Best Albums 2022

Music moves us; see what got us going in 2022.

Music can be so personal, but it also has the great ability to bring people together. See the albums from local artists and (inter)national ones—who toured in Virginia this year (or the next)—that have impressed us with how they create music and connect with listeners through it. From Blues and Classical to Jazz and Country, we’ve chosen a variety of 2022 releases that are uplifting but also make us reflect. 


Keb’ Mo’

Good to Be…

Blues master and multi-Grammy winner Keb’ Mo’s 2022 release is full of life and love. He sings about his past and looks forward to what’s next. No matter what tempo or style (blues, R&B, or country) Mo’ plays, he can win audiences with just a single guitar string.

– “’62 Chevy”

– “So Easy”

– “So Good To Me”

(At The Birchmere in Alexandria on February 20-21, 2023.)


Catherine Russell

Send for Me

Her last album (Alone Together, 2019) was a fun and jazzy throwback with a modern twist. This time, Russell continues the sonic trend of mixing some cajun influence in, allowing for both upbeat tracks and smoother, softer songs that show off her svelte voice. 

– “Send For Me”

– “At the Swing Cats Ball”

– “Sticks and Stones”

(Recently at The University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts on April 8, 2022)


Angel Olsen

Big Time

The singer-songwriter’s sixth studio album blends jazz, pop, and rock as she explores the Americana soundwaves. Not only has she matured, but she has given us a personal view of her as an artist.

– “All the Good Times”

– “Big Time”

– “Right Now”

(At The National in Richmond on February 10, 2023.)


Hilary Hahn

Eclipse

Lexington-born violinist Hilary Hahn has made a name for herself and has hit her stride with this album which almost didn’t happen because of the pandemic. Featuring Argentian composer Ginastera, Spain-born Pablo de Sarasate, and the French-via-Poland Dvorak, the release is dramatic and sensual all at once.


Eliane Elias

Quietude

Not only does Elias excel at the piano (her improv is sensational), but she sings like she’s dancing—bossa nova all the way. Many of the tracks take the form of a duet, showing off her delicate touch. Following her Grammy-winning release with Chick Corea, Elias continues to show the music of Brazil with flair.

– “Tim-Tim Por Tim-Tim”

– “Só Tinha De Ser Com Você”

– “Bolinha De Papel”

(Recently at The Barnes at Wolf Trap in Vienna on Nov. 5, 2022)


Madison Cunningham

Revealer

In the great tradition of singer-songwriters, Cunningham makes music her own but also pays attention to those who’ve come before her. There’s a hardness to her at times that’s refreshing (they all can’t be dreamy and soft-voiced). With subtle reverb and a touch of folk/country, these are songs to listen to on repeat.

– “All I’ve Ever Known”

– “Sunshine Over the Counter”

– “Who Are You Now”

(Recently at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville on October 22, 2023.)


Morgan Wade

Acoustic Sessions

See our Artist Spotlight: Here

(At The National in Richmond on April 16, 2023)


Barrie

Barbara

Well, Barrie’s first project as a one-woman band sounds like someone wandering in familiar territory but discovering something new and exciting. Soft surprises appear in the music: reminders of her previous album blend seamlessly with new ideas of expression. It’s dream-pop (Indie, Ambient/Alternative-rock vibes) with a bit more bite.

– “Jenny”

– “Frankie”

– “Jersey”

(Recently at The Norva in Norfolk on May 7, 2022.)


Beth Orton

Weather Alive

This English singer-songwriter plays with folk melded with electronica. She has a soft voice but she speaks—or rather sings—volumes about love, loss, and life. She digs into her memories and turns out tunes, creating an atmosphere of great thought and complexity in simple ways.

– “Weather Alive”

– “Forever Young”

– “Lonely”

(Recently at Sixth & I in D.C. on November 1, 2022)


Chad Lawson

breathe

From more romantic Chapin-esque compositions to dreamy works that are sparse to some that sound inspired by Studio Ghibli films, Lawson has brought the piano (accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) into a luscious space of contemplation and relaxation.

– “irreplaceable”

– “with you”

– “this is what love is”

(At Sixth & I in D.C. on March 18,  2023)


Paris Combo

Quesaco?

This French group will amaze with its good vibes and tuneful playing. Don’t speak French? Ha! You won’t need to know what they’re saying to enjoy this ear-fest, and if you do understand, c’est bon. For those getting into world music, this album spirits you off to Paris.

– “Premiere guerre”

– “Quesaco?”

– “Maudit money”


June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum