2024 Blues Albums

2024 Blues Albums

Here, we'll be exploring the latest pulse of the Blues scene, showcasing a vibrant array of album releases that promise to keep this timeless genre thriving. From the raw, electrifying energy of seasoned legends to the fresh, innovative sounds of emerging talents, we're diving deep into the diverse world of blues music. Whether you're a devout blues aficionado or a curious newcomer, join us as we traverse the soulful and dynamic landscape of 2024's Blues albums, where every note tells a story and every chord echoes a legacy.


The title of Rick Estrin and his Hightcat’s latest album is surely ironic. Unless we turned the clock back to the late 50s or early 60s, it’s unlikely ‘The Hits Keep Coming’ contains any hits. But don’t let that stop from savoring the best that this west coast blues/rock band has to offer. The return trip they take us on to a simpler time is well worth the ticket’s price. The album is fun, upbeat and, at times, emotionally resonant. 

Most of what we have here is surface-level blues thrills. Nothing too complicated or emotionally engaging. But what’s wrong with that? On tracks like ‘911,’ Rick and his merry band of felines are more than happy to remind us that there’s nothing at all wrong with a wasted evening on the porch or at the pool hall or in the garage listening to some rock-tinged blues. 

But then again, there are also songs like ‘Time for me to Go’ that take on a heavier burden. In the end, The Hits Keep Coming is true scorcher of an album. Sure, it’s mostly lightweight, but, once again, what’s wrong with that?


If it were 1977, Alistair Greene would be the guitar god you’d been arguing about with your stoner friends. Is he better than Ace Frehley? Rickhie Blackmore? How about Jimmy Page? In truth, Greene has the chops to compete with the very best of any era, but his fuzz-toned, blues-back rock licks would seem most at home being blasted from the back of a jet black Trans-am sandwiched between the likes of Boston and Peter Frampton. 

But even for those not seeking nostalgia, Alistair Greene’s album is worth its weight in sheer window-rattling volume. Its title ‘Standing Out Loud’ is well earned. The aural onslaught doesn’t end even on ‘Bullfrog Blues,’ which starts out with a soft acoustic shuffle. But it builds to something truly remarkable. 

Even the slow grind of ‘Rusty Dagger’ leaves an impact not soon forgotten. There is an ache in the blues man’s voice that can’t quite reach his emotional depth, but he gets close. In the end, he just shuts up and lets his six stringer do the talking. It turns out to be a good idea. 

Overall, Standing Out Loud is a very good album that could have been great with a frontman’s whose vocal prowess matched that of guitar skills. But don’t despair, until such an offering comes around, there’s always this to blast through the back of your Trans-am.


You don't have to have been a child of the 80s to have an intimate familiarity with the guitar work of former Guns & Roses sideman Slash. Even if you don’t recognize the hat, the shoulder-length locks or the ambiguous ethnicity, you’ve heard him. Maybe it was ‘Sweet Child O'mine’ at the mall or ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ on some car commercial or family cookout, but you have heard him and you have probably noticed the stunning, lively tone he produces on his Gibson Les Paul.

But now, it’s time for a new Slash, a blues-influenced, rocking Slash who, with the aid of his famed vocalist friends, is fronting a brand new outfit. And oddly enough, the new Slash doesn’t sound that different from the old Slash. And no, that’s not a bad thing. If anything, it serves to demonstrate how much blues the old Slash had been sneaking into mainstream rock all along.

The Steppenwolf classic ‘The Pusher’ gets a makeover with help from Chris Robinson of the Black Keys and it sounds as fresh as it ever did. The same can be said of the blues standard ‘Crossroads’ that features Gary Clark Jr.

This is a rousing good time that reinvents nothing, but somehow doesn’t need to. Slash and his friends make for a stunningly good blues-rock band that you should check out.


Chicago native Deb Ryder has the kind of powerful voice that seems to have been created to sing the blues. And you need only make it through the first few seconds of her latest album to hear that. Ryder may not be the most versatile singer, but what she lacks in range, she more than makes up for in sheer, raw power.

The slow, sultry boogie of ‘Temporary Insanity’ makes for ‘Live and Having’ Fun’ strongest track. But another stellar track is right around the corner. ‘Bring the Walls Down’ does just that. It rattles in a way that makes the listener envy those in attendance of the live performance.

Overall, Deb Ryder’s album works as well as it needs to. Nothing truly groundbreaking here, but as mid-tier rock-blues albums go, Live and Havin’ Fun is a great time.


Having been highly influenced by the Chicago blues scene, Johnny Burgin serves as a potent reminder of that sub-genres power. It was, after all, the great city of Chicago, Illinois that first electrified the blues. And nearly a century later, Johnny and others are keeping the juice volume and proud.

There’s not much here that will surprise the fans of legendary electrified blues, but quite a few songs will satisfy their basic hunger. The soulful strut of ‘Gettin’ my Blues on’ first comes to mind. It’s hard to imagine a better song to doze off to on a happily uneventful Sunday evening.

Another standout track is the country-tinged ‘I was right the first time.’ It stomps and swaggers in a way that brings to mind an after hours joint deep in the weeds that your parents told you never to slip into. The rollicking piano also adds to the fun.

