Top 20 Albums of 2018

2018 was an absolute banner year for blues rock that saw several fantastic releases. Once again, the staff of Blues Rock Review cast their votes along with a record turnout from our readers to determine the year’s best blues rock albums from an extremely competitive field. Here are the top 20 albums of 2018. 

20. Sean Chambers: Welcome To My Blues

“The songs and performances on Welcome to My Blues are all strong, but producer Ben Elliott deserves a lot of credit for making everything sound so good. The guitar pops out of the mix in a fairly perfect manner. But of course Chambers deserves the lion’s share of the credit for keeping the songs tight enough that they hold together, but loose enough that you feel the spontaneity and energy of the album.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

19. Jonathon Long: Jonathon Long

“Across 11 tracks occupying just 38 minutes, Long still manages to pack in plenty of great guitar work across a range of material. There’s no denying the quality of these songs, or Long’s quality as a guitarist. And Samantha Fish also deserves credit for a strong, sympathetic sound on her first outing at the helm, which will doubtless garner extra attention for this rootsy affair. Attention which it certainly deserves.” – Iain Cameron

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

18. Eric Steckel: Polyphonic Prayer

“Guitar lovers will love Polyphonic Prayer. This album is filled with killer playing complimented by Steckel’s talented keyboard skills. Not many guitar players Steckel’s age can say they have their own signature sound, but he definitely does. When you hear Polyphonic Prayer, you know it’s Eric Steckel and that’s quite a good thing.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

 17. Dany Franchi: Problem Child

“It’s clear to see (and hear) that Dany Franchi has potential to be as big as Joe Bonamassa or Walter Trout; it just depends on the next steps he takes. But, at this time, being fairly young, he possesses plenty more time on his side. Going by this latest album – we honestly can’t wait to see what he does next.” – Ethan Burke

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

16. Ryan McGarvey: Heavy Hearted

“McGarvey is an incredible guitarist. His solos positively reek of speed, excitement, and even danger. He hits blues, rock, and glam equally hard and equally well across a dozen original tracks. Heavy Hearted is going to appeal to guitar fans.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

15. Dana Fuchs: Love Lives On

“Fuchs is at her best when she’s pushing her voice. She sounds great in the less densely produced songs, but when she’s in the thick of a wall of sound, she’s extraordinary. Not many contemporary artists have the voice to survive in this kind of rich, throwback production environment. Fuchs thrives in it.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

14. Arbor Creek: Arbor Creek

“Arbor Creek’s influences have been utilized so well through what can be heard on this album, while still sounding fresh. Listeners of Classic and Southern Rock will love this LP because it’s just as real and raw as some of the best stuff that came out of the late ’60s and ’70s. Meanwhile, the more modern Rock listeners of My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, Jack White, and Gary Clark Jr. should be quite impressed, too.” – Ethan Burke

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

13. Fantastic Negrito: Please Don’t Be Dead

“Fantastic Negrito is doing something quite unique by injecting that old and cultured music into his own form, and transforming it into the brand new, the inspired, and the breath of musical fresh air which is Please Don’t Be Dead.” – Ethan Burke

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

12. Sari Schorr: Never Say Never

“Schorr does a fantastic job inserting her passion onto Never Say Never. The album was recorded live and the energy of a live show is there, but the album also sounds deliberate and produced. Anyone interested in a singular singer, a smoking band, and blues rock that you’re going to want to sing along with, will want to check this one out.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

11. Larkin Poe: Venom and Faith

“Larkin Poe have created an album that is intricate without being dense. Venom & Faith is two Americana artists pushing expectations to create something both familiar but also innovative. Not many artists could pull off what they’ve done here.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

10. The Record Company: All of This Life

“Across its 10 songs, All of This Life is immediate and reflective, a result of both the blues’ historic past and visions for its future. The Record Company has cited influences like Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker and scores of others, and though hints of many can be heard by those who listen closely, The Record Company’s music is entirely its own, an example in real time of how this genre that was so embraced in decades past can still be relevant today.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

9. Buddy Guy: The Blues Is Alive and Well

“On The Blues is Alive and Well Guy shows he’s still an engaged, passionate artist. There’s a chemistry to all of the tracks because of the consistency of the line-up. But there’s also Guy and his indefatigable talent. He brings it on each and every track. Any blues fan will truly love this album.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

8. Ben Poole: Anytime You Need Me

“A combination of funk, catchy hooks and great guitar fills, a credit to the whole band. Personally, I think this could be the making of Ben, he certainly deserves it.” – Clive Rawlings

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

7. Marcus King Band: Carolina Confessions

“Marcus King is known as one of the greatest young talents in blues rock. His voice is filled with soul and his songwriting and guitar playing are well beyond his years. Carolina Confessions is a career-highlight for a talented young artist who still has a lot of great music ahead of him.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

