An Article by Johnny Cole | Photos by Stephen Anderson
The year 2020 will be remembered for many things in addition to primarily causing difficulties in many aspects of our lives. The music industry has taken a hit due to the cancellations and postponements of many tours and live music events. Yet, music continues to endure! Earlier this year, The Southland Music Line featured the article “Music Will Find A Way – How Live Music Has Coped with the Corona Virus Crisis of 2020” which detailed the current situation the music industry is facing, in particular what was taking place this past spring. However, the purpose of this article is to highlight a sample of the great music released in the last few months despite these difficult times.
We highly recommend that you check out the music listed. To reiterate, these are but a sampling of the good music released. We will be highlighting more in the very near future.
● “Back ’till I’m Gone” by Leon Majcen (June 19, 2020) We first learned about Leon Majcen’s music earlier this year with the release of his single, “What it Means (To Be Free)”. This talented folk-rock singer/songwriter presently living in New York City released his album follow-up to “Numb” in June of this year. In the coming months, Majcen is on our short list of music artists that we are most interested in learning more about.
● “Better Hurry Up” by Caleb Caudle (April 3, 2020) This eighth studio album from Caleb Caudle has been receiving some of this year’s best reviews. Released on the Baldwin County Public Records label and produced by The Jayhawks’ John Jackson, “Better Hurry Up” was recorded at Johnny Cash’s Cash Cabin, a recording facility outside of Nashville. Joining Caudle in the legendary setting were musicians who have worked alongside Willie Nelson, Wilco, Kacey Musgraves and others. If that wasn’t already enough, Elizabeth Cook, John Paul White, Courtney Marie Andrews and Gary Louris lend their talented voices to help make this album come together so nicely. Caudle’s influences are well honored on what is quite possibly his best release to date.
Click Here to purchase Caleb Caudle’s music & visit his official website
● “Blue Plate Special” by D. Scott Riggs (March 20, 2020) The Gulf Coast based music artist, known for his multi-layered Panhandle Blues, released this seven song live music collection in March of this year. On January 27, 2020, Riggs recorded the songs live at WDVX Blue Plate Special in Knoxville, TN. We invite you to check out this album by the frontman and songwriter from the band, Spearman Brewers.
● “Blues with Friends” by Dion (June 5, 2020) This latest album from Dion is one of our favorite albums of 2020. After an eager Joe Bonamassa expressed a desire to be involved, the legendary Dion invited others to join the new project, including Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Beck, Paul Simon, Van Morrison and more. It’s a welcomed thing to see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame great continue making such good music.
Click Here to purchase Dion’s music & his official website
Top Photo: Logan Ledger at SXSW in 2019; Above photo: Sarah Peacock at The Mississippi Songwriters Festival in 2019.
● “Burn the Witch” by Sarah Peacock (March 27, 2020) We first learned of Sarah Peacock at The Mississippi Songwriters Festival in 2017 thanks to Robert Dienelt, a friend and music enthusiast who highly recommended Peacock’s music and live performances. Since then, we have enjoyed multiple shows and a friendship with her. The anticipation for this latest album has been high for the last couple years. The wait was worth it, because “Burn the Witch” met all expectations and then some.
Click Here to purchase Sarah Peacock’s music & visit her official website
● “Downloads from the Universe” by Jason Daniels Band (July 31, 2020) Recorded at the legendary Malaco Studios in Jackson, MS, “Downloads from the Universe” takes us on a unique musical journey blending a variety of styles and genres, including rock, funk, blues and world influences. Jason Daniels Band, consisting of Daniels on guitar and vocals, Murph Caicedo on drums, Rob Wicks on bass and Chris Nash on keys, are joined by Michael Laskin on B3, vocalist Jennifer Gibbons, harmonica player Scott Albert Johnson and saxophonist Steve Stevens. From beginning to end, the journey is a positive experience and one of 2020’s nice surprises.
Click Here to purchase the music & the official website
● “Falling” by Gravity Blinks (April 21, 2020) The popular southern Alabama-based Gravity Blinks writes and performs original indie progressive rock music. And along with their originals, can be found performing an array of covers from the 70’s to the present. This spring they released a much anticipated album aptly titled “Falling” due to the subjects it uniquely delves into. Gravity Blinks’ music and live performances have brought comfort, love and healing to many.
● “Feel The World” by Brenda Bledsoe (August 14, 2020) To her fans’ delight, Brenda released her first solo record this August. Her GypsySpark bandmate, singer-songwriter Jimmy Lumpkin, co-produced the new album (In 2019, GypsySpark released “World Shakers”) Now calling Loxley, Alabama home, Brenda’s songwriting is inspired by the many places she has lived and her music has a beautiful blend of influences that she delivers with much heartfelt intensity.
● “Fellow Man” by Sugarcane Jane (June 19, 2020) An album Sugarcane Jane developed amidst the ongoing pandemic sweeping the nation. Sugarcane Jane was named The Southland Music Line’s “Music Artist of the Year” in 2019 and were voted by its readers as The Readers’ Choice “Music Artist of Year” in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Sugarcane Jane have been the subject of many articles that we have published. In 2019, they toured with Dwight Yoakam as Sugarcane Jane & The Bucket Fillers, releasing a live album at year’s end.
The photo used for the album cover for “Fellow Man” was taken by The Southland Music Line’s Stephen “Andy” Anderson.
Click Here to purchase their music & visit their official website
Ten Penny Gypsy at Admiral Bean Studio in Loxley, AL
● “Fugitive Heart” by Ten Penny Gypsy (July 10, 2020) The second full length album from the Arkansas Americana group, Ten Penny Gypsy, has been much anticipated. The album is produced by Sugarcane Jane’s Anthony Crawford (who has worked with Neil Young, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Winwood and others) and was recorded at his Admiral Bean studio in Loxley, AL. The multi-award nominated Ten Penny Gypsy have delivered a sensational follow up to their self-titled 2017 debut. The album’s cover was taken from a photo by The Southland Music Line’s Stephen Anderson.
Click Here to purchase Ten Penny Gypsy’s music & visit their official website
● “Joymonger” by Oh, Jeremiah (May 1, 2020) A number of years ago, we were present at what was Oh, Jeremiah’s second live appearance (an opening performance at Ben Kaufman’s Irish Coast Pub in Gulfport, MS) and later when they opened for The Lone Bellow at T-Bones Records in Hattiesburg, MS (an unforgettable show that is remembered as “one for the books”). In 2016, they were featured in our article “Oh, Jeremiah: The Other End of Passing Time – A Music Spotlight” and in 2017, we interviewed Oh, Jeremiah for our TV show “Music Scene” – another fond memory. This latest album, released on Baldwin County Public Records, sees Oh, Jeremiah continue their path of providing fans with something original and unique all into its own.
● “Led by the Light” by Laurie Ann Armour (March 27, 2020) We were fortunate to have attended Laurie Anne’s postponed release show at The Peoples Room of Mobile in June of this year and had the honor of writing the recent article “Laurie Anne Armour’s ‘Led By The Light’ Shines Through!”
● “Live from Eddie Owen Presents” by Ross Newell (June 16, 2020) Recorded at the Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth, Georgia, a venue that hosts songwriter nights under the banner of ‘Eddie Owen Presents’. The talented Ross Newell, former front man in The Mulligan Brothers, continues to be a creative force in the music industry. The Mulligan Brothers were one of the most loved bands from the Gulf Coast region (The Southland Music Line’s “Music Artist of the Year in 2015). Thankfully, Ross Newell seems destined to continue giving us more great music. This album also contains two songs performed with the The Krickets, another favorite of ours.
Click Here to purchase Ross Newell’s music & visit his official website
● “Logan Ledger” by Logan Ledger (Apr. 3, 2020) This might possibly be our most anticipated album of 2020. We first learned of Ledger at South By Southwest in Austin, TX in 2019 when he was the “standout music artist” for us at that year’s event. His self-titled album, produced by the legendary Grammy-winning producer, T-Bone Burnett, combines elements of several genres with a dark toned take on country music. There is no doubt by any of his growing number of fans that he is the “real deal” and has a bright future ahead.
Click Here to purchase Logan Ledger’s music & visit his official website
Stephen Lee Veal at The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival 2019
● “No Lifeguard By the Gene Pool” by Stephen Lee Veal (preview released in Dec. 2019) Before even listening to the first note of music, the title “No Lifeguard by the Gene Pool” quickly grabs your attention. Veal’s genuine talent and authenticity is showcased on his latest album, led by his remarkable ability for writing a song. This cleverly titled album is a “beginning to end” enjoyment for the listener featuring great songs such as ‘Poison Kisses”, “Can’t Hurt Steel”, “Pot Liquor” and more. The entire collection is a pleasure to listen to….much like Stephen, himself.
● “Ruffled Feathers: Songs in the Key of Me” by Sugarcane Jane (August 14, 2020) The songs on this album were written and recorded within a matter of a few days. Sugarcane Jane released their 2020 album “Fellow Man” in June and followed it up with this very personal and often spiritual set of songs rooted in the duo’s conservative beliefs. In an industry where non-liberal views are rarely spoken, Sugarcane Jane has chosen to speak what’s on their minds.
