Clint West’s Americana Plus: Best albums of 2024 so far?

The summer solstice has passed and the nights will start to draw in again, although thankfully quite slowly. July will soon be upon us. Yes, we’ve reached the halfway point of the year. That being the case, I thought it would be a good time to look back and take stock of the musical year and to broadcast my Top 20 Albums of the Year so far.

It’s been a good first six months, there have been some cracking albums released but the overriding thing that compiling my Top 20 has revealed is just how deep the quality is in 2024. I started off with a ‘long-list’ which consisted of 42 albums, any of which would not have been out of place in that Top 20 list. However, the whittling down had to be done and I found myself discarding very good releases by the likes of Charley Crockett, Chris Smither, John Moreland, Tim Easton and others. Such was my dilemma that I even considered moving the goalposts and making it a Top 25, but no I’d previewed it on the show as a Top 20 and a Top 20 it would remain. Instead, I decided to air a few ‘near misses’ before the actual run-down.

Despite the high standard of releases this year one disappointing aspect was the lack of new artists coming through. Spoiler alert, there are no debut albums in my final Top 20. My concern is not that there are no good up-and-coming artists out there, but it is becoming ever more difficult for them to break through both economically and in terms of making themselves heard. AUK does its bit in championing new artists, but the wider music industry is far more interested in promoting yesterday’s stars rather than tomorrow’s. The Eagles, with only ONE original member, recently played five nights at the new Co-op Arena in Manchester, capacity 23,500. Ticket prices I’m informed averaged around £200 with premium seats much more. Yet during that same run a very good and established performer, who I won’t name, drew around 40 people to a small venue show across Manchester, with a ticket price of less than £20. That really is a concern. If ‘known’ artists can’t fill small venues, then what chance do new ones have?

Oh, and why did the Eagles play five nights in Manchester, but none elsewhere in the UK, not even London? Well, it turns out that Irving Azoff, one of the founders of the Oak View Group that owns the venue, is also chairman of Full Stop Management with the Eagles amongst their clients. So rather than take the band to the people, the idea was clearly to make the people come to a venue that the chairman of their management company has a large financial stake in. The ultimate in corporate rock ‘n’ roll.

I very much hope that you will be able join me for my Top 20 albums of the year so far this Tuesday night. Will you be nodding approvingly? or shaking your head in sheer disbelief? Or possibly a bit of both.

‘Clint West’s Americana Plus’ is broadcast on every Tuesday from 8pm – 10pm or via the Rewind page a day or two later.

Listen back to last weeks show below:

About Clint West 327 Articles
From buying my first record aged 10 and attending my first gig at 14, music has been a lifelong obsession. A proud native of Suffolk, I have lived in and around Manchester for the best part of 30 years. My idea of a perfect day would be a new record arriving in the post in the morning, watching Ipswich Town win in the afternoon followed by a gig and a pint with my mates at night,
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Mike Ritchie

That’s my playlist plan my for Sunday, too, Clint. Wonder how many albums will feature in both?

Think I’ll have time for 25 but won’t play tracks in countdown order. Look forward to hearing your choices.