2016 was a hard year. But it was a pretty good year for the blues, with some of the highest profile blues musicians releasing fantastic albums. Below is my inexpert summary of some of the most memorable blues releases from the year to forget.
1. Steve Dawson – Solid States & Loose Ends. A relative unknown, Dawson’s incredible guitar speaks for itself.
2. Tedeschi Trucks – Let Me Get By. Musical expression for the head and the soul.
3. Joe Bonamassa – Blues of Desperation.
4. Bonnie Raitt – Dig in Deep.
5. Mavis Staples – Livin’ on a High Note.
6. The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome. Upstarts from the UK make a pretty good blues album.
7. David Bromberg Band – The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues.
8. Ronnie Earl – Maxwell Street. Earl’s homage to the late blues pianist David Maxwell is worth the price of admission.
9. Bob Margolin – My Road. ‘Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, whose road carried him through Muddy Waters’ band throughout the 1970s, keeps chugging along.
10. Taj Mahal – Labor of Love. Stripped down blues the way they were meant to be, by one of our living masters.
11. Eric Clapton – I Still Do. Yes, he does.
12. Luther Dickinson – Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook Volumes I & II). Dickinson’s reverence for roots masters has made him one of them.
13. Tinsley Ellis – Red Clay Soul.
14. Bobby Rush – Porcupine Meat. Chitlin Circuit master still in top form.
15. Big Dave McLean – Better the Devil You Know. A Canadian blues veteran puts out a standout album with some help from Steve Dawson.
About the author: Bill Wilcox is a roots music enthusiast recently relocated from the Washington, DC area to Philadelphia, PA and back again.