Top 20 Albums of 2012

2012 is coming to a close and it has been another stellar year for blues rock. The staff at Blues Rock Review voted for the Top 20 Albums of 2012.

20. Oli Brown: Here I Am

“With a commercial yet soulful voice and an impressive sound on guitar, Brown has developed his own unique sound that will appeal to a wide audience.” – Liz Lohnes

(Buy on Amazon)

19. Joanne Shaw Taylor: Almost Always Never

“With her third album, Taylor achieves a level of substantial prowess that many artists more than twice her age have never experienced. Almost Always Never is an experience, and a powerful one at that.” – Tyler Quiring

(Buy on Amazon)

18. Black Country Communion: Afterglow

“With the timeless sound of Hughes on the mic, the classy blues swagger of Bonamassa on guitar, one of a kind flare from Sherinian on keys, and a star child by birthright, backed by immense talent in Bonham, Black Country Communion pries the lid off the past, and propels it into the now.” – Don Tice

(Buy on Amazon)

17. The Nimmo Brothers: Brother To Brother

Brother To Brother has it all with great hooks, incredible playing, and most importantly, great songs. It is an impressive release that can not only be appreciated by blues rock fans, but a wider audience as well.” – Pete Francis

(Buy on Amazon)

16. Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls

“Every track on this album is a treasure. Words can’t properly explain the feeling this band puts behind their music but once you hear it, you will feel every beat. This album is a must!” – Liz Lohnes

(Buy on Amazon)

15. Henrik Freischlader Band: House In The Woods

“It is filled from beginning to end with music that will have you marveling at this self-taught multi instrumentalist’s great songwriting and stellar guitar work.” – Kevin O’Rourke

(Buy on Amazon)

14. Robert Cray: Nothin But Love

“Cray’s ability to blend the blues with rock and other rhythm’s has always been one of the skills that has allowed him to expose another generation of fans to the blues. Do in no small part to the contribution of Kevin Shirley and phenomenal skills of someone who has been playing and singing the blues for 30 years, Nothin But Love will garner Robert another Grammy nomination and most likely a win.” – Kevin O’Rourke

(Buy on Amazon)

13. Hot Fiction: Apply Within

“About ten years ago The White Stripes rejuvenated alternative blues/rock both musically and into the popular conscious with their third album, Elephant… The London based band Hot Fiction are exactly that sort of band and although there have been many bands like them, Apply Within proves there is still a lot this genre of music can offer.” – Josh May

(Buy on Amazon)

12. Simon McBride: Crossing The Line

“Simon McBride’s Crossing The Line captures his flare for the blues, and should keep him in our minds and ears.  Fly under the radar no more. This kind of talent is meant to be shared.” – Don Tice

(Buy on Amazon)

11. Rival Sons: Head Down

“Remember putting the needle down on Led Zeppelin I fresh off the record and hearing that first riff?  Sure as anything you recall the moment.  Rival Sons’ third studio album, Head Down, captures just that essence.  From the first lick, these L.A. boys hit you hard and don’t let up until they’re through.” – Don Tice

(Buy on Amazon)

10. Dan Patlansky: 20 Stones

20 Stones is an album that is bound to further enamor listeners already familiar with Patlansky’s work. For those that are hearing him for the first time, it’s a great representation of why he’s considered the top blues guitarist in South Africa.” – Tyler Quiring

9. The Sheepdogs: The Sheepdogs

“There is a delicate balance between the influence of their roots and the intertwining of edgier alternative riffs within each track.  This is something old and new all at once; something for a wide span of generations, a feat not easily accomplished in today’s music scene.  Thumbs way up for The Sheepdogs.” – Don Tice

(Buy on Amazon)

8. Eric Steckel: Dismantle The Sun

“Nearly everything to be heard here is executed flawlessly, and is reminiscent of the kind of quality that many artists much older than Steckel only achieve in their later years. The performance is tight, energetic, and focused. The subject matter is relevant and compelling. The pacing and storytelling constantly pique the listener’s interest.” – Tyler Quiring

(Buy on Amazon)

7. Gary Clark Jr.: Blak And Blu

“Gary Clark Jr. is one of the world’s most versatile musicians. There are very few artists who can bridge the generational gap like Gary Clark Jr., and Blak and Blu is an album that can be enjoyed by anyone.” – Pete Francis

(Buy on Amazon)

6. ZZ Ward: Til The Casket Drops

“With the soul and influence of old blues legends such as Muddy Waters and Big Mama Thornton, and the contemporary sound of Adele with a hip hop twist, this album flawlessly mixes the old with the new.” – Liz Lohnes

(Buy on Amazon)

5. Philip Sayce: Steamroller

“Over the past few years, Sayce has built quite a cult following and Steamroller continues his ascension towards stardom… Steamroller is a must have for any rock fan…” – Pete Francis

(Buy on Amazon)

4. Claude Hay: I Love Hate You

“He is so talented that he can turn anyone into a blues rock listener… This album was like finding gold for me…” – Jon Zaccarini

(Buy on Amazon)

3. Jack White: Blunderbuss

“On Blunderbuss, Jack White kidnaps his listeners and forces them to listen to a 40-minute seminar about the way things operate on his planet. His debut solo album features rattling, full arrangements and brilliantly warm production set against a fusion of 60s soul and garage blues rock vibes.” – Jason Bank

(Buy on Amazon)

2. Carson Henley: 100 Hours

“Every song on this album is a complete treat to listen to, a refreshing treat of a simple, talented album with no auto-tune and electric beats in sight… Henley has a clean, beautifully simple voice that makes for some of the best uplifting songs I have heard in a while.” – Victoria Espinoza

(Buy on Amazon)

1. Joe Bonamassa: Driving Towards The Daylight

Driving Towards The Daylight is yet another fine performance from the blues rock titan. The album sees Joe return to the blues and in a big way.” – Pete Francis

(Buy on Amazon)

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