I don't intend for this list to be a knock on any album by any means. If anything, these were the most accessible albums of the year that both my mom and myself could listen to and enjoy. The biggest thing to eliminate in this type of list is any reverby, screachy, too much rock type music. My mom is a lover of motown, strong female voices (but dislikes Alabama Shakes), a little bit of country, and upbeat music. Although I threw in some crooners for her enjoyment too. This list could also be known as most likely to be on the radio, as a handful of it already is.
I've been a Kathleen Edwards fan for a long time so I knew I'd like this one but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I love this album. It's one of Edwards' best to date, full of gumption and a renewed energy.
Kathleen Edwards - Change the Sheets
Destined to be loved by radio listening moms everywhere. I can't help but smile when I hear them on the radio which is where they are all the time, not to mention all the TV placements from Blue Moon ads to Grey's Anatomy that they've garnered this year. The Lumineers - Ho Hey
I'll always remember the first time I heard them in early 2011 and watching their ascent to whatever you call their type of fame (indie darlings? mainstream folk-pop?) has been an adventure. I saw them live three times this year, my mom even came to their first Boston show on their first US tour. They've grown so fast and are leaps and bounds better with each performance.
Of Monsters and Men - King and Lionheart
Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams (buy)
Happy go-lucky music at it's finest.
Lord Huron - Time To Run
I spent the entire winter cooking hearty soups and stews with this as my constant companion. For whatever reason this became my cooking album and I'll always love dancing around the kitchen, knife in one hand, glass of wine in the other with this album turned up loud.
Bahamas - Lost In The Light
Ben Howard - Every Kingdom (buy)
This album was huge last year in the UK so I almost forgot that it counts as a 2012 album with it's debut in the US this year.
Ben Howard - Old Pine
This one is a bit of a stretch as it has it's experimental moments, but it's hard to deny his voice and story telling abilities. I'd expect my mom to like 60% of this, and since it's one of my favorites, she'll learn to like it.
Cody Chesnutt - That's Still Mama
This one is another 60%er due to his voice, which I love, reaching towards the screechy side in some songs. The good songs on this album are too wonderful to ignore.
Lee Fields - You're The Right Kind of Girl
See a pattern here? While it won't make my top albums it's a wonderful listen, a stunning voice, and perfect dinner background music.
Michael Kiwanuka - I'm Getting Ready
While not as loveable as his Harlem River Blues, this is a more than stellar album.
Justin Townes Earle - Nothing's Gonna Change...
Stunning harmonies. Lyrically it sounds like they should be angier than their soft and sweet voices lead you to believe, making for an interesting listen.
Sara Watkins - Sun Midnight Sun (buy)
Another country album for the list. It's hard to resist a song as sweet at You & Me.
Sara Watkins - You & Me
Pure Bathing Culture - Pure Bathing Culture EP (buy)
One that'd be hard for anyone to dislike, and one of my favorites of the year.
Pure Bathing Culture - Ivory Coast
Haim - Forever EP (buy)
Play it loud, dance to it, work out to it, blast it in the car, whatever. These are the songs I sang along to the most and the loudest all year long.
Haim - Forever