Outsider Picks: Best Albums of January 2022

by Clayton Edwards

If nothing else, the past couple of years have been good for music. All of the downtime and uncertainty in 2020 led to some stellar releases in 2021. Now, it seems that many artists are still riding that creative wave. January of 2022 saw some great releases from well-known artists as well as killer debut records. Here are a few of the best albums to drop in January.

Good to Be – Keb Mo

In the early days of the pandemic, Keb Mo left Nashville and headed back to Compton, California. There, he spent some time in his childhood home and started writing, according to an interview with NPR. The result of that was Good to Be, one of the best albums to drop in January. Coming into the new year, I didn’t know I needed a smooth feel-good blues record. But, this is just what the doctor ordered.

Tracks like “Sunny and Warm,” “Good Strong Woman” and “Marvelous to Me” make Good to Be a must-listen.

Ghost Stories – The Whitmore Sisters

The fact that Ghost Stories sounds like a blast from the past makes the Whitmore Sisters’ debut album one of the best to drop in January. There are moments on this harmony-heavy release that will transport you back to the early days of country music. However, the Whitmores aren’t just retreading the genre. They touch on everything from Cajun music to indie rock on this record. In short, Ghost Stories has a little something for everyone. So, every song might not grab you. But, the sisters’ voices are guaranteed to stir your soul.

Check out “Learn to Fly,” “Friends We Leave Behind,” and “Hurtin’ for a Letdown” to get a taste of what they have to offer.

Reckless (Deluxe Edition) – Morgan Wade

Morgan Wade’s Reckless was one of the best albums of 2021. When Reckless dropped last year, there wasn’t a single skip on the album. She added six new songs to the Deluxe Edition. None of those songs are filler by any means. This is especially true for Wade’s killer “Suspicious Minds” cover. However, “Through Your Eyes” is the real star here. In it, she sings about parenting and being inspired and frightened by her little ones. If you’ve got kids, you need to hear this track.

And Now, Let’s Turn to Page… – Brent Cobb

The last thing I expected to see on a best-of list for January was a Brent Cobb gospel album. But, here we are. Cobb gets back to the roots of country music with eight classic hymns and one original tune. For the most part, this album sounds like a masterfully-built Southern gospel release with a few smokin’-hot guitar solos. However, Cobb’s take on “Are You Washed in the Blood?” is a Southern-rock scorcher with bluesy guitar, big backing vocals, and the kind of beat even Miss Gertrude from the Women’s Auxiliary would want to dance to.

Do yourself a favor and let Brent Cobb take you to church.  

How Long Will It Take Them to Die – Goodnight, Texas

The town of Goodnight, Texas is a spot in the road east of Amarillo. The band, however, exists in a space between, folk, blues, and rock. They tie all those styles up in songs that tell truly American stories from the past and present. Their fourth album, How Long Will It Take Them to Die dropped in January and might be the best example of who they are musically.

Tracks like “Gotta Get Goin’” and “Hypothermic” are must-adds to any Americana playlist.

Glory – Lost Dog Street Band

Lost Dog Street Band’s Glory is, without a doubt, my favorite album from January. For one, it’s loaded with sad songs, waltzes, and steel guitar. However, the sonic delivery is only half of the package. The rest is, as usual, the incredible songwriting. Benjamin Todd doesn’t so much write songs as he spills his soul on paper and translates it for the listeners. In Glory, Todd and his wife, fiddle player, and longtime collaborator Ashley Mae take you on an emotional journey from anger and angst to sadness and self-loathing, then we see love, hope, and happiness.

In Benjamin Todd’s solo work, he’s very open about his past struggles with addiction and the hard road that is recovery. However, he’s usually not as heart-wrenchingly honest about those things on Lost Dog releases. Glory, however, shows much of that honesty. Songs like “Beautiful Curse” and “The Cost of the High” lay all the cards on the table. If you want something that will stir your soul until your emotions leak from your eyes, this might be the album for you.

If you want to sample these albums, check out the playlist below and follow Outsider on Spotify.