100 Favorite Albums of the Year 2020 – Part One

Finally into this category. I struggled with this a lot, because there was just so many beautiful albums. I did some excel work and I featured a total of 644 full-length albums on the weekly music posts. Plus some Bandcamp or physical only stuff and suddenly it’s about 700 albums. So there’s a lot to love. Of course I’m just one man, so I obviously I didn’t listen to all of them that well. But I did listen really lot and it was really difficult to cut this list down to hundred. I could switch 50 of these and be just as happy with it. This how it went today. I didn’t include cover albums and such even though there were plenty of good ones nor did I include the ones that came December 11 or later. For example I know Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams would make the cut, but I haven’t even listened to the whole record yet so it would be kind of strange to put it here. A lot of the big names are missing too. Objectively some of them should be on the list, but I haven’t listened them that much. I usually spend most of my time listening to the less-known artists, because there’s just nothing my little blog can do for the Isbells of this world. I feel like my job (or well hobby) is to shine a light on on the ones that aren’t yet household names.

This has same principle as the earlier EOTY lists. First 90 in completely random order and then there’s top 10 in some sort of not-that-serious order. The numbers are arbitrary. Music is love not a competition. I think it’s just maybe helpful for the reader to have some sort of vague order, because not everyone is an music addict like me and have time or interest to listen 100 albums. However, if they see something they are not aware of as my #4 pick, they might be more interested then if its just one of the hundred. I know most think 100 is way too much, but I love music and this is one way to share some of it. And a very good way too, because people like lists. I have maybe between 40-80 daily visitors here normally, but every year when I do these lists, there’s suddenly 1000+ daily visitors. Ok enough with the mumbo jumbo and on to the lists. First six parts in a random order. There might be some grouping that similar kind of records appear next to each other. I’ll do the playlist after the last chapter and try to give some flow to that.

Part Seven
Part Six
Part Five
Part Four
Part Three
Part Two
Part One

Cinder Well – No Summer (Free Dirt Records)

Starting with a sparse and haunting folk album from Cinder Well. A few trads along with amazing own songs. Our Lady’s is one of the songs of the year, but I’ll throw the wonderful title song here for easier entry point.

Dalton Mills – Dalton Mills

Next up is folk singer-songwriter Dalton Mills from Middlesboro, Kentucky. A bit of Townes Van Zandt and a whole lot of great songs.

Chris Acker – Good Kid

Came out early in the year, but I discovered late in the year thanks to a video by A Song Catcher. Chris Acker from New Orleans has been a big favorite during the past month or so and I definitely considered this record even for that top 10.

Joey O’Neil – Ever Ahead

Next the year end roundabout travels to Dawson, Yukon to meet up with Joey O’Neil and her lovely dog Oblio. Such a great folk-country record that I’ve listened to regularly throughout the year.

Emily Barker – A Dark Murmuration of Words (Everyone Sang)

Moving on to UK although songwriter Emily Barker is originally from Australia. Her new album doesn’t shy away from difficult topics and tackles important issues from climate change to racism. Beautiful and powerful.

Michael C. Duguay – The Winter of Our Discotheque

Back to Canada for another heavy and beautiful one from Canadian songwriter Michael C. Duguay.

Terra Spencer – Chasing Rabbits

Staying in Canada for the new Terra Spencer album. Such a beautifully written album. I can get lost in these stories without needing to find a way out. This In the City for example. Oh my everything about this song.

VanWyck – God is in the Detour (Maiden Name Records)

A brief detour to Netherlands for the new VanWyck album. Some older favorites here too, but I’m actually very happy about that, because Ballad of the Quiet citizen needed to be on a record. I’ve shared that so many times, so here’s the gorgeous title track this time around.

Sam Moss – Shapes (Lost Honey Records)

A new gentle beauty from Boston-based singer-songwriter Sam Moss.

Sylvie Simmons – Blue on Blue (Compass Records)

Sylvie Simmons can write wonderful music biographies and excellent songs. Very fond of this quietly mesmerizing album.

Jerry David DeCicca – The Unlikely Optimist and His Domestic Adventures

A new Jerry David DeCicca album is always something to love cherish. The Unlikely Optimist and His Domestic Adventures is not an exception to that golden rule.

Trummors – Dropout City (Ernest Jenning Record Co)

Heading from Texas to New Mexico and adding some west coast sounds and cosmic americana to the mix. What a sweet record once again from Trummors.

The Parson Red Heads – Lifetime of Comedy (Fluff & Gravy Records / You are the Cosmos)

Carrying on to Portland, Oregon, but musicwise staying somewhere rather close by in the folk rock territory. The Parson Red Heads have found the recipe of my music taste. Beautiful folk rock tunes with the sweetest pop melodies and gorgeous harmonies. I mean this Warrior for example. This is everything for me. A bit of TFC, a bit of folk rock. I couldn’t love it more.

Dakota Theim – Somewhere Under the Sun

While we are in Oregon, let’s put even more pop into this year-end galore. Dakota Theim’s album came out in January and was one of my first 2020 favorites. It still holds up and I’m enjoying every second of it.

The Innocence Mission – See You Tomorrow (Bella Union)

And speaking of early favorites. The Innocence Mission set the bar extremely high in January and released magnificent album called See You Tomorrow. Album of the year candidate on the first half, but lost just a tiny bit of its magic on the second half. Still an incredible record that I love oh so much and on another day could have been on the top 10. Here’s the gorgeous opener The Brother Williams Said to wrap this part one. The song I listened to most this year according to that evil platform.

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1 Comment

  1. Had missed the new Jerry David DeCicca and The Parson Redheads, have loved their previous albums. Looks like a good list, gonna check them all!

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