2020 Fly Fishing Music Final Cut

| December 30, 2020

2020 Fly Fishing Music Countdown

Besides being a real hard year, it has been an impossible year to make my decade-long music countdown reach the mystical number of 10 in 2020. For me, as with so many things (other than fly fishing) this year – it’s just not there. Let us try to arrive at five and keep hope alive for 2021, shall we? Let us not forget that any music releases in 2020 will be forever bound to the year, and what musician / band would want that? If you are anything like me, a lover of music, then you know new releases – good ones – form the sound track for the year in which they were released. Am I right? For awhile though, maybe these releases are so close in the rearview mirror that they won’t be tainted by their release year.

THE MAVERICKS

Never in my life could I have predicted that I would be so attracted to an album called “En Espanol,” but then life has proven unpredictable this year, hasn’t it?  Much like the genre bending sounds of Los Lobos, this is a very special release that has easy to understand lyrics, and that guitar that underpins “En Espanol,” making it sound like something you would hear in a Cohen Brothers movie, or a Tarantino movie. In other words, I would call it a “Californication” of Mexican Borderland music. It just doesn’t get old. Purchase the new CD – HERE !

CHARLEY CROCKETT

No longer a “best kept secret,” Charley Crockett is big time now. Sure, he is incredibly prolific and knows how to choose a side project perfectly, but the reason he’s my charts is because he’s a Borderland Boy, with a throw back sound who has so much ahead of him. You may as well put his upcoming releases on your “Pre-Order” list and keep them coming. 2020 gave us two releases; the rough recording, “Field Recordings, and, “Welcome to Hard Times.” “Hard Times” could not have been better timed. Get your “… Hard Times” – HERE !

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & E Street Band

This old dog had some new tricks for 2020. No, not the music – – that much is for sure. But Bruce rolled out “Letter to You” in one of the most broad and wide open release parties I / we have ever witnessed. And that helped the ranking of this release immensely. “Letter” is loaded with emotion and in an emotionally fragile year, you could consider it either risky or pandering to our base emotions. I will choose to believe the former … there are plenty of people who will cry at this listen and never listen again. Buy “Letter to You” – HERE !

CHRIS STAPLETON

Another solid award winner for the guy who breaks heartstrings with this one. Any guy who sings about the life and death of his dog? deserves a special place. You can decide whether it’s heaven or hell after those heart strings break. Get Chris Stapleton’s “Starting Over” – BUY HERE !

JASON ISBELL & 400 UNIT

When Jason Isbell gets together with the 400, you can bet you will catch a keeper. It wasn’t always that way, but this is the “new and improved” Isbell after all. Jason Isbell rocks and continues to pick up momentum, even during a slow roll through 2020. Let’s not take this for granted. At some point he’ll have to release a lame record, just to ground people’s expectations for his new releases. Anyhow, it is good to hear him with 400 Unit. The future seems unlimited. Get “Reunions” here – BUY NOW !

LUCINDA WILLIAMS

There’s no way to predict what comes next from Lucinda Williams. This is a rocking good release that proves she can still step up and perform. No doubt about it. BUY NOW !

ROGER WATERS 

I know, I know! I vowed not to feature any retrospectives, or “Greatest Hits,” but I must say the old man is as edgy as ever in his career. Waters brings it, and brings it all the way with the top notch DVD “The Wall,” which you should own if you have any interest at all in Pink Floyd’s musical past. Off the charts is all I can say. Buy the DVD – HERE !

YOLA

The door was opened by the Tarantino movie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and this sound may be sappy but I remember hearing songs like this coming from the single speaker on the dashboard tuned to an AM station. “Walk Through Fire” is a feel good, and her spot-on vocals feel great to my ears. Buy Yola – HERE !

HONORABLE MENTIONS

ALLMAN BETTS BAND

So very close to great is the release, “Bless Your Heart.” If you like those southern fried guitars, backing harmonies, spin up “Carolina Song,” and let not your heart be troubled. The only reason this didn’t make my charts is because of a few soft songs that just didn’t have that thang – you know what I’m talking about … that thang. Close but not quite in 2020, but watch out for the next release after a bit of jelling takes place within the band – once the new wears off. Southern rock lovers rejoice. Be sure to crank up “Airboats & Cocaine,” … “she was born right into the game.”

JAKE BLOUNT

Needless to say, I am a lot more interested in life east of the Mississippi than west of the great muddy (I’ll take all of NOLA though!). That is how I look at the mountain string sounds of Jake Blount’s “Spider Tales.” Now I honestly find it hard to take an entire album of mountain strings, but I can sure take “Spider Tales” in big chunks. I don’t know enough about bluegrass to compare this to anything, but if you’re looking for a good “entry point” into this genre, try “Spider Tales,” and maybe this will light your fire.

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Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Culture on the Skids, Music

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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  1. shannon says:

    Finding some major misses! Jimmie Vaughan’s great release, “The Pleasure’s All Mine.”

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