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IPR music hosts share their favorite blues, classic and folk albums of 2022

Iowa Public Radio music hosts Karen Impola, Barney Sherman and Bob Dorr joined Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to share their picks of the best new music releases of 2022 for folk, classical and the blues.

Iowa Public Radio music hosts Karen Impola, Barney Sherman and Bob Dorr joined Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to share the folk, classical, and blues releases they listened to in 2022.

You can listen to them dissect their blues and folk hits here and classical picks here.

Bob Dorr's blues picks of 2022

1. May Be the Last Time, John Nemeth

"'May Be the Last Time' really references the recording of this album just weeks ahead of some very, very serious cancer treatment that he is still undergoing for a very, very rare jaw cancer. He is making progress on his cancer surgeries. He's a fantastic singer."

2. Golden Girl Blues, Trudy Lynn

"Trudy Lynn, longtime queen of the Houston blues music scene going back to the late '60s, is celebrating her 75th birthday this year with this disc Golden Girl Blues. Longtime guitar star Anson Funderbergh is a big part of the disc. Trudy wrote six of the 11 songs, including the title track."

3. Highs & Lows, Bernard Allison

"Bernard Allison, son of Blues Hall of Famer Luther Allison, is one of the premiere contemporary bluesmen. Varied style, rock tinged, great grooves. Bernard wrote eight of the 11 songs on his 2022 album Highs & Lows. His dad wrote two others, including 'Now You Got It.'"

4. The Dig 3, The Dig 3

"My favorite new blues band of 2022 is The Dig 3. Born out of the pandemic, it’s three guys with roots to other Chicago blues bands including the Kilborn Alley Band, Corey Dennison Band and Nick Moss Band. The disc is self titled, self released, stripped own, authentic, real deal, Chicago style, exactly the way I like it. There’s even a song for the season, 'Christmas Coming.'"

5. Just Gettin' Good, Mighty Mike Schermer

"Austin, TX guitar player (transplanted from the San Francisco Bay Area) Mighty Mike Schermer has been the guitar player in Marcia Ball’s band since 2009. He’s got guitar tone and attack that reminds me a lot of Albert Collins and a great sense of humor to the songs he's written for his 2022 solo album Just Gettin’ Good, including 'Tired of Travelin’.'"

6. Just Like That, Bonnie Raitt

"I’ve been a fan of Bonnie Raitt’s since 1971. Once, she was three hours late for a UNI Union gig because they thought UNI was in Cedar Rapids, not Cedar Falls. That was before I-380 and cell phones. This is Bonnie’s first album in six years, she’s still more of an interpreter than songwriter, her guitar and slide guitar playing is as great as it’s ever been, but she really kicked her vocals up to a new level on this album titled Just Like That. The song is 'Blame It On Me.'"

7. The Blues Don't Lie, Buddy Guy

"At age 86, Buddy Guy just continues to produce contemporary sounding albums with 70 years worth of roots. He continues to have multi Blues Music Award winning producer/songwriter/drummer Tom Hambridge involved with the album, The Blues Don’t Lie, and has enlisted a few guests including Mavis Staples, Canadian blues star Colin James, and another 80+ year old blues icon, Bobby Rush, who trades vocals on the song 'What’s Wrong With That?'"

8. Wildroots Sessions Vol. 2, The Wildroots Band

"My other #1 favorite is very similar to last year’s #1 favorite. Multi Blues Music Award winner Victor Wainwright and his musical partner Stephen Dees, along with Dees’ wife Patricia are The Wildroots Band. They enlist many friends to come in and record mostly Stephen Dees songs. Last year, we got Wildroots Sessions Vol. 1. This year, Vol. 2. If you can only buy one blues disc for the year, this should probably be it. Fifteen songs of all musical variety (still retaining blues roots). There’s ten different lead singers. One of my most favs is Patricia Dees and Reba Russell doing 'Long Way To Go.'"

9. Still I Long to Roam, Catfish Keith

"Catfish Keith, who won two Blues Blast awards for his album Land of the Sky in 2021. His most recent album, Still I Long to Roam. He’s been touring the last two months in Great Britain, just got back home."

10. "Another Nice Day," Rush Cleveland Trio

"Rush Cleveland Trio, he’s 77 years old and will be inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame this year. He’s enlisted some vocal help from two Iowa women singers. Cedar Falls singer Cathy Henry Rohlf is on the song 'Another Nice Day.'"

11. Blue Moon Rising, Bryce Janey

12. Revolver, The Beatles (favorite reissue of 2022)

Barney Sherman's classical picks of 2022

1. Diversions, performed by Rose Bishop

"Rose performs here in an Ottumwa concert with the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert McConnell. They commissioned this new work from this respected Iowa composer. Rose also performs five other new works she commissioned for the flute."

2. Born, by The Crossing led by Donald Nealy, Michael Gilbertson, “Returnings: Part 1: what knits us”

"The young composer, from Dubuque, was second-in-line for the Pulitzer Prize the year they gave it to Kendrick Lamar. Michael has been a huge supporter of music education in his home town and of public radio, but this album shows why he’s recognized internationally. The kid writes beautiful, profound music."

3. Arc II, played by pianist Orion Weiss, Maurice Ravel, “Le Tombeau de Couperin: i. Toccata”

4. Music for Ukraine by Daniel Hope and Alexey Botnivov, Valentin Silvestrov, “Melodies of the Moments, Op. 145: Musical Moment”

"I’m choosing it because proceeds go to support Ukrainian refugee children, and because Silvestrov, at age 85, is one of the composers of the year. In Kyiv in February when the blitz began, he was on a bus to Poland with his daughter and granddaughter in March, then gave a passionate impromptu speech in Berlin that went viral. He also has produced new music recordings to support Ukraine."

5. "Trio for oboe, violin and viola: i. Pastorale," Hans Gal

"Performed by University of Iowa musicians Christine Rutledge, viola, Courtney Miller, oboe and Scott Conklin, violin. From a two-CD set of the composer’s chamber music performed by University of Iowa faculty and recorded at Voxman."

6. Prairie Christmas, Eric Barnum, "What Is This Light?" by Una Vocis Choral Ensemble conducted by Dennis Lee.

"The composer is the director of choral activities at Drake University in Des Moines."

Karen Impola's folks picks 'that got away'

1. Tanglewood Tree (2000), Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer

2. Hell on Church Street (2022), The Punch Brothers

3. Restitute (2019), Eliza Carthy

4. Ever Popular Favorites (2016), Martin Simpson & Dom Flemons

5. "Hallelujah," (2019), Daniel Kahn

6. Old Adam (2012), Fay Hield

7. These 13 (2021), Jimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird

8. Do You Love (2019), Otava Yo

9. With Love (2015), Trio Mandili

10. Salon Lagrimas y Deseo (2017), Lila Downs

Music News IPR Classical
Josie Fischels is a Digital News producer at Iowa Public Radio. She is a 2022 graduate of the University of Iowa’s school of journalism where she also majored in theater arts (and, arguably, minored in the student newspaper, The Daily Iowan). Previously, she interned with the Denver Post in Denver, Colorado, and NPR in Washington, D.C.
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Bob Dorr is a Studio One Host
Karen Impola is the host of IPR's The Folk Tree
Barney Sherman is a Senior Music Producer and Classical Music Host