100 Favorite Albums of the Year 2021 – Part Seven

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

And here goes the final ten and the somewhat ranked part. Not that serious though, because I’ve probably changed it several times during the process. At the bottom of this post you’ll find Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music playlists, if you are into such things.

10. Evan Cheadle – Fault Line Serenade (Victory Pool)

Just like the previous chapter, we’ll start this one in Victoria, British Columbia. This time it’s long time favorite Evan Cheadle and his timeless new album Fault Line Serenade. So enchanting, warm and beautiful. Pure magic from first note to last.

9. Flora Hibberd – Hold

A rare visit to Paris, France although folk songwriter Flora Hibberd is originally from the UK. She made my EP of the year in 2020 and now followed it up with a first full-length album. Or well maybe it’s a mini-album with just seven songs and 23 minutes, but all that matters is that those minutes contain some of my favorite music of the year. The lead single Night, Perpetual is fabulous although my own favorite is probably the less catchy Archipelago II.

8. Andrew Bryant – A Meaningful Connection (Sentimental Noises)

Next stop Mississippi and the new Andrew Bryant album A Meaningful Connection. I’ve loved all his solo albums and this new one isn’t an exception to the rule. His songs always resonate with me and somehow I feel a weird connection to this man I only know through his songs. And Reality Winner. Oh my. Now there’s a song.

7. Summer Dean – Bad Romantic

More real country music, this time from Fort Worth, Texas by Summer Dean. This hit an instant home run when the first single came out. That beautiful duet with Colter Wall easily won my heart over and I started counting days to the release of the album. It was the worth the wait, because that single is far from the only gem and songs like Bad Romantic and Dear Caroline were equally awesome. Love the cover art too, because it instantly tells me what to expect.

6. Isaac Vallentin – “​.​.​.​”

A bit more obscure choice here from Pictou, Nova Scotia by folk songwriter Isaac Vallentin. I’ve been following Isaac for a few years, but before this I hadn’t fully understand how good of a songwriter he really is. My big favorites here are Diane in the Morning Light and The Ballad of Nunangat. Both are masterclass of songwriting. Even though I’ve heard these songs more times than I count, they still completely hold me under their spell for the whole long duration each time I push play. Amazing songs and an amazing album.

5. Margo Cilker – Pohorylle (Fluff & Gravy Records / Loose Music)

It’s a kinda hard to crack the top 10 with a late release date, because most albums become dear throughout the long year. Margo Cilker from Enterprise, Oregon shows that it’s possible though, because her debut album Pohorylle came out just a month ago. Of course the fact that I had loved all advance singles at that point might have something to do with how easily this album won my heart over. Such a great country / americana album full of captivating storytelling.

4. Hurry – Fake Ideas (Lame-O Records)

Next we go to Philadelphia for what might be seem like an odd pick, if you look at the list in general. However, my background and the foundation of my music taste is 90s power pop and this Hurry album just recalls all that greatness and add their own twist to it. I love ambitious folk songs about heavy subjects, but I also love when someone sings something like “Oh Whitney / come with me” in perfect harmony. And that title track A Fake Idea. What a perfect TFC-like pop song. I can listen to it on repeat for an hour. Such an entertaining pop album.

3. Joe Bourdet – Meadow Rock (Mountain Sounds Recorders)

Our year end saga continues in Los Angeles, California with Joe Bourdet and Meadow Rock. I loved his double single Seamist / El Capitan few years back and therefore I was thrilled when I saw blogger friend Lara (from the wonderful Petal Motel) tweeting that there’s a Joe Bourdet album on the way. The album that contains new mixes of Seamist and El Capitan along with seven other beauties didn’t disappoint and turned out to be a fantastic 70s folk rock -influenced album.

2. Melissa Carper – Daddy’s Country Gold (Mae Music)

And then we have an album that fully lives up to its name. This is old school country gold with western swing and bluegrass. Melissa Carper from Texas delivers such a fabulous country album. That opening trio for example. I could easily name any of them my favorite of the song of the year and I would be fairly happy with my choice. I Almost Forgot About You is probably still the one that I love the most.

