I consider 2014 one of the best years in music in quite a while.
A Look Back At 2014
Two things happened recently that caught my attention: "Rolling Stone Magazine" released a list of the top albums of the year and I remembered people that I know bemoaning the lack of good music on the radio. After watching a bit of the I Heart Radio concert last night I can fully understand their concern. And yet I consider 2014 one of the best years in music in quite awhile. This coming March will mark 47 years since I did my first radio show on KCGN radio, a part of the Armed Forces Radio network in Viet Nam, and I am more excited about the music that I am hearing these days than ever before. The following list are some of the albums that really turned me on, am I showing my age, in 2014. Check them out!!!
"2013- The Complete Collection", Luke Brindley
Released in The first month of 2014 Luke, during 2013, wrote and recorded a song a week. There is not one bit of filler on this whole project.
"Crinkle Bloom", Amy Lynn Vachal
I stumbled upon Amy's music early in December and got a chance to see her in concert on Dec.30th. To say that this young woman is talented is a complete understatement. Although this release is only an EP every song is a delight to the ears. Keep an eye out for her, this kid is going to be big!!!
"Home Before Dark", Angela Sheik
I met Angela in 2013 at the NYC convention of the "International Arts Movement" and have been waiting since then for an album release. A pop album with inventive use of looping, this is a must addition to anyone's music library.
"Lemonade", Charlie Peacock
A magnificent collection of piano improvisations, this is one of 2 releases of music without words that caught my attention this year. Hints of jazz and blues are woven throughout.
"Live And On The Wing", The Choir
Although "Shadow Weaver" was the official studio release for the year this live collection shows why this is one of the best bands around. The tunes contained harken back to the early days of the band up to and including the recent release.
"Daylight", Chris Taylor
I got a chance to see Chris along with Kerosene Halo in the fall on a road trip to Pennsylvania and was reminded fully of just why I love this guys music. This album stands as a testimony to how good indie music can be.
"The City Makes The Man", Christopher Williams
Year after year without much fanfare Christopher Williams releases collections of magnificent songs that I am proud to play on the radio.
"Celestial Fire", Dave Bainbridge
This is my pick for album of the year. From the sleeve art to the production to the music this album just screams out excellence. There is nothing more that I can say except get this one today!!!
"Broken, Gazing", Jeff Johnson
I do not care for much worship music that I hear these days, the exception of course is anything by Jeff Johnson. Intelligent, contemplative and thoughtful are the thoughts that come to mind when I hear Jeff's music.
"Big Hearts", Jesse Tomsko
One of a group of local NYC based artists, Jesse is a singer/ songwriter that is one of the best around. "Big Hearts" is an EP of some of her best tunes yet!!!
"Further From The Tree", Jim Trick
I first met Jim Trick a number of years ago at Soulfest, became a fan first and then friends. A gifted songwriter & storyteller the new album is a combination of spoken word pieces and tunes, well worth picking up.
"VA", The Last Bison
I first became aware of the band late last year at a CIVA symposium in NYC, think of a combination of Caedmon's Call meets Madison Greene. "VA" is their third release and their best yet.
"Hope Tonight", Melanie Penn
Another gifted singer/ songwriter from NYC, "Hope Tonight" is Melanie's sophomore release and is full of catchy tunes that don't disappoint.
"Guadalupe", Mike Roe
A retrospective from the good doctor's catalog done acoustically and with some new arrangements. An absolute pleasure to listen to!!!
"This Is My Hand", My Brightest Diamond
I first became aware of the work of Shara Worden as an artist working with Sufjan Stevens. Her solo efforts have just gotten better & better
as time goes by, not only in her content but in her sonic abilities as well. Including re-mix releases I believe "This Is My Hand" is project # 7 and her best yet.
"Due South Co-op", The New Agrarians.
A new album from Pierce Pettis is always time to rejoice, but when you put Kate Campbell and Tom Kimmel into the mix, you get a southern fried musical stew that just can't be beat. Excellent songwriting all around.
"Echo-Cardio", Tom Conlon
Another Soulfest staple, Tom is a gifted singer and storyteller who never disappoints and is a delight to see perform anywhere, anytime. Can you say road trip.
"Ode To Echo", Glass Hammer
What can one say about what is possibly the world's greatest band, excellence in every way. From sound to visual appeal to intelligent lyrical content, Glass Hammer has it all and then some.
"Headin'" Out West", The Altar Billies
Coming out of the old Christian punk band The Altar Boys, this bands debut effort flat out rocks. It contains music that wants me want to get up and dance around the room and as the kids these days are prone to say, shake my booty. This is some old time rock n roll at its best.
"Uncountable Stars", Joanne Hogg
I must confess that Joanne Hogg has a voice touched by God. It is just sonic perfection. This album is more along the lines of her project called "Rafael's Journey" than her work with the band Iona. Peaceful, contemplative and ethereal, it just exudes a sense of peace that is much needed in today's world.
"Little Secrets", Tess Wiley
I have been a fan of Tess since her days back in the day with "Sixpence None The Richer". Tess is an artist who quietly releases an album every few years. Each album is crafted with songs that are not only radio friendly but are actually great music.
"Shine For All The People", Mike Farris
Think of the best Southern music tinged with a more than subtle hint of New Orleans jazz and a voice that would make Steve Winwood or Ray Charles jealous. Mike plays gospel music that makes any event church rather than just another concert.
"Late To Love", Sam Rocha
Lyrically based on the writings contained in The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Sam has delivered an blues/ jazz album that is a delight to both the eyes and the heart. Whatever they are putting in the water n British Columbia give me a glass full.
"Blood Oranges In The Snow", Over The Rhine
OTR returns once more with not only an intriguing Christmas album but also a collection of tunes for long winter nights. They once again prove why they are one of the greatest bands creating music today.
"Infinity Unleashed" The John Sferra Trio
This is the final installment of a trio of albums released by John Sferra, Jack Giering and Phil Keaggy. Each album just got better and better, all for the most part were instrumental tunes of jazz/ fusion influenced rock n roll.
This list is in no particular order but definitely reflects the best, in my opinion, musical releases of the past year.
Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock