Top 20 Albums of 2015

Another year of blues rock is in the books. Once again, the staff at Blues Rock Review voted for the year’s best albums in our 5th annual list. Here are the top 20 blues rock albums of 2015.

20. Soulstack: Soulstack

“There truly is not a weak track and it is tough to pick a clear-cut favorite. Pick this up and spread the word because this really is a great collection of tracks by a phenomenally talented group.” – Kevin O’Rourke

(Buy on Amazon)

19. MonkeyJunk: Moon Turn Red

“The group’s swamp-rock roots and blues sound stays true while also experimenting with soul, country, jazz, and a psychedelic funk sound throughout the album.” – Keri McAlpine

(Buy on Amazon)

18. Dirty Streets: White Horse

“There is no denying the passion and excellent songwriting craft here.  If you like your rock and roll down and dirty saddle up and take a ride on the White Horse.” – Lou Lombardi

(Buy on Amazon)

17. David Michael Miller: Same Soil

“He could easily be the next great blues super star ala Robert Cray or Bonnie Raitt. In the mean time we can all groove to Same Soil while we see what the future holds.” – Lou Lombardi

(Buy on Amazon)

16. Dudley Taft: Skin and Bones

“With Skin and Bones, Dudley delivers a raucous and engaging ride from the first to last track that is probably his best work to date. This is an album that will have you jamming out and hitting repeat over and over again.” – Kevin O’Rourke

(Buy on Amazon)

15. Buddy Guy: Born To Play Guitar

“It might seem hard to find new direction after 50 years in the industry. But when you stick to what you know, and you dig into those roots, you’d be amazed what you can pull out. Buddy Guy delivers a set of classic blues tracks on his latest release.” – Don Tice

(Buy on Amazon)

14. Vintage Trouble: 1 Hopeful Rd.

“Vintage Trouble bring to life the trials that affected those who listened to the original soul masters and that still affect young listeners today, and while their sound is similarly reminiscent of an earlier time, it has an energetic quality that makes it relatable, regardless of the date or the listener’s age.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy on Amazon)

13. Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color

“An album every bit as earnest and soulful as the first, but with tints of R&B, psychedelia, shoegaze, and Strokes-brand indie rock.” – Richard MacDougall

(Buy on Amazon)

12. Kris Pohlmann: Taylor Road

“The drive down Taylor Road with Kris Pohlmann is an adrenaline-pumping, forceful experience, similar to that of a high-speed car scene in a movie.” – Jackie Howell

(Buy on Amazon)

11. Sonny Landreth: Bound By The Blues

“Through a mix of first rate covers treated with the unique twist of his slide playing and well written originals, Bound By The Blues is a great tribute to the source of his inspiration. The playing is top notch throughout the album and the songwriting is superb.” – Kevin O’Rourke

(Buy on Amazon)

10. Delta Deep: Delta Deep

“The four musicians of Delta Deep come together from their various rock backgrounds to form a sound that honors and acknowledges those roots while also forming something new for listeners to be excited about. Delta Deep’s unique blues rock sound is an undeniable hit.” – Keri McAlpine

(Buy on Amazon)

9. Eric Steckel: Black Gold

“He has the uncanny ability to make his guitar do the talking when the vocals are on hiatus. His soulful touch allows him to cross many styles over a single album. It’s almost Clapton-esque the way he transitions from highs to lows, and everywhere in between.” – Don Tice

(Buy on Amazon)

8. Gary Clark Jr.: The Story of Sonny Boy Slim

The Story of Sonny Boy Slim can’t be confined to one genre. This is an album that has something for everyone and continues to see Clark grow as an artist.” – Pete Francis

(Buy on Amazon)

7. The Heavy Eyes: He Dreams of Lions

“Excessive fuzz and distortion can sometimes be used as a crutch but that is not the case with these guys. It’s a signature part of their sound and the guys in the Heavy Eyes deliver a style of fervent psychedelic rock that’s a testament to their first-rate song writing and tight musicianship.” – Kevin O’Rourke       

(Buy on Amazon)

6. Jesse Davey: Big Blues

“Jesse’s playing is unique and fresh and fans of The Hoax, traditional blues, and even pure rock fans will find something to appreciate on Big Blues.” – Kevin O’Rourke

