Corby's Orbit

Corby's Orbit
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Penguin Eggs Critics’ Poll: the Individual Top 10s for 2021


The Penguin Eggs Critics’ Albums of the Year – which you can find HERE – are derived from the Top 10 lists of countless journalists, radio hosts, folk festival artistic directors, concert promoters and other industry tastemakers.  Actually, they’re not “countless.” I did count them; there were 24 this year.  That includes some of the regular writers you read here on Roots Music Canada.

So if you’d like to see how this year’s Critics’ Albums of the Year came together, here are the individual favourites lists from the contributing critics.  Note that the albums are listed in alphabetical order; not in order of rank. Compiled by Roddy Campbell: Editor Penguin Eggs; presented by Heather Kitching:  Managing editor, Roots Music Canada.

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Paul Corby: Host, Corby’s Orbit on Radio Regent & Blues & Roots Radio.

Broke Fuse, Rocket Ride (Brokefuse); Alex Cuba, Mendo (Caracol); Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing (Distant Whisper Music); The Fretless, Open House (Birthday Cake); Indian City, Code  Red (Manitoba Music); Brandon Isaak, Modern Primitive (Brandon Isaak); Jaffa Road, Until When (Jaffa Road); Jane Mathew, Such Perfect Lives (Independent); Dana Sipos, The Astral Plane (Roaring Girl); Ronley Teper, Everyone Loves A Good Story (RTL)
New Discoveries: Dano Chase, Emma Cook, Elise LeGrow.


Mike Barker, Artistic director, Folk Under The Clock, Peterborough, ON

Bruce Cockburn, Greatest Hits, (1970-2020) (True North Records); Elage Diouf, Wutiko, (Independent); Bela Fleck, My Bluegrass Heart, (Renew Records); Lennie Gallant, Christmas Day on Planet Earth, (Independent); Karen Matheson, Still Time, (Vertical Records); Nava, Tapestry, (Independent); Karine Polwart and Dave Milligan, Still As Your Sleeping, (Hudson Records); Martin Simpson, Home Recordings, (Topic Records); Spell Songs, Volume 2 Let The Light In, (Hudson Records); Julian Taylor, The Ridge, (Howling Turtle Inc.)
New Discoveries: Elage Diouf, Sona Jobarteh, Julian Taylor


Richard Barry: Writer, Roots Music Canada.

Asleep At The Wheel, Half a Hundred Years, (Home Records); Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing (Distant Whisper Music); Sierra Farrell, Long Time Coming (Rounder Records); Rhiannon Giddens (with Francesco Turrisi), They’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch); Sarah Jarosz, Blue Heron Suite (Rounder); Pokey LeFarge, In the Blossom of Their Shade (New West); The McDades, The Empress (Free Radio Records); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy Records); Peach & Quiet, Just Beyond the Shine (Independent); Donovan Woods, Without People (Meant Well).
New Discoveries: Bonny Light Horsemem; Noah Derksen; Leyla McCalla.


Vic Bell: Artistic Director, Nickelodeon Music Club, Calgary.

Taylor Abrahamse, Taylor Abrahamse (Independent); Jesse Cox, Threshing Floor (Independent); The Hello Darlins, Go By Feel (Independent); Oxlip, Your Mother Was A Peacock (World Peach Records); Shane Pendergast, Second Wind (Independent); Polky, Songs From Home (Independent); The Promised, Phoenix (Independent); Rube and Rake, Leaving With Nothing (Independent); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy Records); Alicia Toner, Joan (Independent);
New Discoveries: The Pairs, Julian Taylor, Windborne


Roddy Campbell: Editor Penguin Eggs

Arooj Aftab, Vulture Prince (UMG Recordings); Lucy Dacus, Home Video (Matador Records); Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing (Distant Whisper Music); Willie Dunn, Creation Never Sleeps Creation Never Dies (Light in the Attic); Jim Ghedi, In the Furrows Of Common Place (Basin Rock); Pokey LaFarge, In the Blossom of Their Shade (New West Records); Lumba, Tamala (MuziekPublique); Mànran, Ùrar (Mànran Records); Grace Petrie, Collectivity (The Little Robot Needs A Home Collective); Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raise The Roof (Rounder)
New Discoveries: Arooj Aftab, Jim Ghedi, Katherine Priddy

Tom Coxworth: Host, Folk Routes The CKUA Radio Network

T. Buckley, Frame by Frame (Fallen Tree Records); Brandi Carlile, In These Quiet Days ( Ekektra Records);
Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing, (Distant Whisper Music); Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, They’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch); John Wort Hannam, Long Haul (Black Hen Music); Over the Moon, Chinook Waltz (Borealis); Allison Russell,  Outside Child (Fantasy); Phyllis Sinclair, Ghost Bones (Independent); Julian Taylor, The Ridge (Howling Turtle Music); Various Artists, I am of Ireland: Yeats in Song (Merrow Records);
New Discoveries: Emma Langford, The Lost Brothers , Grace Petrie,


Ian Davies: Artistic Director, Cuckoo’s Nest Folk Club, London, ON

Briga, Territoire (Briga Music); Annabelle Chvostek, String of Pearls (Indie); Shane Cook & The Woodchippers, Be Here for a While (Independent); Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, They’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch); Karen Matheson, Still Time (Vertical Records); Murray McLauchlan, Hourglass (True North); Ninebarrow, A Pocket Full of Acorns (Winding Track); Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raise the Roof (Universal); Ballake Sissoko, Djourou (No Format); Various Artists, I am of Ireland: Yeats in Song (Merrow Records)
New Discoveries: The Gilberts; Cliodhna Ni Aodain; Logan Richard


Steve Edge: Artistic Director the Rogue Folk Club, Host of The Saturday Edge on CiTR, Vancouver

Justin Adams & Mauro Durante, Still Moving (Ponderosa Music); Bela Fleck, My Bluegrass Heart (Renew Records); Fourth Moon, Odyssey (Fourth Moon Records); The Fretless, Open House (Birthday Cake Media); Katayoun Goudarzi & Shujaat Khan, This Pale (Shujaat Khan & Katayou Goudarzi); The McDades, The Empress (Free Radio Records); Lakou Mizik & Joseph Ray, Leave The Bones (Anjunadeep); Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raise The Roof (Rounder); Katherine Priddy, The Eternal Rocks Beneath (Navigator Records); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy Records);
New Discoveries: Crys Matthews; Katherine Priddy; Tim Cummings w/ Pete Sutherland & Brad Kolodner


Cara Gibney: Writer fRoots, Penguin Eggs. Antonis Antoniou , Kkismettin (Ajabu! Records); Callum Easter, System (Moshi Moshi); Devin Hoff, Voices From the Empty Moor: Songs of Anne Briggs (Kill Rock Stars); Jim Ghedi, In the Furrows Of Common Place (Basin Rock); John Francis Flynn, I Would Not Live Always (River Lea); Karima Walker, Waking the Dreaming Body (Keeled Scales); Orquesta Akokan, 16 Rayos (Daptone); Renée ReedRenée Reed (Keeled Scales); Sofie Livebrant, Weep The Time Away: Emily Bronte (Rootsy Music); The Weather Station, Ignorance (Fat Possum)
New Discoveries: Antonis Antoniou, Jordan Moser, Renée Reed.


Philip Harries: Writer Penguin Eggs, Edmonton Folk Music Festival Volunteer.

Billy Bragg, The Million Things That Never Happened, (Cooking Vinyl); Brandi Carlile, In These Silent Days (Warner); Kat Danser, One Eye Open (Black Hen); Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing (Distant Whisper); Willie Dunn, Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies (Light In The Attic); Rhiannon Giddens With Francesco Turrisi, They’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch); Lord Huron, Long Lost (Republic); The McDades: The Empress (Independent); Daniel Romano, Cobra Poems (You’ve Changed); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy); Yola, Stand For Myself (Easy Eye Sound)
New Discoveries: Carwyn Ellis, Madison Cunningham, Shaela Miller


Glen Herbert: Writer, editor

Norman Blake, Day By Day (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings); The Brother Brothers, Calla Lily (Compass Records); Dori Freeman, Ten Thousand Roses (Blue Hens Music); The Grascals,  Up All Night (Mountain Home Music Company); The Infamous Stringdusters,  A Tribute to Bill Monroe (Americana Vibes); Sarah Jarosz, Blue Heron Suite (Rounder Records); Tim O’Brien, He Walked On (Howdy Skies Music); Chris Thile, Laysongs (Nonesuch Records); Tony Trischka, Shall We Hope (Shefa Records); Gillian Welch & David RawlingsAll the Good Times (Acony Records).
New Discoveries: Driftwood, Leyla McCalla, Rainbow Girls


Ken Hunt: Europe-based music historian/critic, and Martin Carthy’s approved biographer

Iva Bittová and others, Pro Radost / For Joy (Indies); Nora Brown, Sidetrack My Engine (Jalopy Records); Peter Case, The Midnight Broadcast (Bandaloop Records); Scarlett O’ & Jurgen Ehle, Selbst die Sintflut / Dauert nicht ewig – Helene Weigel und Bertolt Brecht in Buckow (Electrocadero); Peggy Seeger, First Farewell (Red Grape); Spiers & Boden, Fallow Ground (Hudson); Joseph Spence, Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing (Smithsonian Folkways); Various Artists, Deutschfolk: Soundtrack zum Volksliedrevival in der BRDDR (NoEthno); Various Artists, Roy Bailey Remembered (Towersey Festival); Various Artists, The Village Out West – The Lost Tapes of Alan Oakes (Smithsonian Folkways)
New Discoveries: Samantha Ege, Jim Ghedi, Romanovskà, Tichý, Hrubrý & Blažíková


