Christmas Comes But Once A Year, And When It Does It Brings... Lists. Lots of lists. Here's another.
A quick glance at this particular list makes it clear that this has been, for me, a singers' year. Let me make it clear from the offthis isn't my list of the best vocal albums I've heard this year, it's my list of the best albums. Half of these recordings have a singer's name on the cover, most of the rest feature vocalists on the majority of their trackseven the mainly instrumental album by The Puppeteers includes a bit of vocalising. Yes, there are great instrumental performances on these recordings toobut it's the human voice that rings out loud and clear, that makes the connection with me.
Standards get stylishly re-appraised by Georgia Mancio and Nigel Price and by Fini Bearman. Christine Tobin puts her own spin on the work of Leonard Cohen. Sarah Marie Young, from Chicago and Tammy Payne from Bristol both create strikingly personal and intimate recordings of original material. The Basin Street Brawlers get down with the Old School. The riotous Melt Yourself Down and the gorgeous Majamisty Trio create their own New Schools. Melphi builds beautifully soulful songs, centred on Lotte van Drunen's expressive voice.
Last year, I had a clear favorite. This year, three albums tied for first place in my affections. Which three? I'll take Iris DeMent's adviceand let the mystery be.
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