Top 10 Albums of 2023 – Greg Schultz’s Picks

My list starts with maybe Country Music’s somewhat best kept secret, Brennen Leigh. Hailing from North Dakota and honing her craft in the bars and Honky Tonks of Texas Leigh now residides in Nashville, Tennesse. Her songs have been covered by the likes of Rodney Crowell, Lee Ann Womack and Charlie Crockett amongst many others and after 10 plus albums her latest release, “Ain’t Through Honky Tonkin’ Yet” harkens back to the 1960’s and the golden age of Country Music. Check out Leigh’s funny little ditty, “Carole With An E”, her ode to the great trucker songs of the 60’s ala Red Simpson. The album is drenched with some of Country Music’s best musicians including Rodney Crowell, Marty Stewart and Chris Scruggs (who also produced the record) and includes Leigh’s own sizzling guitar work. Even if you are not a Country Music fan, give this one a spin. I think you will be glad you did.

3x Grammy nominated Jason Alexander is a Bali born composer-pianist who in 2015 at the age of 12 years old was brought to NYC by Wynton Marsalis to perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Alexander moved to NYC shortly after his visit and since has released 3 albums and has performed for both President’s Obama and Clinton and at such iconic venues as Carnegie Hall and The Apollo Theatre. His latest release, “Continuance” is an amazing collection of mostly original compositions (all but 2) that fully display his piano playing brilliance. I was particularly moved by Alexander’s own composition “Blue”, which could have been written in the late 50’s and features the Donald Byrd-like trumpet playing of Theo Croker. Simply put, Jason Alexander is a young master Jazz pianist you will be hearing from for years to come.

Allison Russell continues to amaze me with her incredible range of musical prowess along with her impeccable song writing and vocals skills. Her latest album, “The Returner” is full of beautifully orchestrated tunes that incorporate elements of gospel, soul, rock, folk and even disco. Take a listen to “Stay Right Here” and you can’t help but want to get up and dance around the room. She is a major talent and a musical force to be reckoned with so give her a listen.

Artist Album Label
1 Brennen Leigh Ain’t Through Honky Tonkin’ Yet
Signature Sounds Recordings
2 Joey Alexander Continuance Mack Avenue Records
3 Allison Russell The Returner Birds of Chicago LLC
4 Bobby Rush All My Love For You Deep Rush Records
5 Rhiannon Giddens You’re The One Nonesuch Records
6 Danny O’Keefe Circular Turns Sunset Blvd Records
7 Son Volt Day of Doug Transmit Sounds
8 Corey Ledet Zycedco Medikamen
Nouveau Electric Records
9 Logan Ledger Golden State Ronder Records
10 Sue Foley Live In Austin Texas Guitar Woman, LLC
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