Mid-Year Round-Up. Favourite Albums, EPs and Songs of 2018 so far

Time for some pointless music lists. Oh dear how much great music has already been released during the year. I tried to do a quick a mid-year list of the music that has mattered to me during the 1st of half of the year, but it proved to be a difficult task. These lists turned out to be rather long, but still could have easily been twice as long. Not to mention all the stuff I either forgot or haven’t even heard yet. For example I just bought the new John Prine yesterday and haven’t even really listened to it before. So this list happened a bit too soon for that one. There’s lots of other ones too. So little time, so much wonderful music. Anyway, here are some albums, EPs and songs that I’ve fallen in love with during the first half of the year. One reissue as well. Don’t think I’ve even bought other ones, but hey it’s such a magnificent one that it deserves its own category. These are in alphabetical order, except the first one in each category is the one that I love the most at the moment. Anyway, it’s finally time to stop these silly ramblings and it’s time to let the music of Lauren O’Connell lead the way to my favourite music of 2018 so far.


Lauren O’Connell – Details

American Aquarium – Things Change (New West)
Andrew Bryant – Ain’t It Like The Cosmos (Last Chance)
Buffalo Gospel – On The First Bell
Caleb Caudle – Crushed Coins (Cornelius Chapel)
Clint Michigan – Centuries (Kiam)
Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain (Mama Bird / Fat Possum / Loose)
Damien Jurado – The Horizon Just Laughed (Secretly Canadian)
Daniel Markham – Hyperspeed
Erin Rae – Putting On Airs (Single Lock)
H.C. McEntire – Lionheart (Merge)
Haley Heynderickx – I Need To Start A Garden (Mama Bird)
Harrison Whitford – Afraid of Everything
Jennifer Castle – Angels of Death (Paradise of Bachelors / Idée Fixe)
John Calvin Abney – Coyote (Black Mesa)
Matt Dorrien – In The Key Of Grey (Mama Bird)
Michael Feuerstack – Natural Weather (Forward Music)
Neko Case – Hell On (ANTI-)
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Years (Bloodshot)
Sloan – 12 (Yep Roc)
Will Stewart – County Seat (Cornelius Chapel)

Bonus picks are the two Daniel Romano albums Human Touch & Nerveless that were only available in January, but both are awesome. Especially Human Touch.


Jukka Nousiainen – Ei enää kylmää eikä pimeää (Jukan Musiikki)

Litku Klemetti – Taika tapahtuu (Luova)
The New Tigers – Do Xao (Soliti)
Topi Saha – Lopunajan rakastavaiset (Warner)
Tuomas Palonen – Tuomas Palonen (Palatsi)


Ian Noe – Off This Mountaintop (Ok, actually December 2017, but I love it)

Evan Cheadle – Chasing Shadows
Sera Cahoone – Flora String Sessions
William Matheny – Moon Over Kenova


Pat Ament – Songs By Pat Ament (Grapefruit)


Matt Dorrien – I Can’t Remember and/or All I Wanted To Say

Andrew Bryant – Night Wants the Moon
Anna Tivel – Dust and Magic
Austin Lucas – Immortal Americans
Buckley – Bakersfield
Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain and/or Took You Up
Damien Jurado – Over Rainbows and Rainier
Daniel Markham – Velvet Elvis
Dogwood Tales – Spiritless Machine
Erin Rae – Wild Blue Wind
Goodnight, Texas – Laramie
H.C. McEntire – When You Come For Me
Haley Heynderickx – Untitled God Song
Jeremy Squires – Gift
John Calvin Abney – Always Enough
Lauren O’Connell – Superimposed (or all first four songs or Out of Focus or Build Yourself)
Lucy Dacus – Night Shift
Michael Feuerstack – Jerome & I and/or Love Is All Around
Nap Eyes – Sage
Olympic Symphonium – Careful
Randolph’s Leap – Television
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Parting Words
The Village Ordinary – Partly Cloudy


Topi Saha – Valo tulee alhaalta

Iron Country Sisters – Go Slow
Kuumat siivet – Itke hänet pois
Lac Belot – D’n’A
Penniless – The Great Marquis

You’ll find these songs (except a few that aren’t on Spotify) on that 2018 playlist that is located in the top left corner of the menu bar. There are lots of more songs too that could be easily be on this list.

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Top 25 Finnish Songs of the Year 2017

One more pointless year-end list before it’s time to move on to 2018. Things are already looking bright on that front, because the Canadian music wizard Daniel Romano just dropped a couple of surprise full-length albums that are utterly wonderful. Anyway, here’s the final list and it’s the Finnish songs of the year. Order is again not that significant. Music is life, not a contest. Just some Finnish songs that mattered to me. A few songs that I love aren’t here, because I already had them on the 2016 list (Korpit, Spark, Work of Art and The Laughing Man at least. Korpit by Salaliitto would have been a contender even for the first place, if it had not been on the list a year before). I kept it short, because it’s the songs that matter, not my silly ramblings. I hope I didn’t forget anything important. There’s a Spotify list too, if you are into that sort of thing.

Top 25 Finnish Songs of the Year

25. Antti Alanko – Weissenborn Improv in G Minor
24. Tomi Nordlund & Syvä Joki – Syvä joki
23. Painikerho – Mä voisin pilata sun koko elämän
22. Iron Country Sisters – Bonfire
21. Hell Cat – Countless Miles
20. Laura Moisio – Keltaiset verhot
19. The New Tigers – Three Shadows
18. Pöllöt – Silmät kiinni
17. Daisy – Little Love
16. Verandan – Gold in the Hills
15. The Lieblings – Isle of Man
14. Janne Laurila ja Tuhlaajapojat – Nuolia avaruuteen
13. Astrid Swan – Skeleton Woman
12. Koria Kitten Riot – Hold on Tight
11. Salaliitto – Ollaan nuorii

10. Hulda Huima ja hitaat sekunnit – Viimeiset hetket

The new Hulda Huima ja hitaat sekunnit album is filled with super catchy songs that make me smile even during the times when the lyrics deal with darker issues. I’m extremely reserved, shy and quiet man, but I would seriously consider making some moderate dance steps if I heard songs like this in a bar.

9. Vähäsarja – Ehkä sä tanssit

The whole contrast-filled experience of the new Vähäsarja album where beauty collides with sadness and comforting can turn to disturbing in a split second and vice versa matters more than just one individual song, but if I have to pick just one, then I’ve always been rather obsessed with Ehkä sä tanssit.

8. Bone Moon – The Writer

Lauri Myllymäki is one of my favourite Finnish songwriters. Ochre Room was such a great band and so is Bone Moon based on a couple of live shows and the debut EP The Writer. All four songs are wonderful, but let’s go with the title track on this list.

7. Vasas Flora och Fauna – Min Förtvivlan

Vasas Flora och Fauna’s Veneziansk Afton was the first that didn’t make the cut on the album of the year list and that decision continues to haunt me. The highlight of that album was this melancholic beauty Min Förtvivlan.

6. John McGregor – Astuit maailmaani

I’m a huge fan of John McGregor. Joki was my album of the year back in 2005 and Maa ei oo pimee was #2 a few years later (and at that time I didn’t have separate lists for Finnish and international). I was thrilled that he finally released a new album Luota, but I did struggle with it a little bit. It’s just because of my narrow music taste. There’s nothing wrong with the quality of the music and there’s a lot to love for me as well. For example the first two songs Ajatukset juoksevat and Astuit maailmani are both among the finest Finnish songs I heard during the year.

5. Hullu Ruusu – Mikael

Not sure is this necessarily the best song on the gorgeous Hullu Ruusu debut full-length, but it’s the one that first galloped into my heart and I haven’t been able to shake it off. Not that I even want to, because this is one of those pleasant ear worms that I don’t even want to get rid off.

4. Mikko Joensuu – Pearly Gates

Amen 3 didn’t make the cut on the albums of the year list. Mostly because I’m a narrow-minded ass who is madly in love with Amen 1, but have some minor troubles with the other two. Of course Amen 3 is a phenomenal record objectively speaking, but style-wise just not that close to my heart. However, I absolutely love this last song Pearly Gates.

3. Mitä helvettiä nyt taas – Joka päivä töitä teen

Every year-end list needs a lot of Timo. Mitä Helvettiä Nyt Taas released three singles that all could easily fill the compulsory EOTY Timo Quota. I will go with Joka päivä töitä teen, because this Matti & Teppo meets Superjussi song brought the most joy to my life.

2. Lokit – Kasevaa

Lokit is such a great band and both Kasevaa from their new 7″ and earlier Blades of Steel are wonderful songs. I’m so eager to hear their debut full-length. Hopefully that will see the light of day in 2018.

1. Litku Klemetti – Juna Kainuuseen

And the song of the year is Juna Kainuuseen by Litku Klemetti. It’s so obvious and the silly indie snob part of me would probably want to pick something more obscure or some other wonderful Litku song, but honesty is the only way to go and this is by far the Finnish song I loved the most during 2017.

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Top 100 Songs of the Year 2017 – The International Edition

One more ridiculously long year-end list before Christmas. I don’t think I have the time to do Finnish songs before early January. Sorry about that if someone was actually waiting for it. This one really got out of hand and I don’t expect anyone to actually listen to that six hours long Spotify playlist all way through. Just wanted to spread the love a bit wider this year, because there’s so much great music available that’s worth our time and money. Heck, I could easily pick another 100 songs from 100 different artist and there would not be a significant drop in quality. And I’m just one dude with a very limited knowledge about music.

The order is pretty insignificant, so don’t pay too much attention to the numbers. Music is life, not a contest. I did spend a little time choosing the top 20 or so, but after that just went through my vinyl collection, iTunes folder and the blog and wrote them pretty much in order they caught my eye. So it’s partly due to luck if something is 37 or 87. It’s just 100 songs from 100 different artists that matter to me and that are dear to me. I’m sure I forgot something important. Sorry in advance. There’s a Spotify link in the bottom, if you want an easy way to listen to all the songs. A few weren’t available. At least here in Finland. I embedded those from Bandcamp or Youtube as well as the top 10. Anyway, here it goes.

Top 100 Songs of the Year 2017 – The International Edition

100. Gifts or Creatures – Two Hearts (Two Peninsulas)
99. Mark Eitzel – Just Because
98. Allen Thompson Band – River City Blues
97. Last Leaves – The Nights You Drove Me Home
96. The Luxembourg Signal – Blue Field
95. The Sweetback Sisters – I Got Lucky With You
94. Gold Star – Blue Sky To Blue Sky
93. Jeremy Squires – Water Signs
92. John Statz – Bad Man
91. Digger Barnes – Travelin’ Man

90. Aimee Mann – Lies of Summer
89. Porter & The Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes – Your Hometown
88. Ryan Koenig – Am I Still In Your Heart (Or Am I Just in Your Way)
87. El Goodo – It Makes Me Wonder
86. Grant Earl Lavalley – The In-Betweens
85. Mo Troper – Dictator Out Of Work
84. Jonas Lundvall – Borders
83. Alvvays – Dreams Tonite
82. Drew Beskin – Hold Me Down
81. Henry Black – Looked Like Eve

80. Simon Joyner – Atlanta Bypass
79. MAITA – Waterbearer
78. The Wild Reeds – Capable
77. Paper Beat Scissors – Didn’t Know
76. Turnpike Troubadours – Pay No Rent
75. John Andrews & The Yawns – Drivers
74. Haley Heynderickx – Oom Sha La La
73. Michael Rault – Sleep With Me
72. Cale Tyson – Traveling Man
71. Enderby’s Room – Lakeside

70. Dawson Rutledge – Yours, Truly
69. Michael Nau – I Root
68. Ags Connolly – Do You Realise That Now?
67. Strand of Oaks – Radio Kids
66. Hinindar – Dime in the Dirt
65. Little Bandit – Pitiful Heart
64. Scott H. Biram – Righteous Ways
63. Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee
62. Otis Gibbs – Sputnik Monroe
61. Fiver – Pile Your Silver

60. Caroline Spence – Southern Accident
59. Matt Paxton – Hunter Street Station Blues
58. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Pa’lante
57. Bedouine – One Of These Days
56. Caleb Caudle – Empty Arms
55. LUKA – Near Collision
54. Lincoln Barr – Desperate Tormentors
53. Margo Price – All American Made
52. Andrew Combs – Dirty Rain
51. Kashena Sampson – Wild Heart

50. Anna Burch – 2 Cool 2 Care
49. Ryan Oxford – Fa Fa Fa Fired
48. Matthew Ryan – (I Just Died) Like an Aviator
47. Danny & The Champions Of The World – Gotta Get Things Right In My Life
46. The Deep Dark Woods – Fallen Leaves
45. Zephaniah OHora with the 18 Wheelers – Way Down in My Soul
44. Chris Bathgate – Dizzy Seas
43. Sera Cahoone – Ladybug
42. The Country Side of Harmonica Sam – Cry Me A River
41. Julie Arsenault – Chain

40. Jon McKiel – Unknown Source
39. Dori Freeman – If I Could Make You My Own
38. Wharfer – Blue Lewis
37. Taylor Knox – Running Into Love
36. William Matheny – Blood Moon Singer
35. Justin Townes Earle – Kids in The Street
34. Lilly Hiatt – Records
33. Clay Parker – Queen City Blues
32. Kacy & Clayton – Just Like A Summer Cloud
31. Colter Wall – Codeine Dream

30. Taylor Kingman – My Lover’s Bed
29. Jeffrey Martin – October Dark
28. H.C. McEntire – A Lamb, A Dove
27. John Thumb – Nowhere Bound
26. Daniel Romano – When I Learned Your Name
25. Hand Habits – Book On How To Change
24. Joseph Huber – Diminished Things
23. Hiss Golden Messenger – Gulfport You’ve Been On My Mind
22. Ryan Driver – It Must Be Dark Tonight
21. Andrew Bryant – Robert Downey Jr’s Scars

20. The Burning Hell – The River (Never Freezes Anymore)
19. Tyler Childers – Whitehouse Road
18. Phoebe Bridgers – Smoke Signals
17. J.E. Sunde – Capsize and Sink
16. Frontier Ruckus – Gauche
15. BMX Bandits – Love Me Til My Heart Stops
14. Vikesh Kapoor – Down By The River
13. Erin Rae – Wild Blue Wind
12. Craig Finn – God In Chicago
11. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – If We Were Vampires

10. Jon Latham – Yearbook Signatures

I first had a different Jon Latham song here, because I’ve known this one since the Ourvinyl video back in 2016. So in that sense it’s a bit of old news, but damn if the news aren’t fantastic. I was doing the Christmas shopping in the city the other day and had the headphones on and when this came along it absolutely floored me and I had to stop everything for the duration of the song. Then I decided that Yearbook Signatures has to be the one from the excellent Jon Latham album Lifers.

9. Anna Tivel – Alleyway

Anna Tivel’s latest album Small Believer is full of magnificent songwriting and therefore it was hard to choose just one for this list. I think Dark Chandelier, Illinois and Saturday Night would be just as good picks. The characters of her songs don’t usually have luck on their side, but Anna tells their stories with heart and warmth.

8. Hip Hatchet – Burden of an Empath

Hip Hatchet’s protest EP Hellhound in the House probably went a little under the radar, but I think it’s great and important. This song in particular is incredible. It breaks my heart each time, but also reminds how important it is to stand up for what is right and spread love as much as you can.

