Best of the Blues 2019 – Five Most Creative Songs of the Year

The year 2019 was an exciting and invigorating one for blues lovers with the largest number of new albums released that I can recall since at least 2012. Amongst all the songs that I heard and spun for the year (and that was thousands!), these five struck me as the most creative in terms of the sound or lyrics or voice or a combination of all three!! (Links to the songs on Spotify or Youtube are shown in blue.)

HeavyDrunk – If I Loved You Hard Enough (Holywater 2019 on 4142 Music)

With lyrics that are Shakespearean in terms of the pathos and images created for your mind to wrestle with, If I Loved You Hard Enough is about a dysfunctional love that has spanned the lovers lives since they were kids. The opening lyrics portray a shocking scene at a Piggly Wiggly parking lot and it just gets better from there!

The song was written by Rob Robinson, the leader and front man for the Leipers’ Fork Tennessee soul blues band and is just one of many great tunes on the album Holywater. Rob also owns and operates a roadhouse style eatery south of town called Puckett’s…..mhmm…fine food and great roadhouse blues..I gotz to get there soon!

Amnesia Blues BandFast Johnny Cool (Hailstone 2019 on CDBaby)

Amnesia Blues Band hails from Gippsland, Australia. Paul “Buck” Buchanan is the lead vocalist and primary songwriter and they have penned an incredible song, Fast Johnny Cool, on their latest album Hailstone. An infectious bass driven beat and a great voice frame a song about a battle of guitar players at a low down roadhouse.

I got to chat with them a couple of months ago and they warned me not to visit them “down under” with a great voice or guitar. Listen to the song…you will know what they mean!

Jason Ricci & the Bad KindBreak in the Rain (My Chops Are Rolling 2019 on EllerSoul Records)

A transplant from Maine to my hometown of New Orleans, Jason Ricci is one of the great harmonica players of the blues genre. Break in the Rain has an insistent beat with fabulous guitar licks, some awesome harmonica riffs, and lyrics about a day jumpin’ in puddles and layin’ in the tall grass… naked! Hell yeah!

The song was written by band member and guitarist John Lisi. The Bad Kind band also includes Jason’s wife, Kaitlin Dibble, on backing vocals on the song. I hope to see them perform tunes from My Chops Are Rolling the next time I am back down in the Big Easy!

Ghost Town Blues BandDirty (Shine 2019)

One of traits of some blues lovers is a kind of conservatism about what is and is not the blues. There are any number of blues purists out there that I respect but don’t agree with. As B.B. King stated once in an interview that I saw, it was only natural for the blues to evolve as more and more people were exposed to it and began to play and interpret it from their own individual perspectives. First it was the delta acoustic blues. Then it was electrified when it moved into urban areas like Chicago. Eventually it was rocked up by the British blues bands of the last sixties. And now we have the wide variety of contemporary blues that I love and spin regularly. I use the term “roadhouse blues” to describe this fascinating mix of modern blues with rock, soul, rhythm and blues, gospel, swing, roots music, and, yes…even a bit of rap influence!

On their latest album, Shine, Ghost Town Blues Band out of Memphis includes an original and creative song entitled Dirty. It’s a southern blues rockin’ tune about dealin’ with the life that fate sometimes deals and includes the tasteful use of rap. It is just such a natural fit for the song and blues in general. Kudos to the band for having the creativity (and bravery to face the blues purists) with such a fine recording! And people certainly love the album. It rose to number one on the Billboard Blues Charts soon after it’s release this past October.

Left Lane Cruiser Smooth Commander (2019 Shake & Bake on Alive Records)

Left Lane Cruiser hails from Indiana and is a duo consisting of singer/guitarist Joe Evans IV and Pete Dio on drums/percussions. One of the songs on the new album SHAKE & BAKE is entitled Smooth Commander and it is about a sojourn across the world and his father’s love for the blues. The use of a resonator guitar is awesome and Joe’s voice is distinctive. And as he sings in the song, the blues will bring everybody around…..that it will surely do!!!

And kudos to the renown illustrator William Stout for providing such a creative album cover!


Ben Vee is an internet DJ and writer from New Orleans that now lives in Connecticut with his wife Annette. He started spinning records back in the 1970’s and has been writing about the roadhouse blues since 2011. He does two roadhouse blues shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and he writes about the blues when the urge strikes on http://www.benveeblues.com.

Summer Vacation Cuts

Been on vacation with the daughters and grandkids. Had a fabulous time with family and friends.  Here are some of my favorite singles from albums I listened to while hangin’ out. (Most of the song links lead you to Spotify, Soundcloud, or Youtube.)

Aussie Blues

Simon Kinny-LewisCrossroads – Great version of one of my favorite roadhouse blues tunes. (A Day in San Jose 2019 SKL Music Label)

Grizzlee TrainOh Honey – Blues rockin’ from down under! (Burn Him Again EP 2016 Self Release)

British Blues

Big Wolf BandBe Free – Some crankin blues rock with great harmonies. Bit reminiscent of Ten Years After.  (Be Free 2019 Self Release)

Savoy BrownConjure Rhythm – The group that helped coin the term “blues rock” just keeps crankin’ it after all these years. (City Night 2019 Quatro Valley Records)

Danish Blues

Mojo HandsCry to Me – A great cover of the classic Solomon Burke tune…mhmm. (High Blood Pressure 2019 CDBaby)

Harpin’ Wolf & the Black SheepWorkin’ Man – Some badass harpin’ blues! (Workin’ Man 2018 Self Release)

USA Blues

HeavyDrunk and the HurricaneIf I Loved You Hard Enough – AWESOME Tune…the beat grabs ya and the lyrics hold ya! No stream link for this one yet….soooo…you just have to request it during my roadhouse blues sets on BMFR! (HeavyDrunk and the Hurricane 2019 4142 Music)

The Rudy Boy ExperimentHelping Me With My Blues – Strong George Thorogood influence on this upbeat New Mexico blues rockin tune. (Shade Tree Mechanic 2019 DSN Music)

Josh NewcomGirl Got the Mojo – Just a great upbeat tune from a multi talented southern boy! ! (The Blues Gonna Getcha 2019 Warpaint Entertainment)

Ivy FordStart a Fight – Out of Northern Illinois, this lady can sing and play a guitar. Reminds me a bit of Danielle Nicole and that ain’t a bad thing! (Harvesting My Roots 2019 Ivy Ford Music)

Jersey Swamp CatsJump, Jive, And Wail – Some great blues swing! (Go Cats Go 2019 Jersey Swamp Cats Music)

Michael LeeThis Is –  This Texas boy has a gift for RnB and soul! On some other songs on the new album, he can rock the blues also. (Michael Lee 2019 Ruff Records)

The Weary TimesPeace of Mind – A back to the 1960’s feel to this tune…love it!! (Peace of Mind 2019 Ryan Curtis Music)

I’ll be working tunes from all these albums into my upcoming sets on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at 12 pm EST on Tuesdays and 3 pm EST on Thursdays