Ben Davis Jr. highlights Aaron Lee Tasjan, Todd Snider, Mike and the Moonpies, plus more in his Suggested Listening ’21

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It’s that time of year again! WOUB Culture has reached out to a variety of folks involved in various capacities with the music and arts throughout WOUB’s diverse coverage region to inquire: “what have you been listening to this year, my friend?” Find their answers on WOUB Culture all throughout the month of December. 

Ben Davis Jr. is one of the great musical storytellers yet to emerge from his native Southeast Ohio. Ben’s honest, sharply observed, and soulful lyrics and organic yet adventurous instrumentation make for a deeply felt blend of country, folk, and rock. 

Check out WOUB’s feature on his most recent release, “Roots,” right here.


1.) Todd Snider – “First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder” (2021)

I never knew that I was into folk-funk or funk-folk or whatever umbrella this new album from Todd Snider falls under. This album was made while Todd was off the road during the pandemic, and features his lyrical wit as well as some groovy bass and guitar, amongst other instrumental contributions laid down by Todd himself. Paired up with the percussion of Robbie Crowel and some additional overdubs by Tchad Blake, this is easily the grooviest Snider record to date. This album is a bit of a departure from the classic Todd Snider sound, but that made me listen closer. My favorite track is probably “The Get Together.”

2.) Aaron Lee Tasjan – “Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!” (2021)

From New Albany, OH, Aaron Lee Tasjan is a wonderful songwriter with a bit of mystique about him. This album was released in February 2021 and I definitely slept on it. It wasn’t until I saw Aaron open for Todd Snider in Cincinnati and Nelsonville this summer that I really fell in love. This record features all of my favorite things; great lyrics, catchy melodies, great synthesizer sounds and flavors from a lot of my favorite recordings of all time. I recommend everyone give this record a listen. My favorite track is “Up All Night.”

3.) Western Centuries – “Call The Captain” (2020)

This record was something I found by mistake. I was listening to some tunes on Spotify and the song “Before That Final Bell” came on shuffle. I was hooked by the lyrics and richness of the lead singer’s voice paired with the pedal steel and overall feel of the track. I quickly dove into this album and realized they actually have three amazing vocalists and lyricists but somehow they maintain a consistent sound from track to track. I got to catch them at Natalie’s in Worthington this year and saw that not only do they have three singers, but each is skilled at multiple instruments. They rotated around between guitars and drums throughout the performance with no disruption to the performance and no awkwardness whatsoever. This album has songs about broken hearts, some references to world history and even a song about joining the US Space Force. I recommend “Every Time It’s Raining” or “Before That Final Bell.”

4.) Brent Cobb – “Keep ‘Em on They Toes” (2020)

Brent Cobb is a very gifted singer songwriter who is known for his collaborations with the likes of Whiskey Myers most notably and many others. He has been releasing music for several years now, and is cousin to much-heralded producer, Dave Cobb. This release from Brent allows his bluesy light to shine through. I am a huge fan of his lyrics and catchy melodies as well as his arrangements of the songs he writes. I recommend you check out the title track and if you dig it, check out the rest as well!

5.) Mike and the Moonpies – “One to Grow On” (2021)

I have been a huge fan of Mike and the Moonpies since I discovered “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose” last year. I was pleasantly surprised when I got news that they had released “One to Grow On” earlier this year. Mike and the Moonpies in my version of reality give the rest of us an idea of what it’s like to live in Texas. The harmony guitars and general honky tonk vibe of each album is such a comforting feeling. There isn’t a bad song on this record, but my favorite is “Paycheck to Paycheck.”