So, here they are … my Top 20 Best Songs of 2018 – not an easy choice given that I listened to 100’s of songs last year, attended dozens of gigs and promoted several gigs of my own. My choices are quite an eclectic (and unexpected) mix!
So, make yourself a coffee, or pour a beer or a glass of wine, and sit back and enjoy some fantastic music for the next hour or so.
20. The Parting Glass – Rob Halligan
A friend and one of my favourite singer / songwriters, I first heard Rob’s version of this traditional folk song when he played at the Rectory in December and loved it instantly. Taken from his 2018, and seventh, album We All Write The Songs.
19. Keys To The Kingdom – Ashley Monroe
Not really that well known as a singer/songwriter but Monroe has written many CMA hits for other artists. She is probably better know for being part of the trio The Pistol Annie’s with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley. Taken from her third album Sparrow.
18. What Part Of Your Body Hurts The Most – Rob Fowler & Sharon Sexton
Not released on an album but rather an additional song written by Jim Steinman to be included in the rock musical Bat Out Of Hell. Unfortunately, this version doesn’t convey the ‘hairs stand on the back of your neck’ experience when it’s sung live.
17. A Million Dreams – Pink
The musical The Greatest Showman must have one of the most dynamic opening sequences of any musical/film and really gets you on the edge of your seat from the beginning, ready to enjoy a musical feast. Whilst the songs on the original soundtrack are very good the album ‘reimagined’ takes some of the songs to a new level, including this one. I’m not a Pink fan (honestly) but this is a great version of an outstanding song.
16. Back To Memphis – Danni Nicholls
Danni was nominated as UK Americana Artist of the Year 2018. Danni was also nominated to the short-list of just five artists for ‘Best Country/Folk Act’ for the 2018 Unsigned Music Awards. Her star is on the rise though I only really came across Danni early 2018. This is taken from her second album Mockingbird Lane. Can’t wait for her Rectory Gig in February.
15. Say When – Brian Deady
I have to be honest and say I’d never heard of Brian Deady. Ever. That is until I saw him at the Cork Jazz Festival in 2018 and was blown away. Some say he is Ireland’s best kept ‘musical’ secret. And I agree. Stunning live. This is taken from his 2018 Album Black Diamond.
14. Why I Need You – Megan O’Neill
Megan is certainly making her mark on the UK Americana / Country music scene. Taken from the album Ghost Of You which was released on Friday 8 June and went straight to #1 in the iTunes singer/songwriter charts – perfect timing for her Rectory Gig on my birthday!
13. Run Run Run – Michelle Lewis
Michelle is a Boston-bred, LA-based award-winning singer / songwriter and composer. This song is taken from Michelle’s first album The Parts Of Us That Still Remain released in 2014 but I only heard it for the first time in 2018. This single found huge popularity among Boston Marathon runners. Michelle played a wonderful Rectory Gig in September 2018 and she’s one to look out for at my Gig In The Garden 2019.
12. Burn Out – Midland
Midland took the country world by storm in 2017 with their classic country throwback debut album On The Rocks. Currently having a huge impact on the USA country charts and winning many awards along the way. They are fabulous live too.
11. Broken Halos – Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton’s From a Room: Volume’s 1 and 2 both released in 2017 prove exactly why he continues to win all those Album of the Year and Male Vocalist trophies well into 2018 which is why it features again. Though not as highly as 2017 – time to give other artists a chance! Got my tickets to see him at C2C in March.
10. Beautiful and Brave – Paul Bell
An unexpected top ten appearance from Paul Bell. Paul played a very well received set at my Gig In The Garden 2018. Beautiful and Brave is taken from his 2018 album First Light but, be warned, it’s a bit of a weepie. Love the line: “Every act of kindness sees the world changed,”
9. Redemption – Joe Bonamassa
The discography of Joe Bonamassa, an American blues rock musician, is prolific. It consists of 13 studio albums, 16 live albums, three collaboration albums, 30 singles (28 as a lead artist, two as a featured artist). He needs no introduction. This song is taken from his 2018 album of the same name.
8. Ghosts – Trampled By Turtles
I first came across Minnesota based TBT when I heard one of their songs played on the soundtrack to the Sky Atlantic series Ray Donovan. They are described as Gothic-Americana, a new genre for me – you decide. Taken from their eighth album Wild Animals.
7. Ready To Die – Aaron Lee Tasjen
Tasjen played a storming version of this song at the UK Americana Awards 2018. Not really known in the UK, but he is well worth looking out for. Taken from his 2016 album Silver Spurs.
6. In The Wild – Carousel
Southend-on-Sea based Carousel find themselves, deservedly so, pretty high up on my favourite songs of 2018. From winning the Laurel Canyon Music favourite new artist and EP of the year award for 2017 and embarking on a headline tour in 2018 they continue to make their mark. They played a storming set at my Gig In The Garden 2018 and this is one of the outstanding songs from their set.
5. Shipyards – The Lake Poets
Not really a 2018 release but it came to prominence due to 20Netflix series Sunderland ‘Til I Die about my fave football team. Sunderland Singer-songwriter Marty Longstaff – AKA The Lake Poets – released Shipyards in 2015. Marty is no stranger to Billericay having played a hugely memorable Rectory Gig back in November 2016. I’m hoping to persuade him to come back sometime in 2019.
4. Burning Bridges – The Wandering Hearts
The Wandering Hearts were Bob Harris’ choice for emerging artists at the UK Americana Awards 2018 and they’ve not looked back. Taken from their 2018 debut album Wild Silence which I couldn’t stop playing when it was released back in February. With so many good songs to choose from my IPod tells me this was the most popular.
3. Shallow – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
Yes – Lady Gaga! Bradley Cooper’s voice isn’t bad either. An outstanding song taken from the latest film version of A Star Is Born – (another song from a musical in my top 20) which has a fabulous soundtrack with songs written by the likes of Lukas Nelson, Mark Ronson and Lady Gaga. Decided to go with the Oscar nominated song that hit No:1 in the charts.
2. My Sleeping Heart – Lauren Housley
It’s no secret that Lauren is one of my favourite artists – you can read much more about that elsewhere on my website. This single marks a move towards a more American country sound than previous releases and is very much in the Sam Outlaw SoCal style. Be sure not to miss Lauren and her fantastic band at my Gig In The Garden 2019.
1. A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega – Ashley McBryde
McBryde served her time treading the boards in Arkansas before moving to Nashville – and this is obvious in her live set. Saw her live in October at Islington Assembly Hall, just her and a guitar, and she absolutely smashed it. Being spotted by, and invited to perform with, Eric Church changed her life – and the rest as they say, is history. Taken from her album Girl Going Nowhere which was the fastest selling album across all genres in the UK in 2018. So many good songs to choose from but went with everyone’s favourite! Can’t wait to see her with a full band at C2C in March – on the same bill as Chris Stapleton. Got my tickets!
So, there you have them – my Top 20 Best Songs of 2018. Were any of your choices included? Have I made any significant omissions?
Have a great 2019 checking out some of the above artists, seeking out new ones and supporting live music in Billericay – or wherever you live.