Almost the end of another year and soon it’ll be the start of a brand spanking new one. So it is now time for us to look back at the “Best Of 2019” to give certain bands and artists a hearty slap on the back for their exemplary musical efforts this past 12 months.
It’s been a great year for new music, exciting new bands and artists – and the old guard have not been idle, either!
The editor and our talented writers and photographers have all put their heads together to come up with a definitive list of who’s red hot this year and who deserves the love.
So we selected our Best Album, Best EP, Best Live Act, Best Festival, Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Band, Best New Artist, Best Live Album, Best Guitarist, Best Acoustic Artist, Best Book, Best Music Video, Best Producer, Best Song/Songwriters, Best interviewee…. and if that were not enough; we also tip who we think will break through in the next year.
Plus, we applaud the “Hot Contenders” in each category AND we name one mega-artist who we all feel deserves the nod for “Lifetime Achievement” recognition for their influence on other artists.
If you agree or if you disagree with our picks, or if have names for us to check out for 2020 coverage, we’d honestly LOVE to hear your feedback – via our Contact Form or direct to the editor here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
Lizzo aka Melissa Viviane Jefferson dropped sensational third album “Cuz I Love You” – her major label (Atlantic) debut – in April and the Deluxe version in May. Missy Elliott and Gucci Mane guest.
It took the 31-year-old Detroit-born, Texas-based pop and r&b artist three years to make, and that effort paid off. She has no less than EIGHT Grammy nominations for the 2020 gongs – including Album of the Year. She’ll sweep the board, just watch!
The album features the Billboard chart number one “Truth Hurts” and her hit single “Juice”.
We predict arena filling future tours and global superstar status for this awesome and refreshing talent. Oh, she plays a mean flute too! Seriously….
- Brittany Howard – Jaime (This really is stunning – the debut solo record from the amazing Alabama Shakes singer). Grammy 2020 nominated.
- Teskey Brothers – Run Home Slow (This was a blisteringly hot contender from this Aussie band, for album of the year! – and one of the best lead vocals on any release of 2019).
- Marius Bear – Not Loud Enough (A future superstar if there is any justice. Swiss artist with a gob-smacking voice).
- Sigrid – Sucker Punch (We love this Norwegian pocket rocket, and have covered her in concert twice this year. Lots more to come from her in the future…).
- Hozier – Wasteland, Baby!
- Dinosaur Pile-Up – Celebrity Mansions
- Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – End of Suffering (Frank won rave reviews for his UK tour performances in 2019).
- The Japanese House – Good At Falling (Many of our contributors voted for this one).
- Whenyoung – Reasons To Dream
- Kingfish – Christone Kingfish Ingram (Chicago’s Alligator Records’ sensational latest signing: An audacious Mississippi-based 20-year-old blues guitarist, singer and songwriter who will keep the blues genre very safe in his gifted hands. His debut album, “Kingfish” is one of the strongest blues releases for a decade).
- Mark Ronson – Late Night Feelings (Star guests pepper this superb album, but Mark’s visionary production values – including choice of co-producers – song choices, arrangements, the players and the performances make this very special indeed. The icing on the cake is the track “Don’t Leave Me Lonely” with YEBBA on lead vocals – that’s Abbey backwards, by the way! Future big star US singer, who we tipped three years ago).
- The Specials – Encore (Cracking come-back studio album of new songs, after a 21-year absence for the legendary Two Tone outfit).
- Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
- Little Simz – Grey Area
- Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Part 1
- Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
- Fontaines DC – Dogrel
- Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles (His UK tour was sold out in a heartbeat and deservedly so. Great live shows from this future Arena-filling headliner, who we caught in the act very recently in Nottingham. Bigger things for him in 2020….).
- King Princess – Cheap Queen (2020 will be her year – trust us on that!)
- FKA twigs – Magdalene
- Gary Clark Jr – This Land (One of the modern day blues men to keep the genre thriving. Clapton favourite…) Grammy 2020 nod.
- Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars (His best album for many moons…).
- The Jazz Defenders – Scheming (Brand new London all-star jazz outfit who dropped this gorgeous album the first week of December. We will hear a lot more of this lot in the new year, we predict and we hope!)
- Joy Ellis – Dwell (London-jazz singer, composer, very gifted pianist and band leader Joy Ellis releases her second solo album – follow-up to her superb 2017 debut “Life On Land”, for which we awarded four stars. This one scores top marks with five stars – one of the very best jazz albums of the year – including anything from the US jazz legends. Yep!).
- Lettuce – Elevate (Genre-busting US funk band who released the brilliant album “Elevate” in June 2019, nominated for a Grammy in 2020. They tour Europe in February, including Glasgow and London shows. Great band, killer album).
- flor – ley lines – US four-piece indie outfit – Zach, Dylan, Mckinley and Kyle – who dropped superb third album “Ley Lines” (on the Fueled By Ramen label) in September, and won praise for recent UK gigs.
Swimming Girls – Existential Fears (Sadly this fab Bristol indie band have split up since they released this excellent EP! Come back please…..).
Abbie Ozard – Growing Pains (Young Manchester indie pop singer/songwriter with a fresh approach to the craft of penning quirky, hooky pop tunes. Will do well in 2020).
Whenyoung – Live In Germany
Best Live Act
Lizzo – Riding high on the wave of success of her stunning album “Cuz I Love You” – major label (Atlantic) debut – which dropped in the spring, Lizzo toured the UK with a handful of sold out shows which won rave reviews.
But it was her show-stopping performance at the Glastonbury Festival in June, broadcast by BBC TV and blasting her into millions of households, that sealed the deal to indelibly imprint her name and talents into the nation’s collective consciousness. Cuz we love her!
- The Teskey Brothers
- The 1975
- Tower of Power
- Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
- The Cinelli Brothers
- Bababeedoo aka Bea Kristi
- No Rome aka Guendoline Rome Viray Gomez
- Broken Witt Rebels
- Against The Current
- Gary Numan
- The Specials
- Sam Fender
- Giles Robson Band (This globe trotting blues harmonica man, singer and songwriter is one of only three British artists to scoop the US blues equivalent of a Grammy, which he did this year. The other two before him are Eric Clapton and Peter Green. Giles also the sole Brit to sign to Chicago’s Alligator Records. Bravo!).
- Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes
- Post Malone
Download, Donington Park, Leicestershire
- 2019’s annual rockin’ party attracted circa 110,000 fans from around the globe for the 16th event, and this year the weather was kind for a change. Some of the biggest rock acts on the planet provided the five star head bangin’ entertainment, with the likes of Def Leppard, Slash, Whitesnake, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Halestorm and Tool making noise. It was Slayer’s last ever UK show too).
A Festival Republic event, it is a well-organised, friendly affair every year and they book the biggest and best rock acts every time, but also make sure they give up-and-coming acts a chance to rock out to big crowds too.It took over from the legendary Monsters of Rock Festival and long may Download continue…or as it is affectionately called by many who brave the often inclement weather each year: ‘Downpour’ or ‘Drownload!’
2020 dates: 12 – 14 June: Kiss, Iron Maiden, System of A Down among the big names announced so far. We will be there…
Best Male Artist
Sam Fender – A great year this creative young UK artist has had. Arena filler within 18 months, we predict.
- Marius Bear was very close to bagging Male Artist of 2019.This young guy has a voice to stop traffic and we say he is a bonafide future superstar! Swiss-born, former soldier. Awesome talent. Get a load of the title track from his stunning debut album, “Not Loud Enough”, (video below) which dropped on 13th December. The vocal is off the scale. You may need a moment afterwards…..
- Teddy Swims (Another guy with a stunning vocal ability. The burly US singer with a big bushy beard and looks more like a lumber worker than a man with a silky, smooth soulful voice. He notches up huge hits for his videos of covers. Check him out. You’ll become an instant fan, we betcha!).
- James Hunter
- Michael Kiwanuka
- Gary Numan (Still mighty after a 40-year-career. His live shows this year were fabulous and he’s still revered as a pioneer of electronic music. The main riff from “Cars” sticks in your bonce after all these years…).
- Handsome Dick Manitoba (This cult US punk legend dropped infectious album “Born In The Bronx” recently. Think The Stooges/Iggy and The Ramones plus lots of attitude and treble it! Worth checking out).
- William Prince (Classy American country artist whose album “Reliever” comes out in February. We predict he will be in demand as a hit songwriter for big country stars in 2020 and beyond….).
- Lee Brice (Another US country artist we really dig. A Grammy-nominee, with more than 14 million in RIAA certified sales. Brice has achieved Gold and Platinum on every album and single he’s released. Achieving over 2 billion spins on Pandora. Summer 2020 UK tour calls in to London Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow).
- Marcus King (Look out for this guy’s sensational debut solo album “El Dorado”, produced by Dan Auerbach. On the UK’s Snakefarm Records and due for January 17th release. Book early for his seven UK shows in February. Sellouts are assured. His previous UK tour was cancelled. Incredible voice).
- Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes “End Of Suffering”
- Bruce Springsteen
- Lewis Capaldi
Best Female Artist:
Lizzo – There’s no one like her. Mega-talent, and a fresh and sassy take on pop meets r&b. No stopping her now…..
- Tilly Valentine (We gave Tilly her first serious coverage and tipped her for big things last year. Since then she has been picked up by national BBC radio and more. Talented and huge potential…).
- YEBBA (Check out this incredible US singer on Mark Ronson’s current album and in her own right).
- Serine Kathage (Future urban star. 24-year-old Londoner with Tunisian heritage. Producer, singer, songwriter, rapper. Very different. We love different! EP due in January. Two singles so far: “Ruler” – which is pure FIRE and you can see the video for that one, below – and the ear worm “Rhonda”. We predict star collaboration offers will flood in after the EP drops and word really gets out. Got to be a shoe-in for a Brit next year, surely?)
- Jazz Morley (Bournemouth based singer-songwriter offering soul-influenced electronica – Often compared to Jessie Ware, Lana Del Rey and Sia).
- Grace Potter (US artist with amazing pipes. Soulful and raunchy. Used to front The Nocturnals. Just dropped her seventh album, “Daylight” on the Fantasy label and it’s a belter. If you are into fabulous voices like Bekka Bramlett, Beth Hart, Ruthie Foster or Beverly Knight, this gal is for you….. She plays the Royal Albert Hall in London on 20th Dec 2019 as part of a Christmas line-up event).
- Wrenne (UK-based US-native Wrenne is pretty unique. Emotion-soaked singer songwriter and quirky performance artist. A striking look. Difficult to sum up in a few words. Find the super video to the single “Come Alive”, which features the voice of actor Idris Elba). New single “Heaven”, due at the end of December ’19.
- ALA.NI (Yes, that is how she spells her name) – Paris-based Londoner who releases her self-penned, produced and arranged album, “ACCA”, on January 24th 2020. Featuring Iggy Pop and rapper/actor Lakeith Stanfield. David Byrne is a big fan).
- Kat Eaton (We have tipped Kat for yonks and think she has a bright future, especially when her debut album drops in 2020. If we ask her nicely, maybe we will be first to review it. Sheffield gal, London-based and a heck of a singer and songwriter. The late Sir Terry Wogan was a supporter).
- Martha Bean (We discovered Leicester alt. folk artist Ms Bean this year via her lovely EP “Here Comes The Snowstorm”. Hope to hear more from this sublime talent in 2020…).
- Bababeedoo (Big things will happen for this young artist in 2020. Signed to Dirty Hit, she’s on the long list for BBC Sound of 2020 and up for the Brits Rising Star award too. We just caught her live and that was an experience. Watch her go….).
- King Princess (Another one likely to go nuclear in the not too distant future…). 21-year-old singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and producer from New York, Mikaela Mullaney Straus aka King Princess. Signed to Mark Ronson’s label Zelig Records, an imprint of Columbia. Her great-great grandparents lost their lives on the Titanic.
The 1975 – Almost all of our writers and photographers were in agreement on this choice of Best Band of 2019. Well deserved. Big UK arena tour scheduled for February 2020. We will be there to bring you a review and photos….
- The Teskey Brothers – Aussie blues rock band – with one of the best lead singers in Josh Teskey you will ever hear!
- James Hunter Six – Grammy nominated British vintage r&b artist and his crack UK band,who spend much time touring the USA.
- Bakers Eddy – New Zealand punky pop band now based in Australia.
- Joywave – Fab four-piece New York pop-rock band in the ballpark of The 1975 and Maroon 5. Their current single “Obsession” is hot. Supported Bastille across North America. Video below, shot during that tour….
- Broken Witt Rebels – Birmingham band who have somehow stayed under the mainstream radar for the last few years, and who we tipped for big things when we launched three years ago – and who the editor tipped some years before that. Watch them go in 2020 with the release of a new album “OK Hotel”, and a worldwide deal with Universal. Their singer Danny Core is a real find. Queen drummer Roger Taylor is a fan and mate of the band.
- The Jazz Defenders – A wonderful new modern and hip London jazz outfit whose music crosses over and will appeal to more than jazz buffs. Wonderful debut album “Scheming” dropped on 6th December.
- Stone Thieves – London-based Americana band with super EP “Church of the Medicine Man”, due on Valentine’s Day 2020. Festival stars to-be.
- Ocean Alley – Excellent Australian trio who blend rock, reggae and all sorts to create a killer sound.(Photographed below)
- Good Time Mystery Vision – Brooklyn-based rock band. Their current single “Be Good” is very classy, with Lennon vibes and some gorgeous guitar work.
- Black Pumas – Fabulous Texas-based funk and soul duo, singer Eric Burton and guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada. Nominee for a 2020 Grammy for Best New Artist. Their self-titled debut album dropped in June 2019. Definitely ones to watch and we say likely to collect that Grammy gong. Their song “Colors” is a cracking track you need to hear.
- Cinelli Brothers – Italian brothers Marco and Alessandro Cinelli, now based in London, have a killer blues-soul band. Their debut album “Babe, Please Set Your Alarm” featured in our Best of 2018 round-up. Marco was our guitarist of the year in 2018. Second album due in the spring and they will be in big demand for festivals in the summer.
Best New Band
Stoke-on-Trent-based duo – singer Joe Brennan Hulme and producer Jim Mycock – have got it going on. Really infectious, quirky pop soul. Their debut single “Cross My Heart” samples Al Green and their brilliant track “Domestic Bliss” samples Average White Band.
They are fairly unique. Lots of swagger and chutzpah and in similar territory to The Streets aka Mike Skinner, perhaps. * “Domestic Bliss” is Music Republic Magazine editor’s favourite track of the year! He has immaculate taste! *
- Bakers Eddy – NZ band now based in Australia.
- Ivory Ware – Young Birmingham-based five-piece indie band going places, for sure. EP “Dream Nights” dropped in November 2019. They’ll get picked up by a major label and are ripe for arena tours as a dynamite opening act. Big future for these lads….We know, you know! * STOP PRESS: After publication of this feature, we hear that Ivory Ware are main support for The Sherlocks UK tour in Feb and March….
- James Oliver Band – Hard working and in demand Welsh trio who have an incredibly inventive and exciting guitarist in Mr Oliver. Channelling the likes of Dick Dale, Link Wray, Billy Bremner (not the Leeds footballer!), Chris Spedding, James Burton et al, who some will know from his old band Glas. Check out JOB’s album “Twang”.
- The Jazz Defenders – Superb new London jazz outfit, with debut album “Scheming” just out (Dec ’19).
- The Teskey Brothers – Aussie band who have a world class singer in Josh Teskey.
- Illicits – Young Blackburn four-piece signed to Alan McGee’s Creation23 label. Supporting Liam Gallagher throughout December and Primal Scream in November 2019. Latest single “Left Behind” features Sex Pistols legend Steve Jones on guitar. Their cover of the Underworld classic “Born Slippy” is a fan favourite at live shows.
- Snakerattlers – York-based married couple Dan and Naomi make a glorious nose as this cacophonous rock and roll trash duo, signed to Dirty Waters Records. Think The Cramps crossed with The White Stripes. Catch them on three UK dates in Jan and Feb 2020 with Switzerland’s celebrated garage punk band The Monofones.
- Parrotfish – Alt. rock band from Tampa Bay now based in Nashville, well with a listen.
- Yonaka – Brighton-based rock quartet Yonaka delivered their debut album “Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow” which dropped in May.
- Wayward Sons – Powerful five-piece UK rock band formed by former Little Angels front man Toby Jepson. Second album now out and toured with Black Star Riders in the Autumn of 2019 and back on the road in Jan and Feb with Steel Panther.
Best New Artist
This young Swiss-born former soldier, London-based artist is destined to be the next Rag n Bone Man/George Ezra/James Arthur. A world class voice and a killer songwriter.
His awesome debut album “Not Loud Enough” was released on Hi-Tea Records on 13th December 2019. Great things will happen for this guy in the next few years. When you first hear him, it really is a WOW moment! Towering class and talent.
- Teddy Swims – Incredible vocals from this US singer.
- Beabadoobee – AKA Bea Kristi, a Phillipines-born, London-based artist who is destined to make 2020 a big year, with nods for BBC Sound of 2020 and a Brit award.
- Yungblood – Off the wall 22-year-old Yorkshire singer, songwriter, musician and rapper Dominic Richard Harrison aka Yungblood, triumphed on his recent headline UK tour.
- Tilly Valentine – We got behind this talented young Oxfordshire-born, London-based artist even before he debut single, “Coins” dropped in July 2018. National BBC Radio 1 has picked up on her since then and she’s released more classy work. A lot to come from this former BRIT school student.
- Danny Toeman – Exciting London vintage soul man.
- Savannah Conley – Rising star Nashville-based singer songwriter with great songs and lots of star admirers.
- Lauren Faith – The single “Jheeze (Cosmic Love)” from her 2019 EP “Cosmic” made a big impact with us……Londoner Lauren mixes r&b, soul and jazz styles and her sassy vocals are the icing on the cake. An accomplished songwriter too, landing numerous cuts, including two tracks on Craig David’s UK number 1 album, “Following My Intuition”.
- Sarah Lillie (aka Shells) – London artist Sarah goes under the name Shells, releasing a debut EP back in 2016. But it is her September 2019 single “Like I Love You” that has has got tongues wagging, and she’s one to watch in 2020.
- Lola Young – Young by name and by nature – 18-years-old but mature well beyond her years as an artist and songwriter. Check out the gloriously fresh “6 Feet Under” which dropped in November 2019 and the beautifully shot (by Rianne White) video, below. From South London and we say destined to become part of the solar system as a big bright shining star. She’s got the look of a 1940s Hollywood glamour puss, too.
Best Live Album
Slash (featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators) – Living The Dream Tour
- Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited Live
- Joe Bonamassa – Live At The Sydney Opera House
Christone Kingfish Ingram – Buddy Guy says this kid is the future of the blues. He ain’t lying! Awesome player and debut album “Kingfish” has the wow factor from start to finish. Grammy-nominated for 2020.
- Eric Gales – Modern day US blues hero.
- Gary Clark Jr – Clapton discovery who is up for a 2020 Grammy for his latest album.
- Derek Trucks – Probably the best slide player on the planet. If you only get to see one live show in your lifetime, go see Tedeschi Trucks Band; Derek and his wife Susan Tedeschi and their A-team outfit will leave you speechless.
- Buddy Guy – Last man standing of the American blues legends. Still well and truly at it at the age of 83.
- James Oliver – Very creative player from Wales who raises eyebrows on stage with his incendiary trio behind him, while he throws out audacious licks.
- Marco Cinelli – Our Guitarist of the Year last year (2018).
- Tinsley Ellis – Veteran US blues star. Great new album “Ice Cream In Hell” out Jan 31st on Alligator. Will be one of the best blues records of 2020, we think.
- Thorbjorn Risager – Very talented Danish guitarist, singer, songwriter and band leader with super new album “Come On In” due on 31st January.
- Joey Landreth – This guy is a towering talent and makes many guitarists want to pack it and learn the drums! On his own or under The Brothers Landreth (or Bros. Landreth) moniker with sibling David, if you love great guitar work or you are a player yourself, then you must hear this amazing Canadian artist.
- Albert Lee – Genius fast-fingered guitar picker. A Brit who moved to the US many years ago, and has played with a who’s who; from The Everley Brothers and Emmylou Harris to Eric Clapton and The Crickets. Admired by the likes of George Harrison. A one-off player and one of the nicest guys in the music business.
- Brent Mason – Nashville first-call session player who is on a zillion hit records and like Albert Lee, has his own unique style.
- James Hunter – UK vintage r&b artist. Voice and guitar skills to match.
- Brian May – Queen legend who is perhaps vastly underrated as a guitarist in his own right.
- Robben Ford – It makes us go all warm and fuzzy when we hear this cool cat.
- Matt Schofield – Brit’ player now based in the US and one of the best guitarists the UK has ever produced.
- Eddie Martin – Long established and respected UK blues-rock man who has just dropped his 12th album “Thirst” – and very good it is too.
Best Acoustic Artist/Band
Marco Cinelli and Danny del Toro
This talented duo comprises of London-based Italian guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer Marco Cinelli and Madrid-based Spanish harmonica star, singer and songwriter Danny del Toro.
Their debut album “Delta Overflowin’ ” was released in October and won lots of radio spins and praise from DJs, plus rave reviews from many music magazines across the UK and Europe. The material sounds so authentic, but is all newly penned. They will tour in 2020.
- Derrin Nauendorf – Australian guitarist, singer and songwriter who spent a fair few years in the UK before returning to his native country. His 11th album, “The World Within”, has just been released in Dec 2019. Lovely job. His first album since 2015. UK tour in 2020.
- The Wandering Hearts – We tipped this UK outfit with harmonies to die for, even before they had a record deal with Decca! Second album due soon…Line-up now minus Tim Prottey-Jones who left to start a new outfit, The Fatherline, and they’ll do OK in 2020, too.
- Adrian Byron Burns – US artist now based in France. Worked with many big names in his long career, including Bill Wyman. Adrian wowed TV audiences across France with his appearances on The Voice. New album “Et Caetera” is out now – five stars!
- Hux – London-based duo George and Patrick, an Aussie and a Pommie! Guitarists and singers with some tasty material. A&R guys should go see…
- Grace Ackerman – Very talented 24-year-old singer and songwriter from Watford, who has worked with some big names including Emeli Sande, James Arthur and Naughty Boy. Her single “Down To The Wire” just came out – follow up to the excellent “Blood Draw”. She is most definitely well on her way to big success as an artist and penning songs for others.
- Iron & Wine -45-year-old South Carolina-based singer songwriter Sam Beam is Iron & Wine. Currently working with Calexico to promote their collaborative album “Years To Burn” – which has a 2020 Grammy nomination. Sam has made six solo albums and three collaborative albums with Ben Bridwell, Jesca Hoop and Calexico.
Best book (music-related)
Elton John – Me. No-holds barred memoir from this larger than life legendary British superstar artist, who is surprisingly candid. We bet he could fill three dozen books and still have stories to tell!
- Brett Anderson – Afternoons With The Blinds Drawn (The Suede star’s second book, and a damn good read it is too. Coal Black Mornings came out in 2018).
- Flea – Acid For The Children (Eye watering memoir of Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ bassist and co-founder, Flea).
- Tricky – Hell Is Round The Corner (Drum and bass legend Tricky’s no-holds barred autobiography.
- Debbie Harry – Face It (Do we really need to explain who Ms Harry is? An icon. The face. The voice. The songwriter. The fashion style. Blondie Queen tells all….).
- Michael & Emily Eavis – Glastonbury 50. Farmers and Glastonbury Festival organisers Michael and daughter Emily, deliver a lovely behind the scenes account of life on what is one of the most famous farms in the world, and their annual music and arts event that has run since 1970 and attracts more than 200,000 people from around the world to each event, selling out tickets within minutes every year.
- Patti Smith – Year Of The Monkey (Punk legend’s third memoir. This one looking back as she hits 70. New York Times Best Seller….).
Best Music Video
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You….The camera loves her! So do we…..
- Bakers Eddy – On My Own (NZ band based in Australia).
- Ordinary Joe – Cross My Heart (Stoke duo who pop up in various categories in our “Best Of 2019” round-up – deservedly so).
Best Film/DVD (music-related):
Ronnie Wood: Somebody Up There Likes Me – The Stone and Faces superstar guitar hero gets his moment in the spotlight as he traces his life in rock and roll, as a gifted fine artist and as a family man. Jagger, Richards and many more stars have something to say about the man. It is well done and highly enjoyable.
- Western Stars – Bruce Springsteen’s directorial debut. A documentary film about his stunning album of the same name, much of it shot on Bruce’s expansive ranch.
- Rocket Man – Elton’s hit biopic.
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen’s stunning biopic.
- Yesterday – Quirky film with a Beatles soundtrack, for which the producers had to shell out $10 milion to use the band’s songs. None of the Beatles appeared in the film. But it was cash well spent, as the movie cost just $26 million to make, and took a worldwide total of $145.9 million in box office revenue. That does not include DVD sales. Kerching!!!
- The Dirt – Netflix Motley Crue Biopic.
Mark Ronson for his star-studded latest album “Late Night Feelings”. Catch the excellent BBC documentary on Mark and his career, if you can. Shows the making of this record. He’s not been nominated 11 times and won seven Grammy awards and an Oscar for nothing! Gobsmacked this record not in the running for 2020 Album of the Year Grammy.
Best Song & Songwriter/s
Average Joe: Domestic Bliss
Average Joe: Cross My Heart
Stoke lads Joe Brennan Hulme and producer Jim Mycock are Average Joe. But average they are not….
Most likely to breakthrough in 2020 * solo and band *
Bloxx – On-trend female-fronted, British, four-piece alt. rock meet indie pop band, who fuse grungy undertones with classic indie-influenced melodies to create their own sound. BLOXX are Ophelia – guitar and vocals, Taz – lead guitar and backing vocals, Mozwin – drums, and Paul – bass. BLOXX will have a heady 2020, we predict….
- Beeabbadoo – Bea Kristi aka Beeabbadoo has cropped up across our “Best Of 2019” shouts, and after a strong 2019 her star is very much in the ascent for 2020 and beyond. Bet a fish supper on it!
- Matt Maltese – Don’t let his description of “Brexit Pop” put you off. This 22-year-old Londoner is an ace songwriter and his lyrics and topics are a snug fit for today’s charts. His debut “Bad Contestant” in 2018 on Atlantic, followed up two EPs and two promo singles, and won him praise for the craft of writing songs.
With 2019’s “Krystal”- his brutally honest post-mortem of a dead love affair, an obsession and the eventual curling up into a ball and licking the wounds phase aftermath – and the start of his live shows selling out – Matt has developed from a bloody good songwriter into a fantastic songwriter and what’s more: he is now a bonafide artist too…the soon-to-be pop star this young talent deserves to be. 2020 and beyond will see this kid hitch a ride to the moon…
- Average Joe – Super cool singer Joe Brennan Hulme and producer Jim Mycock.
- Marius Bear – The world is out of whack if this Swiss artist’s incredible voice doesn’t blast his name into orbit around the globe.
- Broken Witt Rebels – Brummie rock band with soul. Danny Core and his chums have clocked up the miles in the UK and USA and recently signed a deal with Universal. Their second album “OK Hotel” will see them claim their rightful place as one of the UK’s biggest bands. A long time coming, but they’ll get there. Cream always rises to the top!
- YEBBA (in her own right rather than featured artist – but here she is with Mark Ronson..and she’s on fiyahh!!!) One of the best tracks of 2019.
- mxmtoon (18-year-old Oakland USA-based artist dropped her debut album The Masquerade in 2019, follow-up to her 2018 EP, “plum blossom” which was recorded in her parent’s guest room. mxmtoon aka Maia is Chinese-American and has a huge following on-line. 2020 is the year she makes an impact off-line, we say…).
Ones To Watch In 2020 * Bands and solo artists
- Roachford…Watch out for a big come-back from Andrew Roachford of “Cuddly Toy” fame, and his fabulous new album “Twice In A Lifetime” due to drop early April 2020. Plus a big UK tour. Sounding mighty and it should be a great year for him.
- Celine and the Blue – Young five-piece Guildford soul-jazz outift, fronted by Celine Buccomino. They dropped a few singles in 2019 and show great promise.
- Sefi Zisling, fantastic Tel Aviv-based trumpeter. Signed to innovative UK label Tru Thoughts. Check out his fabulous album “Expanse” which arrived in November. The single “Ongoing Morning” is out now.
- Bakers Eddy – From New Zealand and now based in Australia. Infectious hooks and quirky punky pop band. Their single “On My Own” could be a big summer radio hit if it gets properly released in the UK.
Interviewee of the year:
The legendary producer – Bowie’s first choice and his close friend – spoke candidly to our lovely writer Lucy Boulter, about his long-term collaboration and his solid friendship with David, ahead of the Holy Holy tour with Ziggy Stardust drummer Woody Woodmansey.
Lifetime Achievement Award
This mighty funk giant is of course, responsible for Parliament and Funkadelic. Apart from James Brown, George Clinton is the most influential funk artist and songwriter that ever lived. He shares another link with James Brown: having his music sampled by a zillion bands, artists and producers globally across many decades. Often without credit or payment!
George is now 78-years-old and this summer, retired from live performance after a six-decade career, with his triumphant “One Nation Under A Groove” US tour. Music Republic Magazine covered his penultimate final show, in Florida,in August. You can see that review and the photographs in our Live Zone. His very last gig was 1st September 2019 in New Orleans.
His recorded legacy includes 20 albums between 1974 to 2012 under his own name, 16 Funkadelic albums between 1970 to 2015, a dozen Parliament albums between 1970 and 2018, one album as The Parliaments and one album as George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love.
He also made six albums as the P-Funk All Stars. A staggering 56 albums, plus guest spots on other artists’ projects and of course, a bunch of “Greatest Hits” and compilations. The legendary bassist Bootsy Collins a former Clinton band member.
We salute you George Clinton for your pioneering work, for opening doors to young artists, for the joy your music has brought to millions globally and for being a mighty mother funker whose musical legacy will live on forever. Enjoy your retirement……
Courtesy of the artist or band/artist’s or band’s PR rep/record label/management….unless otherwise credited below:
Rob Zombie: Jason Sheldon
Smashing Pumpkins: Jason Sheldon
Bruce Springsteen: Jason Sheldon
Post Malone: Jason Sheldon
The 1975: Jason Sheldon
Yungblood: Jason Sheldon
Lewis Capaldi: Jason Sheldon
Sam Fender: Andrea Bottino
Bababeedoo: Andrea Bottino
No Rome: Andrea Bottino
Gary Numan: Andrea Bottino
Average Joe : #photo@ninjist_bert
Matt Maltese: Sam Hiscox
Tony Visconti: Steve Thorne/Redferns/Getty
Brian May: Steve Thorne/Redferns/Getty
George Clinton: Thomas Iacobucci
James Oliver: James David Quenzer
Joey Landreth: Haluk Gurer
Lizzo (Best Live Act image): Luke Gilford
Derek Trucks: Simon Redley
Ricochet Rebellion: Simon Redley
Marco & Alessandro Cinelli: Simon Redley
Slaves (live shot): Simon Redley