Click Here to purchase their music & visit their official website
● “Self Made Man” by Larkin Poe (June 12, 2020) Our history following Larkin Poe goes back to when it was The Lovell Sisters (Jessica, Megan and Rebecca Lovell). Since Megan and Rebecca have become Larkin Poe, we have seen them in Atlanta, New Orleans, Easton (MD), South By Southwest in Austin, New York City and performing with Elvis Costello in Memphis, to name just a few of the locations. The Grammy nominated Larkin Poe is obviously one of our favorites.
Click Here to purchase Larkin Poe’s music & visit their official website
● “Semi Automata” by The Music Therapy Experiment (July 1, 2020) In their own words describing their latest album: “synergistic collection of eclectic and expressive collaborative instrumentals by multiple-instrumentalist recording artists. The Mobile, AL based music team of John Kline and Mark Christianson have provided us with something very different than anything else listed in this article and it’s highly recommended.
Libby Rae Watson is featured in our 2020 article “Libby Rae Watson – Consumed by the Blues”
● “She Shimmy” by Libby Rae Watson and Bert Deivert (April, 2020) This 12 track album of authentic hill country blues was prominently featured in one of our latest articles “Libby Rae Watson – Consumed by the Blues” (written by Brenda Germany). We invite you to check out the article and learn more about the artist and this latest album.
● “Somewhat Live” by Patrick Cooper (Jan. 27, 2020) Thanks to good friend and musician, Ron Thamert, I met Patrick Cooper at the legendary venue, The Julep Room in Ocean Springs, MS. Cooper, now calling New Orleans home, released this latest EP in late January of 2020. It came about after Cooper and Ron Thamert (on percussion) opened a show for Sugarcane Jane and The Bucket Fillers in Shreveport, LA. After listening to the show, Sugarcane Jane’s Anthony Crawford (owner of Admiral Bean Studio) contacted Cooper with a few suggestions, thus the EP was completed.
Click Here to purchase Patrick Cooper’s music & visit his official website
● “Songs I Can’t Live Without” by Marshall Chapman (Apr. 3, 2020) American singer-songwriter and author, Marshall Chapman, has long been recording her own music or writing for diverse group of artists such as Conway Twitty, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Buffett, Emmylou Harris, Wynonna, Jessi Colter, John Hiatt, Dion, Olivia Newton-John, Irma Thomas, Ronnie Milsap, Sawyer Brown and others. The latest album, her 14th release, is a collection of classic songs. Chapman says: “The songs I write have always been so personal…… I needed a break. I was getting tired of living myself into a corner, just so I could write myself out.”
Click Here to purchase Marshall Chapman’s music & visit her official website
● “South Front Street: A Retrospective 1997 – 2019” by Grayson Capps (June 19, 2020) This collection of songs is by one our favorite music artists. The Southland Music Line has featured Grayson Capps in multiple articles and photo collections, including when he was named 2017’s “Music Artist of the Year”. Most recently, he is the subject of our article “Remembering The Night When Rocky Horror Met The Ramones: Grayson Capps Live 2-10-19″. This latest album, a beautiful look at some of Capps’ much-loved music, is receiving positive reviews and articles detailing the amazing working relationship between Capps and his wife, Trina Shoemaker – the Grammy winning engineer, mixer and producer. In the album’s liner notes, Shoemaker reveals, “South Front Street” is a collection of songs that paint a picture of our life together and reveals a world from the uniquely enchanted, poetic, and tormented perspective of Grayson Capps”. This is a must-have collection and easily one of our favorites to be released this year.
Click Here to purchase Grayson Capps’ music & visit his official website
Lisa Mills at The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, MS
● “The Triangle” by Lisa Mills (Jan. 24, 2020) The Southland Music Line recognized Lisa Mills as our “Music Artist of the Year” in 2016 and she continues to be one of our favorites. We couldn’t be more excited about Mills’ latest album, “The Triangle”, which divides its tracks into three cities where the songs were originally recorded – Memphis, Muscle Shoals, AL, and Jackson, MS. This inaugural album from Melody Place Music features the debut single “Greenwood, Mississippi”, a song originally recorded in the early 1970’s by Little Richard in Muscle Shoals, AL. Mills’ soulful rendition was actually recorded with some of the original musicians. “The Triangle” can easily be added as one of this year’s best albums.
