Pop etc Albums:
Ivan and Alyosha: All the Times We Had. Seattle group, debut album. Eclectic mix of different pop - style genres. Fine harmonies, some George Harrison style guitar licks. Running for Cover, The Fold and Who Are You stood out.
One Republic: Native. Great pop/rock anthems. Particularly liked Burning Bridges, If I Lose Myself and Preacher.
Fall Out Boy: Save Rock and Roll. Similar to One Republic in the sense of great anthems for big arenas and stadiums.
Jack Johnson: From Here to Now to You. Not too many songs go better with a drink on a summer evening than his, despite being fairly formulaic. Liked Radiate, I Got You.
Blues / Punk / Other Genres
Tedeschi Trucks Band: Made Up Mind. It is uncanny how closely Susan Tedeschi's voice resembles Bonnie Raitt's, and the blues-based songs she performs makes the comparison even more remarkable. Liked the title song, Part of Me and Do I Look Worried best.
Dropkick Murphy: Signed and Sealed in Blood. Their most conventional album, as to which I had mixed emotions. None of the songs were as good as the best of their prior work, but it was still a fun album.
The Del Lords: Elvis Club. First album in more than 20 years by what was once a New York based punk band. This one is more conventional / alt-country, mostly acoustic, and is really very, very good. "Silverlake" was the best of a very good collection.
Robert Randolph & Family Band: Lickety Split. The most prominent pedal steel guitarist I know of, several good jams. The very loud "Born Again" was one of my favorite songs of the year.
Eliane Elias: I Thought About You. Album of Chet Baker songs performed by Brazil's version of Diana Krall. Good for cocktail or dinner parties.
Harry Connick, Jr. Every Man Should Know. Some really great songs, surprisingly original material and not covers.
New Albums by Old Men:
Guy Clark: My Favorite Picture of You. Over 70, still writing just amazing songs. Hell Bent on a Heartache sounds just like you think it would.
Richard Thompson: Electric. Several good songs, in particular, Where's Home, Another Small Thing in her Favor, and Good Things Happen to Bad People.
Rod Stewart: Time. Much to my surprise, as I have come to think of him as a washed-up caricature going through the motions, this is the best album that he has put out in at least 25 years. "Live the Life" and "Can't Stop Me Now" were two totally upbeat, unapologetic celebrations of his life that I really enjoyed. And he has a nice cover of "Love Has No Pride".
Miscellaneous songs that I particularly liked.
Sky Ferreira: "I Will" Very loud driving pop/rock song.
KT Tunstall, " Feel It All". Same.
Moby, "The Perfect Life". Majestic. One of the best songs I heard all year.
Avicii: "Wake Me Up" and "Hey, Brother". Impressive fusion of pop/dance hooks with serious lyrics.
Boz Scaggs: "Can I Change My Mind". Soulful cover of minor 70's hit.
Bowie: "The Stars Are Out Tonight". Lush production of a straightforward rock song with a punchy beat.
Ashley Monroe, "Like a Rose", Understated country ballad.
Jason Isbell, "Live Oak". Same.
George Strait, "The Night is Young" and "Give It All We Got Tonight". What a shame he is retiring.
Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart, "Them There Eyes". Boisterous version of a jazz / cabaret standard from 1930, previously recorded by Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and others.
Eugene Bridges, "Dance With You". Sounds like a 70's soul hit.
Three great guitar instrumentals:
Ronnie Earl, "Pastorale". Sounds like its title suggests.
Joe Satriani, "A Door Into Summer". very LOUD!
Bill Frisell, "The Big One'. Surf guitar by a master of the instrument.