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The 15 Best Americana Albums of 2015

From the old guard reaffirming its status to upstarts asserting their prowess, personal tales voiced by true artists connected on an emotional level in the best Americana music of 2015.

Music

Charley Crockett Takes Us to the Movies on 'Welcome to Hard Times'

Charley Crockett's Welcome to Hard Times invokes the same misery and corruption as E.L. Doctorow's Welcome to Hard Times: the world is just a rigged casino where one can never get a break or even hope to break even.

Music

Lori McKenna Is 'The Balladeer' We Need Right Now

The Balladeer will only help cement Lori McKenna's reputation as one of America's finest musical artists. These 10 songs will bring a tear to your eye and remain stuck in your brain.

Music

Bonnie Whitmore Searches For Perspective With "Right/Wrong" (premiere + interview)

Bonnie Whitmore shares her latest single "Right/Wrong" ahead of upcoming LP, Last Will and Testament, which is a powerful and thought-provoking follow-up to her 2016 release.

Music

Samantha Crain Overcomes Through 'A Small Death'

On A Small Death, Samantha Crain comes through years of struggle, but doesn't just survive. Crain finds a new direction by looking in and doing hard work internally, and then she offers us her path.

Music

Western Terrestrials' 'Back in the Saddle of a Fever Dream' Brings Psychedelia to Country

Astral planes, Nietzsche's Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence, and UFOs -- they're all just part of Western Terrestrials' Roger Miller tribute, Back in the Saddle of a Fever Dream.

Music

Noah Guthrie's "That's All" Innovates on His Americana Sound (premiere + interview)

Americana's Noah Guthrie debuts the bittersweet, nostalgic lyric video for his latest single, "That's All", and talks with PopMatters about how he creates the music that resonates with so many.

Music

Courtney Marie Andrews Picks Up the Pieces on 'Old Flowers'

Folk singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews' Old Flowers is about the dissolution of a nine-year relationship and has many strengths. Still, it often falls prey to the cliches of the break-up album.

Music

"I Don't Want This Sullied by These Foul-mouthed Youngsters": An Interview With Old 97's

Rhett Miller of Old 97's discusses longevity, grappling with a pandemic, and embracing silver linings. "Making a band work requires putting the group before one's self. Any relationship involves sublimation of ego."

Music

The Chicks Boldly Reclaim Their Relevance on 'Gaslighter'

Gaslighter is bold and incendiary, finding the Chicks reclaiming their relevance. Thankfully, the Chicks reject silencing as Gaslighter reestablishes their penchant for vocalizing raw truths.

Music

David Ramirez Storms Into New Ground with 'My Love Is a Hurricane'

David Ramirez moves a step further from his roots on My Love Is a Hurricane while maintaining what makes his art so indelible.

Music

Victoria Bailey's "Skid Row" Exemplifies the Bakersfield Sound (premiere + interview)

Victoria Bailey emerges with "Skid Row", a country romp that's an ode to an LA honky-tonk and the classic California Bakersfield sound.

Music

Americana's S.G. Goodman Discusses Activism and Changing Minds in the Rural South

Folk rocker S.G. Goodman discusses changing hearts and minds in the rural American South, all while releasing her debut album in the middle of a global pandemic. Goodman is a rising artist to watch.

Music

Country's Corb Lund Finds the Absurd in 'Agricultural Tragic'

On Corb Lund's Agricultural Tragic, he sings of grizzly bears, tattoos, hunting rats and elk, the meaning of author Louis L'Amour's fiction, and the meaning of life.

Music

Country Westerns Bask in an Unparalleled Sound and Energy on Their Debut

Country Westerns are intent on rejecting assumptions about a band from Nashville while basking in an unparalleled sound and energy.

Music

Joshua Ray Walker Is 'Glad You Made It'

Texas' Joshua Ray Walker creates songs on Glad You Made It that could have been on a rural roadhouse jukebox back in the 1950s. Their quotidian concerns sound as true now as they would have back then.

Music

The Texas Gentlemen Share the Powerful and Soulful "Last Call" (premiere)

Eclectic Texas band, the Texas Gentlemen return with a vibrant, imaginative LP that resists musical boundaries. Hear their latest epic single, "Last Call".

Music

The Jayhawks Offer Us Some 'XOXO'

The Jayhawks offer 12-plus songs on XOXO to help listeners who may be alone and scared by reminding us that we are all alone together.

Music

The Bacon Brothers Deliver Solemn Statement With "Corona Tune" (premiere + interview)

Written and recorded during the 2020 quarantine, "Corona Tune" exemplifies the Bacon Brothers' ability to speak to the gravity of the present moment.

Music

Margo Price Is Rumored to Be the New Stevie Nicks

Margo Price was marketed as country rock because of her rural roots. But she was always more rock than country, as one can hear on That's How Rumors Get Started.

Music

Wesley Dean Encourages Us to Find Our Inner "Magik" (premiere)

Australia's Wesley Dean meshes elements of pop and Americana into a compassionate, confident anthem about self-love and discovery on "Magik".

Music

Jerry Castle's Rich Americana Roots on Display With "Pick Up Your Guitar" (premiere)

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Jerry Castle releases the deeply focused and nuanced Midnight Testaments on 24 August. "Pick Up Your Guitar" is the album's new infectious single.

Music

Old Crow Medicine Show Sing on Through Total Devastation

Social unrest, a global pandemic, and an industry that has forever been changed? No problem. Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor stares down the future.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Anthony Garcia Paints a Cinematic Americana Landscape on "The Wind" (premiere)

Inspired by Townes Van Zandt and Bach, Texas' Anthony Garcia strikes a captivating line between Americana and classical on "The Wind".

Music

Bob Dylan the European

For all his love of American vernacular music in its many forms, Bob Dylan has a deeply European sensibility.

Music

Bob Dylan Says It All on 'Rough and Rowdy Ways'

Bob Dylan returns as prophet, historian, and joker on his latest album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, an unending puzzle with rich content.

Music

Radnor & Lee Deliver Warm, Funny Love Song via "Gimme Your Mess" (premiere)

Indie pop's Ben Lee and actor Josh Radnor team up as Radnor & Lee to deliver warm and catchy indie folk on "Gimme Your Mess" and their upcoming LP, Golden State.

Music

Folk's Jeb Loy Nichols Says We Are in 'Season of Decline'

Jeb Loy Nichols finds humor in ambiguity, and real sadness in the joy of being in the current moment on his new EP, Season of Decline.

Music

Are We Having a Conversation? An Interview With Butch Walker

Butch Walker delivers what is arguably his most ambitious release to date with American Love Story. "I'm calling everybody out," he says, about a record that he concedes may not be for everyone.

Music

Fifty Years Ago the Grateful Dead Became the 'Workingman's Dead'

Psychedelic rockers the Grateful Dead changed directions in 1970 and went country with Workingman's Dead, becoming early folk-rock/country-rock pioneers.

Music

Larkin Poe Shove Cock-Rock Out of the Way with 'Self Made Man'

Larkin Poe pack Self Made Man with unadulterated power. The multi-instrumentalist sisters strut their musicality while firmly rooting their sound in Southern rock 'n roll.

Music

Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Music

Indie Folk's Mt. Joy Believe That Love Will 'Rearrange Us'

Through vibrant imagery and inventive musicality, Rearrange Us showcases Americana band Mt. Joy's growth as individuals and musicians.

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