(Buy on Amazon)

5. The Sheepdogs: Future Nostalgia

“It’s easy to listen to this album over and over. Each song has something of value; hooks that won’t let you go and very warm production that beckons the listener to come back for seconds and thirds.” – Lou Lombardi

(Buy on Amazon)

4. Walter Trout: Battle Scars

“Trout hearkens back to his traditionalist roots while employing some of the fuzzier, crunching guitar effects that have become ear candy for the new generation who count among their darlings such practitioners as The Black Keys and The Alabama Shakes.” – McKinnie Sizemore

(Buy on Amazon)

3. Robert Jon and the Wreck: Glory Bound

“The album has it all with great variety in the songs and excellent musicianship. This is is band that deserves more exposure and attention, so jump on the train now because Robert Jon and the Wreck are coming down the tracks.” – Pete Francis

(Buy on Amazon)

2. Anthony Gomes: Electric Field Holler

Electric Field Holler is a raucous celebration of blues based guitar driven rock. One could  postulate that if Electric Field Holler had been released in 1975 instead of 2015 it would easily top the the rock charts and dominate FM rock radio.” – Lou Lombardi

(Buy on Amazon)

1. King King: Reaching For The Light

Reaching For The Light is another masterclass in blues rock from King King. King King have proven again they are without a doubt among blues rock’s elite.” – Pete Francis

(Buy on Amazon)

Previous Top 20 Lists: 201420132012, 2011

Pete Francis

Pete Francis is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blues Rock Review. Pete founded Blues Rock Review in 2010 because he felt there was a major void in how the blues rock genre was covered. Pete is the host of Blues Rock Weekly and a co-host on the Blues Rock Show.

21 thoughts on “Top 20 Albums of 2015

  • You’re joking, right?

    No Joe Bonamassa? I’m dumping my subscription.

  • No Joe Bonamassa? Unsubscribe.

  • David Gogo’s Vicksburg Call should have been on this list.

  • I would ask those who complain at leaving out Joe Bonamassa, who of these 20 would you remove to fit him in? Among JB’s 2015 releases I like Live at Radio City Music Hall better than Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks, but I also like all the albums listed here. Several “Best Of 2015” lists will point people to JB–I like better a list that lifts up almost unknown and not as well known bands like they do here.

    • If I am not mistaken,this list deals with studio albums.
      Last year they had a list for top live albums.So that’s where Joes releases would fit in.
      I don’t think it’s fair to compare.Most live al its are kinda like greatest hits

  • great to see RobertJon and the Wreck listed, they’re awesome!?

  • I think there is a seperate list of best of for Iive albums that will come out as I have seen in the past.
    Joes 2015 cds were not live ones so should explain the reason they are not on it.
    I am a big fan of Joes ,believe me.I wouldn’t unsubscribe here if they didn’t pick him for the list.But I would drop my opinion on here though.

  • This list is strictly studio albums, not live albums.

  • Joe bonamassa, Robert Cray, Kenny Wayne Shepherd

  • Thanks for this list!
    Quite a few new names and albums for me to check out, can’t wait.
    Maybe a nice idea to publish this list in Spotify.

    Have a great Christmas and a happy new year: health, happiness and loads of music,
    Jan Gerben

  • Thanks for the suggestions. Has Joanne Shaw Taylor ever made the list? The Dirty Truth (2014) was very good.

  • Smoking’ Joe Kubek w/Bnois King would be a nice addition.

  • No Joanne Shaw-Taylor, no Samantha Fish, no Chantelle Mcgregor, seems to be a theme here.Albert Cummings and Laurence Jones perhaps should have made the list as well.just shows how subjective these things are. Everyone has their opinion.

  • Answering a couple of questions.

    As pointed out above this is a studio album list. So since Bonamassa’s albums and Robert Cray were both live albums this year I think you can figure out why they aren’t on the list. We’ve done live album lists separately in the past. Not sure if we’re going to do a live album list. Not a whole lot to choose from this year. We didn’t do a live album list last year either.

    KWS’s last album “Goin’ Home” was released in 2014. So was Joanne Shaw-Taylor’s “Dirty Truth”. If you take a look both were on the 2014 list.

