Looking back at the hundreds of tunes that ran on Trail Mix in 2015, it is virtually impossible to come up with a list of what I consider the “best” tunes of the lot. There are simply too many great tunes from which to pick.

So, as I looked back over the year in Trail Mix, I considered what records from each month spent the most time in my player. From that, I have put together this 2015 Trail Mix Twelve Pack, which highlights my favorite tracks from each month of the last year,

January – Sam Lewis/Waiting On You

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Sam already had scheduled the release of his newest record for the spring. In the meantime, he put together a collection of acoustic recordings taken while he was on tour. What started out as merely demos ended up as The Hotel Sessions, just Sam and his guitar in hotel rooms across two continents.

February – Hey Rosetta!/Soft Offering (For the Oft Suffering)

I am not sure how many rock bands come out of Newfoundland, but Hey Rosetta! have to be at the top of the list. Piano, cello, brass, and synth beats combine in “Soft Offering” in a rousing singalong fashion.

March – Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield/Somebody That I Used To Know

Prior to hearing this song, all I knew of Elliot Smith was his tragic story. After digging in to Seth and Jessica’s interpretations of his songs, I became a fan.

April – Andrew Combs/Foolin’

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Andrew is at the forefront of the reimagination of country music. Take one listen to all of those “oooooooooooooohs” in the chorus of this tune and try not to sing along. A fantastic take on introspection in the social media age.

May – John Moreland/You Don’t Care For Me Enough To Cry

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This might very well be my favorite tune of the year. John, in heart crushing fashion, harnesses all of the anxiety and doubt that comes along as love’s baggage. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship – particularly one that has gone south – should be able to relate to this tune.

June – Amos Lee/Violin

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It’s hard to imagine anything that can make Amos Lee’s songs sound even better. On the short list would be recording them at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony. This song is just enchanting.

July – Anderson East/Satisfy Me

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Vintage soul is on the rebound, and Anderson East is poised to be a front runner. Anderson combines hipster chic with vintage 60s soul sensibilities and a gravelly baritone that allows him to pull it off.

August – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats/S.O.B.

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An overnight sensation over a decade in the making, Nathaniel Rateliff truly arrived with his latest record. Long known as a stellar songwriter, Nathaniel tapped into gospel tinged soul for his latest project, and the result was instant acclaim.

September – John Mark Nelson/Dream Last Night

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This song was a bit like time travel. It took me right back to the 1980s and my high school years. Imagine my shock when I realized the songwriter was younger, at the age of 22, than many of the songs this tune reminded me of.

October – Holly Bowling/The Squirming Coil

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Classically trained pianist takes on classic Phish tunes. Genius! That Holly even went so far as to transcribe a 36 minute long “Tweezer” was icing on the cake. If you have ever wanted to hear Phish reinterpreted on solo piano, this is the record for you.

November – Annabelle’s Curse/Lovedrunk Desperadoes

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This tune holds the singular distinction of being the one song to have made Trail Mix twice this year. That it comes from one of my favorite regional bands makes that oversight on my part absolutely okay. I have truly enjoyed watching this band develop over the last number of years, and their latest release is their strongest to date.

December – Wild Child/Break Bones

I did my best trying to not get this track on to a Trail Mix. Not because it doesn’t kick ass – because it absolutely does – but because I kept missing it. And what a shame, because it is awesome. But good things come to those who keep screwing up, and “Break Bones” was a highlight on the final mix of the year.

As you can imagine, these twelve tracks merely scratch the surface of the year that was in Trail Mix. Many thanks to all of the great artists who shared their music with us and who took the time to sit down for a blog post. Here’s to a great year that has passed and another great year to come in 2016.