Favorite Songs of the Year 2020 Part Two

Part Three
Part Two
Part One

Another set of favorite songs of 2020. Randomly selected from the forthcoming giant playlist. Mostly focusing on the ones that weren’t on the earlier year-end lists. One more part to come. Maybe even two. Not sure yet.

LadyCouch – Foolish and Blue (Cafe Rooster Records)

LadyCouch is a new band led by Allen Thompson and Keshia Bailey. They had a great run of singles on Cafe Rooster Records.

Thee Sacred Souls – Give Us Justice (Penrose Records)

I really love the Can I Call You Rose? and Will I See You Again? singles as well, but this powerful protest song made the biggest impact.

India Ramey – King of the Ashes

The highlight of India Ramey’s excellent new album was this important song.

Aaron Frazer – If I Got It (Your Love Brought It) (Dead Oceans / Easy Eye sound)

I think most of the Aaron Frazer praises can be left on the 2021 eoty list, because that’s when the album comes out. But yeah, the co-vocalist and drummer extraordinaire of Durand Jones & The Indications will release solo debut in early 2021 and released gorgeous advance singles from the forthcoming album.

Pharis & Jason Romero – Bet On Love (Lula Records)

An album that I still haven’t listened to enough is the new album from Pharis & Jason Romero. I should make some time for it during the holidays, because I absolute love the timeless beauty of this title song Bet On Love.

Bart – Used To Be (Idee Fixe Records)

Canadian Bart released a couple of fantastic singles. Used To Be is a perfect pop song and sounds heavenly good.

Strawberry Heritage – Sweet Marie

And speaking of sweet, lush beautiful songs. We got a new album from Michigan’s Strawberry Heritage and oh how good it is.

Maya De Vitry – In the Meantime, I Love You (Mad Maker Studio)

What a sweetheart of a song this is from Maya De Vitry’s new album.

Chris Acker – Orion’s Gut

Chris Acker was on the album list, but want to put his here too. I’m not sure is this my absolute favorite song from the album, but it was this song and video that made me a fan. Plus A Song Catcher is the same kind of internet gold as Western AF. Add GemsonVHS and few other and you’ll have a giant library of amazing current songwriters.

Heather Valley – Emily

Heather Valley gave us great covers of Lucero and Tom T. Hall and this wonderful original called Emily.

The Weather Station – Tried to Tell You (Fat Possum Records)

Here’s a song from the 2021 album of the year candidate. The self-titled The Weather Station is my favorite album of the past decade and I can’t wait to hear the new one. There’s a couple of singles already out and available and I love them both.

Michael Feuerstack – I Used to Be a Singer (Forward Music Group)

More 2021 gold. New Michael Feuerstack album Harmonize the Moon is coming out in March and the first single is absolutely marvellous.

Johanna Samuels – High Tide for One (Mama Bird Recording Co)

And even more first singles of 2021 albums. This new song from Johanna Samuels is tremendous.

Lonny – Incandescente

This Lonny single is also something rather otherworldly and easily breaks through the language barrier. I might not understand it, but I can feel every note.

Richard Allen – Reasonably Foolish

This Richard Allen album was one the late treasures of the year. I considered putting it on the album list, but in the end I thought I haven’t listened to it enough yet. However, it definitely deserves some year-end love, so let’s wrap this part of the songs mix with a really lovely song from the album.

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Favorite Songs of the Year 2020 Part One

Time to wrap up the listmania season with my favorite songs of the year. This will mostly be just an insanely long playlist of songs that I loved during the year and there will be no rankings. You’ll find that playlist from the last part, but first I want to highlight some huge favorites from it. Mostly ones that haven’t been on the EP and albums list. I have no idea how many parts there will be, but hopefully not that many because I want to finish these this weekend. And yes there will be a song of the year on the last part too, but every reader of this blog knows what it will be.

Part Three
Part Two
Part One

NQ Arbuckle – Love Songs for the Long Game (Six Shooter Recordings)

A new surprise single from Canadian NQ Arbuckle was such a beauty and I had this sweet music video on repeat when it came out.

John K. Samson – Fantasy Baseball at the End of the World (ANTI-)

One of my all-time favorite songwriters John K. Samson released two fabulous new songs this year. First one loved libraries and this second one hated fascists. Both of John’s statements are worth supporting and the songs are again pure gold.

