The Acoustic Yard Songs Of The Year 2020
1. Matt McGinn - Annie ( Many Moons Ago )
Co.Down songwriter Matt McGinn has of late been writing some of his best songs. His album ‘Lessons of War’ catapulted him to gold medal status. His recent song ‘Annie (Many Moons Ago) popped into our lockdown psyche during the summer. A song that reflects his storytelling brilliance and dares you from start to finish to hold back a tear. A beautiful song with a wonderful cinematic journey that captures the heart strings and hurt of separation. Wonderful.
2. Rachel Grace - Cry Me An Ocean
It always astonishes me how young singer songwriters of today can capture the mood of generations past. Wexford artist Rachel Grace has a natural voice that never imitates but celebrates all the great soul singers of the past like Arethea Franklin, Annie Lennox, Amy Winehouse and Mary J Blige. Yes she’s that good and remarkably she’s only 18. She not only has a fabulous voice but she is also a multi instrumentalist as well. Her latest single ‘Cry Me An Ocean’ is packed full of Gospel fun. 2021 has already found its star.
3. Lee Rogers - Silent Song
‘Silent Song’ has a shuffle beat, a quality vocal and a chorus the grabs your soul, Lee Rogers knows how to put these ingredients together to make one of the highlights of 2020. Another Belfast gem with class oozing out of every beat, he quickly followed it with ‘Haunted’, another song that could have quite easily made my top ten.
4. Hometime - The Sound of Heartbreak
Welcome to the 1980’s and the ‘Sound of Heartbreak’ from Dubliner Tony Kavanagh. Tony manages to capture the decade with the right amount of catchy melodies and synth noise straight out of Human League and early Depeche Mode text books. A feel good song that came out at the right time in 2020. It just needed a dance floor.
5. Kynsy - Cold Blue Light
Finally a singer with attitude, move over pretenders and wannabes - Kynsy is here. ‘Cold Blue Light’ is fabulous, touches of Bowie, a power house chorus and screaming guitars over a melodic beat. This should be in everyone’s playlist.
6. The Zen Arcade - Don’t Say A Word
Do you remember when the legendary BBC DJ John Peel played Teenage Kicks by the Undertones twice in a row on his show? This is exactly what I wanted to do with ‘Don’t say a Word’ by The Zen Arcade. A band that was created from the remnants of the popular band ‘The Strokes’. This song is just 2.30 mins of high octane bliss!
7. Joe Chester - Nothing at the end
I guess when Joe Chester was recording ’Nothing at the End’ that he didn’t want it to end. The song sits on the audio waves, surfing for over 6 minutes yet never falling off. This has simplicity yet brilliance. It’s been a productive year with Joe including his work with ‘A Lazarus Soul’.
8. Pearse McGloughlin and the Nocturnes - Focus
The smooth vocals from Sligo singer songwriter Pearse McGloughlin made ‘Focus’ one of the top songs of the year for me. Along with his unassuming and non invasive band ‘The Nocturnes’ this glorious piece of pop art help make a nervous summer a melodious one.
9. Mary Greene - All The Ones That Came Before Us
‘All The Ones That Came Before Us’ is a piece of plaintive beauty. If Loretta Lynn lived in Cork she’d be living next door to Mary Greene. As part of the successful family band ‘Greenshine’ Mary popped out on her own during the year to remember the ones that came before us.. They’ll be hard to forget after this beauty of a song.
10.The Plainest Truth - The Drift
The Plainest Truth popped up in my mailbox with little or no fanfare. Two wonderful singers Joe Harney and Aisling Browne with extraordinary voices immediately grabbed my attention. Possibly my most played song of 2020, ‘The Drift’ has a beautiful chorus that melts the airwaves and has quickly added me as a fan of their music. I’m looking forward to an album in 2021. A praying emoji needed here.
Singer/songwriter David Dee Moore celebrates 40 years of music-making having spent the last 20 years playing in the West of Ireland especially in Matt Molloy’s bar (The Chieftains) to packed audiences with his rhythmic foot stomping set and he recently played at the Westport Arts Festival, the Belfast/Nashville festival and a series of select Irish venues.
Dee is a selfless promoter of Irish based singer, songwriters, he presents two radio shows on Blues & Roots Radio ( The Acoustic Yard and Celtic Starfish ), he is a music reviewer and founder of The Acoustic Yard Festival and Events in Westport, County Mayo.