Best of 2018

first time record playing cartoon

It’s always kind of weird trying to sum up a year’s worth of music. For sure, there’s a couple of albums which just demand to get mentioned as they’re at the forefront of the old cerebral cortex, very pleasurable memories imprinted for all time (hopefully). But then there’s a host of sounds which have thrilled one at some point during the year and it’s been a task going through the archives to recall them, although it’s also been a most pleasing process as we stumble across a half forgotten gem.

So, here’s Blabber’n’Smoke’s ten favourite albums of the year, in alphabetical order, along with a list of those who just didn’t make the cut but which are well worth listening to. Rising above all of them however is our number one choice of the year. Our favourite album (and best gig of the year) award goes to the stunning Bennett Wilson Poole, a band who just lit up 2018 for Blabber’n’Smoke. Firstly with their excellent album which rejuvenates jangled harmony rock and then for a series of shows we were lucky enough to see them play, several times in trio format, and then finally with their full band line up. That last show was at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe and there’s no doubt that this was the show of the year. If this list does nothing else let it guide you to listen to them if you haven’t done so already.

So, we’ll let Bennett Wilson Poole top the list and then add on a top ten. Links are added to our reviews where available.

Bennett Wilson Poole. Bennett Wilson Poole

And the rest in alphabetical order…

Amy Helm. This Too Shall Light

Birds of Chicago. Love In Wartime

Carson McHone. Carousel

Courtney Marie Andrews. May Your Kindness Remain

Dean Owens. Southern Wind

J P Harris. Sometime Dogs Bark at Nothing

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes. Some Girls (Quite) Like Country Music

Leon III. Leon III 

Ruston Kelly. Dying Star

The Mammals. Sunshiner

Also of note:

Alejandro Escovedo with Don Antonio. The Crossing

Alela. Diane. Cusp

American Aquarium. Things Change

Anna Egge. White Tiger

Anna & Elizabeth. The Invisible Comes To Us Now

Benjamin Folke Thomas. Modern Man

Cam Penner. At War With Reason

Carter Sampson. Lucky

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale GIlmore. Downey to Lubbock

Gene Clark. Gene Clark Sings For You

I See Hawks In LA. Live And Never Learn

James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band. High Fences

Joshua Hedley. Mr. Jukebox

Karine Polwart. Laws Of Motion

Letitia VanSant. Gut It To The Studs

The Lonesome Ace Stringband. When The Sun Comes Up

The Lost Brothers. Halfway Towards A Healing

Mary Gauthier. Rifles and Rosary Beads

Nathan Bell. Love Stars & Bones Love stars & Bones

Patrick Sweany. Ancient Noise

Phil Cook. People Are My Drug

Rab Noakes. Welcome To Anniversaryville

Sam Morrow. Concrete & Mud

Stephen Fearing. The Secret Of Climbing

3hattrio. Lord of the Desert

It’s been a great year for music and we’d like to say thanks to all the artists and promoters and fans for joining in. And, apologies for anyone left out or those who have been in touch asking for reviews. We can’t possibly do them all but without folks like you we wouldn’t be here at all. So, read the reviews and if you think it’s worth a punt do get in touch. We aim to please. Love, peace, kisses and joy to the world for all who are tuned in. We’ll sign off with this cool Christmas song from Giant Sand.

One thought on “Best of 2018

  1. Hard to argue with the choices here and also a number of names to check out. It has been a good year for new music and you reviews are as eloquent and considered as always.

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