7. Leah Senior – Pretty Faces

Australian folk songwriter Leah Senior was quite a big favourite this year. The album Pretty Faces was on my top 10 and All My Friends is my favourite music video of the year. This amazingly beautiful title track started it all and I’ve listened to it more times than I can count.

6. Twain – Dear Mexico (Song For Joyce)

There are a few far more soul wrenching and moving songs on the album, but somehow this one is still the dearest song on the wonderful new Twain album Rare Feeling. The last two verses are just pure gold. “There’s a hole inside my heart shaped just like the day we spent in portal park”. Irresistible.

5. Quivers – Pigeons

The pop song of the year comes from Tasmania. Well I think nowadays Quivers live in Melbourne. Anyway, I’m completely addicted to this song (and the music video). This is supposed to be a pop blog and I was a pop kid when I started this sixteen years ago. Now I’m an old dude who mostly listens sad country music, but thankfully every now and again something comes along that removes the wear and tear of those 16 years from my heart and I feel like that pop kid once again. A wonderful song and that “All my best friends are a little broken / all the best people are” line is just perfect and so true. The album comes out in early 2018 and I can’t wait.

4. Joan Shelley – Where I’ll Find You

Joan Shelley and Dwight Lightning ruled my 2017. This song Where I’ll Find You started it all and while there are several equally amazing songs on the album this one remains the dearest to me.

3. John Moreland – Latchkey Kid

John Moreland is one of the best songwriters at the moment. If it was just the songwriting, I think Big Bad Luv would have been #2 behind The Weather Station on the album list, but my own minor arrangement nitpicking dropped it a couple of places. That’s nonsense though. It’s one hell of a record full of incredible songwriting. This is another where it’s so hard to pick one favourite. At least No Glory in Regret, Old Wounds, Lies I Chose To Believe are equally perfect, but I’ll go with Latchkey Kid this time around.

2. Charlie Whitten – Balance

Charlie Whitten’s Playwright was the EP of the year and I love all four songs on it. I’ll go with the opener Balance on this little list. It’s such a beautiful song about falling in love. I really should finally buy the vinyl while he still has copies. I feel awful for only having the promo download and that I haven’t paid anything for a release that matter so much to me. The overseas shipping is just so expensive these days and it’s been difficult to justify paying $30 dollars for 4 songs no matter how dear they are. These songs are worth it though so maybe it’s time to do the right thing.

1. The Weather Station – Thirty

The song of the year 2017 is Thirty by The Weather Station. The self-titled The Weather Station is by far my favourite release of the year. I’m madly in love with it and the biggest struggle I had with this list was to choose just one song from it to this list. There’s at least five equally good choices and if I didn’t have this one song per artist policy, every song of the record would be on this list. Thirty is the most logical choice, because the song and the video started my addiction towards her new album and therefore it’s my favourite song of the year.

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Top 30 Albums of the Year 2017 – The International Edition 10-1

Part One 30-21
Part Two 20-11

10. Tyler Childers – Purgatory

Tyler Childers released a stunning album that was co-produced by Sturgill Simpson. Hopefully Sturgill’s name there gave him a little bit more exposure and a sale boost, but it’s still just an interesting sidenote. Tyler’s stunning song material and passionate delivery should take all the spotlight. I was hooked the moment I heard Lady May and my affection towards the album is still continuously rising. An incredible run of songs.

9. Leah Senior – Pretty Faces

I was somewhat familiar with Australian folk singer-songwriter Leah Senior even before Pretty Faces, but I sure didn’t expect to fall so badly in love with her music. However, I was completely addicted to the moment I heard the title track Pretty Faces. She also released my favourite music video of the year. I’ve watched the video of All My Friends dozens of times, because both the song and the video are a work of art. Oh well maybe I would have put something else on the plate, but other than that it’s pure gold. Pretty Faces is such a beautiful album. Perhaps in some purely objective list it shouldn’t be quite as high, but that’s all nonsense. I love this dearly.

