stones|
The Stones know the Blues - and here they are, curating a superb collection of originals (some of which they covered in their time) to offer up two discs brimming with extraordinary music. Get back to the roots!
|Lauren Daigle: Look Up Child|
Lauren Daigle is going to take 2019 by storm. This extraordinary album is absolutely full of brilliant songs. Lauren's voice has been likened to Adele's and it is easy to see why - at least on first impression. Yet a few more listenings should be more than enough to tune into Lauren's unique personality and inspirational ethos. Go and listen
to it and then try telling me the songs don't make you feel
something. Fingers crossed for UK tour dates in 2019, as I'm sure it will definitely prove to be one of the gigs of the year.