As we prepare for our Best of 2020 rankings, we know there will be some music on the final lists that our readers either haven’t heard of. There will also be some music that we loved which we simply didn’t have a chance to write about until the year-end lists.
So it stands to reason that our readers have also discovered some gems that we haven’t listened to. So to kick off our Best of 2020 festivities, we invite you to Recommend a Track from 2020, either a single released this year or a cut from a 2020 album.
To start the thread off, I’ll share a track from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit’s Reunions album. Isbell emerged as one of my favorite artists over the past few years. He’s been so consistently great that his most recent album felt like a disappointment, only because much of it sounded like the work of a mere mortal. It’s still a solid collection. It’s just not as otherworldly fantastic as his previous few efforts.
One track that has emerged as my one of my favorites from the album is “Dreamsicle,” a first person account of a teenager from a recently broken home, getting ready to pack up his room and move again. “Why can’t daddy just come home? Forget whatever he did wrong. He’s in a hotel all alone and we need help.”
Isbell captures that moment between childhood and adulthood, where you have just enough understanding as to why things can’t work out the way you fantasize, but still can’t let go of the fantasy ending that isn’t going to happen.
For me, it’s on par with the highlights from The Nashville Sound, Southeastern, and Something More Than Free.
Ashley McBryde’s “Stone”, an album track from her “Never Will” album, written by Ashley and Nicolette Hayford.
“Bacon In My Beans” – Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
The Texicana Mamas (to wit: Patricia Vonne, Stephanie Urbina Jones, and Tish Hinojosa), all veterans of the Americana scene in Texas, with their version of “Lo Siento Mi Vida”, co-written and recorded in 1976 by Linda Ronstadt for her album Hasten Down The Wind:
@Erik – Saw Trish Hinojosa open for Hal Ketchum on 4/17/05 at B.B.King’s in NYC. (I see that BB’s went out of business about 2/12 years ago.)
The Texi Mamas sound good but i know hardly any Spanish.
@Paul – enjoyed the U-Tube video of Bacon in My Beans
It does help to know Spanish when it comes to “Lo Siento Mi Vida”. The lyrics are more or less translated to English here:
Here, however, is a second favorite of mine of 2020 for consideration: “Rattlesnake Girl” from California “outlaw” Jaime Wyatt:
You Can Go Home by Michelle Hannan. The whole album is great
Alecia Nugent, I Might Have One Too
Ray Scott, Better As I Go
…suzie candell’s “whiskey and why” from her 2020 album “restless”. that woman ain’t afraid of steel in her ballads. in fact, that whole album is a gem.
“Everything Burns” by Will Banister
He co-wrote this one with Roger Springer, who’s written many of my other favorite songs like Mark Chesnutt’s “Thank Got For Believers” and Sammy Kershaw’s “Matches.”
Will has been one of my favorite discoveries this year, and his latest album also named “Everything Burns,” is one of the most solid neo-traditional country albums I’ve heard in a long time. I’d definitely recommended it for anyone who misses 90’s country in the vein of George Strait, Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Byrd, Clay Walker, Daryle Singletary, etc. To my ears, it almost sounds like something that any of those guys could’ve released around 1997-1998, which is right up my alley. Love Banister’s voice, too!
My favourite song this year was “First Thing I Reach For” by Ashley McBryde.
For those who frequent this site, I’ll go with this one from my favorite country album of the year, Caitlin Cannon’s ‘The TrashCannon Album.’ An excellent debut collection that takes on real-life problems with heart, humor, and sass. Fans of Dolly, Loretta, and Carlene Carter’s ‘Musical Shapes’ are urged to investigate.
Jessi Alexander – My Problem Is You. Beautiful sad country song. “It ain’t cocaine or mary jane that keeps me crazy/they just pull me through/my problem is you.”