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Top 20 Albums of 2023

2023 was absolutely loaded with an abundance of high quality blues rock albums. Blues Rock Review’s Top 20 Albums of 2023 was compiled with the fans/readers counting for 50% of the vote and the Blues Rock Review staff, who reviewed the music during the year, counting for the other 50%.

Here are Blues Rock Review’s Top 20 Albums of 2023.


20. Parker Barrow: Jukebox Gypsies

“The 10-track album alternates between sounding impulsive and reflective, a fitting vibe for this sunny time of year. Jukebox Gypsies is paced well as it glides through these shifts, making it fun to revisit or listen to on repeat. With Jukebox Gypsies, Parker Barrow puts forth an enjoyable and memorable debut.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon)


19. Foghat: Sonic Mojo

“The album is a welcome addition to the Foghat catalogue with excellent songwriting and cover song choices. Roger Earl is the band’s driving force along with Rodney O’Quinn’s bass. Scott Holt’s powerful lead vocals and stellar guitar work is complemented by Bryan Bassett’s amazing slide guitar, production and engineering skills.” – Bob Gersztyn

(Buy: Amazon)


18. Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos: Cheat The Devil 

Cheat the Devil is full of sass, funk, and high voltage guitar. You’ll be possessed to dance, shred your air guitar, wince, and nod all at the same time. Stay away from mirrors and mobile devices. You’ve been ROO’d!” – Allan Claudio

(Buy: Amazon)


17. Ally Venable: Real Gone

“The album is an impressive display of undeniable talent as a formidable blues rocker strut’s her stuff. Her guitar work is impressive as she covers a variety of styles to effectively deliver every cut with its own unique sound. If that weren’t enough her muscular vocals are powerful enough to articulately deliver the heart rending lyrics on an emotionally contagious level. All in all it’s a powerful album with twelve excellent songs.” – Bob Gersztyn

(Buy: Amazon)


16. Savoy Brown: Blues All Around

“Savoy Brown under the leadership of Kim Simmonds has helped to keep the blues alive for nearly six decades and has now joined his predecessors in “Beulah Land.” Blues All Around was Kim Simmonds’ final contribution to the blues and Savoy Brown’s 42nd album which completes its legacy.” – Bob Gersztyn

(Buy: Amazon)


15. Dom Martin: Buried in the Hail

“Hailed (no pun intended) as the heir to Rory Gallagher’s throne, the Belfast bluesman has his own unique guitar style and voice that chisels away at the Americana, blues, and roots genres. Intense from start to finish, with plenty of charm and craft, this is an LP worth digging up if you want to hear the blues in a different guise.” – Breton Towler

(Buy: Amazon)


14. Paul Rodgers: Midnight Rose

Midnight Rose is a totally satisfying set of eight rocking songs that demonstrate why Paul Rodgers is considered one of the best singer/songwriter/frontmen of the rock & roll genre.” – Bob Gersztyn

(Buy: Amazon)


13. Bernie Marsden: Working Man

“Working Man is proof that Marsden had a lot left to say at the end of his life-spanning career. The music is fun to listen to—at times it’s upbeat and reminiscent of Marsden’s hitmaking days with Whitesnake, and in other moments it’s gentle and thought-provoking. Working Man arrives as a pretty fantastic collection of new material—and a great final gift for Marsden fans who miss him.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon)


12. Robert Finley: Black Bayou

Black Bayou brings to the surface the elements of Finley’s time in Louisiana that most impacted him as an artist. The album is a humble exploration of the swampy sounds and rhythm & blues storylines that Finley has been immersed in for decades, with these elements shining all the brighter for Finley’s spotlight.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon)


11. The Rolling Stones: Hackney Diamonds

Hackney Diamonds encompasses elements of rock, blues and pop in a way that pays tribute both to where the Stones came from and how far they’ve traveled. It’s a strong showing from a band that has showed, decade after decade, that they wouldn’t rather be doing anything else.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon)


10. Duane Betts: Wild and Precious Life

“Betts is a strong songwriter and an excellent guitarist to boot. Wild and Precious Life is highly recommended for any fan of southern rock. The album features shades of blues, country, and folk, and takes the listener on a journey from start to finish.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon)


9. Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Dirt on My Diamonds Vol. 1

Dirt on My Diamonds Vol. 1 is punchy, fun blues rock. Shepherd intentionally did not want to make the album dark saying, “There’s not a lot of incredibly heart-wrenching or difficult subject matter…My goal is always to make music that makes people feel good, regardless of what it’s about.” Mission accomplished. Dirt on My Diamonds Vol. 1 is stellar from start to finish and maintains Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s place among the top blues rock acts in the world.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon)


8. Gov’t Mule: Peace… Like a River

“Notably, despite the predominating longer-than-usual song length, the album never gets lost in pointless pyrotechnics or overstays its welcome. The instrumental excursions are tightly-focused and serve the songs, covering everything from psychedelia and riff-driven blues rock to funk and soul with concise finesse. Boasting sharp songwriting, tight arrangements, and stellar musicianship, Peace…Like A River is excellent and ranks among Gov’t Mule’s best works. Highly recommended.” – Fidel Beserra

(Buy: Amazon)


7. Ghost Hounds: First Last Time

First Last Time is an album without flaws. You can literally set it on repeat and take joy in whatever activity you are doing at the time. The tracks both flow together and stand on their own. It is an exceptionally good album that is going to set the bar high for these Ghost Hounds.” – Allan Claudio

(Buy: Amazon)


6. Rival Sons: Darkfighter

“The album, Rival Sons’ seventh full-length, is moody and guttural, packed to the brim with punishing riffs and heavy rhythms. Darkfighter depicts a band on a journey, trying to make sense of a world driven into chaos.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon)


5. When Rivers Meet: Aces Are High

“When Rivers Meet is the bluesy Americana sound of husband-and-wife duo Aaron and Grace Bond, but their latest work sees them plunge into the dusky, grittier, and harder edge of the reef. When Rivers Meet had an ace up their sleeve all along. No need to shuffle — this is living proof the Bonds can break through any dam and rock as hard as the rest of the pack.” – Breton Towler

(Buy: Amazon)


4. Joe Bonamassa: Blues Deluxe Vol. 2

Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 shows Bonamassa celebrating the artists who inspired his own career and doing one of the things he enjoys most in putting his spin on their classics. It’s a fun ride, and it begs the question of whether fans will have to wait another 20 years before hearing Bonamassa’s next Blues Deluxe installment.” – Meghan Roos

(Buy: Amazon)


3. Robert Jon and the Wreck: Ride Into the Light

“Robert Jon and the Wreck continue to turn out memorable music with Ride Into The Light. The band certainly was surrounded with an all-star production team on this set of tracks with Joe Bonamassa, Josh Smith, Dave Cobb, and Don Was. There isn’t a bad track in the set. Ride Into The Light should continue Robert Jon and the Wreck’s wave of success, so hop in and don’t let up, this ride isn’t ending anytime soon.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon)


2. Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton: Death Wish Blues

“When Fish and Dayton recorded Death Wish Blues it was to make the blues accessible to new audiences. The combination of influences from Punk and Americana to Country that are present in the album are intended to communicate to people through the stories that the songs tell. The album fulfills its goal and exudes a joyous feeling that is intended to connect with the listener on an emotional level parallel to their primal nature.” – Bob Gersztyn

(Buy: Amazon)


1. Mike Zito and Albert Castiglia: Blood Brothers

“Not only have Zito and Castiglia teamed up, they’ve also enlisted the services of Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith to produce the album forming a blues rock all-star team. Blood Brothers was listed an one of Blues Rock Review’s most anticipated albums of 2023 and lives up to that promise. The friendship between Zito and Castiglia shows as the chemistry between the two is dynamic. From start to finish, Blood Brothers might just be their best work to date.” – Pete Francis

(Buy: Amazon)

Previous Top 20 Lists: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018201720162015, 201420132012, 2011
*Editor’s note: Live albums and EPs are not included in the Top 20*

27 thoughts on “Top 20 Albums of 2023

  • Criminal that The cold Stares do not feature in the top 20 especially when several in the list aren’t even close to being blues rock, notably The Rolling Stones and Rival Sons. Excellent albums both but nothing blues about them.

