To continue my series this week of the “Best of” 2011, I thought I would do a series on my Best Tunes for the year. As with the books, this list is merely about stuff I discovered during the year. It doesn’t mean that it was created or released during this year.

Anyway, here it is in no particular order- my favorite tunes of 2011.

Matt Nathanson – Modern Love and Some Mad Hope

I discovered Matt Nathanson by downloading “Come On Get Higher” for free song on Amazon MP3. I then downloaded the Some Mad Hope album and later the Modern Love when it released in June of this year. (Both albums are on sale for $4.99 each at the moment on Amazon, BTW.) One thing I like about Matt’s music is the variety from song to song. My favorite songs are “Come On Get Higher”, “Kiss Quick” and “Faster”.

Mat Kearney – Young Love

Young Love was possibly my single favorite album of the year. I can listen to this album from start to finish without skipping a single song. One thing I like about it is that Mat brings back some spoken word in a few songs – getting back to the style that first won me over as a fan. It is really hard to name favorites here because the entire album is so good, but if I had to pull a few out I would say “Count on Me”, “Learning to Love Again” and “Chasing the Light”. (BTW, this album is on sale for $4.99 as well at the moment.)

Mandisa – What If We Were Real

I downloaded What If We Were Real as soon as it was released, which happened to be during the time I was spending a month in India. This album played almost non-stop for the entire trip and beyond. The main song from the album seems to be “Stronger”, but my personal favorites are “These Days”, “Just Cry” and “The Truth About Me”. Mandisa has such a powerful voice. If you have never given her a listen I highly encourage it. (BTW, yep, it’s only $4.99 at the moment too.)

Dave Barnes – What We Want, What We get

I can’t recall how I found this album, but I am sure glad I did. Dave has a soulful sound that is easy on the ears. There are two facts that I think highlight the variety in this album: He collaborates with Jonny Lang on “What I Need”; His song “God Gave Me You” was featured in an episode of Suite Life on Deck (Disney teen show). My favorite songs from the album are “Little Lies”, “You Do The Same For Me” and “God Gave Me You”

Jillian Edwards – Galaxies and Such

I found Jillian on NoiseTrade and was blown away by the haunting sound of her voice. The songs “Gullible”, “Songbird” and “Nonfiction Love Song” are my favorites. She has a new album out, but it is not yet available at Amazon so I haven’t downloaded it yet, but you can be assured I will as soon as it’s available.

Jamie Grace – One Song At A Time

In my opinion, Jamie Grace is the best new artist in Christian music. Her sound is fresh and her voice is adorable. She sounds equally charming on the slow songs as she does on the faster, upbeat music that is her trademark. My favorite songs from the album are “Hold Me”, “One Song at a Time” and “With You”. (BTW, yep, this one is only $4.99 at the moment as well.)

What about you? What were your best finds this year?

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