    For everyone who thinks “so and so” should have been included – I hear you, but someone has to not make the list. Some of the ones that made the list were not my top choices. Heck – My #2 choice didn’t make the list at all and I work here.

    Past top 20 studio album lists if anyone is interested.
    2014 – https://bluesrockreview.com/2014/12/top-20-albums-of-2014.html
    2013 – https://bluesrockreview.com/2013/12/top-20-albums-of-2013.html
    2012 – https://bluesrockreview.com/2012/12/top-20-albums-of-2012.html
    2011 – https://bluesrockreview.com/2011/12/top-20-albums-of-2011.html

  • what a fucking year!!
    Why a fucking year? let me tell you:

    – first: the year had started very badly, nothing really significant to put in the ears until this fucking album by Anthony Gomes: Electric Field Holler! for me this is that album that launched this blues rock year. Note has still Albums: Johnny Fontane & The Rivals – Lemme Tell Ya!
    The Bluesbones – Saved By The Blues
    Larry Miller – Soldier Of The Line
    which were released before and are not listed here…

    – secondly: what a fucking second half of the year! Look that:
    – the list of 20 mentioned above
    – and for me all these forgotten (mentioned or not)
    Audergang – Blues For The Blues
    The Boom Band – The Boom Band
    Aidan Connell – Grio
    Black Bottle Riot – Indigo Blues
    Mojo Man – Mojo Man
    Jay Jesse Johnson – Set The Blues On Fire
    Gerald Clark – AfroBoer and The GoldenGoose
    The Brooklyn Rhythm and Blues Project – The Brooklyn Rhythm and Blues Project
    Joe Louis Walker – Everybody Wants A Piece
    The Wake Woods – Get Outta My Way
    Sky High – Stone and Gravel
    Davy Knowles – The Outsider
    Kris Barras Band – Kris Barras Band
    My Own Holiday – Reason To Bleed
    Datura4 – Demon Blues
    Randall Bramblett – Devil Music
    Laurence Jones – What’s it Gonna Be
    David Gogo – Vicksburg Call
    Minor Cabinet – Black Ink on White Sheets
    Danielle Nicole – Wolf Den
    and others I forget: Ana Popovic, Warren Haynes and many more…

    – thirdly: we have lost B. B. King (definitely a fucking year) but in the same time walter trout we back to our pleasure (what a fucking pleasure to ear you again walter!!!)

    – Fourth: how make a choice?? (what a fucking dilemma):
    – Anthony Gomes? because he opened the competition 😉
    – King King? because they are like joe bonamassa: out of competition is their third album and it’s still just fucking good!
    – Robert Jon and the Wreck? because for a first album what a f…. album!
    – The Sheepdogs? for the same reasons
    – Walter Trout? for the reasons mentioned above
    – Danielle Nicole? because we are wholesale misogynist this year and there are virtually no women in this list! (Yet what music!)
    – Jay Jesse Johnson and Minor Cabinet? because for me they are the great forgotten of this list (fucking list! 😉 )
    – finally for me it plays between: The Sheepdogs and Minor Cabinet

    – fifthly and finally: what a fucking year because i’m a french blues rock fan and this year as you know some attacked the music. then gentlemen musicians and singers: please: never stop ROCKING!
    And please: never stop create! make some FUCKING GOOD ROCK in 2016!!!

    to all of you i wish a merry christmas and a happy new year. sorry for my english. and…


    • Suspicious you may have broken the record for fuck words in a single post lol

      Some of my favs not on the list.
      Albert Cummings (one of his best)
      Red Sky Mary(Total (if I can borrow the phrase)fucking rocking album
      Jelly Bullet 2nd release rocks too
      Bryce Janey
      Craig Erickson
      Randy Bachmans Heavy Blues album
      Martin J Andersen(Blindstone’s guitar player’s solo album)

    • Your English is okay, it’s your French that is over the top!!!

    • French guy,you stole my heart!!!Literally!!!this is a guy that SURELY knows what blues is about!!!kisses from greece!!!

      • and something more…knowing that everybody will hate me…thank god that there is ONE list without any JB in it!!!

  • Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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