1. Matthew Milia – Keego Harbor (Sitcom Universe)

Our last stop in this year-end story is Detroit, Michigan or perhaps it’s more precisely Keego Harbor, a suburb of Detroit. This of course means that the album of the year is Keego Harbor by Matthew Milia. It maybe starts to become even too obvious that whenever Matthew Milia or Frontier Ruckus releases an album it becomes an album of the year. Eternity of Dimming was my AOTY in 2013, Sitcom Afterlife in 2014, Alone at St. Hugo in 2019 and now Keego Harbor in 2021. Lately only the 2017 Frontier Ruckus album Enter the Kingdom didn’t hit #1 and even that was still in the top 10. But what can I do. I just love Matthew Milia’s literate songwriting and both the folk rock of Frontier Ruckus and the more pop-orientated approach of the solo records appeal to me. This new album contains beautifully sung and arranged melodic folk songs about the everyday life in the suburbs and it’s by far the album I’ve loved the most during this strange year.

Apple Music Playlist

Tidal Playlist (Rose City Band and Mitch Dillon weren’t on Tidal)

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100 Favorite Albums of the Year 2021 – Part Six

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

Dana Sipos – The Astral Plane (Roaring Girl Records)

We’ll start chapter six with a big new favorite and album that has been a real grower for me. I didn’t know Dana Sipos from Victoria, British Columbia before this album came out and it was actually Rachel Cholst’s No Depression review on the release week that first caught my eye. This is a personal, unique and deeply moving folk album filled with amazing songs.

Michael Feuerstack – Harmonize the Moon (Forward Music Group)

A very loosely astral transition to Michael Feuerstack’s lovely new album Harmonize the Moon. This Montreal-based songwriter has again created great songs are that all sound so warm, beautiful and kindhearted.

The Weather Station – Ignorance (Fat Possum)

Staying in Canada, but moving to Toronto. It’s been wonderful to see the new The Weather Station album ruling the aoty lists even on big music publications. Kind of rare thing to happen to my favorite albums. Thankfully it seems that it can happen. I don’t love this new one as much the self-titled album, but frankly I don’t love anything as much because it’s probably my favorite album of the 20 onechordnet years. So can’t really hold it against her, if she doesn’t reach that high with every album. And yeah Ignorance is a magnificent album and fully worth all the praise its getting.

Quivers – Golden Doubt (Bobo Integral / Ba Da Bing / Spunk)

Next over to Tasmania or maybe it’s Melbourne, Australia these days. Quivers has been a big favorite since I heard the Pigeons few years back and the new album Golden Doubt is one of the best pop records of 2021. This song below for example is such a perfect pop song. “I want to hold you / but I don’t want to hold you back” so simple yet so perfect.

Vanessa Peters – Modern Age (Idol Records)

Our next station is either Italy or Texas depending where Vanessa Peters is located at the moment. What I do know is that she released tremendous new album Modern Age in April and I’ve carried it with me all through this weird year. The Try might not be objectively the best song on the album, but somehow it has been my go to anthem.

Golden and Rust – Golden and Rust

Back in Nashville for one of the loveliest surprises of the year. I’m big fan of Glossary and Joey Kneiser solo stuff, so I was thrilled to find out that he has teamed up with another great songwriter Lew Card and together they will release an album as Golden and Rust. Of course the album turned out to be awesome.

Tre Burt – You, Yeah, You (Oh Boy Records)

Moving on to Sacramento, CA for more folk blues gems from Tre Burt. He has quickly become one of my favorite songwriters and this one is just as great as the first Oh Boy Records album.

Mercy Bell – Golden Child (Bell Records)

And again back in Nashville. I wasn’t really sure will I put this new Mercy Bell in the top 3 of the EP list or in this album list. Even press releases seem to use both EP and album. All that don’t really matter though. What matters is that it’s great 90s country-influenced release full of wonderful songs. Codeine is my big own favorite, but I do love the whole thing.

Riddy Arman – Riddy Arman (La Honda Records)

I was probably first introduced to the music of Riddy Arman by the Western AF youtube channel. Probably the best place on this internet thing. Ever since I’ve wanted to hear her music on a record too and now that is possible thanks to the great La Honda Records. And what a great country record this self-titled debut turned out to be.

Vincent Neil Emerson – Vincent Neil Emerson (La Honda Records)

Another country gem from the La Honda vaults. Texas-based country singer-songwriter Vincent Neil Emerson was already on the list couple of years ago with his debut album, but this new Rodney Crowell-produced album is even better than that gorgeous debut.

Bobby Dove – Hopeless Romantic

More classic country gold from Canada. This time from Montreal, Quebec by Bobby Dove. Chance in Hell is my big favorite, but the whole record is awesome and it has stayed with me throughout the year.

Rosali – No Medium (Spinster)

Moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and bit more towards folk rock territory. It’s been great to see this Rosali album hitting so many year end lists. Rightfully so, because it’s a wonderful album. She has been looking at you from that right column on this website for months and months. Partly because I’m too lazy to change them, but also partly because I really love this album.

Will Stratton – The Changing Wilderness (Bella Union)

Next Beacon, New York and the remarkable new Will Stratton album The Changing Wilderness. What a beautiful and moving album as a whole and then there’s Infertile Air. There’s a song you won’t easily forget. One of my absolute favorite songs of the year.

Le Ren – Leftovers (Secretly Canadian)

This is a very Montreal heavy chapter, because here we are again and will stay for the remainding two. First the debut full-length from folk songwriter Le Ren. She don’t have that long career, but is already a mainstay on my year end lists. Love Can’t Be The Only Reason To Stay was in my favorite songs list in 2019 and Morning & Melancholia was in my top EPs list in 2020. I’m obviously not going to make this album an exception, because it’s everything I hoped it would be. Le Ren is such a special talent.

Myriam Gendron – Ma délire – Songs of love, lost & found

Wrapping this second to last chapter with the exceptional new Myriam Gendron album Ma délire – Songs of love, lost & found. I definitely would like to squeeze this one into the top 10, but even with my lousy math skills I’m not able to put eleven into ten slots. So even though this is the end of the unranked part, this beauty probably would be the 11 and on another day even further up. This one has both beautiful renditions of traditional songs and wonderful originals. My personal favorite is actually Myriam’s own song called Farewell. Oh and extremely high recommedation for this SuoniTV live performance at youtube. Not sure will it stay there forever so I recommend watching while you still can. The magic starts around 15 minutes of the video.

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100 Favorite Albums of the Year 2021 – Part Five

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

TK & The Holy Know-Nothings – The Incredible Heat Machine (Mama Bird Recording Co)

This whole chapter is an incredible heat machine, so let’s begin with all that. TK & The Holy Know-Nothings from Portland, Oregon are the culprits and responsible for creating such a damn great album.

Chris Acker – Odd, Ordinary & Otherwise (Gar Hole Records)

Next we pack our bags and move from Washington State to New Orleans just like folk-rock songwriter Chris Acker did some years ago. He was one of my favorite finds in 2020 and kept the level insanely high in 2021 as well.

The Deep Dark Woods – Changing Faces (Six Shooter Recordings)

Back to Canada where a long time favorite The Deep Dark Woods released another marvellous folk rock album. I highly recommend also checking out the music video for How Could I Ever Be Single Again?, because it’s so great and adds another level to this gorgeous song.

Caleb Stine – Life and Times of a Handyman

Moving on to Baltimore, Maryland. A new Caleb Stine album was a lovely late 2021 surprise, because I didn’t knew about it before the release date a month ago. What a beautiful poetic folk album once again. Also includes a song that you might have heard first time on the OCTA18 online festival few years ago.

