Top 20 Albums of 2019

2019 has shaped up to be another strong year in the world of blues rock. For nine years now, Blues Rock Review has been releasing its Top 20 Albums of the Year list. Our readers and staff cast their votes and this year’s list was extremely tough to crack. Here are Blues Rock Review’s Top 20 Albums of 2019.


20. Sean Pinchin: Bad Things

“Sean Pinchin delivers it all with Bad Things: impeccable guitar riffs, soulful singing, and lyrics that resonate with you for weeks. Bad Things is an album you can play on repeat and still find new twists and turns within the music.” – Kailee Mills

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


19. Robert Randolph and the Family Band: Brighter Days

“Brighter Days is a clean and crisp album full of impressive instrumentation, lyrics rife with imagery and the passion that gets fans out of their seats euphorically dancing.” – Spencer Rubin

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


18. Mike Zito: Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Tribute To Chuck Berry 

“Despite the stunning number of guests, Zito is never lost. His vocals and guitar are present on every track, gracefully allowing his collaborators to shine, but also not deferring to anyone. Zito never lets the songs stray too far from the Berry originals, but provides space for different takes on material that is canonically seared into the minds of many” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


 17. Walter Trout: Survivor Blues

“At 67 years old, he’s eager to tackle new challenges with each project and doesn’t settle for easy answers when picking his next move. His vocals are strong and his guitar playing is on point, as sharp and focused as ever.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


16. Eric Gales: The Bookends

“The performances are well-done and interesting. And Gales still finds ways to insert himself into his music, something that’s hardly a given with any songwriter. The Bookends is a talented artist showing the hard work it takes to make music for almost 30 years, through the ups and downs.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


15. Kris Barras Band: Light It Up

“Throughout the collection, the skillful mesh of voices pleasingly fills out the soundscape. Songs reach great highs without dragging or being self-indulgent. Light It Up is an album to be proud of.” – Willie Witten

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


14. Caleb Johnson and the Ramblin’ Saints: Born From Southern Ground

“From start to finish, Born From Southern Ground is good ole’ fashioned rock n’ roll. Johnson proves himself as an elite singer and a strong songwriter to boot. Born From Southern Ground is a wonderful blend of rock, blues, roots, and soul.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


13. Michael Lee: Michael Lee

“Michael Lee is a wonderful surprise. Lee is an impressive vocalist. His guitar playing isn’t flashy, but it’s present and noticeable, working in service of some incredibly strong songs.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


12. Ghost Hounds: Roses Are Black

“Rock and roll doesn’t need to be raw to be effective. Roses Are Black features the Ghost Hounds producing music that rocks hard, but that is also tight and polished. The cohesiveness of the sound is especially impressive given the circumstances that led to the album.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


11. Allman Betts Band: Down To The River

“Expectations were high for this album, but the Allman Betts Band delivers the goods. It’s an album where the group pays homage to its famous lineage while creating a legacy of its own. Down To The River is a great start to what will hopefully be a long run for the Allman Betts Band.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


10. Ariel Posen: How Long

“How Long is an extremely well crafted debut album from an artist who should certainly garner a lot of attention in the coming years. Posen is an outstanding guitar player, but he has the vocal chops and songwriting prowess to back it up. How Long successfully blends blues, rock, R&B, and even a bit of country to deliver one of the best debut albums we’ll hear in 2019.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


9. Jeremie Albino: Hard Time

“His impressive debut album, Hard Time, showcases his unique style, a blend of blues, rock, and folk that fills the ears and soul. Jeremie’s music is truly his own and each and every song is composed of poetic lyrics, captivating instrumentation, and memorable imagery.” – Sabrina Tian

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


8. The 40 Acre Mule: Good Night and Good Luck

“From the album’s first moments to its final ones, the band just relentlessly oozes rock and roll energy. This is a special band making exceptional music. Good Night and Good Luck is required listening.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


7. Albert Castiglia: Masterpiece

“Albert Castiglia’s 9th studio album, Masterpiece, is exactly that, a masterpiece. His string of solo albums throughout the past two decades have added to his impressive blues resume, but this album, produced by Mike Zito at MARZ Studio, stands to push him higher in the minds of blues and rock fans.” – Spencer Rubin

