Since we started the High Fives feature two years ago, only two guest contributors have been ever-present. We’ve already heard from Dean Owens, so now it’s time for Billie Ray Martin. Her choices are always interesting and eclectic and this year is no exception. Have a listen to these and you’ll see what we mean.

Nils BechNils Bech – “Jealousy”

He’s done it again. After my initial surprise that he was once again covering the trials and tribulations of a relationship on this album, I realised that his approach is radical. He tells a deep truth that is at times uncomfortable, but ultimately rewarding to witness. ‘Jealousy’ is the most striking example from this best album of 2014.



WatersonWaterson – “Ae Fond Kiss”

Waterson deserves major recognition in the coming year. “Ae Fond Kiss” is just something he came out with, because he felt like it. The effortless skill and talent here is apparent as is the deep soul that drives him.




Hans-Joachim RoedeliusHans-Joachim Roedelius – “Tape Archive 1973-1978”

This is one of my most precious possessions. Not only is the quality of the vinyl, the cardboard, the print, the best I’ve ever seen and the mastering is warm and lush; the music too is almost unexpectedly beautiful and the influence on people like Brian Eno becomes even more obvious. Each vinyl includes also a CD album. Money was never better spent.



Bright Light Bright LightBright Light Bright Light feat. Elton John – “I Wish We Were Leaving”

When I heard this song I emailed Rod Thomas telling him that the (at the time) 26,000 listens on Soundcloud were all mine! Songwriting at its best.



Eric D ClarkEric D. Clark & The Scandals – “Summer Cruising EP”

This is not a new release but I came across it this year. It is an uplifting song, with a funky production and mix. The inimitable Eric D Clark on vocals warm up the heart while you skip round the living room dancing.