2023 was full of good music. Almost too much! But NCPR’s in-house music hosts know that you depend on them to pick the best of the best. So Doyle Dean, Sarah Scafidi-McGuire, and David Sommerstein went through their favorite tracks of the year and chose their top 10s. Check it all out below.
From Doyle Dean, The Deans List
When I select songs to share each Monday on The Dean’s List I seek only the truth. The song must be truthful. Truthful in that the performer is honestly engaged with the material, truthful in the questions the artist might be asking the listener or themselves: musical questions, songwriting questions, structural questions. Now, it can be truthful in that it parodies or mimics something else — on my show that’s often the case! Finding the songs that do it the best? Maybe that’s the easy part. I just ask myself which tunes I keep coming back to. Which songs sound brand new every time I hear them? I come back because I keep getting something FROM them. How could I, after repeated listens, still be surprised when Gena Rose Bruce climbs the scale during the bridge in my number one pick “Harsh Light”? It gets me every time.
Seek your musical truth with “The Dean’s List: the best indie music of 2023“
From Sarah Scafidi-McGuire, Trail Mix
Following in the footsteps of my esteemed colleagues David Sommerstein and Doyle Dean, I’ve created a 2023 Top 10 List. And because my show, Trail Mix, is a relaxed and upbeat mix of new folk, old folk, pop, rock, blues, soul, Americana, and more, I tried to make it a well-rounded list and include a little bit of everything I love.
However, as I look back on my favorites, which I’ve defined as songs that I played an awful lot and really spoke to me this year, I can see that they all fall under a certain umbrella. I personally picture that umbrella as one of those with great artwork printed on it, like Monet’s Garden or Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
I went back again and again to smooth notes and soft melodies. I listened to a lot of really beautiful music. Some of my choices have a little bit of funk thrown into them, but not enough to necessarily get you off the couch.
I chose music that helped relax my mind and made me feel good; music that made me feel a little lighter. I decided to go with specific tracks, as opposed to the albums that they came off of, but you can bet that the albums they’re from are pretty darn good. If you play the songs one after the other from ten down to one, it ends up being a pretty solid mellow good time.
Relax and feel lighter with “Trail Mix: Best of 2023 – too much music!“
From David Sommerstein, The Beat Authority
The first thing I listen for in a song is the groove. Bass first, drums second, and then the rest. Sometimes I’ll never get to the lyrics. Music has to move me above all. That’s the motivating spirit of the Beat Authority, right? Music – regardless of borders or genres – that makes you move. So that’s what drives my top ten every year.
Another thing — I want to elevate artists who may not make it to the big headlines, the big top lists, the big radio hits. Don’t get me wrong, I love pop. But there’s so much incredible, mind-blowing music coming from every corner of the globe that North Country Public Radio listeners will be able to find their next favorite band.
Feel that beat with “Beat Authority best of 2023 – iconoclasts“