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


6. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram: Kingfish

“If his talent somehow plateaus right where it is right now, Ingram has an incredible career in front of him. But if his playing and songwriting evolve, as I strongly suspect they will, we’re in for some real genre-changing music from a smart, talented artist. I can’t wait to hear more.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


5. Gary Clark Jr.: This Land

“Once again, Gary Clark Jr. delivers an album with something for everybody. Clark is an artist who’s not afraid to take risks and won’t be confined to any specific genre and that deserves applause. This Land features some of Clark’s strongest work to date. It’s an album with soul.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


4. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band: The Traveler

“The Traveler is an all-killer no-filler album. It features all sorts of influences, but everything is done well. The Traveler has blues elements, but is a very song-oriented album. We all know Shepherd can shred, but the guitar is always serving the song. The Traveler is another can’t miss album from the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


3. Samantha Fish: Kill Or Be Kind

“Fish has always written soulful songs, very much like the ones here, the production simply enhances aspects of something she was already doing. And perhaps that’s the secret to how Fish can keep making great records: She has a strong sense of who she is as an artist and simply lets her producers emphasize different components of her work, giving each album a different-and-yet-familiar sound. And what a sound it is.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


2. Beth Hart: War In My Mind

“She has a huge voice that reverberates through a song like the ripples created by a heavy rock dropped in a lake. War in My Mind features some hard-rocking songs, as you might expect, but also has some beautiful, slower curve balls that show off different aspects of her songwriting and her voice.” – Steven Ovadia

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)


1. Rival Sons: Feral Roots

“Power. Control. Mastery. Rival Sons are back with their sixth studio album Feral Roots—and it brings all three of these descriptors to life. From start to end, Feral Roots shows Rival Sons performing as well as fans have grown to expect of them—and the experience is just as enjoyable now as it was a decade ago.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK)

Previous Top 20 Lists: 2018201720162015, 201420132012, 2011
*Editor’s note: Live albums and EPs are not included in the Top 20*

10 thoughts on “Top 20 Albums of 2019

  • December 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm
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    Its an honor to have Samantha Fish to finish as well as she did this year. It is also much deserved.

    Reply
  • December 12, 2019 at 12:34 pm
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    I know you have a hard job, and subjectively choosing from many good albums cannot please everyone….but I am so, so disappointed that City Night by Savoy Brown was not one of your top 20. It is a stellar blues-rock album from three masters of their craft, particularly Kim Simmonds.

    Reply
  • December 12, 2019 at 1:28 pm
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    Rival Sons deserve every single acknowledgement they get! They are the most amazing band!

    Reply
  • December 13, 2019 at 1:42 pm
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    One of the few times my numero uno matched up here! I was surprised the album made number one .More so because you could say they are more on the rock line than traditional blues rock. A really high quality al um top to bottom. First time I heard it I knew it was a contender for album of the year here.

    Reply
  • December 13, 2019 at 6:33 pm
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    Can someone teach Steven Ovadia the proper use of the word “but”….

    Reply
  • December 14, 2019 at 12:29 pm
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    Solid list overall.

    Quite surprised though that Joanna Shaw Taylor. Such a great album album this year especially with how it nods back to classic rock radio.

    Reply
  • December 15, 2019 at 2:33 pm
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    So great to see Rival Sons in the top spot. Such an amazing album. You can simply hear the amount of effort that went into it.

    Reply
  • January 27, 2020 at 11:16 pm
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    I got to see Gary Clark Jr, Eric Gales, Walter Trout and Kingfish in concert. They are all amazing. I have most of these CDs. Hope to see Rival Sons. LONG LIVE THE BLUES!

    Reply
  • March 30, 2020 at 10:46 am
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    cliche pops
    no feelin no understandin – no even drama
    die poor

    Reply
  • April 5, 2020 at 12:27 am
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    try to build the solid foundation of the bricks that others have taken, life will not be so hard.

    Reply

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