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Five of Our Favorite Albums of 2020

Today, we're looking at five of our favorite albums in 2020. We're REALLY expecting 2021 to be an explosion of music - with all the music written and held on to over the last year. But that doesn't mean the music stopped in 2020. On the contrary. There was still some outstanding music hitting the airwaves. Unfortunately, the artist didn't get to get out and promote the music like they probably would have liked to. But we heard it. Over and over again. There were plenty of great albums released in 2020. These are just five of them.

5. Hill Country by The Wilder Blue - Back in May of 2020 (feels like years ago, doesn't it), this new super-group came out with their debut album. One of our favorite songwriters, Zane Williams, fronts this band. Lead guitarist Paul Eason, formerly with Kevin Fowler, joined Zane. They teamed up with drummer Lyndon Hughes, Sean Rodriguez on bass, and instrumentalist Andy Rogers taking on a bunch of instruments on stage. The songwriting lives up to expectations. This was one of the albums that more than lives up to the expectations of what a group of musicians like these should be putting out.

4. Touch of You: The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart by Mike and the Moonpies - This one caught me off guard. I'm a big Gary Stewart fan and a huge Mike and the Moonpies fan. But how good could "lost songs" be? Turns out - real good. The Gary Stewart vibe fits lead singer Mike Harmeier perfectly. There is no mistaking the Gary Stewart songwriting and the Moonpies do the vibe of the songs justice on each cut.

3. Overgrown by Kody West - This was another early entry into the 2020 catalog of great albums. And at the time of it's release, we called 2020 for Kody. Kody and his band had been touring on the hit album Green. And Overgrown lived up to the standard they set with rocking tracks October and Alone. It's a shame the pandemic shut down the touring on this album - but we expect the popularity of this album will surge in 2021 as people get to hear Kody and his band perform it live.

2. Feverdreamer by Dalton Domino - I don't know why this album took us by surprise. There isn't much that Dalton Domino could put out that we wouldn't be fans of. But, while Corners in 2017 is one of our all time favorite albums, this one may be better. The songwriting is just as personal and honest. And there wasn't a more fitting song to frame the pandemic than the feel good hit - We're All Gonna Die. Best I Ever Had and Level Me are a couple that will stop you in your tracks. We think Dalton is one of the industry's greatest songwriters today. And this album is an excellent example of that.

1. The Short Go by Jarrod Birmingham - Being fans of Jarrod Birmingham and being able to chat with him on occasion, we knew this album was coming. But WOW - did this album catch me off guard. It's a "tribute" album to the American Cowboy and the rodeo way of life that Jarrod has lived. The album is structured like a movie or a novel. The opening credits (My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys), the young cowboy (Goin' and a Blowin"), the acceptance of his father (Seventeen), the love story (Someday Soon), the climax (Hooked on an 8 second ride), the conclusion (Old Wore out Cowboy) and the closing credits (Holdin' on). Everything just connects so well. These are all songs that mean a lot to Jarrod in one way or another - be it the subject of the song, the songwriter, or the original performer - it's a tribute in every sense of the word. I was able to sit down and do a podcast with Jarrod to discuss each song. I think it should be a required CD in the cab of any rodeo cowboys truck. But it should also be on any country fan's playlist. It was my favorite album of 2020.

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