6. Danielle Nicole: Cry No More

“Danielle Nicole’s vocals lend themselves fully to blues. Her tone is rich, full, warm, raw, and can be likened to the incredible vocals of Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt. Even so, she has a sound all her own. Her range is notable, impressive, and only serves to add emotional elements to the songs.” – Alexandra Veltri

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

5. The Temperance Movement: A Deeper Cut

A Deeper Cut goes…well, deeper. The 12-track album features songs that are wide-ranging in structure and style, though rock remains the band’s keystone. White Bear set a high bar for the Temperance Movement to reach; it’s nice to see the band stepping up to meet the challenge.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

4. The Kris Barras Band: The Divine and Dirty

“The Kris Barras Band delivers the complete package with The Divine and Dirty. The songs are catchy, the guitar playing is superb, and the production is top notch.  Kris Barras has been around the blues rock scene, but this is the album that truly sees his star rise.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

3. Joe Bonamassa: Redemption

Redemption is full of angles and takes that keep things interesting—for the listener and for Bonamassa. The interesting thing about Bonamassa’s volume of output is that it has allowed him to internalize blues rock. So even as he expands his songwriting, moving in a more mainstream rock direction, blues rock is still hard-wired into his playing. That’s a good thing, because he’s a talented blues guitarist.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

2. Dan Patlansky: Perfection Kills

“In the world of blues rock, Patlansky is putting out very strong albums on as consistent of a basis as anyone in the genre right now. Perfection Kills is right up there with Dan’s best work.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

1. Anthony Gomes: Peace, Love, and Loud Guitars

Peace, Love, and Loud Guitars is without a doubt the best album of Anthony Gomes’ career. Gomes has been around the block in the blues rock scene and just continues to get better and better. This is a statement album from an artist helping to keep real, genuine, blues and rock music alive.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

Previous Top 20 Lists: 201720162015, 201420132012, 2011

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21 Responses to “Top 20 Albums of 2018”

  1. Steve Flaherty says:

    I went to the CD release party in Rockland earlier this year.Extremely talented musician keeping the BLUES ALIVE.Steve Flaherty

  2. Ron Gauthier says:

    Couldn’t be happier for Anthony!! Such a talent

  3. Suzanne Kelley says:

    Congratulations Anthony! I never tire of watching you perform ❤

  4. Steven says:

    Great list. Would have liked to seen the James Pitts Band on here. The debut album “Come To Play The Blues” is incredible.

  5. Gary Milligan says:

    No list is perfect for each individual.But a nice list as usual.It seems each year there are some suprises on who makes it and who doesn’t.
    I was really surprised the Lance Lopez To Tell The Truth didn’t make the list the most.Thought that was a shoe in.Also not my choice, but everyone’s darlings Greta Van Fleet I thought would be in their too.

    • Vince StGeorge says:

      Gary Milligan is correct – Tell The Truth by Lance Lopez is incredible. One of the best of the year for sure.

  6. Tommy Worthy says:

    Johnathan Long treat yourself to this CD every song is great !!

  7. Sheldon Hicks says:

    Jonathon Long’s album is absolutely amazing! Do yourself a favor and buy it now, if you haven’t already! My thanks to Jonathon Long and Samantha Fish for a job well done!

  8. Larry Cukjati says:

    Congratulations Anthony…well deserved and earned!

  9. Tim Wirts says:

    Congratulations to Anthony &the band.He deserves it he always puts on an amazing show.LOVE EVERY SONG on the new album


    Congratulations Anthony and a course the Band well deserved can wait to see you and the band and be safe on the Road …………………..

  11. Mary Kutchko Maggio says:

    Congrats to all, YAY!! AG, you are VERY deserving of this, keep sharing your love and gifts with us.
    Also, congrats to Danielle Nicole for Cry No More, simply an outstanding performance. Can’t wait to see you tonight at The Gospel Lounge. Welcome home!!

  12. Gregg Heller says:

    Great take care love you man polish my guitar.

  13. Kobus Drotskie says:

    Congratulations Dan Patlansky.. Sagittarius Rocks!

  14. Hermie Botha says:

    Well done Dan brilliant album

  15. Kevin R Teter says:

    Anthony well deserved a true bluesman you the man couldn’t have been awarded to a better man Keep the blues alive look forward to the next time we hear ya jam live be blessed Kevin R Teter

  16. Paul says:

    The recent releases don’t get a fair chance in this vote & one in particular is Heavy Hearted by Ryan McGarvey. I think once the listeners hear the new release (Nov. 27th) by Ryan McGarvey, they’ll know who the # 1 album should have been.

  17. Jeri McCullough says:

    This is well desevered Congratulations Anthony

  18. Marcéu Lopes Prado says:

    Uowwwwww ! Peace & Loud and Loud Guitars!!!

  19. Edda Nagel says:

    I purchased 2 Sites and it is already helps my business. I am looking at purchasing more sites sites soon. I should have a full time income by then (hopefully). The service provided by these guys is very good.

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