Philby 100 Best Albums of 2020

Better late than never?

I’d like to think so.

I always feel that everyone likes recognition for their work no matter when or how it occurs!

I am happy to announce that the Philby 100 Best Albums of 2020 is ready for release!

I’m in my own world on my own timetable, and right now I personally have a lot going on.

However, I like not being part of a year end stack of “best of” lists.

I also like that even I’m not sure when my lists are going to come out, and I’m the one who puts them together!


Just me and the music!

And it finally happened: I listened to less albums in 2020–but it took a pandemic to cause it.

One would think that under the circumstances I would have been able to listen to even more.

But just like everyone else, my habits and patterns were forced to change and that meant a little less music, for a lot of reasons which I won’t burden you about. `

I’m estimating that I probably listened to 2,000-2,500 albums.

That’s still pretty respectable.

The album list is based mostly upon releases from 2017-2020, but I have made some changes to the entries and expanded the opportunity for older, relatively unknown works to be eligible for the list.

The Philbys are more interested in brilliant musical achievement and not a yearly time stamp.

Therefore, this year’s lists goes back as far as 1970!

The emphasis will always be on fairly recent works, yet include room for a few “lost classics!”

Even with the pandemic, it was another incredible year for music!

In fact, recorded music was even more important to me than it has been in a long time!

I’ve probably listened to everything on this list at least ten times each on average!

In other words, these are my 100 choices out of, conservatively, 8,000-10,000 albums! (4 years x 2,000-2,500 albums per year!)

I always think of diamonds when I try to compare these works of art.

Each album, like a diamond, has its own unique brilliance, and a song on an album, as being similar to a facet of a diamond: it has to be held at the correct angle to reflect the most light. A song, in a similar vein, has to be listened to under the right circumstances to reflect its “light” or “brilliance!”

So without even further delay, these are the PHILBY 100 BEST ALBUM WINNERS for 2020!

Just remember that even at album 100, there are truly tens of thousands of albums on the other side of that number.

Each one is an artistic work of art, no matter what the genre is. The musicians were artists at the top of their game! Hope you find something you enjoy!

Philby 100 Best Albums of 2020

1. Stand Up!—Mollywop! [Best Album][Best R&B Album]]Best Funk Album][Best Neo-Soul Album][Best Reggae Album][Best Political Album][Best Dance Album][Best Political/Dance Album] [Best Drums, Best Bass Drum] [Best Guitar][Best Background Vocals]