Click Here to purchase Lisa Mills’ music & visit her official website
● “Undone” by Evan Ogden (July 31, 2020) The sophomore album and follow up to 2017’s “For Hire” by Evan Ogden is one that definitely belongs in our list of of music that you should definitely hear in 2020. Ogden, an Americana singer/songwriter originally from Austin, has received much praise for his authenticity and honest direction of his songwriting. “Undone” is a collection of great songs that delve into a variety of topics with a willingness to get personal. We have easily become fans of Ogden and will certainly be bringing him up in the future.
Click Here to purchase Evan Ogden’s music & visit his official website
● “Walking Proof” by Lilly Hiatt (March 27, 2020) Lilly Hiatt releases one great album after the other and her latest is no exception. We have been following Lilly Hiatt for years and have seen her perform live many times, including at South By Southwest in Austin, Callaghan’s and The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm (both in southern Alabama), Thirsty Hippo in Hattiesburg, MS, and with Aaron Lee Tasjan at Gypsy Sally’s in Washington, DC. A few years ago, I was talking with music artist, John Moreland, and I asked him what new album by another artist that he would recommend – it was Lilly Hiatt’s latest album at that time. Hiatt’s fourth studio album has been receiving positive reviews from multiple sources and will certainly be making several year end “Best of 2020” lists.
Click Here to purchase Lilly Hiatt’s music & visit her official website
Several music artists have released great new songs, often ahead of upcoming new albums or EPs. Here is a sample of songs by such artists that we recommend:
● “Alive in Your Love” by Kelcy Hyde (June 19, 2020) The recently married Kelcy Hyde continues working her music magic in Nashville. She has been featured in articles at The Southland Music Line and we were present at her Nashville EP release show for “Your Heart Amazes Me” in 2014. Kelcy’s latest single was released on June 19.
● “All I Ever Do” by Great Peacock (July 2020) One of our favorite bands is back with a new song from their upcoming album “Forever Worse Better” to be released on October 9, 2020 (Baldwin County Public Records) As Great Peacock’s Andrew Nelson said to American Songwriter: “This song is simple. This music is simple. The lyrics are simple. It came to me in a simple way. It’s the never-ending song about a heart’s desire and the lack of that desire being fulfilled. A love song, in a weird sort of way. “
Chaislyn Jane at The Mississippi Songwriters Festival in Ocean Springs, MS
● “Dreams I Forgot About” and “FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)” by Chaislyn (both released in 2020) Chaisyln’s song “Carole” was one of two songs that topped The Southland Music Line’s favorite songs of 2019. The University of Southern Mississippi student and star of own successful live stream show has become a favorite of ours at “The Line” and we are looking forward to what is coming next for the former Bayou Idol winner and American Idol contestant.
Click Here to vsit Chaislyn’s official website
And learn more about these songs & more
Click Here to listen to Chaislyn’s song “Dreams I Forgot About” (video)
Click Here to listen to Chaislyn’s song “FOMO”
● “From Zero to One” by Mardi Gras (Jan. 17, 2020) The Rome, Italy based, Mardi Gras was named after Creedence Clearwater Revival’s last studio album. We were introduced to them when a link of their cover of Willie Nile’s “One Guitar” (a benefit single for The Light of Day Foundation) was shared with us in the spring of 2020. Band member, Fabrizio Fontanelli has sent us numerous additionally interesting tracks/videos.
● “In Time” by Sloth Racer (June 2020) The very popular Reggae/Rock influenced band from the Gulf Coast are back with a brand new song in 2020, their first project recorded and produced out of their own, Red Sloth Studios.
● “Lonelier Than Me” by Anna Larson (June 19, 2020) The award-winning singer/songwriter and emerging Americana artist from Austin, TX is back with a new song in 2020. We first met Larson at a private house concert in Austin doubled billed with Abe Partridge. We have since attended a number of Larson’s shows, including at The Greenhouse in Ocean Springs, MS and The Peoples Room of Mobile (AL).
Click Here to listen to Anna Larson’s song & visit her official website
● “Military Man” by Pearl Clarkin (May 25, 2020) A song that honors the military man and their families, which obviously resonates with many fans. When speaking about her song, Pearl recently said: “I decided to write a song for those wives, daughters, sons, uncles, best friends, etc. of a military man. If you love your military man, this song was written for you.” Originally from Pensacola Beach, Florida, Pearl is now making her presence known in Nashville as a songwriter and performer. We first learned about Pearl at The Peoples Room of Mobile (AL). Both The Room’s proprietor, Jim Pennington, and songwriter, Tom Leytham had nothing but high praise for her.
We are looking forward to hearing more from Pearl and it was a privilege to meet her this summer.