Johnny Burgin’s ‘Ramblin’ from Coast to Coast could serve as a solid introduction to the blues for the uninitiated or it can be a reminder to those who’ve forgotten the genre’s power. Not one of the year’s best, but well worth checking out.


Whether by accident or design, Sam Morrow’s latest album contains a title that captures the precise ethos of the music. Simply put, this is road trip music. It’s easy to imagine every song blaring from intrusively loud speakers with the windows down and wind yanking your hair back. The blues on the Ride Here is breezy, easy-going and slick, but moves at a dizzying pace. 

The gentle shuffle of Searching for Paradise is most satisfying. This is the song ringing through your head as you take a brief rest stop halfway through Texas. Morrow’s voice doesn’t overwhelm us with soul so much as it sneaks up on us, slipping through the sand like a sidewinder until we can no longer ignore its sting. 

Another strong track is ‘On My Way,’ the closest that Morrow and his band come to truly soulful funk. His guitar gets a stunning workout and steals the show, not with blistering fretboard gymnastics (although there is a strong solo) but with subtle phrasing that weaves in and out of the melody like a mosquito dodging 18 wheelers on a highway. 

Even those seeking alternative modes of transportation will greatly enjoy Sam Morrow’s latest. 


Raunchy. That’s the most appropriate word to describe Scott. H. Biram’s sound. It’s the sound of his guitar, the sound of his seemingly sandpapered voice. Even his lyric are raunchy — not as in overtly sexual, but as in rugged, rusted and willfully jagged.

Those unfamiliar with Biram’s patented strand of raunch, it won’t take long to catch a breathtaking glance. The opening track, ‘No Man’s Land,’ is all you need to figure out what a delightfully wild ride ‘The One and Only’ will be.

But then there’s also ‘Easy Rider.’ This gospel-tinged campfire song can make a believer out of the staunchest atheist without even a direct reference to the almighty. It’s just that powerful, awe-inspiring and yes, raunchy.

Overlooking Scott H. Biram’s latest effort simply because the Texan-born blues man isn’t a household name would be a huge mistake. The album is one of a kind and deserves several listens. Check it out and remember that the key to appreciating it is to embrace the raunchy. It’ll make a believer out of you. 


Do names like Lydia Mendoza, Maybelle Carter, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Memphis Minnie mean anything to you?

If you’re like most music fans (regardless of genre) the answer is likely to be who? These are a list of guitar playing ladies whose impact on the blues and rock are still being felt, if not discussed a great deal.

Sue Foley is determined to change that. Her latest album is a tribute to the many guitar heroines who have often been forgotten by history. In Foley’s words:

“These are the women who were expressing themselves through the instrument as far back as the 1920’s, at the inception of radio and recorded music. They are the trailblazers and visionaries whose footsteps I walk in,” says Foley.”

The raw unfiltered spirit of the blues is best exemplified by ‘In My Girlish Ways’’ by Memphis Minnie. with Foley’s solid - if not flashy - vocals to guide us, we take a trip to a time and place that wasn’t known for its kindness to woman and was not fondly recalled by Memphis Minnie.

For much of the album, Sue Foley comes across like a medium, channel the souls of the departed and giving them vivid voice. But on Rosetta Tharpe’s My Journey to the Sky, she becomes much more. She isn’t just standing in for Tharpe as she serenades her lord. She is also singing a love song to her ancestor in song. It’s a truly stunning moment and it is the highlight of a heartfelt collection of long-overlooked blues classics.


Born in 1984, Gary Clark Jr. doesn’t have enough mileage on him to qualify as a blues veteran, but he’s not pretending to be one. Clark explosive and often unsettling experiments in the blues could only be made by someone who grew up as much with Jay-z and Dr. Dre as with Muddy Waters and the three Kings. But this young lest you think this young whippersnapper doesn’t have an appreciation for the genre he boldly tampers with. There’s a rawness that sits right next to the technological prowess, making sense of his latest album’s title. This is a wild ride to be sure. It has stunning ups and downs, and those who prefer their blues wrapped in age-old clothes may want to sit this one out.

But if’s reckless experimentation you seek, Jpeg Raw is exactly the album for you. It captures the spirit of blues, if not its strict approach. Standouts include: ‘Don’t Start,’ an eruption of soul that packs as much danger as anything by Robert Johnson or L’il Wayne.

Meanwhile there’s the collaboration with funk guru George Clinton called Funk Witch U, which manages to take us into the future of the blues while taking Dr. Funkenstein back to his roots.

Gary Clark Jr’s latest album won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. If you’re not sure it’s yours, give it a try and don’t forget to bring your space helmet with you. This ride will get wild.


The blues’s complicated relationship to redemption is given a fresh makeover by beloved blues vet Walter Trout. About his latest effort, Trout says:

“I've always tried to write positive songs, and this album is not quite that. But I always hold on to hope. I think that's why I wrote this album.”

Broken begins with the title track, shoving us to the floor with sincerely harrowing  lyrics. It’s about a broken man who begs to be put back together. But in keeping with the above quote, hope is always there. And songs like this remind us the blues isn’t just an exercise in self-pity. it is about catharsis and the sense of redemption that comes with it.

The album’s closer is equally memorable. ‘Falls Apart’ seems to document the singer’s return to a broken place after he’s found redemption, proving that all humans are, after all, human and in need of healing. Walter Trout’s album is among the very best of the last few years.


Having cut his teeth as a high-profile frontman for Levon Helm’s band The Barnburners, bluesman Chris O’leary knows a thing or two about melding blues with rock. His latest album, The Hard Line is just the latest in a long line of arguments that O’Leary is among the very best of his craft. His vocals are often rough-hewn as often as they are sensitive and tender. It’s as if someone forgot to tell him that his stylings have to be one or the others. 

The aching ‘I Cry at Night’ is as bursting with vulnerability as its title would suggest. It is possibly the album’s best track. But just as impressive is the upbeat shuffle of ‘Lost My Mind.’ Shifting back and forth between dance-friendly tracks that celebrate life and mournful ballads that seem to welcome the sweet release of death would, in lesser hands, be a clumsy juggling act. But for Chris O’Leary, it’s just what he does. In other words he does blues rock as well as it can be done.


If the blues world of late seems it could use a great deal more of a female presence, it’s worth considering that many blues-belting ladies are in fact doing their thing — but with a fairly low profile. Danielle Nicole is poised to become a star in the blues scene. And her latest effort, The Love You Bleed is just another step toward making this happen.

As a bassist and monstrous vocalist, Nicole hails from Kansas City, Missouri, a major midwestern hub of her chosen genre, as noted for its bluesy atmosphere as it is for its legendary barbecue. Appropriately, every note she sings drips with volcanic hot sauce.

‘Walk on By’ is not to be confused with the Burt Bacharach pop standard. While the earlier tune was full of sadness and regret, Nicole’s song erupts with rage and unspoken vows of vengeance. This track is the sonic equivalent of a hot poker in the belly.

Just as powerful is the ballad ‘A Lover if Forever.’ Armed only with a acoustic guitar and her own vocal chords, it truly provides chills with every line that pours from her gifted voice. If the singer sounds wounded in a typical manner, it’s because your not playing close enough attention. With The Love you Bleed, Danielle Nicole has emerged as one of the best female blues singers of recent years.


In case your wondering, the title of Tinsely Ellis’ latest album is not a comment on his choice of public garb. The Atlanta-based bluesman is indeed fully clothed on his album’s cover. But it won’t take much of a listen to fully understand the inspiration for the title. There’s something about a lone vocalist accompanied by his own acoustic guitar that seems open, vulnerable, indeed, naked. And it is exactly this band of nakedness that Tinsely Ellis’ new album one of the strongest efforts of the past few years. 

The bleak backwoods stomp of ‘Death Letter Blues’ will doubtlessly capture the attention of anyone with a caricatured view of the blues. It is a raw and relentlessly unvarnished as possible, a true masterwork of its sub-genre. But labeling it the album’s best would mean overlooking everything else Ellis has to offer. 

That said, the clever ‘Grown Ass Man’ comes in a close second. It is a bold declaration of independence unlike any other. Checking out Naked Truth should be mandatory for anyone seeking the very best of acoustic blues. 


Anyone who believes that the blues is a genre firmly cemented in somber songs about loss of life and love would be cured of such a view only a few seconds into the latest album by Bob Corritore and Friends. Phoenix Blues Rumble is a joy from beginning to end. It is somehow both adolescent and vintage. 

Harmonica master Corritore is at his very best on the second track of Phoenix Blues Rumble, but for all the unmitigated joy of ‘Come To Me Baby,’ it can’t quite match the fast-paced fun of ‘Walking in the Park.’ In addition to the charming storytelling, there is also a sense of reckless danger. 

Also of note is the album’s dark closer, ‘I’m Evil.’ From anyone blessed with less of a sense humanity, the song would come across as self-pitying. But somehow we know there’s a depth here that doesn’t need to announce itself verbally. The same could be said of the album as a whole. 

Phoenix Blues Rumble is far from a perfect album. It could have gained from better crafted songs and a singer of greater versatility. But it shuffles along nicely and packs the laughs as much as any blues album to come around for a while. 


Blues veteran Seth James has the kind of voice that makes it clear that he’s lived a life — a long life full of stunning ups and downs. And just as his voice tells his story, so does every one of the songs on Lessons. 

The funky blues of ‘Morgan City Blues’ represents the highlights of lessons. With strong lyrics and horns that slide in and out of the melody flawlessly, it is exactly the high-octane song an album like this needs to keep from getting stale. 

Another standout is ‘Maybe Someday Baby.’ Packed with hard-hitting horns and a full throated vocalist, it seems to explode with everything the band has to offer. 

Seth James’ album is truly a magnificent piece of work, blending the hard-hitting with the soft-landing. While it may have benefitted from a more diverse set of compositions, it is important to accept Lessons exactly as it is. Just as it is important to accept lessons exactly as they are. Seth James seems to. He accepts every lesson life gives him and shares it with us in a truly memorable way. This album teaches us everything we need to know about life.