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The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

Blog Post: Nick's Picks - 19 Favourite Albums of 2019

Blog Post: Nick's Picks - 19 Favourite Albums of 2019



Here are 19 favourite things I heard this year (in alphabetical order):


Aldous Harding DesignerAldousHarding Designer

Third album from the New Zealand singer-songwriter hits the mark with engaging, quirky and original folk music for the 21st century.


AngeliqueKidjo CeliaAngelique Kidjo Celia

 The African pop queen pays tribute to Cuban musical goddess Celia Cruz, with the same rich results she had with Talking Heads’ Remain in Light.


BruceCockburn CrowingIgnitesBruce Cockburn Crowing Ignites

With his stunning, all instrumental album, the Canadian folk legend proves his exceptional guitar playing deserves as much acclaim as his songwriting.


BruceSpringsteen WesternStarsBruce Springsteen Western Stars

The 19th album by the New Jersey superstar finds him conjuring up the country-tinged California sound of the 1960s and ’70s with some of his best songs in years.


CorinRaymond DirtyMansionsCorin Raymond Dirty Mansions

The singer-songwriter from Hamilton, Ont. is the best kind of troubadour—one whose songs feel real enough to get under your skin and stay with you long afterwards.


DougPaisley StarterHomeDoug Paisley Starter Home

Paisley takes a low-key, stripped down approach on this fine album and delivers timeless country-folk gems like “Drinking With a Friend.”


IanSylvia TheLostTapesIan & Sylvia The Lost Tapes

Classic songs from the legendary duo’s folk period, with backing from their exceptional country-rock band Great Speckled Bird.


JennyLewis OnTheLineJenny Lewis On the Line

With guests Beck, Ringo Starr, Don Was and Ryan Adams, the former Rilo Kiley leader serves up saucy and incisive confessionals.


MichaelKiwanuka KiwanukaMichael Kiwanuka Kiwanuka

On his third album, the soulful British singer continues to mine Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” high standards while adding his own contemplative acoustic balladry.


OrvillePeck PonyOrville Peck Pony

Full disclosure: this reviewer’s guitarist son is on here, but the beguiling songs and rumbling-across-the-plains baritone of country’s new mystery man make this impossible to avoid.


QuiQueEscamilla EncomiendaQuiQue Escamilla Encomienda

From the Manu Chao-like reggae vibe of the title track to the soaring ranchera “Tú Sólo Tú” (“You Only You”), the Mexican-Canadian star’s latest is packed with infectious global sounds.


RhiannonGiddens ThereIsNoOther

 Rhiannon Giddens There Is No Other

Together with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, the gifted Giddens takes her classically trained voice and minstrel banjo into chilling, otherworldly folk terrain.


Santana AfricaSpeaksSantana Africa Speaks

The Latin rock pioneer of “Oye Como Va” fame finds inspiration in the “cradle of civilization” for his 25th album, summoning a sizzling Afro-Latin fusion with help from singer Buika.


SongsOfOurNativeDaughtersOur Native Daughters Songs of Our Native Daughters

Singers and banjoists Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla and Allison Russell put a fresh spin on slave narratives and early minstrelsy. 


SudanArchives AthenaSudan Archives Athena

The Cincinnati-born, LA-based singer-violinist (born Brittney Parks) blends neo-soul, trip-hop and dreampop into an intoxicating brew on her gorgeous debut.


VampireWeekend FatheroftheBrideVampire Weekend Father of the Bride

Anyone who loved “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” will feast on the latest from Ezra Koenig and his bandmates, especially the joyous, S.E. Rogie-sampled “Rich Man.”


VariousArtists BulawayoBlueYodelVarious artists – Bulawayo Blue Yodel

The Nashville influence of Jimmie Rodgers and Jim Reeves can be heard in these high lonesome sounds from Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa in the 1950s.


WeyesBlood TitanicRisingWeyes Blood Titanic Rising

It’s easy to get lost in the heavily orchestrated dreampop of the California artist (born Natalie Mering), whose fourth album shimmers sonically while serving up underlying dread.


Yola WalkThroughFireYola – Walk Through Fire

Hailing from the English seaside village of Portishead, this country-soul sensation delivers such sunny gems as “Shady Grove” and the Dusty Springfield-like “Faraway Look.”

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