Lauren Murphy at The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival 2019
● “My Most Deadly Sin” (March 2020). Sexy, sultry, passionate and haunting are just a few of the words to describe Lauren Murphy’s latest single. We highlighted Murphy’s latest single on our front page this summer for good reason. On a few occasions, we have said this about Murphy, “In a crowded field of sometimes repetitious musical mediocrity, it’s refreshing to experience Murphy’s gift for originality and soul-stirring performances”. Murphy says her latest song comes from a very deep place in her soul – that clearly becomes evident with the very first listen.
● “Note From God (You Are Loved)” by Melissa Summersell (April 2020) When Melissa sings her songs, it’s impossible to not feel her heartfelt honesty. Summersell’s 2-disc project, “Bare & Fully Dressed” was one our favorite music collections in 2018. She continues to amaze us and her latest single “Note From God (You Are Loved)” provides comfort to its listeners.
● “Rebound” by Levon Gray (July 2020) One of this summer’s most popular songs coming out of the Mobile, AL music scene is Levon Gray’s “Rebound”. Music artist Red Padilla highly recommended it to The Southland Music Line and we are glad he did.
● “Stories” by Della Memoria (July 2020) Since establishing The Southland Music Line in 2013, few music artists have we enjoyed following as much as Della Memoria. They have been featured in multiple articles, including “The Evolution of a Beautiful Dream – Della Memoria’s Musical Journey & Recording of Their Debut Release” and “Della Memoria: A Beautiful Dream Finds New Beginnings”. As for seeing them live, it goes back quite a few years to some unforgettable nights at Ben Kaufman’s Irish Coast Pub. Della Memoria is another music artist that appeared on our TV show, “Music Scene”. We are certainly looking forward to their new EP “The Flow” to be released soon. Until then, check out their latest single.
The Krickets at The Lobby Lounge in Slidell, LA
● “These Games” by The Krickets (June 5, 2020) The talented singing trio (recently featured in The Southland Music Line article “The Lobby Lounge Concert Series – The Krickets Live”) once again showcases what we love about them. Written by Emily Stuckey, Lauren Spring and Rachel Grubb, the single was produced, mixed and mastered by Lauren and features Emily on lead vocals. During these extraordinary times of quarantining and social distancing, the trio wrote the song via Facebook Messenger and separately recorded their parts at home. Once that was done, everything was sent to Lauren to work her technical magic. The Krickets have an amazing gift for beautiful harmonies and well crafted originals such as “Red Bird” and “Cool Cool Water”. Their latest single, “These Games” continues to prove why they deserve to be recognized by the music industry and more importantly, why their fans can’t get enough of them. It also proves nothing can stop these three talented women from doing what they love.
Click Here to listen to song & visit their official website
● “Turning” by Justin McLendon (Aug. 10, 2020) We recently learned about this singer/songwriter. This song is from McLendon’s upcoming EP “Fireflies”. We really liked what we heard and are looking to hear more from McLendon.
● “We’ll All Be Dead” by Summer Overstreet (July 2020) We have been enjoying Summer Overstreet’s music for the last few years. She is someone we have frequently mentioned on the website and in social media. The daughter of Grammy-winning Paul Overstreet has released another song worth checking out. Summer’s honest and unapologetic music is definitely deserving of a wider audience.
Remember the above are only samples of what has been released in 2020.
Here are few more samples of some great albums released in 2020:
● “The Absence of Presence” by Kansas
● “Chromatica” by Lady Gaga
● “Color Theory” by Soccer Mommy
● “El Dorado” by Marcus King
● “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” by Fiona Apple
● “Gigaton” by Pearl Jam
● “Good Souls Better Angels” by Lucinda Williams
● “Hate for Sale” by Pretenders
● “Hermitage” by Ron Sexsmith
● “Homegrown” by Neil Young,
● “La Vita Nuova” by Maria McKee
● “LP5′ by John Moreland
● “The New Abnormal” by The Strokes
● “Ordinary Man”’ by Ozzy Osbourne
● “Pick Me Up Off The Floor” by Norah Jones
● “The Prettiest Curse” – Hinds
● “Reunions” by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
● “Rough and Rowdy Ways” by Bob Dylan
● “Saturn Return” by The Secret Sisters
● “Such Pretty Forks in the Road” by Alanis Morissette
● “That’s How Rumors Get Started” by Margo Price
● “The Unraveling” by Drive-By Truckers
● “Your Life Is a Record” by Brandy Clark
● “Women in Music Pt. III” by HAIM
● “XOXO” by The Jayhawks
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