2021 definitely lifted Flyctory.com to another level. The community is steadily increasing – days with less than 2,000 page hits her day became extremely rare. The more frequent postings also lead to a huge increase of album and EP reviews. My selection of favorite releases is finally supported by roughly 475 music reviews I did this year. Here are my best ones 2021 – you might like to compare them to my 2020 selection. And if you are rather into singles, there are also my Favorite Songs of the Year 2021.
My Favorite EPs in 2021
Like in 2020, I do not separate between country and non-country when it comes to selecting my five favorite EPs of the year.
5. Honky-Tonk Hippes by LANCO
LANCO did an amazing party music EP in July 2021. Just five tracks, but filled with a lot of fun – Cheers!
4. 29 by Carly Pearce
29 by Carly Pearce had a lot of potential to be at the very top of my “Best of EPs” list this year. Unfortunately, she spoiled it by “upgrading” the amazing EP to an album – I could also say cheating her fans. Nonetheless, an amazing release..
3. Love, Kylie by Kylie Morgan
Love, Kylie has been my first contact with Kylie Morgan music – and the June 2021 EP is just an amazing collection of very versatile songs.
2. Die Songs, die ich nie schreiben wollte by Alex Diehl
Finally, Alex Diehl is the only non-country music artist in my list. This rather reflects that country music is still the key genre of Flyctory.com – and EPs feel to become more and more popular in Nashville. Alex Diehl recorded an amazingly straight set of songs in his November 2021 release – I absolutely loved it.
My Favorite EP in 2021:
Behind The Bar by Riley Green
There were two EPs this year, which received the full 5.0 rating. One of them is Carly Pearce’s 29 – and the other one is the amazing Behind The Bar by Riley Green. Seven amazing songs, which simply lead to my most favorite EP of the year. Thanks, Riley!
My Favorite Non-Country Albums in 2021
Even though country stays the main genre of Flyctory.com, I feel that I had a really nice and wide range of genres this year. This also leads to a very high quality in my favorite non-country albums in 2021, which this year all have been reviewed on my blog. From Hawaiian instrumental sounds to hard rock – enjoy my suggestions.
7. Ka Honua Maluhia by Jim “Kimo” West
Jim “Kimo” West has so much emancipated from “just” being the guitar player of Weird Al Yankovic. His releases have amazing quality. Just having won a Grammy, Ka Honua Maluhia is another wonderful instrumental album. Absolutely worth a listen.
6. The Weight of Man by Ray Wilson
Ray Wilson is an amazing performer on stage – and with The Weight Of Man, he proofed (again) that he is great in the studio as well. Absolutely loved his 2021 album.
5. Labyrinth by Stefanie Heinzmann
The Swiss Stefanie Heinzmann is in the music business for so long now – but I still feel she is underrated and not just “the talent show girl”. Labyrinth shows great pop songs. I loved to listen to her 2021 release and spent quite a while with it.
4. Chez Kane by Chez Kane
This ten song release (by the way, one of the albums which received the full 5.0 scorings this year) is maybe the one I feel most gifted about that I ran into it at all. What an amazing collection of rock tracks with a retro style – and it is even her debut album! Love it!
3. 80 plus by Dieter Hallervorden
I was really skeptical when I read that German actor and comedian Dieter Hallervorden will release an album. Bad luck that it felt to be promoted as German schlager, as his very personal 80 plus is so much deeper and comes with great stories. One of the best hidden gems of the German music scene this year.
2. Wenn die Kälte Kommt by Santiano
Santiano are not at all a “hidden gem” in the German music scene any more. They are established and they deliver great music. So they did in 2021 with their Wenn die Kälte kommt again. Fantastic and unique shanty-folk-rock style.
My Favorite Non-Country Album in 2021:
The Lockdown Sessions by Elton John
To me, the 2021 release by Elton John was the best album of the year, also regardless of the genre. Elton is a musical genius – and the way he is working with his own songs and sounds but finally also allowing his guest musicians to give their touch of music to the tracks is simply amazing. Great listen!
My Favorite Country Albums in 2021:
Last, but not least, here are by top long-play listens in country music.
7. Travelin’ Kind by Ashland Craft
If I look to the album side, it did not feel to be a really good year for the ladies to me. Finally, Ashland Craft is the only artist who made it into my Top 7. Great September 2021 album by the South Carolina artist.
6. What Is Life? by Brett Kissel
Great country music from Canada: Brett Kissel did this lovely album with a beautiful atmosphere in April 2021. Very good one.
5. High Country Sound by Canaan Smith
One of the best lyrics in an album in 2021 to me. Canaan Smith’s High Country Sound has also been released in April 2021 and I really loved to listen to his stories.
4. Pelagio by Ryan Hurd
Ryan Hurd did an amazing job with Pelagio – and I just cannot stop emphasizing that the album is his debut release. Definitely look forward to his future releases.
3. Country Again: Side A by Thomas Rhett
With his Country Again: Side A, Thomas Rhett again illustrates his vast musical talent. That’s superb country music.
2. Room To Dream by Ryan Kinder
Maybe the most beautiful atmosphere in all country albums I reviewed in 2021: Indeed, Ryan Kinder’s Room To Dream is a musical room to dream in. Lovely production, which just has been an easy choice for this list.
My Favorite Country Album in 2021:
Heart by Eric Church
Eric Church released the amazing triple album Heart & Soul in April 2021. While I slightly struggled with & (and) and absolutely enjoyed Soul, Heart has been the outstanding part of this release to me. Fantastic album, which finally made it to my album of the year.
Most Special Music Release in 2021:
Lordiversity by Lordi
I just could not close this posting without giving a very special award and praise to my favorite band Lordi: the seven album box Lordiversity comes with ups and downs – but just being able to release seven albums in one and thereby also doing music far away from their comfort zone (like in the amazing album Superflytrap) is just fantastic. To me, the most remarkable release of the year.
Media Reviews – 2021 Debut EPs/Albums
“Rides on Rail” Postings
Here is everything about trains, trams and other rail vehicles: