The UTR Panel of Critics votes each year to help create the collective Top 11 Gourmet Albums of the Year list.  They also help identify the Best Individual Gourmet Songs of the Year too.  In 2023, there was a lot stellar releases, and if you enjoy soaking in some of the most well-crafted music on the planet, then THIS playlist is for you!  On this playlist, the first 11 songs are tracks from our Top 11 albums list.  Next we feature a track from the 6 Honorable Mentions.  After that we feature a track representing the additional 25+ albums on expanded list of best albums.  And for the first time, we are also including a bunch of the Best Song picks from our critics as well.  Make sure to FOLLOW this list on the streaming platform you use – as we update this playlist twice a year.

Curator’s Notes  (Critic’s Picks – Best of 2023)

I am so grateful for the help of all the members of our amazing panel of critics – without whom we would not have a Top 11 Albums list or this playlist.  One of my personal joys is that they always help point out some terrific releases that slipped through the cracks for me.  Now we get to take everyone’s input and feedback, and can deliver you this list of over 4 hours of some of the highest quality music in many genres from faith-based artists.  It’s a wonderful antidote to people who think that all Christian music sounds one way… which isn’t true at all.  The depth of topics, poetry, storytelling, arrangements, musicianship, and vocal performance is some of the best you will find on the planet.   (Dave)


Critics’ Picks Playlist – Best Music of 2023

(Updated JAN 2024)

Call Me Thomas – Tina Boonstra
Petrichor – Candace Coker
Fable of the Times – The Arcadian Wild
Salvation Mountain – Lauren Daigle (ft. Gary Clark Jr.)
Better Than it Ever Was – Mike Mains & The Branches
Don’t Give Up on Me – Colony House
God & Prozac – Chris Renzema
Sunshine – Dave Barnes
How Wonderful We Are – Needtobreathe
Good Man – Jason Gray
Pioneer – Cory Asbury
Color We Bleed – Drakeford (ft. DJ & Marv)
No More Wasted Years – Common Hymnal
People – Jervis Campbell
On a Roll – Bruce Cockburn
How Long – Jon Guerra
Greater Than – Citizens
All the Money in the World – Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
Jubilee – Cindy Morgan (ft. Tommy Sims)
The Meadow Lark – Owl City
Like a Child With Its Mother – Caroline Cobb (ft. Jess Ray)
Again – Caroline Story
The Bread – Eric Peters
You Got Me – Jonathan Traylor
Uncertainty – Tow’rs
Tarry Not – Kylie Dailey
What You Run From – The Classic Crime
The Voice – Christa Wells
Older Than The Sun – Colorvault (ft. A.Bishai)
Pantego – Sam Bowman
Wilder Path – Josh Gauton
Van Gogh – Mandi Mapes
Basics – Jonathan McReynolds
Deep Magic – John Mark McMillan
Eagle and Child – Phil Keaggy (ft. Rex Schnelle)
Between the Shadow and the Sun – Lucy Grimble
In the Throes – Buddy & Julie Miller
Go Ahead – Wilder Woods
Just Like In Heaven – Victory
Revival – Anna Palfreeman
Ground Level – The Mountain Goats
Oxford Sweater – J Lind
Through Jesus – CAIN
Fruit on the Vine – Sam McCabe
Fear Not for I Am With You – Rachel Wilhelm
New Wine (Is My Bible a Barricade?) – Chris Llewellyn
Death Defying Joy – Andy Squyres
Plead – Joel Ansett
Heart Medicine – Judah & the Lion
Caesar Said to Brutus – Zach & Maggie
Pride Was All I Lost – Nicholas D’Andrea
New Heart – Jeremy Licata
Let it Roll – Rend Collective
Harpeth – Michelle Lynn Thompson
One of Those Days – Colony House
Shedding Skin – Lucy Grimble
Muddy The Water – Eliza Jamison
When the King Comes – Haylie Allcott
Losing My Head – Mike Mains & The Branches
These Are the Days – Lauren Daigle
Hope – NF
Sons of Thunder – Owl City
I’m Alive – Paul Zach (ft. Page CXVI)
Paradise – Frankie Orella
By and By – Needtobreathe
Jesus Loves You (And I’m Trying) – Jason Gray
Levees – Mandi Mapes