Huck Notari – Strange and Beautifully

Folk songwriter Huck Notari is still criminally unknown in the bigger scheme of things, but I’ve loved his records for a decade or so. And I’m far from the only one. A new album was a pleasant surprise and full of gorgeous songwriting. My personal favorite was this beauty called Blizzard on the Freeway.

K.C. Jones – Queen of the In Between

K.C. Jones from Lafayette, Louisiana is one of the new finds of the year for me. I think I owe this one to Angela Backstrom, because I think I first picked the Heat Rises single from her FB feed and instantly loved it. Soon after the full album arrived and my feelings towards her music stayed the same. What a beautiful album.

Jesse Aycock – Jesse Aycock (Horton Records)

Travelling to Tulsa, Oklahoma to meet up with Jesse Aycock and his self-titled album. I really enjoyed the 2014 album back then, but then he got all busy with Hard Working Americans etc and the solo stuff was put on hold for a little while. 2021 brought a new and what a beauty it is. A lot of variety too. There’s that warm folk rock sound, but also mighty good pop songs. Marvellous all-around.

Rose City Band – Earth Trip (Thrill Jockey Records)

Rose City Band is not so surprisingly from Portland, Oregon. They only have the singles streaming, which is an ok way to work around the streaming services. Worked for me at least, because I did buy the vinyl from the local store (of course I try do that as much as I can with my close to minimum wage factory job anyway). Oh yeah and it’s an exceptional album full of laid-back cosmic country treasures.

Daniel Romano – Cobra Poems (You’ve Changed Records)

Back in Canada for the latest Daniel Romano adventures. I think it was a rather slow year for him. There was this awesome studio album Cobra Poems plus a live album and that excellent Kissing the Foe album on Bandcamp. Seems little though. There was probably more. Anyway, it’s all damn good as always.

Dakota Theim – Tangled Heart

Next we have a couple of fabulous pop albums that you can listen after you’ve binge watched Get Back during the holidays. First Dakota Theim from Portland, Oregon with his excellent second album Tangled Heart.

Andrew Gabbard – Homemade (Karma Chief Records / Colemine Records)

And next the new Andrew Gabbard album that was the final last minute entry to this playlist. It came out just a week ago, but I knew I was going to love so I left a spot open for it (in case wondering I did cruely left out everything that came after Dec 3, so no Neil Young, Michael Hurley or Ryan Pollie for example). But yeah, while Colemine Records might be more known for the soul treasures, its Karma Chief imprint does deliver other kind of gems too. This one is a beautiful pop album with some alt.country vibes. Ends in a Emitt Rhodes cover too. What’s not to love.

Adeline Hotel – The Cherries Are Speaking (Ruination Record Co)

Next a super lovely warm-hearted beautifully arranged folk album from Adeline Hotel. It’s only about 15 minutes, so one might question whether it’s a full-length or not. You can’t get question the magic of it though. I love every second of it. Oh and Adeline Hotel also released a rather remarkable instrumental album earlier in the year. Not to be missed either even though this one is more my cup of tea.

Natalie Jane Hill – Solely (Dear Life Records)

Then a couple of magical releases from the Dear Life Records vaults. First the remarkable sophomore album from songwriter Natalie Jane Hill. I strongly considered this even on that top 10, because it just feels so complete and beautiful from first note to last.

Wes Tirey – The Midwest Book of the Dead (Dear Life Records)

And then a long time blog favorite Wes Tirey from North Carolina gives us a remarkable double called The Midwest Book of the Dead. Listening to it all at once might be a bit too hefty one time dose, but damn if this isn’t one of the most impressive works of the year.

Belaver – Lain Prone (Niles City Records)

One of the new finds of the year for me can wrap up this fifth chapter of the year end story. Only two more to go (did I heard a sigh of relief). I first found the advance singles, because it was produced by Robert Ellis, but the songs of Belaver were the reason why I stuck around. Here It Comes, 70’s Adventure, Mount Misery, Bad Word Turn. Well too many gems to list. Often sad, always great.

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