8. Frontier Ruckus – Enter The Kingdom

Frontier Ruckus has taken the first place a couple of times, but this time they have to settle for a place in the top 10. Nothing really to complain about though and I still love them as much as you can love a band. There just were a song or two that didn’t felt that special at least on the Frontier Ruckus standards. However, most of it is utterly wonderful. Especially Gauche, Gerunds, Enter The Kingdom and Our Flowers Are Still Burning are all perfect songs. Bonus points for the Sick of Myself reference in Gerunds, because it’s one of my favourite songs ever and using a Big Star T-shirt on this video below, because it’s one of the best bands ever.

7. J.E. Sunde – Now I Feel Adored

J.E. Sunde is a huge personal favourite and he didn’t disappoint with his new album Now I Feel Adored. Maybe there wasn’t a song that would match the brilliance of A Blinding Flash Of Light, but overall this is probably even better than the first solo album. J.E. Sunde isn’t just another singer-songwriter. He is a special talent whose music always sound unique and enchanting.

6. Joan Shelley – Joan Shelley

This was the year of the Shelley family. Joan Shelley released an incredible self-titled album full of beautiful and quietly mesmerizing folk songs and Dwight Lightning won the instagram. I’m not even sure which one of them brought more joy to my life. A huge thank you to both for being awesome and brightening up my life. We’d Be Home and Where I’ll Find You are so brilliant. Maybe not as brilliant as that photo of Dwight running on the beach, but hey nothing is.

5. John Moreland – Big Bad Luv

John Moreland is a magnificent songwriter and big favourite of mine. I can pretty much guarantee his record will be one of the finest of the year even before actually hearing it. There’s a giant cloud of guilt hanging over me, because I haven’t really praised Big Bad Luv here at all. Thankfully my few readers are probably already well aware how much I love the music he writes. Old Wounds, Lies I Chose To Believe and No Glory in Regret. Oh dear how great.

4. Craig Finn – We All Want The Same Things

Craig Finn released a remarkable solo album album We All Want The Same Things and it contains some of the finest storytelling I heard this year. God In Chicago, Be Honest and Rescue Blues are absolute magnificent. “Ain’t it funny how we all get by? / But not the way that makes us laugh” is one of my favorite lines. Maybe I’m a bit of sad case, but damn how I love that line and the way it hurts and heals at the same time.

3. Twain – Rare Feeling

Twain’s new album Rare Feeling is a little masterpiece full of heart and human warmth. I think his songs are just magical and there are some heartfelt purity in them that I just can’t properly describe with words. But I suppose music is meant to be felt and not described anyway and I sure feel every moment. Mt Davidson is an exceptional songwriter and Rare Feeling is an exceptional album.

2. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me

I’m not really sure is this an album that should be even reviewed or especially ranked on some worthless year-end list. I never even wrote about it during the year, because I didn’t find the words to make justice to the fragile, devastating honesty of this Mount Eerie album. It might be barely music as Phil said himself, but it’s definitely a powerful work of art and despite all the painfully real grief and hurt, the unconditional love he has for his late wife Geneviève shines through the dark leaving a lasting impression.

1. The Weather Station – The Weather Station

The album of the year 2017 is the self-produced and self-titled The Weather Station album. I think there was never any doubt after I listened to this album with headphones for the first time. I was immediately hooked and amazed how incredibly powerful it was all way through. There’s not a weak song on it and it’s as close to perfect as humanly possible. It’s a beautiful, courageous, mesmerizing and captivating work that demands to be heard. I’ve been fan of The Weather Station aka Toronto-based songwriter Tamara Lindeman for a long time and first wrote about her music back in 2011. I still admit that I wasn’t expecting to fall so completely in love with her album. I really like all the earlier work as well, but this new one is still on a whole another level. It’s an outstanding and phenomenal album and easily the best release I heard this year. The Weather Station by The Weather Station is available on Paradise of Bachelors (USA/Europe) and Outside Music (Canada)

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Top 30 Albums of the Year 2017 – The International Edition 20-11

Part One 30-21
Part Three 10-1

20. Fiver – Audible Songs From Rockwood

Canadian songwriter Simone Schmidt aka Fiver spent a few years going through the old case files (from 1854-1881) of patients at the Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane and turned her findings into fictional folk songs. The end result is an extremely powerful and breathtaking traditional folk album Audible Songs From Rockwood. Maybe not something that I listen to on a daily basis, but one that I still return to quite often and find it strong and captivating each time.

19. Mo Troper – Exposure & Response

Mo Troper released the power pop album of the year or at least the best one I heard. I admit that I don’t follow the genre nowhere near enough even though it’s the foundation that my music taste and this website is built on. Anyway, Exposure & Response is superb, catchy, melodic and hook-filled pop blast. I’m not sure should I smile this much while listening to it, because the lyrics are often far darker than the music. But it’s hard not to, because I love the music so much.

18. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Nashville Sound

Eventually I will look like an idiot, because I have this masterpiece so far down. Yeah, I know I already look like an idiot, maybe just for different reasons. This just haven’t been that important to me so far and I haven’t listened to it that much so far. I think the reason is just that I’ve focused more on the unknowns and have let my trusted companion Jason Isbell wait a while on the sidelines, because I already know that someday I will fall badly for this. I don’t have anything bad to say about The Nashville Sound. I think it’s a damn fine album and If We Were Vampires is one of the songs of the year.

17. Jon Latham – Lifers

Nashville’s Jon Latham and his wonderful new album Lifers should have gotten far more love and exposure on this blog. It’s been a busy year and I’m not sure is there even a point to continue, if I can’t do this properly. Anyway, I’m a big fan of his songwriting and songs like Tennessee Dime, Last In Line, Yearbook Signatures and Lifers are among the very finest songs of the year.

16. Colter Wall – Colter Wall

Colter Wall is a young Canadian folk/country troubadour with a deep voice and a suitcase full of captivating traditional folk tales. Dave Cobb is responsible for producing some of the best americana albums of the last few years and thankfully knows when there’s no need for extra heroics from the producer. The sound is rather bare and the focus is on the voice and on the songs. In Colter Wall’s case that’s everything you can possibly need.

15. Hiss Golden Messenger – Hallelujah Anyhow

I was rather slow to understand the greatness of Hiss Golden Messenger, but I’ve been onboard for a few years and these days he is one of my biggest inspirations both as a songwriter/musician and as a human being. His songs are remarkable and I love the way he continuously spreads love and tackles everything that’s wrong in the world. If only kindhearted people like him were in charge. Heart Like A Levee remains his masterwork in my books, but there’s nothing to complain about this one either. A remarkable and important album.

14. Clay Parker – Queen City Blues

I’m very fond of this new Clay Parker album. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (as if something is), but I think it’s superb. Probably no-one should ever be compared to Townes Van Zandt, but some of these songs reminds me of him. There’s nothing fancy or earthshattering. Just beautiful well-crafted songs gently delivered straight into my heart. That’s all I could ever want.

13. The Deep Dark Woods – Yarrow

The Deep Dark Woods from Canada is a long time favourite of mine and I’ve loved everything Ryan Boldt has released over the years. Yarrow is no exception to that rule and it’s filled with amazing songs. Damn it’s nice to hear that spectacular deep voice again.

12. Daniel Romano – Modern Pressure

Canadian music wizard Daniel Romano is continuosly changing his colours and sure doesn’t make it easy for his fans. My early thoughts with both this and Mosey were something like ”well is this really that great” and a couple of spins later I’m like ”oh hell it is and why I ever doubted”. Impressive musician that seems to be able to master everything.

11. Anna Tivel – Small Believer

Anna Tivel is a songwriter from Portland, Oregon and she writes tremendous lyric-driven folk songs. The stories she tells may be rather dark, but I think there’s also a lot of compassion and warmth in the air. It’s a very moving album and somehow she is able to make you really feel for the characters of her songs. Some of the finest songwriting of the year. These Dark Chandelier and Illinois that end this second chapter of this year-end list are a perfect examples of her talent.

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