Greta Morgan – When The Sun Comes Up

I’m not afraid of seeing ghosts in the night
I’m not afraid of the boogeyman running his hands down my spine
I’m only afraid of the kind of darkness that doesn’t end when the sun comes up

What a monster song from Greta Morgan. I had it on heavy rotation for few weeks around Halloween and I still love it madly.

MAYBEL – Can’t Abandon My Love (Vain Mina Records)

MAYBEL’s album Gathering definitely could have been on the album of the list too, because I really like the whole record. Maybe part of the reason that it wasn’t is that I love this song too much and whenever I listen to them, I get stuck at listening to this song on repeat.

Chase Weinacht – Leap Day (Keeled Scales)

Very happy that we had a leap day this year, because otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten this beauty of a song from Austin-based songwriter Chase Weinacht. You might remember him from Marmalakes.

Carla Geneve – The Right Reasons (Dot Dash Recordings/Remote Control Records)

Australian Carla Geneve made one of my favorite EPs of 2019 and followed it with a couple of great singles in 2020. I especially loved this one called The Right Reasons.

Clara Mann – I Didn’t Know You Were Leaving Today (Sad Club Records)

Clara Mann’s single destroyed me in a beautiful way just a few weeks ago. What a song.

Hello Emerson – Seat 16B (Anyway Records / K & F Records)

Hello Emerson was on the album list, but I have to share this sweet video on the song list too. They were one of the bands I listened to the most this year. I’m not actually sure is my favorite songMay 2018, Am I the Midwest? or this one Seat16B, because I love them all. Seat16b can do the honors and represent the beauty of the whole record.

Raye Zaragoza – They Say (Rebel River Records)

A very moving and powerful song from the new Raye Zaragoza album Woman in Color.

Steady Holiday – Living Life

Very fond of the two new Steady Holiday singles too. Living Life video made me smile every time I watched it.

Jeff Loops – Beatrice

Jeff Loops just released an album couple of weeks ago and I haven’t had the time to properly listen to the entire album. I did have time to fall in love with this sad song.

Ali Holder – Bruja

Ali Holder’s album Uncomfortable Truths definitely could have been on the album list. A kinda same thing happened here as with Maybel. I always got stuck at listening to the powerful Bruja on repeat and forgot to pay attention to the other gorgeous songs.

War & Pierce – Amen

I’ve been a big Sunny War fan for a few years, but this year I learned about this wonderful War & Pierce project.

Tre Burt – Under the Devil’s Knee (Oh Boy Records)

Tre Burt’s new single Under the Devil’s Knee is one of the most important and powerful songs of the year. Here’s the Western AF video of that song. I highly recommend following Western AF. One of the best things on this internet thing.

John Prine – I Remember Everything (Oh Boy Records)

John Prine’s passing was a monumental loss to the world. His last recorded song I Remember Everything is wonderful and moves me deeply.

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100 Favorite Albums of the Year 2020 – Part Seven

And here’s finally the last part of this probably way too long year-end list. But what can I do. I love music and could have easily pick another hundred without any drop quality. I think it’s just a nice way to share some of the music that matters to me, because these lists reach far more people than the weekly music posts or anything else that I do. There’s a Spotify playlist at the bottom, if you are into such a thing. There will be even a far longer playlist of my favorite 2020 music, when I do the songs of the year lists this weekend. Including singles, songs from EPs and albums that didn’t make the cut here. I’ll make insta photo of this list in a day or two, if you want a way to share this without my short ramblings.

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

10. John Calvin Abney – Familiar Ground (Black Mesa Records)

We will start this final chapter of this year-end in Tulsa, Oklahoma with one of my long time favorites. Singer-songwriter John Calvin Abney took the most out of the sudden touring break and together with John Moreland recorded an absolute beauty of an album.

9. Tre Burt – Caught It From the Rye (Oh Boy Records)

Folks in the know might have known this powerful folk album from Sacramento-based songwriter Tre Burt even before 2020, because I think there maybe was a self-release on Bandcamp. I wasn’t one of them wise people and first heard this beauty in January, 2020, when John Prine’s Oh Boy Records released it. I also highly recommend his latest single Under The Devil’s Knee which is one of the most important songs of the year.