2. The Darkness of Birds—Amy Petty [Best Female Americana/Pop Album] [Best Female Vocals] 

3. Fierce—Tracy Kash [Best Pop Album][Best Female Pop Vocal]
4. Scarecrow—Linden Thoburn [Best Folk Album][Best Female Folk Vocal][Best Arrangements]
5. Scenes From the Fragile, Agile Avian World—Erin Zindle [Best Solo Album]
6. Buffalo Motel—Judy Banker [Best Country/Folk Album]
7. Lost on the Range—The Whiskey Charmers [Best Alt/Country Album]
8. Seven Worthies…Of the Bamboo Grove—Becki Digregorio [Best Progressive Rock Album]
9. Earn Every Scar—The Steve Taylor 3 [Best Male Americana Album]
10. Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words—Nora Jane Struthers [Best Bluegrass/Rock Album]
11. Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday Soon—Jon Shain and FJ Ventre [Best Folk/Blues Album]
12. Listen to Crows—Ariane Lydon [Best Folk/Celtic Album]
13. Moon Over Havana—Wendy Webb [Best Female Jazz/Pop Album]
14. The Power, The Glory, and The Monkey Time Redux 2020—George S. Kelly [Best Blues Album][Best Horn Arrangements][Best “Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere Before?” Album][Best Album Title]
15. Live Split Vinyl: The Stereogum Sessions—Angela Perley/Erica Blinn [Best Split Album]
16. In Time—Rochelle Clark [Best Debut Album]
17. Here to This—Downriver Dan [Best Sophomore Blues Album]
18. A Little Pain Never Hurt—Dick Siegel [Best Almost Overlooked Album]
19. Transition—Eddie Arjun [Best Instrumental Album]
20. Garden of Earthly Delights: An XTC Celebration [Best Tribute Album] 
21. Out of the Blues—Boz Scaggs [Best Blues/R&B Album]
22. Prophetstown—The Joedai Warriors  [Best Story Songs] 
23. All That’s Real—Gathering Sparks [Best Canadian Americana Album]
24. Grievous Angel—Grievous Angel
25. Everyone Comes From Somewhere—Don Arbor
26. Echoes: Remembering The Music of Tom Petty—Various Artists
27. Steady Heart—Vicky Emerson
28. NOLA to New York—Jeff Scott [Best Male Jazz/Pop Album][Best Male Vocals]
29. Please Yourself—Michael on Fire
30. Almost Ready for the Future—Tom Curless and The 46% [Best Pop/Rock Album]
31. These Are Vitamins—Gladshot [Best Rock/Pop Album]
32. Lines and Spaces—Heather Pierson [Best Lyrics]
33. Asilomar—Fathom Lane
34. Can’t Take My Soul—Kelly’s Lot
35. High Times in the Dark—The Claudettes [Best Keyboards: Johnny Iguana]
36. The Landing—Katie Pederson
37. Silver City—Sarah Borges [Best Re Release] 
38. Indian Summer/Greater Heights—Walrus [Best Jazz/Rock Album]
39. Good Fortune—The  Forty Nineteens [Best Garage Rock Album]
40. All Mine—Sarah Morris
41. The Way It Rolls—Michael Kelsey
42. Songs of Hope in a Changing World—Eric Gnezda [Best Inspirational Album]
43. A Fragile Peace— Lucky Jr.
44. Quarantine Dream—Scott Martin [Best Homemade Album]
45. We Get By—Mavis Staples [Hall of Fame]
46. Red Sky Remembers—Gary Browe
47. Ultra Cloud—Xposed 4Heads  
48. Toward Home—Ellie Zwart
49. Addicted—Will Ludford
50. Singin’—The Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio
51. Boomerang—Your Gracious Host
52. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basketcase—Eliott Schneider
53. We Won’t Get Out of Here Alive—Transit Method [Best Hard Rock Album]
54. Never Trust the Living—Johnny Mastro and Mama’s Boys 
55. No Control—Alex Little and The Suspicious Minds [Best Rock Album]
56. Peculiar—The Slackers [Best Ska/Punk Album]
57. Tales of Whoa—Michael Snyder-Barker
58. November Rain—Steve Sterner and Sundown
59. Fight Another Day—Heathcote Hill
60. String Theory 2.0—Greezy Wheels
61. Wanderlust—Jillian Rae
62. Spirit of the Island—Makoto [Best World/Jazz Album] 
63. Time Hasn’t Changed You—Altameda
64. 12—Sloan
65. Copper Rooster and Other Tunes and Tales—Gina Forsyth [Best Fiddle Album]
66. My Own Magic—Liz E. Brooks [Best Album Cover]
67. Hollowed Sigh—Scott Baker
68. The Emmylous—The Emmylous
69. So Many Stars—Friction Farm
70. The Ballad of Billy Bob and Other Generic American Folklore—Barker and Broski [Best Comedy Music Album]
71. Don’t Look Back—Merlot Embargo
72. Simple Life—Nick Carter
73. Don’t Worry, It’s Not Contagious—Jeremy Porter
74. Light Magic—Strawberry Heritage
75. Now-A-Daze—Caleb Nettles
76. Cut Loose, Vol. 2—Mick Clarke [Best British Blues Album]
77. Bloodshot Red—Popular Creeps
78. Dancing Through the Storm—Amy Dixon-Kolar
79. Almost Extinct—Dirty Mind Detroit [Best Classic Rock Album]
80. The Open Sea Before Me—Joanna and The Jaywalkers
81. Revolutions and Romantics—Biltmore  
82. Fun and Fancy—Sundae and Mr. Goessl  [Best Jazz Duo]
83. The 7 Melodies—The Silver Snails [Best World/Pop Album]
84. Waterbound—Kevin Lockhart and Bill Bosler [Best Hammered Dulcimer]
85. The Quietest Place—Hannah Baiardi
86. Time and Truth—Joel Mabus
87. Fantastic Plastic—Flamin’ Groovies
88. Kill or Be Kind—Samantha Fish
89. Sundown Over Ghost Town—Eileen Jewell
90. Route 5—Jehova Waitresses
91. Blink—Rebecca Loebe
92. The Day After the Night Before—Terri Binion
93. No Drop of Love Is Ever Wasted—Valerie JanLois
94. 1932—Davy Knowles
95. In My Element—George Heritier
96. Transitions de Vie—Mary Ann Kirt
97. Ask Yo’ Mama—The Groovalottos
98. Lonesome City—Dave Karchner
99. Wading in the Lesser Middle—Tom Alter
100. Struggles and Love—Wattle and Daub
Here’s a section on submissions:

