Blabber’n’Smoke’s Favourites of 2021

Well, farewell 2021. It was nice while it lasted but you were too much of a tease, really, for it to go on much longer. We started going out only towards the end and then, when it seemed that we were getting on an even keel, you done went and got all frosty again, gigs gone, Christmas and New Year all but cancelled. One thing you did provide was a bumper crop of albums and for that we do thank you.

Here’s a list of Blabber’n’Smoke’s favourite albums of 2021 (although there are probably a couple we’ve forgotten). There’s a top ten, but not in any particular order, along with a list of runners up and special mentions at the end. Where possible we’ve linked the album title to a review (or interview in one case) of ours.

Only four gigs this year! Hopefully 2022 will bring us more great albums but more importantly and despite the dismal start, allow live music to live and breathe again.

A huge thanks to all the artists, promoters, PR folk, venues and fellow fans who all help Blabber’n’Smoke limp along. Happy New Year.

The Felice Brothers – From Dreams To Dust

Allison Russell – Outside Child

Charley Crockett – Music City USA

Peter Bruntnell – Journey to the Sun

Steve Earle & The Dukes – JT

John Murry – The Stars Are God’s Bullet Holes

M. G. Boulter – Clifftown

Jason McNiff – Dust Of Yesterday

Malcolm Holcombe – Tricks Of The Trade

Robin Adams – Wrong Road Home

Also of note

Los Lobos – Native Sons
Sturgill Simpson – The Ballad of Dood & Juanita
Danny George Wilson – Another Place
David Huckfeldt – Room Enough, Time Enough
Maria Muldaur with Tuba Skinny – Let’s Get happy Together
JP Harris’s Dreadful Wind And Rain – Don’t You Marry No Railroad Man
Chris Eckman – Where The Spirit Rests
Bard Edrington V – Two Days In Terlingua
Steve Gunn – Other You
Nathan Bell – Red White And American Blues (It Couldn’t Happen Here)
Audrey Spillman – Neon Dream
Jenner Fox –Planet I’m From
Starry Eyed & Laughing – Bells Of Lightning
Aimee Mann – Queens Of The Summer Hotel
TK & The Holy Know Nothings – The Incredible Heat Machine

Although coming from vastly different directions, I really enjoyed these sets – Various Artists, Highway Butterfly- The Songs Of Neal Casal and Peter Stampfel’s, 20th Century In 100 Songs. There were also fine tributes in the shape of Party For Joey – A Sweet Relief Tribute To Joey Spampinato, and The Wanderer – A Tribute To Jackie Leven. Edinburgh’s Dean Owens appears on The Wanderer and he released three fine EPs this year, his Desert Trilogy, in conjunction with Calexico and various Tucson musicians- a taster for his forthcoming album, recorded with John and Joey and due out early next year.


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