Top 10 EPs of 2016

A few more pointless year end lists to come. First this EP list. I suppose one could argue that a few of these are actually full albums. Sorry if someone feels they are in the wrong category. Anyway, here are my favourite EPs of 2016. The order is pretty insignificant and might as well be alphabetical.

10. Ethan Crump – Hellfire and Amazing Grace

Ethan Crump is only nineteen-years-old (or was at least when this came out, maybe he has turned 20 by now), but he is already extremely good songwriter. Immensely talented young man from Hartwell, GA. And no, he is not just one for the future. Those three songs in the middle of this EP. Title Track Hellfire and Amazing Grace, Mary Ann and Mason County Blues are all so gorgeous that any songwriter would be proud of them.

9. Adam Remnant – When I Was a Boy

Southeast Engine frontman Adam Remnant put together a really convincing solo EP where the struggles of adulthood hit almost too close home. That Southeast Engine sure had a pretty special line-up. Remnant released this EP and Adam Torres put out excellent album this year and very soon in 2017 William Matheny will be dropping his most likely excellent album into our hearts.

8. The Blackeyed Susans – Lover or the Loved

Australian The Blackeyed Susans are back in this ball game. New EP Lover or the Loved this year and full-length album in 2017. Count me in. I’ve really missed you. You can be my medicine once again.

7. Guy Capecelatro III – The Smallest Darkest Things

This is one of those that you could easily argue that it’s a full album or at least a mini-LP. Five originals and two covers. Anyway, I love Guy Capecelatro III and his new release The Smallest Darkest Things is a brilliant and moving tribute to Brown Birds’ Dave Lamb.

6. Chris Bathgate – Old Factory

A long time favourite Chris Bathgate came back with an EP called Old Factory, which was of course magnificent. I’m so hoping for more Chris Bathgate music in the not-too-distant future.

5. Rayland Baxter – Soho

This Rayland Baxter EP would have made even bigger impact this year, if I didn’t already know these songs by heart. However, I do love these stripped-down versions even more than then the ones that appeared on the album back in 2015.

4. Michael Feuerstack – Adult Lullabies

Early in the year Canadian maestro Michael Feuerstack celebrated the 1st anniversary of his previous album The Forgettable Truth by releasing a new Adult Lullabies EP that was mostly recorded in the same sessions. Kind of goes to show how strong that album was when such treasures as these didn’t make the cut then.

3. Matt Paxton – Let Me Rock ‘n Roll Tonight

Canadian songwriter Matt Paxton might not be a household name (not yet anyway), but we love him here at the headquarters. This year he put out an magnificent EP Let Me Rock N’ Roll Tonight. This song Can’t Say Your Name was a huge personal favourite.

2. Hezekiah Jones – Har! Har! Har!

One of my big personal favourites, Philadelphia’s Hezekiah Jones released a surprise EP Har! Har! Har! late in the year and Raph Cutrufello and co were once again in great form. It was an extremely close call with this and my top pick and could easily go either way. I could come up with some minor flaw or a song I wasn’t that addicted to from the others if I really had to, but these last two were perfect on all accounts.

1. Birger Olsen – The Lights Just Buzz

Some of the above might have bigger favourite songs, but as a whole this smooth operator by Portland-based Birger Olsen ends up taking the imaginary EP of the year award. I’ve seen this been referred as an album, but with just 6-songs I felt it fitted better under this category. Whether it’s an album, mni-album or an EP is pretty insignificant though. What matters far more is that it’s absolutely wonderful. The whole beautiful thing is set in the blues and country territory with light jazzy vibes and gospel bits adding another layer to the sound. It’s smooth, warm and subtle, but also with lots of depth and detail. Another treasure from Mama Bird Recording Co.

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