Heather Kitching:  Managing editor, Roots Music Canada

Alex Cuba, Mendo (Caracol); Annabelle Chvostek, String of Pearls (Independent); Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing (Distant Whisper Music); Matt Epp and Isaac Murdoch, You Were Chosen to Be Here (Independent); John Wort Hannam, The Long Haul (Black Hen Music); Tania Joy, I Will Stand (Independent); Kyle McKearney, Down Home (Independent); Laura Niquay, Waska Matisiwin (Musique Nomade); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy); Adrian Sutherland, When the Magic Hits (Independent).
New Discoveries: Jane Mathew, Kyle McKearney, Semiah


Jim Marino: Freewheeling Folk Show, 93.3 CFMU, Hamilton.

Shawna Caspi, Hurricane Coming (Independent); Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing (Distant Whisper); The Fretless, Open House (Birthday Cake); Lennie Gallant, Christmas Day on Planet Earth (Gallant Effort Productions); John Wort Hannam, Long Haul (Borealis); Murray McLauchlan, Hourglass (True North); Chris Ronald, Light and Dark (Borealis); Ian Tamblyn, A Longing for Innocence (Sea Lynx Music); Wilderness of Manitoba, Farewell to Cathedral (Popguru); Caroline Wiles, Grateful (Independent).
New Discoveries: The Hello Darlins, David Lafleche, Jay Pollman.


Tony Montague: Writer, Penguin Eggs and fRoots

Arooj Aftab, Vulture Prince ( New Amsterdam Records); Justin Adams & Mauro Durante, Still Moving (Ponderosa Music); Billy Bragg, The Million Things That Never Happened (Cooking Vinyl); The Fretless, Open House (Birthday Cake Media); Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, They’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch); Lorcan Mac Mathuna, An Bhuatais & The Meaning of Life (Apple Music); The McDades, The Empress (Independent); Lakou Mizik & Joseph Ray, Leave The Bones (Anjunadeep); Katherine Priddy, The Eternal Rocks Beneath (Navigator Records); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy Records);
New Discoveries: Arooj Aftab, Katherine Priddy, The Dancing Devils of Djibouti


Caitlin North: Presenter, The Arden Theatre (St. Albert)

Brandi Carlisle, In These Silent Days (Elektra); Madison Cunningham, Wednesday (Verve Forecast); Bela Fleck, My Bluegrass Heart (Renew Records); Lake Street Dive, Obviously (Nonesuch); Della Mae, Family Reunion (Della Mae/Soundly Music); Mdou Moctar, Afrique Victime (Matador); Punch Brothers, Cattle in the Cane (Nonesuch); Allison Russel, Outside Child (Fantasy Records); The Staves, Good Woman (Atlantic Records); The Weather Station, Ignorance (Next Door Records)
New Discoveries: Sierra Farrell, Hawktail, Big Thief


Rob Oakie: Executive Director Music PEI

David Crosby, For Free, (BMG); Nick Doneff, The Late August Days, (Nick Doneff Music); Dennis Ellsworth, Bound By Love, (Pyramid Scheme Records); Bela Fleck, My Bluegrass Heart, (Renew Records); Sarah Jarosz, Blue Heron Suite, (Rounder); Gordie “Crazylegs” MacKeeman, Folk for Little Folk, (Gordie Crazylegs MacKeeman); Andrew Marlin, Witching Hour (Tanyard Branch Music); Shane Pendergast, Second Wind (Corran Ban Music); John Smith, The Fray (Commoner Records); Billy Strings, Renewal (Rounder);
New Discoveries: Hadouk Trio, Michelle Willis, Noah Malcolm


John Prentice: Host, Planet Mainstage, UMFM Radio, Winnipeg

Sam Allison, Chris Coole, Adrian Gross, Mark Kilianski, John Showman, Adeline (Independent); Del Barber, Stray Dogs (Independent); Elage Diof, Wutiko (InTempo Musique); Ana Egge, Between Us (StorySound Records); The Fretless, Open House (Birthday Cake); Amythyst Kiah, Wary and Strange (Rounder Records); Joey Landreth, All That You Dream (Birthday Cake); The McDades, The Empress (Free Radio Records); Sultans of String, Sanctuary (Independent); Suzie Ungerleider, My Name is Suzie Ungerleider (MVKA); Whitehorse, Modern Love (Six Shooter Records);
New Discoveries: Burnstick, Juvel, Julian Taylor


