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KSUT show hosts and staff share their top music picks of 2021

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Year-end lists are everywhere, including at KSUT!

Our staff is made up of passionate music fans. We love sharing new releases with you, through our daily Music Blends and specialty shows.

Now, it's time to look back on the year in music. Here's what excited us in 2021!

- - -

Chris Aaland; Development Director, Tales of the New West host

  • The Flatlanders - Treasure of Love
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raise the Roof
  • Yola - Stand for Myself
  • Various Artists - Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: The Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2
  • Charley Crockett - Music City USA
  • Barry Gibb, Greenfields - The Gibb Brothers’ Songbook, Vol. 1
  • Tim O’Brien - He Walked On
  • Mark O’Connor - Markology II
  • Leftover Salmon - Brand New Good Old Days
  • Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming

Honorable mentions:

  • Valerie June - The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers
  • John Hiatt & The Jerry Douglas Band - Leftover Feelings
  • Infamous Stringdusters - A Tribute to Bill Monroe
  • Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - Georgia Blue
  • Billy Strings - Renewal
  • Bela Fleck - My Bluegrass Heart
  • Vincent Neil Emerson - Vincent Neil Emerson
  • Shannon McNally - The Waylon Sessions
  • Sturgill Simpson - The Ballad of Dood & Juanita

Favorite Colorado/Regional releases:

  • Greg Schochet - Amblin’ Man
  • Genuine Cowhide - All Roads Lead to Colorado
  • Cody Tinnin - Perennial

Susie B; Music Blend host

  • Dar Williams - I'll Meet You Here
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raise the Roof
  • Sue Foley - Pinky's Blues
  • Valerie June - The Moon & Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers
  • Ani Difranco - Revolutionary Love
  • Jon Batiste - WE ARE
  • Angelique Kidjo - Mother Nature
  • Rising Appalachia - The Lost Mystique of Being in the Know
  • Edie Brickell (single) - My Power
  • Paula Fuga - Rain on Sunday

Honorable mentions:

  • Jackson Browne - Downhill From Everywhere
  • Moby w/Gregory Porter & Amythyst Kiah - Natural Blues (single)
  • Black Pumas w/Lucius - Strangers (single)

Jim Belcher; Morning Edition host, Strange Brew host

  • Paul McCartney - McCartney III
  • Steven Wilson - The Future Bites
  • Lake Street Dive - Obviously
  • Tash Sultana - Terra Firma
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela - The Jazz EP
  • David Crosby – For Free
  • Anoushka Shankar – Love Letters P.S.
  • Prince – Welcome to America
  • Jake Shimabukuro – Jake & Friends
  • Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point (single)

Robb Brantley; Business Manager, Music Blend host

  • Big Red Machine - Phoenix
  • Billy Strings - Fire Line
  • Sierra Ferrell - Bells of Every Chapel
  • Alisa Amador - Timing
  • Valerie June - Call Me A Fool
  • Samantha Fish - Better Be Lonely
  • Heartless Bastards - How Low
  • Gary Louris - Almost Home
  • Barry Gibb & Alison Krauss - Too Much Heaven
  • Yola - Stand For Myself

Honorable mentions:

  • Charley Crockett – I Need Your Love
  • Hayes Carll - You Get it All
  • Olivia Vedder - My Father’s Daughter
  • Bamboos - Piece Of Me
  • Amythyst Kiah - Black Myself
  • Courtney Barnett - Rea Street
  • Shinyribs- Sweetening
  • Rhiannon Giddens - Waterbound
  • Oliver Wood - Alabaster
  • Sting - Rushing Water

Ken Brott, Station Manager, Program Director, kuni Náshwa host

  • Heartless Bastards – A Beautiful Life
  • Valerie June – The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers
  • Rising Appalachia – The Lost Mystique of Being in the Know
  • Helado Negro – Far In
  • The Bamboos – Hard Up
  • Anoushka Shankar – Love Letters P.S.
  • Tony Allen – There Is No End
  • Angelique Kidjo – Mother Nature
  • Bomba Estéreo – Deja
  • Yola – Stand For Myself

Mark Duggan, Digital Content Manager

Mark's top picks come from Box of Visions, a streaming music show he produces for Radio Rethink.

  • Portico Quartet – Monument
  • The Connells – Steadman's Wake
  • Joan as Police Woman, Tony Allen, Dave Okumu – The Solution is Restless
  • Steven Wilson – The Future Bites
  • Julian Lage – Squint
  • Black Keys – Delta Kream
  • Pat Metheny – Side-Eye NYC
  • Arooj Aftab – Vulture Prince
  • Slowly Rolling Camera – Where the Streets Lead
  • Sons of Kemet – Black to the Future

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Georgia Blue
  • Ìxtahuele – Dharmaland
  • Don Letts – Love Will Tear Us Apart (Full Vocal Dub) (single)
  • Omar Coleman – Strange Times (single)
  • All India Radio, Yin – Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun (single)
  • Wax Tailor, Mark Lanegan – Just a Candle (single)
  • Kamasi Washington – Sun Kissed Child (single)

Tami Graham; Executive Director, Music Blend host

  • Heartless Bastards - A Beautiful Life
  • Joy Oladokun - In Defense of My Own Happiness
  • The Bamboos - Hard Up
  • Rising Appalachia - The Lost Mystique of Being in the Know
  • Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud + 3
  • Dee Dee Bridgewater - Memphis, I'm Ready
  • Khruangbin & Leon Bridges - Texas Moon
  • Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats - Face Down in the Moment
  • Billy Strings - Renewal
  • Yola - Stand For Myself

Bob Hemenger; Close Enough For Jazz host

  • Mark Lettieri - Magnetar
  • Kurt Elling, Charlie Hunter - SuperBlue
  • Skyler Floe - Abstraction
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith - Breathe
  • Cory Wong - Cory and the Wong Notes
  • Jeff Lorber Fusion - Space-time
  • Gregory Porter - Still Rising (The Collection)
  • Orrin Evans - The Magic of Now
  • Kenny Garrett - Sounds from the Ancestors
  • Dumpstaphunk - Where Do We Go From Here

JJ Hirt; Down Home Girl host

  • Bela Fleck – My Bluegrass Heart
  • Billy Strings – Renewal
  • Justin Moses – Fall Like Rain
  • AJ Lee and Blue Summit – I’ll Come Back
  • Rick Faris – The Next Mountain
  • Della Mae – Family Reunion
  • East Nash Grass – East Nash Grass
  • Rhonda Vincent – Music is What I See
  • Balsam Range – Moxie and Mettle
  • Adeline – Adeline

Jessica Kirwan, Underwriting Manager

  • Ani DeFranco – Do or Die
  • Tim O’Brien – He Walked On
  • Durand Jones – Witchoo
  • Brandi Carlile – Broken Horses
  • Lake Street Dive- Hypotheticals
  • Matisyahu – Chameleon
  • Sting – Rushing Water
  • Billy Strings – In the Morning Light
  • The Bamboos – Hard Up
  • Bakar – The Mission

Stasia Lanier; Music Director, Digital Editor, San Juan Sunrise host

  • Jon Batiste - We Are
  • Yola - Stand For Myself
  • Heartless Bastards - A Beautiful Life
  • Valerie June - The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers
  • Bela Fleck - My Bluegrass Heart
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raise the Roof
  • The Bamboos - Hard Up
  • Helado Negro - Far In
  • Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams
  • Angelique Kidjo - Mother Earth

Honorable mentions:

  • Lake Street Dive - Obviously
  • Charley Crockett - Music City USA
  • Leftover Salmon - Brand New Good Old Days
  • Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi - They're Calling Me Home
  • Various Artists - Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine

Rob Rawls, Broadcast Operations Manager, Barrelhouse Blues host

Top Blend Songs

  • Jon Batiste – Freedom
  • Macy Gray & D’Sound – Save Some
  • Sierra Ferrell – The Sea
  • Shannon McNally – Ain’t Living Long Like This
  • Ben Harper & Ziggy Marley – Spin It Faster
  • Jimmy Cliff – Human Touch
  • St. Paul & The Broken Bones – The Last Dance
  • Adia Victoria – You Was Born To Die
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Can’t Let Go
  • Paul Fuga – If Ever

Top Barrelhouse Blues albums

  • Black Keys – Delta Kream
  • Jon Batiste – We Are
  • Samantha Fish – Faster
  • Dion – Stomping Ground
  • Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – 662
  • Teresa James – Rose Colored Glasses
  • Sue Foley – Pinky’s Blues
  • Eric Clapton – Lady in The Balcony
  • Ledisi – Ledisi Sings Nina
  • Gregory Porter – Still Rising
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