30. PAUL WELLER - SUNSET
Weller keeps producing fine records and Sunset was another good one. It was almost his Michael Kiwanuka moment!
29. THE LOST BROTHERS - AFTER THE FIRE, AFTER THE RAIN
A modern Irish take on Simon and Garfunkel. If Paul and Arty had been born in Navan and Omagh 40 years later.
28. RAY LAMONTAGNE - MONOVISION
Lamontagne takes that voice of his and wraps it around a collection of songs heavily influenced by the early 70s.
27. FONTAINES DC - A HERO'S DEATH
Like poetry meets punk with a soul Dub depth. Ireland's finest band just now.
26. LUCINDA WILLIAMS - GOOD SOULS, BETTER ANGELS
Lucinda gets dark and gloomy and of course its suits her wonderfully.
25. YVONNE LYON - GROWING WILD
Glasgow's thoughtful songwriter throws out an amazing collection of songs about ageing with some quality collaborators.
24. GRETCHEN PETERS - THE NIGHT YOU WROTE THAT SONG; THE SONGS OF MICKEY NEWBURY
A covers album of Mickey Newbury songs. Crafted songs with masterful interpretations. Gretchen makes them her own.
23. DENISON WITMER - AMERICAN FOURSQUARE
Denison's first in a wee while. A long look at family life in middle class America in all that amazing musical space that Denison creates.
22. STARLESS - EARTHBOUND
Paul McGeehan takes me back to all my favourite Glasgow artists of the 80s with a layered beauty of a record.
21. BILL FAY - COUNTLESS BRANCHES
Fay continues a later in life creative resurgence. The spiritual sage strips the instrumentation right back to get the wisdom out!
20. THE PRESLEYS - EMBRACE
Brian Houston births something fresh in North Carolina. Embrace is an album of modern blues, edgy in sound and content. It all has a contemporary urban garage band sounding rock strut.
19 JOSHUA BURNSIDE - INTO THE DEPTHS OF HELL
Joshua is a unique Belfast songwriting talent, creatively intriguing, but I perhaps admire this record more than I love it.
18. ANTHONY TONER - GHOST NOTES
I heard Anthony cover Wings' song My Love at a 4 Corners Festival soundcheck. He reinterprets so well. His She Gives Me Religion was one of my songs of the year.
17. LUKA BLOOM - BITTERSWEET CRIMSON
Locating out west Luka songs picked up the sense of place and spirituality of the late John O Donohue.
16. THE KILLERS - IMPLODING THE MIRAGE
Catch big stadium anthems with Brandon Flowers spirituality. What is not to like.
15. DAWES - GOOD LUCK WITH WHATEVER
I always feel Dawes should be higher up Stocki’s annual Favs… great songs with helpful introspection.
14. KATHLEEN EDWARDS - TOTAL FREEDOM
Edwards starts again after a few years off running a cafe and sounds like a Canadian Tom Petty.
13. ANDY THORNTON - AGES
Waited a decade for this and how I enjoyed it. That Thornton thoughtfulness and Cockburnesque sense of more than just songs.
12. RORY BUTLER - WINDOW SHOPPING
Youthful Scottish songwriting that nods way back to John Martyn down through the conduit of Co. Down’s Iain Archer.
11. BEKI HEMINGWAY - EARTH AND ASHPHALT
Somehow while based in Dundalk, Beki and Husband Randy Kerkman come up with the most cow punk Americana gem of a record.
10. AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT - HOLYWOOD PARK
Articulate intelligent Californian indie rock Holywood Park is an accompanying record to main songwriter Mikel Jollet’s incredible memoir of the same name…
9. OUR KRYPTON SON - MODERN RUINS
Ryan Vail’s production creates a lush carpet for the very finest collection of song... sublime.
8. MALOJIAN - HUMM
Steve Scullion hooks up with Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle in a perfect match and it results in Malojian’s most accessible record to date.
7. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - LETTER TO YOU
Springsteen gathers the E Street Band for a rawkus live in the studio album about how the loss of dear friends can make you eyeball your own mortality.
6. PAUL MCCARTNEY - MCCARTNEY III
Macca breaks free of expectations and without trying creates his most intriguing record in many a long year.
5. DEACON BLUE - CITY OF LOVE
Thirty years later Raintown has become a City of Love and this record is as strong in melody and depth as that debut.
4. ARBORIST - NORTHERN VIEW
Proud to say that this record comes out of my home town. Best album ever to do so. Taxi is my song of the year... under poetry as close to the land as Seamus Heaney Arborist use distortion in the ambience to evoke Northern Ireland’s bumped around space in a post Brexit world.
3. BOB DYLAN - ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS
Dylan name drops almost anybody who is anybody across an album of lengthy rhyme... characteristically poetic this one is his most intriguing in many a long day.
2. SAMMY BRUE - CRASH TEST KID
A teenager out of Utah with a wider range of musical imagination than a veteran in the art. Mature songs with teenage freshness and vitality.
1. JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNITS - REUNIONS
By now Isbell is the most dependable of all and Reunions is all his strengths on one record. The Americana guitar shimmy, lyrics of introspection about the soul and the heart, and the strongest songs of the year.