Top 2020 releases plus more
By Rob Dickens
Introduction and Observations
Welcome to our ‘Best Of’ Vol VIII.
I am writing this a little later this year. Maybe it’s a reflection of the lethargy that 20-bloody-20 has left us with. We’ve endured about ten months of pandemic news, restrictions, debates, border closures, travel plans scuttled and not being able to see our loved ones.
Musically, I managed to get to just two festivals and a handful of gigs before all hell broke loose. The Listening Through The Lens 2020 Music Tour was well advanced before it became a casualty, the thought of travelling from Australia to the American South now seeming to be so remote and fanciful that I feel like laughing and crying simultaneously.
what has sustained us and lifted our spirits in an immeasurable manner during this blight of a year is the amazing flow of wonderful recorded music released. So many fine albums issued when the artists cannot tour on the back of them thereby unable to supplement their income through the normal ticket sales nor merchandise vending.
This is a little late for sure, but I like taking the maximum time to get to hear as much music as possible and it’s relatively quiet part of the year. The process of assembling this article was slow at the start but turned out to be cathartic.
Vale to these notables who left us in 2020
Bill Withers – Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame soul singer
Billy Joe Shaver – Texas outlaw country singer and songwriter
Bob Shane – last surviving member of The Kingston Trio
Bonnie Pointer – member of The Pointer Sisters
Charley Pride – Country Music Hall of Fame country singer
Charlie Daniels – Country Music Hall of Fame member
David Olney – Americana singer/songwriter (suffered a fatal heart attack onstage during a performance at the 30A Festival in Florida)
Eddie Van Halen – guitarist extraordinaire
Ennio Morricone – one of the all-time film composer greats
Eric Weissburg – musician on “Duelling Banjos” and “Blood On The Tracks”
Hal Ketchum – country singer with many hit singles
Helen Reddy – activist and “I Am Woman” singer
Jerry Jeff Walker – outlaw country singer and writer of “Mr. Bojangles”
Jimmy Capps – Musicians Hall of Fame guitar player and Grand Ole Opry player
John Prine – legendary folk and Americana singer and songwriter
Johnny Mandel – composer including the “M*A*S*H” theme
Johnny Nash – singer of “I Can See Clearly Now”
Justin Townes Earle – Americana singer/songwriter (too soon!)
Kenny Ingram – acclaimed banjo player
Kenny Rogers – Country Music Hall of Fame and cross-over hit singer
Little Richard – rock ‘n’ roll legend
Mac Davis – Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member
Paul English – Willie Nelson’s longtime drummer
Pete Carr – Muscle Shoals guitarist and Musicians Hall of Famer
Peter Green – Fleetwood Mac founder, master guitarist and writer
Roy Head – Rockabilly Hall of Fame member
Spencer Davis – founder of The Spencer Davis Group
Tony Rice – Bluegrass Hall of Fame guitarist
Toots Hibbert – lead singer of Toots and the Maytals
Trini Lopez – folk singer including “If I Had A Hammer”
W.S. ‘Fluke’ Holland – Johnny Cash’s drummer for almost forty years
From The Cockpit
Plenty to look forward to as the announced new releases are piling up, ready to fill our post-holiday stockings.
Jeff Tweedy, Lucero, Langhorne Slim, Fleet Foxes, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Willie Nelson, Pat Metheny, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Jessi Colter, John Mellencamp, Carrie Underwood, Selwyn Birchwood, Rod Abernethy, The Dead South, Ani DiFranco, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Tash Sultana, Loretta Lynn, Lydia Luce, Steve Earle & the Dukes (physical release of ‘JT’), Simpson Sturgill, Valerie June, James McMurtry, Midland, The Steel Woods and a tribute to Cody Canada and Cross Canadian Ragweed.
2019 Yola – Walk Through Fire
2018 Colter Wall – Songs Of The Plains
2017 Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway
2016 Darrell Scott – The Couchville Sessions
2015 Chris Stapleton – Traveller
2014 Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
2013 Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Best Of 2020
Bring on 2021! Wear your masks, get a jab, wash your hands, don’t cough, get tested, wash your hands again, maintain your distance and things might get a lot better, sooner than you think!
More music adventures await (actually, any live music would be nice at least).
Top 2020 releases plus more