Mike Regenstreif: Journalist, Radio host (CKCU), blogger, folk music maven.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, One Night Lonely (Lambent Light); Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing (Distant Whisper); Reggie Harris, On Solid Ground (Reggie Harris Music); Anne Hills, Accidental August (Hand & Heart Music); Diana Jones, Song to a Refugee (Goldmine); Peter Keane, Blues/Ballads/Cowboy Songs(Peter Keane); John McCutcheon, Bucket List (Appalsongs); Murray McLauchlan, Hourglass (True North); Maria Muldaur with Tuba Skinny, Let’s Get Happy Together (Stony Plain); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy).
New Discoveries: The Accidentals; Crys Matthews; Katie Oates


Jeff Robson: Host, Tell the Band to Go Home and Fly with your Shadow, CJUM 101.5 UMFM, Winnipeg.

Del Barber, Stray Dogs: Collected B Sides, Volume 1 (Independent); Sierra Ferrell, Long Time Coming (Rounder); Charles Wesley Godwin, How the Mighty Fall (Independent); John Wort Hannam, Long Haul (Black Hen); James McMurtry, The Horses and the Hounds (New West); John R Miller, Depreciated (Rounder); Joe Nolan, Scrapper (Fallen Tree); Serlin Greaves, Sad Songs for Sale (Fifth Kid); Leeroy Stagger, Dystopian Weekends (Independent); Suzie Ungerleider, My Name Is Suzie Ungerleider (Stella);
New Discoveries: Jerry Joseph, Stephanie Lambring, Jake Vaadeland


Lyle Skinner: Host, Prairie Ceilidh 92.7 FM CKJS, and Waxies Dargle CJUM/UMFM 101.5, Winnipeg, MB:

Cara, Grounded (Artes Music); Gnoss, The Light Of The Moon (Black Fly Records); Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys, The Wishing Tree (Pure Records); Leahy, Good Water (Self-Release); Mànran, Ùrar (Mànran Records); Seán McCann, Shantyman (Lean Ground Music); The McDades, The Empress (Free Radio Records); Christy Moore, Flying Into Mystery (Sony Music); Old Blind Dogs, Knucklehead (OBDmusic); Sharon Shannon, Live At De Barra’s (Kata Songs)
New Discoveries: Faeland, Bethan Nia, Katherine Priddy


les siemieniuk: Writer broadcaster (CBC and CJSW), former GM Calgary Folk Music Festival

Art Bergman,  Late Stage Empire Dementia (weewerk);The Brother Brothers, Calla Lily (Compass Records); T Buckley, Frame by Frame  (Independent); Willie Dunn, Creation Never Sleeps Creation Never Dies (Light in the Attic); The Fugitives, Trench Songs (Borealis); Rhiannon Giddons (with Francesco Turrisi), They’re Calling Me Home (Nonsuch); Amythyst Kiah, Wary + Strange (Rounde Records); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy Records); Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Theory of Ice  (You’ve Changed Records); Leeroy Stagger, Dystopian Weekends (True North)
New Discoveries: Bebe Buckskin, Leith Ross, Doug Hoyer


Brenda Tacik: Host, Deeper Well, CJTR, Regina Community Radio.

Maria Dunn, Joyful Banner Blazing (Distant Whisper); Sierra Ferrell, Long Time Coming (Rounder Records); Diana Jones, Song to a Refugee (Proper Records); Rob Lutes, Come Around (Lucky Bear Records); Tim O’Brien, He Walked On (Howdy Skies); Matt Patershuk, An Honest Effort (Black Hen Music); Chris PierceAmerican Silence (Pierce Records); Allison Russell, Outside Child (Fantasy Records); Yael Wand, Saltwater Heartwood (Reduction Road Music); Watchhouse, Watchhouse (Yep Roc Records);
New Discoveries: Margo Cilker; Buffalo Nichols, Shakey Trill.


Eric Thom: Music Writer, Toronto:

Norman Blake, Day By Day (Smithsonian); Jack De Keyser, Tribute (Blue Star Records); Tinsley Ellis, Devil May Care (Alligator); Mac McAnally, Once In A Lifetime (Mailboat Records); Kelley McRae, Can You Change The Heart of Me? (Independent); Randy Lee Riviere, Wyoming (Wilderness Records); The Steel Woods , All of Your Stones (Thirty Tigers/The Orchard); Dulcie Taylor, Rediscovered (Mesa/Blue Moon); Bill Toms & Hard Rain, Keep Movin’ On (Terraplane); Various Artists, Barry Waldrep & Friends Celebrate Tony Rice (Delta Grass).
New Discoveries:  Sam Moss; Single Girl Married Girl; Cleo Sol


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