8. S.G. Goodman – Old Time Feeling (Verve Forecast)

You see me smoking on this cigarette
Same kind that took our nana’s breath
It’s the only flame that I have left
Will it be the death of me

I was walking aimlessly around a flea market while waiting to get the car back from yearly maintenance. Kentucky-based songwriter S.G. Goodman had just released a new album on the same day and I had it playing on my headphones. Then I heard her softly singing those lines of Red Bird Morning and it really stopped time and beautifully destroyed me. That was the moment I become a fan. Red Bird Morning is not the only side of the story and there’s plenty of variation on the record. The title track for example is quite different, but equally brilliant.

7. Daniel Romano – How Ill Thy World Is Ordered (You’ve Changed Records) / + 10 more albums

Canadian songwriter Daniel Romano was the true champion of the lockdown and released about 10 or 11 albums during the year (I lost count). During the new record wednesdays (he released a new album every wednesday back in the spring) I started to think that I need to find some side hustle to afford all these beautiful releases. The quality remained super high throughout the release galore and one could make a pretty damn good top 10 for 2020 just by using Daniel Romano’s material. He has to settle for one spot though and let’s give it to the more “official” label release How Ill Thy World Is Ordered. Some other favorites were Content to Point the Way and White Flag, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. There’s also a wonderful live album called Okay Wow. I’m not a big fan of live albums in general, but that one rocks.

6. Luka Kuplowsky – Stardust (Mama Bird Recording Co / Next Door Records)

Staying in Canada for the new Luka Kuplowsky album Stardust. I’ve been a fan for a long time and was thrilled when I heard that his new album will be released by my favorite record label Mama Bird Recording Co. Stardust is such a beauty. Luka’s songs with rich arrangements and jazzy undertones. Count me in every time. Bonus points and imaginary culture award for the absolute best live music video. Live at the Golden Lion is an ode to director Aki Kaurismäki and contains three songs from the new album.

5. Courtney Marie Andrews – Old Flowers (Loose Music / Fat Possum Records)

This new Courtney Marie Andrews album is pure magic and full of amazingly beautiful songs. Heartbreak with warmness and kindness. What a band too with Twain’s Mat Davidson and Big Thief’s James Krivchenia.

4. Evangeline Gentle – Evangeline Gentle (Sonic Unyon Records)

This self-titled album from Evangeline Gentle was the surprise of the year me. I found it because Jim Bryson produced it, but I stuck around because of Evangeline Gentle’s wonderful songs. The album feels very heartfelt and honest and I love everything about it. Impossible to even pick a favorite song, because songs like Ordinary People, Sundays, So It Goes, Neither of Us, Strongest People Have Tender Hearts and Good and Guided are all pure gold. It’s a record that has a good heart.

3. Christian Lee Hutson – Beginners (ANTI-)

Next back stateside. Los Angeles, California to be more precise. After loving I Just Can’t Fucking Do It Anymore and Northsiders madly, this Christian Lee Hutson album Beginners was one of my most anticipated records of the year and it certainly was able to live up to my even unfairly high expectations. Sad songs beautifully told.

2. J.E. Sunde – 9 Songs About Love (Vietnam)

J.E. Sunde from Minnesota is one of my favorite songwriters in the world and his new album 9 Songs About Love is again wonderful. It also has by far my favorite song of the year. Or any year for that matter, because a very few songs have ever resonated with me as deeply as I Don’t Care to Dance. That song is everything to me. It’s also not a lucky one-off, because the 8 other songs about love are also magnificent.

1. Ron Sexsmith – Hermitage (Cooking Vinyl)

The master of songs and twitter puns, Canadian songwriter Ron Sexsmith made the album I loved the most during 2020. Or perhaps it was the album that loved me the most. Hermitage certainly carried me through this year and took care of me on many sleepless nights when I needed a warm familiar voice on my side. It was a shoulder and a calming companion when my heart was racing through the roof. I’m grateful that I had it with me during this strange and awful year. I would have been lost without it. These personal aspects are part of the reason, why Hermitage is my album of the year. However, even all this personal mumbo jumbo aside, there’s a real gem here. An album full of beautiful melodies and instantly memorable hopeful and warm-hearted songs. On the same level as the early Ron Sexmith albums that I will forever hold dear. A treasure of an album.

And here’s the playlist.

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