Our Album of the Year and Artist of the Year

(December 21, 2015) It is always fun at the end of each year to celebrate the best of that year.  And, 2015 had a lot of great music.

Each year we gather our music critics to pick their favorites, which are posted on pages linked below. In addition, though, our Music Editor, L. Michael Gipson, and Publisher, Chris Rizik give special recognition to singular artists and albums that made 2015 something special. And this year was more difficult than most to choose a single project or artist. But, choose they did, and below are their picks for the Artist of the Year and the Album of the Year. Congratulations to these artists and thank you for making our 2015 that much better.

(December 21, 2015) It is always fun at the end of each year to celebrate the best of that year.  And, 2015 had a lot of great music.

Each year we gather our music critics to pick their favorites, which are posted on pages linked below. In addition, though, our Music Editor, L. Michael Gipson, and Publisher, Chris Rizik give special recognition to singular artists and albums that made 2015 something special. And this year was more difficult than most to choose a single project or artist. But, choose they did, and below are their picks for the Artist of the Year and the Album of the Year. Congratulations to these artists and thank you for making our 2015 that much better.

See also:
30 Best Soul Albums of the Year 
50 Best Soul Songs of the Year

Publisher's Picks

Album of the Year: Kwabs: Love +War -- Ghana born, England raised Kwabena Adjepong, aka Kwabs, has been teasing for a few years with well placed songs and videos, building up for his first full length CD, Love + War. And what a debut it is. Boasting a voice that sounds like Johnny Gill meets Arthur Prysock, Kwabs uses those pipes on a collection of exquisitely written pieces bathed in arrangements that borrow from sounds as diverse as African rhythms and New Jack Swing.  The result is an album of all-hits-no-misses, one that I haven't been able to take off of repeat for two months now. Unfortunately, Love+War is only available in the US as an import, but it is worth every penny of the $17 you'll plop down at Amazon. 

 

Artist of the Year: Portland -- It may seem odd to choose an entire town as the Artist of the Year, but Rip City proved itself to be a surprise new entry in the world of soul music. With an emerging soul scene led by artists like Jarrod Lawson, Ronnie and Tahirah Memory joining longtime faves Liv Warfield and Esperanza Spalding, the previously quiet city south of Seattle made 2015 something special, with the compilation Bespeak Love holding center court. It reminds us again that great soul music can come from unexpected places. We think there is a lot more to come form Portland, and we can't wait to hear it.

 

Editor's Picks

Album of the Year: The Rebirth: Being Thru The Eyes Of A ChildMusical adventurousness is always dicey, but perhaps never more so than when a decade has passed since a new band’s critically-acclaimed debut and their sophomore project is among the most anticipated in soul. So it was both a relief and a joy to listen to The Rebirth’s full-blooded comeback project and find one that is constantly moving, challenging, and engaging the unexpected, delivering one of the freshest, thrilling, and surprising treats of 2015 and for the rest of our listening days.   

Artist of the Year: Tony Momrelle - His supple, resonance rich tenor with its hints of Wonder and Hathaway has been bringing smiles for nearly 20 years, whether as a frontman or featured vocalist with Incognito, Reel People, Brand New Heavies, or Lungau Big Band, or as the supporting vocalist for Sade, M-Swift, or D’Sound. However, as a soloist he always seemed to be an artist on the verge. Then came Keep Pushing, an exuberant, passionately rendered classic soul project with an indefatigable belief in love, its hope in and for humanity a welcome antidote to the pervasive cynicism in contemporary music and the world that music reflects. Coupled with a new bevy of sterling dance remixes for Reel People and Papa Records, made 2015 the breakthrough year for Tony Momrelle: Solo Star. 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment!