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WDIY's Top 10 Albums of July 2023

In the heat of the summer, WDIY's on-air hosts kept it cool in-studio with fantastic music on our airwaves. Here's a peak at what was truly the coolest; here's WDIY's top 10 most played-albums in July 2023! Our hosts play a wide variety of genres and styles, so check out the list to find your new favorite!

Want to hear something specific? Feel free to call WDIY's studio line with a request at 610-694-8100 x1 or leave your picks on our Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, or Threads pages.

Josh Ritter
Spectral Lines
Pytheas Recordings
April 28, 2023

Josh Ritter is someone who is simply meant to create. He released his last album only in 2019, and filled his pandemic times with painting and writing his second novel. In 2023, his creative flow pushed this Brooklyn-native singer-songwriter towards his seventh studio album. Josh seems to have two different influences for this record. In interviews, he’ll say it’s in dedication to his mother who passed away in March of 2021. That would explain the careful, thoughtful, sensible lyrics and the quiet, somber beauty of the album. However, the overall tone of the album is a bit too haunting to be solely about someone so dear to him. He takes you to many different places with no clues as to where you actually are, and there’s no set feeling of time in these spaces he takes us. If you zoom out, the album is more about life and death and space itself than anything else. A brief trip to his Bandcamp page will tell you, if you look hard enough, an anecdote about the golden phonograph disk we launched into space the year before he was born in a desperate attempt to see if anyone, anything out there was listening. To explain in simpler terms what his inspiration was and to quote the madman himself, “I hope you can use it when you’re looking for life, out there. I know I have.”


Raúl Malo
Say Less
Mono Mundo B
May 19, 2023

Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo Jr. has had a long career in and out of different groups; he was the lead singer and one of the principle writers for The Mavericks until the 2000s, had a brief stint with the Los Super Seven supergroup, filled his time in between with a solo career, and jumped back on board with The Mavericks when they reconnected in 2012. He has proven himself to be genre-defying and Grammy nominal and award-winning on multiple occasions. However, as a lead singer and masterful lyricist, he is the last person you would probably expect to put out an instrumental record. It was, however, a bucket list item for him that came out of an odd circumstance. He was creating the score for a documentary film that unfortunately never saw the light of day, but he found being forced to create purely instrumental tracks for another project (along with the free time that came with the pandemic) was the perfect excuse to finally just do it. Not one lyric came to his mind while writing these riffs and melody lines. And when asked why it felt like the right time to release it, he says, simply put: "Because it was finished. Do you really need a better reason than that?"


Van Morrison
Moving on Skiffle
Virgin Music
March 10, 2023

After two heavy-hitting albums of political ranting about lockdowns, Van Morrison appears to have got everything off his chest and gone back to his basics. His newest record is 23 covers of early country, gospel, folk, and blues songs that he first encountered at Belfast’s Atlantic Records during the skiffle craze of 1956–57. It only seems fair that such an old music genre and an old crooner cross paths again in 2023. This is, after all, the 44th studio album by the Northern Irish singer-songwriter. The 90-minute record, despite the beastly length, feels like a moment of peace after two intense albums; Moving on Skiffle is light and lively, an easy record to enjoy.


Tedeschi Trucks Band
I Am the Moon: I. Crescent
Swamp Family Music LLC
June 3, 2022

The fifth studio release by Tedeschi Trucks Band is considered by many to be the most ambitious and yet somehow intimate work that rock and roll big band has ever made. It embodies an old-world epic in size and scale; this series contains four albums and 24 original songs inspired by classical literature of days old and the drama, isolation, and pain of the modern pandemic era. In May 2020, two months after the band was forced off the road by lockdown, vocalist Mike Mattison sent an email to the rest of the band with some pandemic reading assignments. The poems and stories became the foundation of the lyricism for this record series.


The Lone Bellow
Love Songs for Losers
Dualtone Music Group
November 4, 2022

The newest work from The Lone Bellow is an album about losers by losers. It’s a homage to the anti-heroes and the underdogs in the world, spare for the few songs that lead vocalist Zach Williams penned for his wife. In a departure from their past work with producers like Aaron Dessner of The National and eight-time Grammy-winner Dave Cobb, the Nashville-based trio struck out on their own for their new album. Recorded at the possibly haunted former home of the legendary Roy Orbison, the result is a meditation on the pain and joy, triumph, and tribulation, and all of the simple pleasures that comes with being human.


Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
Southeastern Records
June 9, 2023

Weathervanes is the ninth studio album released by the multi-talented Jason Isbell, and is the sixth accompanied by his backing band, the 400 Unit. Isbell wrote the tracks while starring in Martin Scorsese's 2023 upcoming Western cop drama Killers of the Flower Moon. With his legacy being a god-tier lyricist and singer-songwriter, this newest record is no exception. Influenced by obviously the pandemic and his time on set, most of the songs tonally try to grapple with very “adult” concepts that we’re used to hearing in songs, but with the Jason Isbell twist; he even mentions on his Bandcamp page how he hopes some of these songs make you cry alone in your car. As for the specific influences from the set, he was moved by watching a master in a different field perfect his craft and his art. Isbell was blown away by both how intricate and finely tuned Scorsese’s eye and vision was while also taking input and suggestions from his cast on something he seemed so in-control of. Also, another aspect of inspiration for a song or two was the actual subject matter of the movie; being the south in heritage and culture and working on such a controversial and political movie, he writes along with his “adult” concepts about how nostalgia for many people is a weapon and an abomination.


Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton
Death Wish Blues
Rounder Records
May 19, 2023

The first-ever collaborative album from Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton (not counting their 2022 EP) and produced by the legendary Jon Spencer, Death Wish Blues is born from a shared passion for pushing the limits and bending the rules of blues music. Death Wish Blues melds their eclectic tastes into a tracklist of songs both emotionally potent and wildly contagious that helps fulfill their shared longtime mission of opening up the blues genre to entirely new audiences. And in a genre built upon the foundation of collaboration, there’s something to be said about upholding a tradition so deeply embedded in your community while still finding a way to turn it on its head. It was recorded during a 10-day period at Applehead Recording & Production located in Woodstock, New York. This is Kansas City native Samantha Fish’s 12th album as well as her fourth collaborative one. As for the Texas native Jesse Dayton, along with an impressive resumé of guitar features for the stars, this is his 17th album to date.


Parker Millsap
Wilderness Within You
Okrahoma Records
May 12, 2023

Even though his soulful rock sound earned him Album of the Year nomination from the Americana Music Honors & Awards in 2016, Parker Millsap saw the nomination as more of a challenge to branch out and continue to change rather than an encouragement to stay the same. While the foundation is still the same, his sixth album features more tape loops, electronic beats, synths, and other technological new wave influences than we might be used to. But it’s still not a heavy and futuristic record. Where the Americana singer-songwriter was previously looking outward, especially with his 2018 album Other Arrangements, he's looking within himself on this 2023 album, favoring acoustic instruments and pastoral arrangements. Despite purists who may disagree, the slight shift in sound can come as a welcome, satisfying left turn from a singer-songwriter who never quite follows a straight path.


Eilen Jewell
Get Behind the Wheel
Signature Sounds
May 5, 2023

Sometimes, it really does get worse before it gets better. Eilen Jewell had a rougher pandemic than most of us; her marriage to her partner, drummer, and co-manager fell apart and she was left with a small portion of a music career and a small child to care for while the world seemingly fell apart around her as well. She dealt with this by doing what a lot of us wish we could do and ran off to a cabin in the woods to deliberate on what her next step in life would be, debating if she even wanted to create music anymore. After four years and lots of hikes in Idaho, she decided to come back with something to prove. Her most recent studio album produced by Will Kimbrough is eleven tracks of what she calls “roots-noir” blended with more psychedelic, spacious arrangements. She rounds out with a five-minute track and a backward tape-enhanced finish with the words, “Oh, you crazy, crazy heart. You have to break before you can bend. And to top it all off, despite the divorce, the band is still together and trying to make it work.


Bruce Cockburn
O Sun O Moon
True North Records
May 12, 2023

O Sun O Moon is the Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn's latest studio album. Recently released, it’s a collection of 12 original songs that demonstrate songwriting and guitar-playing skills from more than 55 years of artistry and mastery. Along with the musical chops, Cockburn also uses his wisdom and age to write almost exclusively uplifting songs that tackle topics from politics and human rights to the environment and spirituality. Right before his triumphant 78th birthday, he reminds us why he is so well loved. Since his self-titled debut in 1970, he has won 13 Juno Awards, 22 assorted gold and platinum records, an induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, been made an Officer of the Order of Canada, among many other accolades.

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