As we look back on the year of well-crafted music from 2022, we were blown away by the breadth of quality. If you had a hard time keeping track of the flood of new music that came our way, do not fear – we are here to help. In fact, UTR assembled our panel of critics to vote on the most meaningful and standout releases, and in mid-January will be sharing our collective list of the “Top 11 Gourmet Albums of 2022.” These half-dozen projects are exceptional and applauded by our panel, but the way the votes landed, they fall just outside our Top 11 list. These are definitely worthy of your time and attention, so we are excited to shine a spotlight on the 2022 Honorable Mentions.
[These are listed in no particular order. To qualify, must be a Christ-following artist, and the project released between 12/1/21 and 11/30/22.]
Seven by Brooke Ligertwood
“Sweet to taste, but containing convicting truths, this is a call for the church to step into its God-given identity,” shared UTR panelist Jessica. Brooke has already written global worship anthems through Hillsong. This album gives us a new batch of congregational songs to give words and emotions for the Church to express for years to come. [SPOTIFY LINK]
The Work, Vol. 2 by Elias Dummer
Don’t you love it when the sequel surpasses the original? This Canadian artist delivers a layered, thoughtful, and non-cliche project that deserves repeated listens. Critic Jessica shared, “Elias Dummer bravely and boldly uses his theological wisdom and musical prowess to give us an album built on prophetic, introspective, and hard-won tunes.” [SPOTIFY LINK]
Brighter Days by Blessing Offor
With palpable positivity, this 6-song release showcases some extraordinary musicianship and the unrelenting hope found when faith helps us through life’s storms. One of our critics shared, “It’s been wonderful to see this 2015 contestant on The Voice break out with a gospel-infused, hope-filled studio release, and a truly fresh sound in the CCM landscape.” [SPOTIFY LINK]
Bellsburg… The Songs of Rich Mullins by Various Artists
This was an amazing passion project we had the blessing of working on with Old Bear Records over the last three years. UTR critic Justus summed it up: “Neither too contemporary for Rich Mullins’ sound, nor a carbon copy of his own work, this album highlights the songwriting craft and honest grit of a man deeply missed by many.” [SPOTIFY LINK]
Little High Little Low by The Royal Foundry
This GMA Covenant Award-winning pop-rock outfit from Edmonton, Alberta continues to impress on their fourth and career-to-date best album. UTR critic Mick described the album this way: “Top-notch synth-pop grooves that kept me humming for hours. I enjoyed sorting through complex layered musical excellence.” [SPOTIFY LINK]
We The Kingdom by We The Kingdom
This 2021 Dove Award winner for Contemporary Christian Artist of the Year avoids any slump for their sophomore studio album. One of our panelists described it as “rich, rootsy, southern rock-tinged anthems and intimate admissions of broken neediness of true Christ followers.” WTK proves their strength as passionate musicians and powerhouse vocalists. [SPOTIFY LINK]
Did any of your favorites get mentioned? Or did you give any of these a fresh listen because they were cited by our critics? Tell us below.
And look for a new Gourmet Music Podcast (episode 83) releasing on 1/6/23, featuring an audio highlight of this Honorable Mentions list.
Year to year, I tend to forget when you were going to post your best album thoughts for the prior year, and I check daily until it appears. Your blog posts over the years have guided my wife and I into most of our listening decisions over the last several years of our marriage. Thank you for your, thoughtful research and reviews of music that is honoring God’s desire for us to do all of our work as onto him! Looking forward to the full list in the days ahead.