2017 was a good year, a very good year actually. A trip to Iceland became one of my favorite vacations, while at the end of the year I did a solo cross country trip around the United States. I documented both trips with photos and videos. Videos are posted below and hopefully I will post the photos sometime this year on here. Overall, 2017 was a great year, yet we lost two great musicians, Tom Petty and Charles Bradley. I managed to see and photograph Petty twice, but Charles I missed, but their music will live on forever.
2017 did bring a lot of different releases of music and I must say my top 10 favorite of 2017 was all over the place. I’m glad it was this way because it really does coincide with how my year was which was all over the place.
10. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – Louie Louie Louie
I try and keep from putting cover albums in my top 10, but I decided this album is an exception. While in Iceland I listened to the first song and instantly loved it. This isn’t Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s first cover album, and probably not their last because they execute the songs flawlessly. If you didn’t know better you’d think these were their songs, but nope these are covers of the great jazz players Louie Armstong, Louie Jordan, and Louie Prima.
Song to listen to: “Knock Me A Kiss”
9. Sammy Kay – Untitled
I’ve been following Sammy Kay’s career for quite some time. When I first started photographing concerts, a lot of shows I went to he was the opener. At that time he was playing more ska/rocksteady music, but it seems his sound has evolved into a more folk/americana sound. Untitled has more of an accessible sound and doesn’t put him in as one type of artist. For anyone that listens to Sammy Kay, the transition wouldn’t be a shock, let alone sound too out there. For new listeners, start here then go back in his catalog. Sammy Kay is a Jersey hidden gem.
Song to listen to: “I Believe”
8. Showoff – Midwest Side Story
Showoff was the band that got me into this crazy music world. I could do a whole post about this band, but for them to release a new album in 2018 with almost all their original members? I never would’ve thought. A Showoff album in 2018 is just what you’d expect, catchy pop-punk. Some songs were already released previously, but not with this line up and mixing. The album as a whole has the ability to transport you back in time when this type of pop-punk was the craze, and to hear it from Showoff again is fresh. Hopefully some tour dates happen and maybe a vinyl release. Maybe even a reissue of older albums on vinyl
Song to listen to: “Waiting For You”
7. Preservation Hall Jazz Band – So It Is
I always miss New Orleans, but I know that when I do, I can always put on Preservation Hall Jazz Band albums. This year they released So It Is and as always they put out a great collection of jazz songs. The band manages to add their own flavor to the jazz mix. While keeping it traditional, Preservation Hall Jazz Band always know how to make the music sound modern and if the crazy year of touring is any indication, jazz is beloved among the millions still.
Song to listen to: “Santiago”
6. Pep – …Presenting Pep!
A few years back while I attended a Eli Paperboy Reed album release show, he had this opening band name Pep play. Fronted by three female vocalists, it was like I was transported back to the 60’s. Beautiful voices and harmonies, I was hooked on this New York local band. I followed them instantly and waited for a full length which was released this year. A great, fun album filled with soul, pop, and R&B, Pep is a fresh of breath air in the music world. Now if only they played more shows.
Song to listen to: “Run”
5. Spring Heeled Jack – Sound Salvation
What feels like forever ago, Spring Heeled Jack reunited and started playing shows again with a hint of a possible new album. 2017 was the year it happened. Sound Salvation is Spring Heeled Jack best effort in my opinion. The production sound is crisp, the melodies are catchy as always, and it isn’t just a ska album, but a funky rock album. I think this album passed under everyone’s radar because if more people heard it, they’d be talking about it.
Song to listen to: “St. Anthony”
4. Matt Pryor – Memento Mori
Lately Matt Pryor will release a new album without warning and each time they are just as good as the last. This time around Matt took the somber approach in releasing an album. Memento Mori in latin means a reflection on morality and from interviews, Matt Pryor explains the past year had some downs including death. A very moody, stripped down record, but perfect for rainy days. Matt Pryor has always been one of my favorite song writers and this album once again proves it.
Song to listen to: “Virginia”
3. Joshua Radin – The Fall
When I first listened to Joshua Radin, it was in the TV sitcom Scrubs. I didn’t put much thought in his songs until I saw him in Philadelphia a few years ago. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started branching out of my music bubble, but Joshua Radin isn’t any different than other acoustic acts I listen to when you think about it. This crowd funded album is perfect for any acoustic playing music fan and each song is just simple. That’s the best part of Joshua Radin’s music, it is simple in a sense that there isn’t any crazy production, just simple music to help you relax and unwind.
Song to listen to: “When I’m With You”
2. The Menzingers – After The Party
2017 is the year I stopped ignoring The Menzingers and took them in. For years I would always see them at shows and listen to their albums, but something was missing. After The Party changed that. I am not sure what it was, but when I heard this album it all of sudden clicked. Maybe they found their sound, maybe the lyrics hit me just right, but what ever it was I am in it 100% now and since then finally understand all their albums.
Song to listen to: “Your Wild Years”
- Dull Blue Lights – The Dull Blue Lights
I could be biases for picking this as my number one since I know the band personally, and my photos are used, but I’ve been waiting for this album for awhile and I wasn’t disappointed at all. The Snails became Dull Blue Lights and wanted to get away from that ska sound. Granted it is still there, a little bit, this album is a great rock n’ roll album. This is the music that comes from the basements where everyone is dancing. The songs are single ready and I’m surprised this album didn’t get picked up by a label…yet. Dull Blue Lights have a new lease on life and I expect only great things to come.
Song to listen to: “Press Play”