The year 2020 may be remembered as the year of the pandemic, but let’s not forget it was also a year of fantastic new music from many brilliant Indigenous artists. Music that spans genres and nations and that will stick with us for years to come!
It was hard enough to pick just 10 of our favourites, so in no particular order, here are 10 of the best albums from 2020:
A Small Death—Samantha Crain
In 2017, Samantha had three car accidents in three months, the third left her bedridden for over a year and unable to play her guitar. Remarkably, she rebuilt her ability and wrote music through her recovery. The result, her ninth album, may be her best writing yet.
Everyone’s favourite baritone released not one but two albums this year and both belong on every Best Of 2020: Reliever, a happier more hopeful journey than his breakthrough album, and Gospel First Nation, which explores the complicated relationship between Christianity and Indigenous people in Canada.
Break the Chain—Desiree Dorion
Desiree’s fifth album explores themes of poverty, resilience, breaking the cycle of violence, family ties, and Jack Daniels, and she delivers the emotional weight of these stories powerfully. In a departure from her country music style, Break the Chain has just the right amount of pop.
As the Stars Explode—The North Sound
The second full-length album features 11 new songs from the Saskatchewan-based singer-songwriter Forrest Eaglespeaker. Blending pop, folk, and country, what makes the songs stand out, is the personal experiences they traverse, songs born of wandering and wondering.
For Those I Love(d)—Angel Baribeau
The debut album from this queer, non-binary, Indigenous pop singer/songwriter is simply breathtaking, full of vulnerability, wisdom, and catchy melodies. What more could you need?
Take Your Power Back—Nahko and Medicine for the People
This epic album has 15 tracks and three interludes offers a message of hope and healing that may resonate more strongly in 2020 than any other time.
The new album from this duo is a departure from their folkier roots, but don’t worry: this pop and synth-heavy exploration are just as good.
Elle Danse—Mimi O’Bonsawin
Now based in Toronto, Mimi’s music has always reflected the northern Ontario landscape. This new EP is her first written in French, reflecting an important part of her French Canadian and Abenakis roots.
The Next Chapter—Don Amero
For his seventh album, Don has really hit his stride. The Next Chapter is his first official label release, his first full country album, and a new path in the world of music.
The Ridge—Julian Taylor
Julian is, of course, the host of The Cruise on 106.5 ELMNT FM, but we’d be a fan of his music no matter what! His new solo album, The Ridge, has racked up over 1 million streams, so you don’t have to take our word for it. (Also, how cute was he as a kid? Watch:)
Whew! What a list! We can’t wait to see what incredible music 2021 will bring.