A summer tradition; a check-in with the records that have received the most play and generated the most delight around here, from January through today. Of course all of this can and will change, but I recommend the following records without hesitation.
Top Ten Albums of the Year – So Far!
- Rhiannon Giddens, Tomorrow is My Turn
- Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
- Bettye LaVette, Worthy
- Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material
- Paul Weller, Saturns Pattern
- Alabama Shakes, Sound and Color
- Bob Dylan, Shadows in the Night
- Richard Thompson, Still
- Van Hunt, The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets
- Kamasi Washington, The Epic
Lead Belly, The Smithsonian-Folkways Collection
“King Kunta.” (Honorable Mention: “Biscuits.”)
Most Revelatory Interpretive Singing:
Bettye LaVette finding the quiet heart of The Beatles’ “Wait.” (Honorable mention: Rhiannon getting funky on “Black is the Color.”)
T-Bone Burnett on the Rhiannon joint… his best work in 10+ years?
Cameo of the Year:
Harry Belafonte, a most welcome presence on that new Robert Glasper.
Ringer of the Year:
Jay Bellerose, instrumental in turning Tomorrow is My Turn into a banger. (Honorable mention: Kacey’s pedal steel player.)
Favorite Album Cover:
Gotta be Kendrick’s.
Worst Title for an Otherwise Good Record:
Van Hunt, The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets.