2016 has been a strange old year for me personally; after a couple of wobbles a year ago the website has gone from strength to strength with readers all over the world and requests from artists, PR’s and Record Labels both large and small with albums from Eric Clapton, UB40, Joe Bonamassa and Bruce Foxton from the Jam rubbing shoulders with unsigned artists like Thompson Wilson and they all fit together like a great big musical jigsaw.
Alongside that I have slowly recovered from the operation that removed my cancerous prostate and took a massive step into the unknown with a career change at age 57…..thankfully the healing powers of music got me through some very dark days early in the year.
In total we received 478 albums or EP’s for review this year….even a staff of 6 would struggle to listen to everything in full; so sorry if your music didn’t get on the website….it wasn’t personal – it was logistical.
It has been the quietest year in a long time for gigs but I still went to a couple; but perhaps my proudest moments have come from the amazing in-depth interviews that my friend Cara Gibney has supplied…..thank you pet. The ‘one that got away’ was Bap Kennedy. Sadly his health deteriorated so quickly we never got to talk to him about his music and his life…but I can recommend the Ralph McLean Radio Ulster ‘listen again’ radio show on the i-player.
On the plus side I have discovered many new artists that have blown my mind with the quality and depth of their music…..the file that my Top 10 was drawn from totalled 37 reviews a week ago and it has broke my heart to leave some out.
Everything here touched me in some deep and personal way; from making me think, dance, smile and occasionally cry with every emotion in between…..so with a deep breath here is my Personal Top 10 Albums of 2016
10) Cadillac 3 – Bury Me In My Boots (Aug)
9) Nick Pride – Go Deep (June)
8) Big Boy Bloater – Luxury Hobo (Feb)
7) Aynsley Lister – Eyes Wide Open (July)
6) Swamp Music Players – Timeless Cool (April)
5) Matt Andersen – Honest Man (Feb)
4) Waco Brothers – Going Down in History (Feb)
3) Bruce Foxton – Smash The Clock (May)
2) Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20 (Feb)
1) Bap Kennedy – Reckless Heart (December)