This has been a great year for music in and around Boston. I hesitate to break these out into a separate regional list as they would all feature prominently on my overall Best of 2014. That said, taken together they make a great statement on the vibrancy of the Boston music scene.
The Boston-based quartet recall that classic period where country and rhythm and blues came together to form rock and roll. Yet rather than sound retro, the group serves it up with a fresh and contemporary feel.
Additional Twangville coverage of Girls Guns and Glory: Mass Ave – A Special Boston Playlist, Ward Hayden Reflects on the Legacy of Hank Williams, Photos That Rock – Girls Guns and Glory and Mayer’s Playlist for July 2014, Part 2.
Borges turns in her finest collection of songs yet, which she and the band bring to life with swagger and charm. The urban dictionary tells me that “badassery” is already a word. If it wasn’t, we’d be creating it to describe this album.
Featured Twangville coverage of Sarah Borges: Happy Valentine’s Day: Radio Sweetheart from Sarah Borges, Monday Morning Video: Amy Black, Girls Guns & Glory and Sarah Borges and Mayer’s Playlist for July 2014, Part 2.
Dailey celebrates his freedom from a soured record deal with the triumphant National Throat. He injects the songs and arrangements with some complexity but, make no mistake, this is a pop album with melodies that will claw their way under your skin.
Featured Twangville coverage of Will Dailey: Just Another Band Out of Boston – A Special Boston Playlist and Mass Ave – A Special Boston Playlist.
Blakeslee took a bit of time creating his latest album, meticulously crafting it with friends including the Low Anthem’s Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky. The result is something special, a folk album with a touch of mysticism.
Additional Twangville coverage of Dan Blakeslee: Just Another Band Out of Boston: A Special Boston Playlist and Monday Morning Video – Dan Blakeslee.
If you like your rock pulsing with energy, melody and big ol’ guitar riffs, then this Providence-based quartet has the album for you.
Featured Twangville coverage of Smith and Weeden: More Than a Feeling: A Special Boston Playlist.
A stellar debut from a new band that is made up of musicians who established their musical cred playing with the likes of Levon Helm, Booker T. Jones and Bow Thayer. The group tends to take an improvisational approach to songwriting yet the songs arrive fully formed.
One listen to Haunted Heart and it is immediately clear that Cattaneo takes the craft of songwriting seriously. Her songs are filled with stories both poignant and light-hearted, all set to alluring melodies.
Featured Twangville coverage of Susan Cattaneo: Hear It First – Susan Cattaneo’s ‘Lies Between Lovers’ and The Twangville 2014 Release Preview, Boston Edition .
Sweet and soulful is the best way to describe Black’s voice. She wraps it around a fine collection of songs – many of her own and a couple of choice covers – backed by a crack band of Nashville vets.
Featured Twangville coverage of Amy Black: Mass Ave – A Special Boston Playlist, Monday Morning Video: Amy Black, Girls Guns & Glory and Sarah Borges and More Video Fun from Sarah Borges, Amy Black and Girls Guns & Glory.
Read more Twangville Best of Year coverage here.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.