I am accepting entries for Philby consideration!

The album selections are made from a sliding four year pool of music.

The pool for 2021 is 2018-2021.

One of the reasons that I use a multiple year submission scale is that just getting music out to the world is sometimes difficult for an artist.

A lot of them are not really wired for self promotion.

Making music is totally different than drumming up interest in it, especially for independent musicians.

Yes, there are promoters that can help with that. And nothing against promoters because they have a role to play. But they cost money, and the artist already had to pay to record the music, and may not be prepared for the process of promoting it.

After looking at how some other independent awards are handled, I figured a four year window allows me enough time to serendipitously run across someone’s music.

I have told this story several times, but I try very hard to listen to everything that is submitted.

Although I work on my list, starting literally on January 1st, using a four year sliding window, I carry over some of what would qualify from the prior years.

So, if you’ve made some music dating back as far as 2018, I will accept that music for consideration.

If you have something older than 2018, send that, too, but identify the release date. I’m always looking for GREAT music.

For the Philbys, I’m looking for full albums.

However, if you only have a single, I’ll accept that, too. Don’t forget that I also have a Philby Hot Songs list, and more artists are releasing singles these days.

But please don’t send me an incomplete album if you have one.

So, please don’t edit for me.

I hate that and I might not even check out the item. I don’t know why anyone would only send selected songs instead of their whole work of art for consideration.

Please don’t send me links to listen to music. That’s not how I listen to music.  And I probably won’t listen to it if you send me a link to stream it. Either send me the album to download or request my mailing address to send a physical copy.

Every year I say that if your item came out later than May, it may not end up on this year’s list. So it’s possible that submissions entered now may only be considered for 2021. (It sounds so good to think of 2020 being finished!)

However, this year will be totally different than other years. I have not received any where near the amount of releases that I normally do.

It might be an excellent year to send a submission.

I will accept any genre of music. I like a variety of styles, even on the same album!

So, please e-mail your mp3s, and please make sure it is an mp3 only, to

If you want a physical address or have other questions, please e-mail me at the same address. Because selections will be considered for more than a single year, there isn’t an expiration date at the present.

If you want someone who will actually listen to your music, I am that person.

If you want some recognition for working hard and baring your soul, that might be me, too. I can’t make any promises, but I will listen to your music.

If you are reading this and are not a musician but know someone who is, please forward this to them.

Good luck to all who participate!

My weekly radio show “Theme Attic,” can be heard Wednesdays, 2P-4P ET!

The show can be heard on WHFR 89.3 FM in the Dearborn-Detroit area of Michigan, or it can be streamed with this link:!

It almost always includes a weekly countdown of my favorite albums or songs  and some shows feature two countdowns!

There’s plenty of other musical things to browse on my website!

Here’s the link to the complete history of all the Fave Albums:!

Here’s a link for the complete history of all the Fave Songs:!

Another list that you might find interesting is my list for “The Most Awesomest Songs of the Day”:!

If you’d like to know what I think are even better than the awesome songs, have a look at “The Greatest Songs Ever Recorded”:! Occasionally, an “awesome song” crosses over to become a “Greatest Song!”

My somewhat unusual Hall of Fame can be explored here:!

Lastly, but most importantly, is my Philby Awards link! A Philby is my annual award for outstanding musical achievement!!

If you like what you see, don’t forget to spread the word by hitting the “like” button on my Facebook page, Phil Maq!

#Philby #Philbys

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