The Idler WheelBy any measure, 2012 was a remarkable year for singer/songwriters of all styles and sounds. Certainly, there were powerful records from musicians who practically invented the term, including complex, funny, moving albums from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but also terrific returns from underappreciated cult figure Bill Fay and an invigorated Patti Smith, and a rousing collection from Van Morrison. Then there was strong work from reliable troubadours like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Mark Eitzel, Aimee Mann, Mark Lanegan, and Todd Snider, but perhaps the most interesting albums came from indie and alt-rock veterans like Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, and Cat Power, all stretching themselves musically and lyrically, the way the best singer/songwriters do.Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel
Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg
Brandi Carlile - Bear Creek
Cat Power - Sun
Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas
Bob Dylan - Tempest
Kate Earl - Stronger
Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur
Mark Eitzel - Don't Be a Stranger
Bill Fay - Life Is People
Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts
Damien Jurado - Maraqopa
Sophia Knapp - Into the Waves
Mark Lanegan Band - Blues Funeral
Jason Lytle - Dept. of Disappearance
Aimee Mann - Charmer
Dylan Mondegreen - Dylan Mondegreen
Van Morrison - Born to Sing: No Plan B
Beth Orton - Sugaring Season
Patti Smith - Banga
Todd Snider - Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables
Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
Rufus Wainwright - Out of the Game

Listen to the best tracks from our favorite Singer/Songwriter albums of 2012 in this playlist: