When it comes to keeping tabs on the latest tunes Rushonrock has always been a broad church and we pride ourselves on our eclectic tastes and open minds. John Burrows’ jazz-infused blues round-up proves the point and the following list provides some genuine highlights…if you’re brave enough to hit play.
10. Kamaal Williams – Wu Hen (Black Focus)
Less was more as this sublime, texture laden masterpiece ebbed and flowed its way through its synth, sax and horn laden journey. Don’t be put off by his house music previous — this record continues to warm us up in the wintery darkness.
9. Philip Sayce – Spirit Rising (Warner Music)
A lot happened in the five years since previous release Influence but Philip Sayce delivered a breathtaking tribute to his late Father in Spirit Rising. Calling on his long-term collaborator (and Rushonrock favourite) Richard Marx, as well as Distant Cousins, Gavin Brown and Maia Davies, this record built into a climatic frenzy of Spirit before ending on sublime instrumental 5:55.
8. Howes3 – Moving Forward (DeepMattter)
Quite frankly, the lush soundscapes of Moving Forward and Lucid kept our mental health in check throughout the numerous lockdowns that the year provided. A youthful trio from Brighton, Howes3 released a beautiful statement of intent that fused melodic lines with no regrets retro. Another album criminally denied a live outing, this one is well worth a night time listen with the lights down low.
7. Walter Trout – Ordinary Madness (Provogue)
Since his dice with death, Trouty has taken the ‘social commentary’ route of songwriting and his work has been elevated as a result. This year’s Ordinary Madness kicked it up into ‘deeply personal’ territory and blasted him to the moon.
6. Robert Cray – That’s What I Heard (Nozzle Records)
That’s What I Heard provided another notch on the bedpost of Robert Cray’s triumphant career. Heartfelt and sweet, funky and dirty, Bobby brought the magic via the caressing finishes of Steve Jordan. First class.
5. The Sleep Eazys – Easy To Buy, Hard To Sell (Mascot)
Bonamassa and Co served up a slab of incendiary instrumental shenanigans that demanded some serious attention. Quite a departure from his usual formula, this record rejuvenated our love for JB and reaffirmed why Reese Wyans is still the best keyboard player in the business.
Check out our review of Easy To Buy, Hard To Sell here.
4. Fantastic Negrito – Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? (Cooking Vinyl)
Crossing boundaries once more, Fantastic Negrito released his third Grammy nominated album. Impossible to pin down to a particular genre, the one remaining constant throughout was pure groove. Bold, adventurous and leaving it all on the line, Have You Lost Your Mind yet? summed up 2020 pretty nicely.
3. Larkin Poe – Self Made Man (Tricki-Woo Records)
Album number five from Larkin Poe was a concise collection of unique Americana bangers. Rough and ready, yet streamlined for business, this was undoubtedly our blues highlight of 2020. Riff after fuzzy riff, Self Made Man is dripping in emotion and attitude. Outsanding work.
Check out our review of Self Made Man here.
2. Moses Boyd – Dark Matter (EXODUS Records)
Dark Matter was the album that made us sit down, shut up and inwardly scream ‘holy shit’. Filthy, sleazy, grimey rhythms collided with Afrobeats — the very best musicianship and top notch production delivering the nastiest, smoothest sounding virtuosity straight out of London.
1. Butcher Brown – #KingButch (Concord Records)
You might be forgiven for thinking the greatest export from Richmond, Virginia is Lamb Of God – but you’ve probably just not heard Butcher Brown before. From the moment we heard Broad Rock, there could be only one album in the top slot – a culmination of 12 years’ worth of graft served up to the listener in the guise of a funked-up Jazz Juggernaut. #KingButch is a beautiful, eclectic modern take on the Jazz Movement that shoves their boast of being the ‘Best band in the World’ front and centre. We can’t find a reason to argue with them.