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WDIY's Top 10 Albums of January 2024

New year means new opportunities and new albums to put on our top 10 ranks! We have a whole new calendar year to fill up with your favorites!

Want to hear something specific for the new year? 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.

Rickie Lee Jones
Pieces of Treasure
BMG/Modern Recordings
April 28, 2023

In her 15th studio album, Rickie Lee Jones celebrates a reunion with her lifelong friend and tried and true coworker, legendary producer Russ Titelman. Traditionally a jazz singer, Jones has never quite leaned into the title as much as she has before; the newest record is 10 covers from the Great American Songbook. While that in itself isn’t a very revolutionary concept as lots of talented performers have taken on the task before her, none have done it quite like Jones has. It’s not a retro flashback or a trip down 1970s nostalgia, but instead a more modern arrangement fashioned with Jones’ timeless vocals. The album was recorded at Sear Sound during a five-day stint in New York City, and you can hear the fast-paced and urban beat of the city move and breathe in all 10 songs.


Lucinda Williams
Stories from a Rock n’ Roll Heart
Highway 20 Records
June 30, 2023

The triumphant 15th studio album by the American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams comes as a sort of victory lap: in the past three years, the legendary rocker has survived a tornado, a pandemic, and a stroke. Even though she can’t play guitar as a result of the stroke, she refuses to go down without a fight. She played more shows in 2022 than she has any year since 2017, except now she has a support team for touring and collaborating on songwriting instead of doing it all on her own. Her newfound love of being in the studio and working with other creatives has influenced her workflow so much that the sequel to this record is already done and set to release sometime in 2024


Nellie McKay
Hey Guys, Watch This
Hungry Mouse Records
August 28, 2023

Nellie McKay has been graced with a reasonable amount of success in her lifetime; since her debut record ‘Get Away from Me,’ she has released a number of well-received albums and collaborated with a long list of other famous singers and performers. Her music has been used on radio, in TV shows, movies, and even on Broadway. And she’s even something of a hometown hero, splitting her childhood and teenage years between Harlem and the Pocono mountains (while having dual citizenship here and in London). Keeping that in mind, this is her first release in a whopping 13 years and shows her history and life experience better than any biography can. The album was recorded with a parade of musical comrades in Charleston, West Virginia and with some credits of being recorded in Saylorsburg and East Stroudsburg here in Pennsylvania.


Rodrigo y Gabriella
In Between Thoughts, A New World
ATO Records
April 21, 2023

Some of us picked up new hobbies during the pandemic, some of us took some time off and rested, or maybe even were deemed an essential worker and labored the whole lockdown. For lead guitarist Rodrigo Sánchez, he found a new belief system. Without turning this into a college-level philosophy course, his new spirituality of nondualism means everything we are and everyone around us are connected by one single consciousness. New spiritual beliefs also lead us to a bit of a newer sound for these two. They have expanded beyond their traditional two-guitar and usually stripped down sound in favor of something more electronic, also more orchestral, and overall experimental than before. Sánchez also dons an electric guitar this time for the entire record while Gabriela Quintero holds down the proverbial fort with an acoustic guitar still. This was self-produced in Ixtapa, Mexico, and is the duo’s first full-length album in four years and sixth album in their career.


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. 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.


The Parkington Sisters
Parkington Sisters/Sissy Fit Music
September 18, 2023

Five decades after their parents met over music, these unironically musically-inclined sisters give us their third full-length album. As if they were literally put on earth to make more music, the youngest sister out of three recently joined on board to help add to their ageless transcendent sound. Now, anyone out there with sisters is most likely blown away at the ability of three sisters to work together in such close quarters without quarrels; no matter how much you love them, sisters still have a particular fashion of fighting. While they admit they aren’t perfect, they also relish in being able to make music under such a unique dynamic. But Collide is truly a celebration of sibling unity. It’s different from the sisters’ previous albums, on the premise of their compositions simply being less collaborative than this one. For Collide, Rose, Sarah, and Ariel wrote songs together every step of the way. They all wrote from their different viewpoints about similar things so sonically and lyrically, everything is in harmony.


Taj Mahal
Stony Plain
April 28, 2023

Taj Mahal is often considered a still-living legend for his contributions to pop music, despite not really making what we would think of as pop music. With a voice that, to many, is as recognizable as Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, or Dr. John, Taj (or Henry St. Claire Fredericks Jr.) has throughout his career pushed the envelope of Americana music by blending traditions with Caribbean, African, traditional blues, and jazz. He has won 4 Grammys from 15 nominations, was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, and presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association. As the title of his newest record would assume you to believe, it’s a tribute to Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom and of the swing jazz big band era from the New York stomping grounds he was born from.


Van Morrison
Accentuate the Positive
November 3, 2023

This is the 45th studio album by the Northern Irish singer-songwriter. Yes, 45th album. What do you expect from someone who’s been making music and performing since the 1960’s? This is also his second album in 2023, following hand-in-hand with Moving On Skiffle, released in March. Just like its older sibling, Accentuate The Positive sees Van Morrison returning to one of his fondest childhood musical memories. While the last record was obviously all about skiffle (check out some of our older monthly articles to read more about it since it has been featured before), this time is all about rock n’ roll. Growing up in Belfast after World War II, Van Morrison was immensely inspired by the heady sounds of 20th century blues and rock n’ roll.


Eli “Paperboy” Reed
Hits and Misses
Yep Roc Records
October 20, 2023

Eight albums deep in a nearly two-decade career, the earliest tracks on Reed’s Hits And Misses were made as early as 2009, following Reed’s career-launching album, ‘Roll With You.’ The latest recordings were one in 2020, just before the release of his critically acclaimed album of Merle Haggard songs, ‘Down Every Road.’ Now, after all this time, we have a remastered collection of originals and covers from a variety of decades and genres. Due to how spread out the production was, the 11-track album even has features previously only available as 45 rpm singles at the merch table during Reed’s international tours.


dBpm Records
September 29th, 2023

Cousin is the thirteenth studio album from the American indie rock band, and is the first time since 2009 that they chose to bring in an outsider; Cate Le Bon produced their newest record. The Welsh musician and producer encouraged the band against live in-studio recording methods and instead pushed them to record their instrumentals individually. The union between the two creatives came about in the most authentic way, with their paths crossing at a live performance and a genuine connection forming. Wilco singer-guitarist Jeff Tweedy asked her on board, and once she accepted the offer, they exchanged upwards of 30 different demo tracks before committing to 14 to bring to the studio. Recorded in the band’s legendary Chicago studio, The Loft, over two years, we also see them start to part ways with a more country-informed sound and return to their tried and true progressive and experimental rock roots.

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