The blues scene is red hot right now and John Burrows’ pick of The Best Blues Albums Of 2021 proves the point.
So pour yourself something neat, sink back into your favourite armchair and revisit a year in the life of a genre in rude health.
10. Portico Quartet – Monument (Gondwana)
Monument was the second album of the year from London’s finest and the polar opposite to first release Terrain.
Stratospheric, floaty and atmospheric as always, Ever Present deserves all the plaudits here.
9. Dion – Stomping Ground (Keeping The Blues Alive Records)
Assembling an all star cast for the second album in a row, Dion hit another home run with Stomping Ground.
The headlines were dominated by appearances from Springsteen, Knopfler, Gibbons and Frampton.
But it was the Boz Scaggs led I’ve Got To Get To You that brought it all back home.
8. Sons Of Kemet – Black To The Future (Impulse!)
Yet another banger from Shabaka Hutchings, Black To The Future unleashed a furious, pent up rage under the guise of a Tuba driven big band tour de force.
7. Mississippi Macdonald – Do Right, Say Right (APM Records)
Broody and moody yet cool and classy, Do Right, Say Right was album number 7 from the UK’s hottest blues export.
If you’re a fan of authentic Albert King-esque licks, this one was for you.
6. Billy Gibbons – Hardware (Concord Records)
Third time was the charm for Billy Gibbons’ solo career.
Rolling back the years to Rhythmeen and From Dusk Till Dawn, Hardware was an absolute scorcher!
5. Hiatus Kaiyote – Mood Valiant (Brainfeeder)
Six years since breakout album Choose Your Weapon, three years in development and punctuated by periods of personal tragedies, Mood Valiant is a glorious beacon of Nu-Soul sunshine.
Get Sun was the big single, but Chivalry Is Not Dead was the one to dive in on.
4. Joe Bonamassa – Time Clocks (Provogue)
An ironic title given the frequency of JB’s output, Time Clocks bucked popular convention to prove that sometimes, more actually means more.
Theatrical and bombastic, this was the album of Bonamassa’s career.
An absolute masterpiece.
3. Black Keys – Delta Kream (Easy Eye Sound/Nonesuch)
This raw collection of covers was a love letter to the Mississippi Delta.
Focusing primarily on Junior Kimbrough numbers, this was a career highlight to ground Black Keys back into the early years after another sold out arena tour.
Kream of the crop.
2. Eric Bibb – Dear America (Provogue)
Eric delivered the most relevant blues record of 2021 with Dear America.
Gospel, roots and Americana all provided the backdrop to a profound analysis that questioned why so little has changed in the time between the Civil Rights Movement and Trump’s recent reign.
1. The Blue Stones – Hidden Gems (Entertainment One)
Delivering raw riffs, lush melodies and choruses for days, Hidden Gems was our standout album of 2021.
Not content with making you shake your arse to L.A. Afterlife or getting you emotional with Careless, The Blue Stones then had the audacity to deliver a song of the year: One By One is simply breathtaking.
The sparkling Hidden Gems left no stone unturned.
Enjoyed catching up with the best blues albums of 2021? Why not check out our definitive list of 2020’s best blues albums here?