The 2020 Ben Vee Roadhouse 66 Best Blues Songs of the Year

The Year 2020 was one that we all were glad to see go. Not only were our family, friends, and neighbors ravaged by COVID but our political systems were stressed and our rights to meet and gather were often suspended. And performing artists and musicians took the financial brunt of the frenzied response as outdoor venues, bars, and restraunts closed across the world throwing millions of performers out of work. But musicians are a resilient and creative group. They retreated, like the rest of us, to their homes, their garages, and their basements and began the process of creating new music using novel internet collaborative tools to record and share their music with other band members and recording studios. The product of their work is what I want us to celebrate in this article. It took new thinking, creative use of software, and dogged perseverance to write, record, and release new music during 2020 and EVERY artist and group that did so should be commended for not giving in to the darkness and continuing to bring the joy of music to us all.

During 2020, I played over 7000 songs on my DJ shows and listened to hundreds of albums sent to me by the artists, publicists, and record companies. I received even more as part of the staff of Blues Music Fan Radio. Out of all that music, I have chosen my favorite 66 roadhouse blues songs for 2020 using only two rules; I had to have played the tune during one of my shows in 2020 and I could only select one song per album. The list represents less than 1% of all music that I broadcast during the year and includes both perennial favorites as well as artists you may not have heard of. These are the best of the best and regardless of position on this listing, they are all fabulous tunes in my opinion. I hope you enjoy reviewing the list, listening to the songs, and hopefully, downloading some for your own music collection or as a gift to family and friends.

The Roadhouse Blues Top 66 Songs

61The Smoke Wagon Blues BandThe Fat ManThe Ballad Of Albert Johnson
62Misty BluesTreat Me Like I WantWeed ‘Em & Reap
63Peter ParcekBeyond Here Lies NothingMississippi Suitcase
64Nora Jean WallaceI’m A Blues WomanBlues Woman
65Lloyd JonesTurn Me LooseTennessee Run
66The Rolling StonesLiving In A Ghost TownLiving In A Ghost Town

The Roadhouse Blues Top 50 & 60 songs

51John Primer and Bob CorritoreKeep A-DrivingThe Gypsy Woman Told Me
52Cary MorinNobody Gotta KnowDockside Saints
53Pinkie RideauBring Me SugarBring Me Sugar
54Dudley TaftThe End Of The BluesCosmic Radio
55Henrik Freischlader BandWhat Have I Done to YouMissing Pieces
56JD3 & The Jondo TrioRocks At The MoonSomething Good
57Shaun MurphyLiving In The Palace Of The KingFlame Still Burns
58The NighthawksChairman Of The BoardTryin’ to Get to You
59Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo PreachersSome Kind Of VoodooTestimony
60New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom RockersNight Time (feat Jimbo Mathis)Volume I
41Mary Jo Curry BandNothin’ Is EasyFront Porch
42Kerry KearneyVoodoo Down the RiverTales From The Psychedelta
43Simon Kinny-LewisBlack Cat MoanAnother Day In San Jose
44The Reverend Shawn Amos & The BrotherhoodCounting Down The DaysBlue Sky
45The Lucky LosersHalf a NothingGodless Land
46Marcus KingThe WellEl Dorado
47Samantha Martin & Delta SugarSacrificeThe Reckless On
48Coco MontoyaTroubleComing In Hot
49Robert CrayAnything You WantThat’s What I Heard
50Dave FieldsForce of WillForce of Will

The Roadhouse Blues Top 40 songs

31Steve Washington (feat  Lucky Peterson)Blues Don’t Cost a ThingJust A Matter of Time
32Tammi Savoy & The Chris Casello ComboAs Long As I’m Movin’That Rock ‘n’ Roll Rhythm!
33Too Slim and the TaildraggersDevil’s HostageThe Remedy
34David Rotundo BandI Must Be CrazySo Much Trouble
35Mick ClarkeAin’t Beggin’ NobodyCrazy with the Blues
36Casey HensleySearching For A ManGood As Gone
37Tas CruSave MeDrive On
38Sass JordanThe KeyRebel Moon Blues
39Mark MayBarbecue And BluesDeep Dark Demon
40Shemekia CopelandWalk Until I RideUncivil War

The Roadhouse Blues Top 30 Songs

21Eric JohansonDown To The BottomBelow Sea Level
22Tinsley EllisEvil Till SunriseIce Cream In Hell
23The Immediate FamilyCruel TwistSlippin’ and Slidin’
24Mike ZitoAfter The StormQuarantine Blues
25Savoy BrownJaguar CarAin’t Done Yet
26Kirsten ThienShoulda BeenTwo Sides
27Larkin PoeEvery Bird That FliesSelf Made Man
28Eric SteckelSince I Been Loving YouGrandview Drive
29Sonny LandrethSomebody Gotta Make A MoveBlacktop Run
30Crystal ShawandaEvil MemoryChurch House Blues

The Roadhouse House Top 20 Songs

11Rae Gordon BandGet Right With The WorldWrong Kind Of Love
12Fantastic NegritoChocolate SamuraiHave You Lost Your Mind Yet?
13Ben LevinMy Back ScratcherCarryout Or Delivery
14Kat RigginsThe StormCry Out
15Albert CummingsRed RoosterBelieve
16The War and TreatyBeautiful (feat. Jason Isbell)Hearts Town
17Anthony GomesUntil The End Of TimeContainment Blues
18Popa ChubbyI’m The Beast From The EastIt’s A Mighty Hard Road
19The Mary Stokes BandComin’ HomeComin’ Home
20Joanne Shaw TaylorHumanReckless Blues

The Roadhouse Top Ten Tunes for 2020

10. Johnny Iguana – Shake Your Money Maker [Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular] (Delmark Records)

Johnny Iguana’s cover of the Elmore James song from 1961 should get you movin’ in your easy chair as you listen. Johnny’s energetic keyboard playing is superbly matched by the slide guitar work of Lil’ Ed.

9. Layla Zoe – Nowhere Left To Go [Title Cut] (Self Release)

Though not officially released until January 8, 2021, I got a promo copy in December and started spinning it so it makes the list! Layla’s growling delivery is just badass and harkens back to Janis Joplin.

8. Wily Bo Walker/Danny Flam – Ain’t No Man a Good Man [Title Cut] (Mescal Canyon Records)

Blues rock with a hint of Dr. John in his voice, Wily Bo is a fantastic UK artist with a growing following. Wily’s delivery is theatric in nature and I can’t wait for the opportunity to see him and Danny perform live on stage one day…SOON!

7. Alastair Greene – Bayou Mile [The New World Blues] (Whiskey Bayou Records)

A native of Ventura, California, Alastair got to collaborate with the great Tab Benoit from my home state of Louisiana to make this recording and the result is a haunting beautiful song.

6. Thorbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado – Come On In [Title Cut] (Ruf Records)

A Danish powerhouse and one of my favorite European roadhouse blues artists, Thorbjorn has a unique voice and he is backed by an incredible seven piece ensemble that just continue to crank out catchy and upbeat roadhouse blues tunes.

5. Dion – Blues Comin’ On (ft. Joe Bonamassa) [Blues With Friends] (KTBA Records)

An American treasure, Dion is still creating vibrant music at the age of 81! Produced by Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping the Blues Alive label, Dion got Joe to sit in on this track!

4. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – Rock & Roll [Empty Promises] (Alligator Records)

This song is about a deal with the angels and a family’s devotion to a young artist’s future. It is simply beautiful and Christone’s delivery is authentic and riveting.

3. Joe Bonamassa – Why Does It Take So Long to Say Goodbye [Royal Tea] (J&R Adventures)

Another Joe Bonamassa ballad that meshes rock and blues like only he can. He is known as a world class guitar player, but I love his voice and his songwriting. This one is a roadhouse jewel!

2. Walter Trout – Make It Right [Ordinary Madness] (Provogue Records)

At 69, Walter is creating some of the best music of his storied career. The guitar playing on this tune is vintage Trout. I hope I get to see him perform it live sometime this year or next!

1……. Avey Grouws Band – Rise Up [The Devil May Care] (Self Release)

A self released debut album by a group from Iowa features a song that is my #1 roadhouse tune for 2020! Who would have thought?? I know I didn’t until I heard Jeni Grouw’s voice and Chris Avey’s guitar playing on Rise Up. It is not only a catchy but topical tune. We all need to rise up, in love, and confront the issues of our times head on without hate or rancor. It’s a song and a message we all need to spread around! Oh…and by the way…..the Avey Grouws Band will be appearing in concert in June with…..Walter Trout. My #1 and #2 artists on the same stage…..if you are close…go see them!!!!


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB.

Springtime Roadhouse Blues 12-2 pm EDT

Join me today for some Springtime Roadhouse Blues at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 12-2 pm EDT. I will have tunes by Mike Zito, Casey James, Misty Blues, Kat Riggins, Lloyd Jones, Bette Smith, Dion, and a bunch more contemporary blues.

This is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLEALBUM
The Little Red Rooster Blues BandRockin’ My BoogieUnder the Covers
Greg Copeland & Steve ‘Guitar’ GillesDon’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down (Live)Live In Aotearoa / New Zealand
Casey JamesBulletproof (Duet With Delbert McClinton)Strip It Down
Shawn PittmanTake A Real Good LookStompin’ Solo
Dione TaylorRunningSpirits in the Water
The WildRootsKing Snake Crawl RevisitedWildRoots Sessions Volume 1
Louis MezzasomaValley Of ShadowsMercenary
Misty BluesI Can’t WaitNone More Blue
Kerry KearneyWorld TrainTales From The Psychedelta
Vanessa CollierTake a Chance On MeHeart On The Line
Kat RigginsThe StormCry Out
The Hungry WilliamsGo on FoolBrand New Thing
Lloyd JonesTurn Me LooseTennessee Run
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom RockersShe’s About a Mover (feat. Alvin Youngblood Hart)New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers – Volume 2
Cathy GrierBackroad BluesI’m All Burn
Joakim WallCan’t Find the Switch (feat. Rastafarfar, Surjo Benigh, Marcus Olsson & Daniel Karlsson)Promo Single
Gary NicholsonStay Away (feat. Wendy Moten)Stay Away (feat. Wendy Moten)
Michele BiondiDown By The RiverDown By The River
Bette SmithFistful of DollarsThe Good, the Bad and the Bette
Sonny LandrethSomebody Gotta Make A MoveBlacktop Run
Anthony GomesMake A Good Man (Wanna Be Bad)Containment Blues
Thorbjorn Risager and The Black TornadoLast TrainCome On In
DionWhat If I Told You (Feat. Samantha Fish)Blues With Friends
Mike ZitoAfter The StormQuarantine Blues
Walter TroutMake It RightOrdinary Madness
Albert CummingsCall Me CrazyBelieve
Wily Bo Walker/Danny FlamAin’t No Man a Good ManAin’t No Man a Good Man (Deluxe)
Eliza Neals/Joe Louis WalkerThe Devil Don’t Love YouBlack Crow Moan

The Thursday July 9th Good Time Roadhouse Blues (3-5pm EST)

We have the Ben Vee July 9th Good Time Roadhouse Blues for ya from 3-5 pm EST on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. The show features plenty of new contemporary blues such as Cass Clayton, The Hi-Jivers, Gravel & Grace, and Odds Lane as well as some badass “keepers” by Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, Keb’ Mo’, and Muddy Waters.

ARTISTTITLE
Kenny Blues Boss WayneLet The Rock Roll
Simon Kinny-LewisEvery Day I Have The Blues
Kerry Pastine And The Crime SceneDown Down
Angel ForrestAin’t No Doubt
Pierce Dipner & The Shades Of BlueDon’t Get No Sleep
Kat PearsonCane Creek
Diane BlueEasy, Easy, Baby
Be Sharp BandMojo Joe
Charlie BedfordGood To Go
Debra PowerAll Night Playing the Blues
Anthony Geraci with Dennis BrennanMister
Cass Clayton BandNo Use In Crying
Zoe Schwarz Blue CommotionIf Only I Could Be with You
Hurricane RuthWhat You Never Had
CD WoodburyI Didn’t Know
The Hi-JiversSomething’s Gotta Shake
SwingadelicYou’re Humbuggin’ Me
Charlie Frey’s Blue Plate SpecialsMarjorie
Misty BluesDon’t Send Me Home
Gravel & GraceBottles
Bakelite Radio (Joe Camilleri)You Better Watch Yourself
Anni PiperCake Walk Into Town
Andrew AlliTexas Woman
Odds LaneSpare Change
Carey BellI’m Gonna Buy Me A Train Ticke
Muddy Waters(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
George ThorogoodWillie Dixon’s Gone
Buddy GuyIt Hurts Me Too (When Things Go Wrong)
Keb’ Mo’The Worst Is yet to Come
Rory BlockIts Red Hot
Pete ThelenThought Passing Through

Tuesday Roadhouse Blues Nooner on BMFR 12-2 pm EST

Starting today’s Roadhouse Blues Nooner at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com with a string of fabulous female blues artists including new tunes by the Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion and Eliza Neals that you just have to hear! And I will finish it with new songs by the Rolling Stones, Joe Bonamassa, Jeff Fetterman, and another blues rock group out of West Virginia, Three’s Company Blues, that you just don’t want to miss! So grab your favorite beverage and click the link. Cya from 12 to 2 pm EST!

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Arsen ShomakhovThree Arrows
Katie KadanHey Yo
Lucinda WilliamsHappy Woman Blues
Kristin DiableBlack Plague & Dynamite
Zoe Schwarz Blue CommotionWhen the Blues Come A Knocking
Eliza Neals/Derek st. HolmesNever Stray
Mojo HandsHigh Blood Pressure
Michael GrimmHold On I’m Comin’ (feat. Bill Medley)
Vegas Strip KingsHold On
Terry HanckHere It Comes
Tony HolidayIt’s Gonna Take Some Time
Travellin’ BrothersI Believe
Jimmie VaughanHey-Yeah
Sonny LandrethHell At Home (with Eric Clapton) [2016 Remastered]
One Dime BandHard Luck Daddy
Robert Hill BandTake Off Your Shoes
MaliaLord, I Feel So Bad
Be Sharp BandJust Blues
Johnny NeelI’m Gonna Love You
Mad BojoWon’t See Me No More
Kenny ParkerHellfire
Rynhrd Boegl GroupNot Enough For You
Misty BluesDon’t Send Me Home
The Rolling StonesLiving In A Ghost Town
Joe BonamassaA Conversation With Alice
Jeff Fetterman49/61
Three’s Company BluesDevil In Disguise

The Mid January BMFR Roadhouse Blues for Jan 16th

Just feels like a good day for bluzin’! Join us at 3 pm EST today, January 16th, for some NEW roadhouse blues featuring Mojo-T, Josh Smith, Gema Pearl, Tinsley Ellis, the Blues Cousins, and Popa Chubby plus a bunch more contemporary blues artists.

Go to http://www.bluesmusicfan.com, grab the beverage of your choice, kick back (yeah..even if you are in the office) and enjoy the tunes!

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTISTTITLE
Popa ChubbyGordito
Mojo-TGood Ol Shoe
Mike Scott & the HoneypotsLandlord
Josh SmithLetting You Go (Live)
Ronnie Earl & Duke RobillardLookin for Trouble
Travellin’ Blue KingsInto the Night
Misty BluesNo More to Give
Harpdog BrownWhiskey Bottle
Hanne BoelCan’t Run from Yourself
Gema PearlNo Mo’ Mojo (feat. Shane Theriot)
Gracie CurranSweet Sativa
Eric GalesGood for Sumthin’
Heritage Blues OrchestraDon’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down
Tinsley EllisEvil Till Sunrise
The Radio KingsEvil Love
JunkyardmenLuck I Got
Marc CohnTalk Back Mic
Eva CassidyAin’t Doin’ Too Bad
BluesCorpWelcome To My World
Blues CousinsChinese Blues
Josh FarrowDevil Don’t You Fool Me
Marc AmacherKid (Roadhouse Version)
Popa ChubbyI’m The Beast From The East
Jim SuhlerLeave My Blues Behind
Keith StoneCindi Leigh
Jimmy ThackeryEmpty Arms Motel
Fatback DeluxeRat Now
If ya like a tune or two…go to your favorite music site
and buy and download them to help the blues to thrive in 2020!!