I posted my list of favorite from the first half of 2019 back in July (here). Rather than replicate that list for my full year review, consider this a continuation — the best songs from the second half of the year.
I Remember Everything, John Prine
Emmer comically gives the middle finger to a job interview with lyrical brilliance – “My future avocation is a lack of occupation…”
As if we needed a reminder of Edwards’ greatness, she puts her professional and personal past in perspective in a triumphant pop song – “I will always be thankful for it.”
Simply sublime… and epic.
Sorry Willie, I think Gorka just stole your song.
Austin Lucas, never one to shy from getting political, unleashes something between a plea and a broadside on how we deal with social and political problems. “What do you cry over, if not these things?”
A confident rocker flavored with a touch of R&B, the riffs flowing from Lightfoot’s guitar rival the power of her vocals.
Heaven is a Place on Earth, Matthew Ryan
Ryan has been prolific this year with a string of EPs (both solo and with his revived Strays Don’t Sleep project) but I keep coming back to his cover of Belinda Carlile’s 1987 pop hit. His hushed and ethereal version reveals the song’s sober beauty. “They say in heaven love comes first, let’s make heaven a place on earth.“
The Jaded Hearts Club add an extra sense of urgency to the Isley Brothers R&B gem. This is the song that you put on repeat and keep cranking up the volume.
A somber and poignant tale of how a chance encounter and mistaken assumptions spark profound personal reflection.
The anguish in Walker’s voice gives an already powerful song even more emotional punch.
I had a tough time picking between the snarling social commentary of “In God We Trust … All Others Pay Cash” and the stark Southern ballad “Amazing Grace (Slight Return)” so I’m including them both.
Don’t let the captivating musical charm of this song fool you, the lyrics are a middle finger to an ex-lover.
“I’ll get over you in time, I’m not ready. I’ll get you in time, slow and steady.” Cockrell unleashes a song raw and emotional.
A boot-stomping blast of Southern rock. Not sure what hits harder – the drums or the furious guitar riff.
Kamp turns heartbreak on its head with this fun romp.
Whitmore shares a sparking and confident pop song about moving forward from a failed relationship.
You said you’re seeking something bigger
I think you should
It’s up to us now to deliver
And make it good You be good
As if we needed a reminder of how strong Bains & company’s rock and roll heart beats, they share this electrifying cover of Tom Robinson Band’s classic 1970’s anthem.
A glorious three minute blast of punk-flavored rock and roll.
I haven’t been able to write about the debut EP from New England’s Los Brujos… yet. In the meantime, I’m smitten with the intoxicating/wonderous melancholy of this song from the release.
An insistent and catchy pop song punctuated with horns? Sign me up!
I’m not sure which is angrier in this song, Parcek’s lyrics or his guitar.
srael is pissed off an channels his energy into some biting commentary on the state of the world, to wit: “It’s a long way to redemption when you’re stuck in the tunnel of disregard”
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.