Join us on Episode 648 as we check out Our Favourite Albums Of 2022! One of the best things about doing a radio show is getting loads of great music to listen to each week. One of the hardest things to do though is to take all that fabulous music and narrow it down to your ten favourite albums of the year. ‘Best of the year’ lists are notoriously subjective and can only reflect the albums that you’ve actually received, but they are a fun way to reflect on a year gone by, and hopefully get people to check out music they may not have realized they actually like. Join us on this episode as we countdown The Top 10, and check out the rest of our long list in the playlist below. Remember, If you like the artists you hear on this show and want to support them, don’t just stream their music – BUY their music, and then you’ll really make a difference to their income at a time when it is becoming much more difficult to make a living as a musician. Check out the full playlist below.
The Top 10
A note from Jan:
I have to say that I really wasn’t expecting to be able to share my favourite albums with you this year because, honestly, 2022 wasn’t very kind to me. Unfortunately a virus (likely COVID) triggered the severe return of a chronic health problem that I’ve lived with (and managed pretty successfully) for years. For that reason I wasn’t able to do as much radio as normal during the year, and very little at all for the final three months. The good news is that I’ve finally turned things around, and I’m now feeling much more like my normal self again. In fact, I could cautiously say that it feels like business as usual in the Folk Roots Radio studio. I hope wherever you are, you are doing well too. Because without you, I’d just be sitting in the studio talking to myself each week.
Making a year-end favourite albums list is an excellent way to reflect on a year gone by, and hopefully encourage people to check out music they may not have realized they will actually like. As usual, we start off with about 75 albums that we’ve really enjoyed and narrow to what is now a 50-album long list, and then what we consider our Top 10. Like previous years, we have only included those albums that were received by November 30, 2022, so anything received after that date will be considered for our 2023 album review.
If there are albums, you think we should have included, get in touch. Maybe they didn’t make it on to our radar, because we never received a copy of something we just have to listen to. Please consider sharing your favourite albums in the comments – we might even spin them on a future episode of the show.
Listen to The Top 10 on this episode, and check out check out Jan’s notes about these recordings below. We’ll be dipping into The Next 40 (listed in alphabetical order) on future episodes of Folk Roots Radio. Enjoy!
1. Bob Stark, Sculpted Pieces Of Love (Self)
“Sculpted Pieces Of Love” really brightened my day when it arrived. There’s just something about it… the beautiful lyrics, the warm vocal delivery, the harmonies, the apparently simple arrangements. There’s nothing forced here, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s an album I immediately fell in love with. A joy for the ears from start to finish.
2. Mariel Buckley, Everywhere I Used To Be (Birthday Cake)
There’s a wonderful driving feel to this album with jangling guitars and pedal steel to the fore. But the thing that comes through is what a great lyricist Mariel is. In fact, Mariel Buckley may well be the Western Canadian version of Kathleen Edwards. “Everywhere I Used To Be” is an album that really rewards repeated listening. I can’t wait to take it on a road trip.
3. Amy Speace, Tucson (Wind Bone Records)
Not afraid to write about very personal subjects, the songs on Amy Speace’s latest EP Tucson were written during a time Amy calls her healing journey – while staying at a retreat centre in Arizona and receiving treatment for depression triggered by the death of her father, and some other old emotional baggage. “Blues For Joy” is an ode to her own joy, which Amy felt like she’d really lost for a time (I know the feeling).
4. Barney Bentall, Cosmic Dreamer (True North Records)
Lovingly remembered for his band Legendary Hearts in the 80s and 90s, Barney Bentall’s solo career shows no signs of slowing down. Cosmic Dreamer, Barney Bentall’s 7th solo recording, which was co-produced with Adrian Dolan, is a beautiful 11-track album that focuses on love, longing and loss. The song we picked to play, “Potter’s Wheel”, was written as a tribute to Barney’s mother-in-law, but it’s also a way to celebrate all moms who may not be physically with us, but are still there for us. Barney is also a member of bluegrass inspired folk band, the High Bar Gang. I lost my own mum in 2022. I talk to her everyday. I included Potter’s Wheel as a tribute to her too.
5. Kim Beggs, Steel And Wool (Self)
Yukon based singer-songwriter Kim Beggs’ sixth album “Steel And Wool” came together after a trip to Nashville to write with other songwriters – the title track of the album being about the artist’s drive to create, no matter the challenges. “When She Divides The Town” is about a river that freezes during the winter forcing the ferry to stop running, making the people decide which side of town they’ll live on until things get back to normal again.
6. Peter Mulvey & Sistastrings, Love Is The Only Thing (Righteous Babe Records)
Milwaukee WS’s Peter Mulvey recorded his latest album “Love Is The Only Thing” with Sistastrings – the vocal and instrumental string duo featuring Chauntee Ross on violin, and Monique Ross on cello, who have recently worked with both Brandi Carlile and Allison Russell. It’s an album that reflects on how wonderful, supportive and loving people can be at a family and community level, and yet how challenging and destructive others can be – as it reflects on the tumultuous times we are currently experiencing, and the malevolent and extreme forces driving politics in the US.
7. Julian Taylor, Beyond The Reservoir (Howling Turtle Inc.)
Julian Taylor’s music career is now moving along two different but very successful tracks. He’s the leader of his own band, the soulful rockers in The Julian Taylor Band. He’s now also a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter. “Beyond the Reservoir” is the follow up to “The Ridge”, one of our favourite albums of 2020. Julian described The Ridge as the story of his childhood. Beyond the Reservoir focuses more on adolescence and coming-of-age as it reflects on identity, loss, sadness, hope, and redemption alongside the themes of resilience, courage, and strength.
8. AV (Ann Vriend), Everybody Matters (Self)
Socially conscious bluesy R & B singer-songwriter Ann Vriend from Edmonton AB (who now makes music as the artist AV) released most of the songs on her 2022 album Everybody Matters as singles over the course of a year or so. It’s a release trend that we’re not totally crazy about, but in this case it really worked because the songs are just so good and Ann’s writing is so thought provoking. AV is an artist who clearly has something to say, and one to watch for sure.
9. Lenka Lichtenberg, Thieves of Dreams (Sunflower Records)
“Thieves of Dreams”, the latest project from Toronto based Lenka Lichtenberg, who is of Czech-Jewish descent, is a stunning album – with truly amazing sound. Based around the poems her grandmother Anna Hana Friesova wrote while detained during WW2, the album is incredibly engaging. You feel like you are listening to living history.
“My maternal grandmother Anna Hana Friesova was a stunning, well-educated woman from an entirely assimilated Czech Jewish family: assimilation was fairly common; in her case, it was based on fears of pogroms witnessed by her husband. She was an accomplished artist both with a pen and a brush, and nobody took her seriously – I suspect not even herself: she never mentioned her art to me. Only when my mother recently passed, I discovered two worn notebooks among her possessions: poems Anna Hana wrote between the years 1940 and 1945, just before and during her two-and-a-half-year incarceration (1942-1945) in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp. I was stunned by the intensity of her words, the erudite vocabulary, the raw and often disturbing honesty. I find her words just as poignant today as they were eighty years ago”.
10. Oysterband, Read The Sky (Running Man Records)
The British folkies first album in eight years, and their fourteenth album overall – after more than 40 years together and counting. Read The Sky is the first album with the current Oysterband line-up. Original members John Jones, Ian Telfer and Alan Prosser and longstanding members Al Scott and Adrian Oxaal have been joined by a new drummer, Sean Randle – though previous drummer Pete Flood still features on one track (Wonders Are Passing). A band who are not afraid to tackle political and environmental issues, delivered in their own very engaging inimitable style. What’s not to like!
The Next 40
Rosanne Baker Thornley, Sorry I’m Late (Self)
Big Little Lions, Happy Accident (Fallen Tree Records)
Billy Strings, Renewal (Rounder Records)
Blue Moon Marquee, Scream, Holler & Howl (Self)
Colleen Brown, Winging It (Flatcar Records)
Andrew Collins, Love Away The Hate, (Sytesounds Music)
Durham County Poets, Out Of The Woods (Self)
Angelique Francis, Long River (Self)
Mary Gauthier, Dark Enough To See Stars (Thirty Tigers)
Eliza Gilkyson, Songs From The River Wind (Howlin’ Dog Records)
Cynthia Hamar, Joint & Marrow (Neon Moon Records)
Lynne Hanson, Ice Cream In November (Panda Cave Records)
Harley Kimbro Lewis, Harley Kimbro Lewis (Self)
HuDost, Anthems Of Home (Open Sesame Music)
Janis Ian, The Light At The End Of The Line (Rude Girl Records)
James Keelaghan, Second-Hand (Borealis Records)
Abigail Lapell, Stolen Time (Outside Music)
Deidre McCalla, Endless Grace (MaidenRock Records)
John McCutcheon, Leap (Appalseed
Tia McGraff, With Love EP (Bandana Records)
Madison Violet, Eleven (Passenger Sounds)
Mama’s Broke, Narrow Line (Free Dirt Records)
Kristen Martell, Every Season (Self)
Moonfruits, Salt (Self)
Gurf Morlix, Tightening Of The Screws (Rootball Records)
Tami Neilson, Kingmaker (Outside Music)
Aoife O’Donovan, Age Of Apathy (Yep Roc)
Shane Pendergast, The House Before The Bridge (Self)
Noah Reid, Adjustments (Self)
Amanda Rheaume, The Spaces In Between (Ishkode Records)
Pharis & Jason Romero, Tell ‘Em You Were Gold (Smithsonian Folkways)
The Slocan Ramblers, Up The Hill And Through The Fog (SloMusic)
Terra Spencer & Ben Caplan, Good Friends (Self)
Willie Stratton, Drugstore Dreamin’ (Turtlemusik)
Sultans of String, Sanctuary: The Refuge Project (Self)
Suzie Vinnick, Fall Back Home (Self)
woe11er, try it up here (Wiretone Records)
Ken Yates, Cerulean (Self)
Youngtree & The Blooms, Youngtree & The Blooms (Self)
That’s all we have time for. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have lots of great music and interviews to bring you on future episodes.
If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!
Stay safe and well everyone!
You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)
Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)
Corner Of The Room
Read The Sky (2022, Running Man Records / Proper)
Thieves of Dreams (2022, Sunflower Records) CDN
AV (Ann Vriend)
Holy Roller Blues
Everybody Matters (2022, Self) CDN
It Hurts (Everyone Was There)
Beyond The Reservoir (2022, Howling Turtle Inc.) CDN
When She Divides The Town
Steel And Wool (2022, Self) CDN
Cosmic Dreamer (2022, True North Records) CDN
Blues for Joy
Tucson (2022, Wind Bone Records)
Everywhere I Used To Be
Everywhere I Used To Be (2022, Birthday Cake) CDN
Sculpted Pieces Of Love (2021, Self) CDN
In A Perfect World
Sculpted Pieces Of Love (2021, Self) CDN