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    • You have to remember that this is based on fans selecting just one album. There should be an upcoming discussion on what comprises blues-rock. I would call Robert Finley blues, not blues-rock. At least The Rolling Stones closed out the album with straight up blues.

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    • Agree!! Voices should have been Top 10

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    • Voices got my vote this year.
      One of my favorite contemporary bands.
      Also the whole blues rock thing really doesnt go into a box. Its good and bad though when compiling these lists. As yes there are a few I dont quite think fit in the blues rock box all that much

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  • Quite agree !

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  • Well done Mike and Albert saw them in London recently and they were superb !

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  • They put on one of the best live shows of the past year.

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    • Blood Brothers that is

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  • Arguments to be made possibly throughout the top 20 EXCEPT for number one. Blood Brothers was and is just a crazy good album that brought everything to the table both musically and lyrically and if there is a song of the year to be voted on there is two on the great album, In My Soul and Thousand Heartaches.

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  • Think the Blood Brothers’ CD is nice? Check them out in a live show — killer band

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  • Yeah the BRAND NEW (too late for votes) Blood Brothers Live in Canada may be even better than its studio version. Well earned congrats to Mike & Al!

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  • No Christone Kingfish Ingram? What the hell is wrong with people? Reminds me of when Jethro Tull won Best Metal Album.

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  • Saw Blood Brothers first then Samantha Fish/Jesse Daton from the same seat at this years Blues Bender. The Brothers were great and then Samantha and Jesse took it up a notch and were just awesome that night. The Cold Stares are one of my most liked bands right now and I hope they come out west in 2024.

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  • And what about Chase Walker Band!

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  • Kevin Burt where’s his collection of songs at.
    Dynamite live show with or without his band!

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  • Oh my gosh. Are we getting into genre purity here, too? (At this year’s Blues Bender several people complained that Samantha Fish’s show was rock and not blues.) 1 – 5 are solid, for me, and I am thrilled to see Blood Brothers get recognition at #1. It is my favorite of the year.

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  • Glad to see Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos in the 20. Discovered them opening for Tab Benoit this year and I’m hooked on this Power Trio! “Cheat The Devil” album is a great one start to finish. Songwriting is powerful and personal. Spin this one but do yourself a favor and catch them live! I think Tone has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.
    Also, these guys very interactive with their fans on social and at the shows. Congrats guys! Ready for next show and album in 2024!

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    • Agreed! We’ve seen them a couple of times in Ocean City, MD, a year apart and he remembered us! Just wish more people had seen them the second time we saw them. They played their hearts out to a pitifully small audience.

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  • Ally Venable only #17?

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  • I’m loving the fact that When Rivers Meet is number 5!!!! Fantastic.
    They are just getting better and better and more popular.

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    • Totally agree. Superb couple with their backing band.

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  • Isn’t it a bit early to compile this list? It’s only mid December now and the process would have started sooner than this. Emma Wilson, winner of the “Emerging Artist 2022” released her second album,’Memphis Calling’ on 23rd October 2023 and has been receiving rave reviews and outperforming Bonamassa and the Stones in all the charts I’ve seen but will have been released too late to gain attention from those voting and yet 2023 hasn’t finished so would a 2023 release made after this point make it into a 2024 list or is your vote flawed?

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    • Eligibility period is very important. For Grammy 2024 it is for albums released between Oct 1 2022 and Sep 15 2023. In our list of winners I can see one album released after voting process started on Nov 21. I hope that in 2024 this will be corrected.

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  • Great list! Agree with selection 1 – 11 all the way to the Stones, but U missed out; The Cold Stares, Record Company, Matt Andersen, Tom Hambridge, and Monster Mike Welch. Blues Rock lives forever, keep on jamming.

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  • Pingback: Blues Rock Weekly - December 15, 2023 - Blues Rock Review

  • I’m kinda disappointed Buffalo Nichols’ new album didn’t make the list, I felt it was his most creative release yet. It was one of my top blues albums of the year for sure.

    Reply

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