Year in Review: 2017 vs. 2016

Another year is being wrapped up and that means Spotify is letting people know all about their listening tendencies in the form of total minutes, top songs, top artists, and top genres listened to. With this information, I have decided to breakdown my top 5 artists from 2016 and 2017 and talk about the changes… I have to say, I’m damn proud of how this year ended up.

First, what my top artists from 2016 were, based on total plays:

1)     Cody Jinks
2)     Jason Boland & The Stragglers
3)     Whitey Morgan & The 78’s
4)     Cody Johnson
5)     Luke Combs

Now, my top artists from 2017 based on total plays:

1)     Cody Jinks – The GOAT. I have said this before and I’ll say it again, Cody Jinks is the best dude in the game right now. The combination of his voice and musical style mixed with great songwriting makes for some great traditional sounding country, while also being truly unique. To show how obsessed I am with Jinks, he had a new album come out in 2016, which would explain why he was my number 1 in 2016, but the only new music he had this year was his cover of I Wish You Were Here (great song though), which wasn’t in my top 5 songs, and the modified re-release of Less Wise… so yea, I just listen to him a lot anyway. I also got to see him live again this year which always constitutes a re-binge through all of his albums.


2)     Cody Johnson – If you aren’t on the Cody Johnson train yet, where have you been? Another situation where the artist didn’t have new music come out during the year, but I still listened to them enough to have them be a top artist. I was able to see him live again at the beginning of 2017, so I have to believe the excitement for that show both before and after attributed to his rise from 4 to 2 on my list.


3)     Whitey Morgan & The 78’s – Sticking at number 3 in back to back years is the honky tonkin' badass from Flint. Whitey has been one of my favorites (along with Jinks) over the past few years, and I’ve been lucky enough to see him 3 times since the beginning of 2016. Again, no new music came from Whitey this year, (as with the previous two), but I know for a fact that both Whitey and Jinks are coming out with new music next year, so here’s to a likely three-peat on the top 5 for these two.


4)     Jason Boland & The Stragglers – The Red Dirt Legend. There was a slight drop from number 2 to number 4 on my list, which is a little surprising based on how much I binged Jason Boland before heading down to Medicine Stone, where I was able to see him for the first time live. Regardless of where he comes in on my list though, I am a huge fan of Jason Boland’s style and seeing him live did nothing but increase my fandom. I’m going to be seeing him live again in this upcoming year at least once (twice if I’m able to go back to Medicine Stone, like I plan), which I’m very excited for. Jason Boland & The Stragglers also marks the fourth artist who repeats as member of my top 5.


5)     John Moreland – The only difference from last year to this year is John Moreland replacing Luke Combs at number 5. This does not surprise me in the slightest, however, because Moreland’s Big Bad Luv came out earlier this year, and I was also able to see him live for the first time this summer. If you have listened to him before and aren’t a fan, then you clearly don’t appreciate songwriting. John Moreland is the one of the most talented songwriters I’ve ever seen, right up there with Jason Isbell and Travis Meadows.

And there you have it. My top 4 did not change, other than slightly in the order, and one of my all time favorite songwriters moved in to snag the 5 spot from Luke Combs, who although I still very much like his voice and his older EP’s, I have not been nearly as high on lately.

I know what you’re thinking, “Kev, you keep saying on the podcast that it’s been a great year for music, yet you only have one artist on your top 5 that had new music this year? Wtf?” And yes, I have said this, and yes it is true. I honestly think part of the reason for the shakeup is that there have been so many great albums come out this year that I will bounce around between them, which gives all of them listens. However, instead of the absolute binge amount of listens that I give to those I’m going to see live, the listens were spread out on those new albums, reducing their individual totals. Here’s to 2017, a great year for recorded and live music, and here’s to looking forward to 2018, a year that will give us new Jinks, Whitey, Paul Cauthen, Ward Davis, and many others!