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.

Thursday Good Time Roadhouse Blues on Blues Music Fan Radio 3-5 pm EDT

Join us for some of the finest contemporary blues that you can find streaming on the internet. I will be featuring songs by Fiona Boye, Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo Preachers, Anthony Gomes, Peter Green, Niecie, Kelly’s Lot and many more… Tune in at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 3 to 5 pm EDT today!

This is the intended playlist……

ARTISTTITLEALBUM
Alastair GreeneBack At The PoorhouseThe New World Blues
Ghost Town Blues BandShineShine
Big PacificKeep Me PostedBig Pacific 1
Kerry KearneyMississippi River StompTales From The Psychedelta
Fiona BoyesSmokestack LightningBox & Dice
Jimmy Thackery and the DriversToo TiredTrue Stories
Alastair GreeneBayou MileThe New World Blues
Simon Kinny-LewisDagger Eyes (Feat. Robben Ford )Another Day In San Jose
Anthony GomesHell And Half Of GeorgiaContainment Blues
BMFRARTISTID – Voodoo Preachers – You’re Listening to BMFR****
Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo PreachersSleeveTestimony
Peter GreenDangerous ManReaching The Cold 100
Andy WattsBlues On Fire (ft Joe Louis Walker)Blues On Fire
DionI Got Nothin’ (Feat. Van Morrison & Joe Louis Walker)Blues With Friends
Kim Simmonds & Savoy BrownBad Weather BrewingThe Devil to Pay
Jeff FettermanTell Me BabySouthern Son
NiecieWaiting For The Shoe To DropTrouble With A Capital T
Danielle NicolePusher ManCry No More
Sugaray RayfordTime To Get Movin’Somebody Save Me
Monti AmundsonNinety-Nine BelowThe Mean Eighteen
Tommy CastroMe And My GuitarException To The Rule
Kelly’s LotRise Up (Leve-Toi) (ft. Jeff Toto Blues)Can’t Take My Soul
The Jeff Healey BandAs The Years Go Passing ByCover To Cover
Walter TroutWanna DanceOrdinary Madness
Joanne Shaw TaylorA Hand in LoveAlmost Always Never
Eric GalesThat’s Just How It IsCrystal Vision
Ghalia VoltGypsy LadyMississippi Blend
Eliza NealsPawn Shop Blues (Roadhouse) (Feat. Popa Chubby & Dave Keyes)Sweet Or Mean

Good Time Roadhouse Blues on BMFR 3 to 5 pm EDST

Tune in from 3 to 5 pm EDST today September 10th for my Good Time Roadhouse blues at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com featuring Martin Harley, Kirsten Thien, Grand Dermody, Lisa Mann, and many more!

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLEALBUM
Ramon TarancoGhost Dance (instrumental)The Adventures of Bo Segovia
Big Joe SheltonStrong AddictionI’d Never Let Her Down
A Band Called SamNothing In The StreetsLegacy
Dave FieldsWhy Can’t You Ever Treat Me RightForce of Will
Martin HarleyThe Time Is NowRoll With The Punches
Robert Connely FarrCan’t Be SatisfiedCountry Supper
DionI Got Nothin’ (Feat. Van Morrison & Joe Louis Walker)Blues With Friends
Mark KnopflerGot to Have SomethingPrivateering
Grant Dermody35-59My Dony
Kirsten ThienShoulda BeenTwo Sides
JD TaylorHoney Honey BabyThe Coldwater Sessions
Wily Bo Walker/Danny FlamBuild My Gallows… (Ain’t No Return)Ain’t No Man a Good Man (Deluxe)
Gregg MartinezEva DelleMacDaddy Mojeaux
Frankie MorenoGood Lookin’ MamaBack To the Boogie
Wayne Nicholson & John CampbelljohnI May Be WrongElmore’s Blues
Jensens Juke JointWhile You Let Your Hair Down LowJensens Juke Joint
Jade MacraeAll over My FaceHandle Me with Care
Glen HansardRoll On SlowBetween Two Shores
Trigger HippyRise Up SingingTrigger Hippy
Simon Kinny-LewisEvil GirlAnother Day In San Jose
Crooked Eye TommySitting In The DrivewayHot Coffee And Pain
Wet WillieLeonaDixie Rock
Lisa MannThat’s AllOld Girl
Kevin CampbellThe RubNostalgia
Walter TroutAll Out Of TearsOrdinary Madness
MandalynBaby On The RunWrecked
Scott Weis BandSimmer Me DownSimmer Me Down

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

BMFR Roadhouse Blues Nooner for July 16th

Click the link for www.bluesmusicfan.com and join me for my Tuesday Roadhouse Blues nooner on BMFR!  Got new tunes from Denmark, Australia, Canada, and all over the USA!

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTIST TITLE
Texas Horns, The Better Get Here Quick
Rockin’ Johnny & Quique Gomez Are You Ever
The Allman Betts Band Shinin’
Amnesia Blues Band Never Loved You Anyway
The Cash Box Kings Poison In My Whiskey
AJ Ghent Long Lost Friend
Josh Smith Let Me Take Care of You
Keb’ Mo’ Ridin’ On A Train
Texas Horns, The Better Get Here Quick
David Gogo Tomcat Prowl
Diana Rein One Foot In
Ronnie Baker Brooks Come On Up (Feat. Felix Cavaliere & Lee Roy Parnell)
HeavyDrunk and the Hurricane If I Loved You Hard Enough
Josh Newcom The Blues Gonna Getcha
Big Wolf Band Loving Like A Fool
Delbert McClinton Lie No Better
Jersey Swamp Cats Shiny Gray Corvette
Gary Nicholson The Blues is Alive and Well
Eric Tessmer Simple Solution
Zac Harmon Gypsy Road
The Weary Times Arms Around Me
Michael Lee Love Her
Mojo Hands Ay La Bah
Terry Hanck I Still Get Excited
The Rudy Boy Experiment Helping Me with My Blues
Harpin’ Wolf & The Black Sheep Don’t Shake My Hand
Simon Kinny-Lewis Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Ivy Ford Not In The Right Way
Mark Cameron Dirty Biscuit

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