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The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.

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Events

Amanda Shires Stokes Fires of Raging Rock 'n' Roll on Atmosphereless Tour

A down-to-earth roots musician who doesn't care if you call her instrument a violin or fiddle, Amanda Shires played it incredibly well while impressing Mile Highwomen, millennial men, and golden oldies alike during a hot winter night in Colorado.

Music

Dixie Chicks Headline the Ally Coalition 6th Annual Talent Show

Jack and Rachel Antonoff drew strong talent including Dixie Chicks, Jason Isbell, and Carly Rae Jepsen to the LGBTQ equality benefit for the Ally Coalition.

Events

Father John Misty and Jason Isbell Team Up to Take on Modern Angst in Berkeley

Putting two of America's top emerging songwriters of the past decade together makes for arguably the best combo tour of 2019.

Music

True to Form, Jason Isbell Delivers an Exhilarating Set on 'Live from the Ryman'

Culled mostly from a series of sold-out 2017 Nashville shows, Live from the Ryman confirms Jason Isbell's status as a mesmerizing performer, and will likely convert new fans.

Music

Newport Folk Fest: Jon Batiste Leads Superb Finale

Another weekend at the Newport Folk Festival provides some amazing musical memories, especially the Jon Batiste-led star-studded finale.

Music

Jason Isbell's Early Solo Days Are Revisited on the Re-Issue of 'Sirens of the Ditch'

One of the most talented voices in Americana today, Jason Isbell's debut solo album Sirens of the Ditch receives a proper reissue.

Music

This Is American Music: An Interview with Superproducer Dave Cobb

We chat with Dave Cobb, four-time Grammy award-winning Americana producer, about his production work at RCA's Studio A, the significance of musical teamwork, historical lineage, and the state of the music industry.

Music

The 15 Best Americana Albums of 2017

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

Music

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: The Nashville Sound

The 400 Unit join Jason Isbell on a personal and strong set of songs tuned to modern American life and the past we can never recapture.

Music

Sadler Vaden Became Their Muse (Podcast)

Sadler Vaden inspires songwriters to reach their full potential, but he hopes they never get there.

Music

Jason Isbell Chats Solo Career and Song Craft at the New Yorker Festival

Grammy-winner Isbell sat down with John Seabrook for a humorous, "college-y song-writing seminar" followed by a short acoustic set.

Music

The Wonderland-like Experience of the 2016 Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival

There’s something special about experiencing live music in this place, where the trees are lit up in psychedelic colors. It makes feel like one has gone down a rabbit hole into "Wonderland".

Music

John Moreland Restores Hope in a Hopeless World

John Moreland sings tales that crawl through the soil, hiss in the night, and burrow themselves into the heartpocket of listeners.

Interviews

Songwriter Jason Isbell Reaches for 'Something More'

Jason Isbell recently spoke about his writing process, his active — and very funny — Twitter presence and the complexity of being Southern in 2015.

Chris Barton
Music

Let Us Now Praise Dale Watson, American Treasure

Dale Watson wants to secede from country music and all we can do is hope that this is one rebellion that comes to a happy end.

Music

Jason Isbell: Something More Than Free

While it doesn't quite have the thunderous impact of Southeastern, Something More Than Free confirms that Jason Isbell is a rare talent.

Music

Musician Jason Isbell: I’m 'a lot more comfortable in my own skin'

Jason Isbell is releasing Something More Than Free, his fifth solo album since being ousted from stalwart country-rock unit the Drive-by Truckers in 2007.

Chris Riemenschneider
Music

Cory Branan: The No-Hit Wonder

Like all good country music, Cory Branan is hard, if not impossible, to define.

Music

Counterbalance: Jason Isbell's 'Southeastern'

You should know compared to people on a global scale our kind has had it relatively easy. Jason Isbell gets that -- and a lot more as well. His 2013 release is this week’s Counterbalance.

Music

2014 Nelsonville Music Festival (photos)

The tenth annual Nelsonville Music Festival took place from May 29 to June 1.

Interviews

The Tenth Annual Nelsonville Music Festival - A PopMatters Interview

The 2014 Nelsonville Music Festival will feature performances by the Avett Brothers, Dinosaur Jr., the Head and the Heart, Jason Isbell, and many others.

Music

Our Jason Isbell, Ourselves

Jason Isbell delivered one of the strongest records in 2013, and in doing so, he helped redefine the parameters of Americana.

Music

Robert Ellis: The Lights from the Chemical Plant

On this challenging and intimate album, Robert Ellis walks up to the brink of despair and calls it out to play.

Music

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - “Danko Manuel” (video)

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's latest album, 'Live From Alabama', releases 20 November and this live take of “Danko Manuel” appears on the new record. The tune is a tribute to the Band from the much heralded LP The Dirty South from Isbell's former band, Drive By Truckers.

Music

Todd Snider: Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

Todd Snider still refuses to take himself too seriously, but he didn't reserve any room for beer runs and grunge rock on this album either.

Reviews

The Levon Helm Band: 8 May 2010 - Charlottesville, VA

The band played every note as if it mattered, but held forth as if it was nothing special.

Music

20 Questions: Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell as a solo artist is “brimming with talent and blessed with a killer voice”, says PopMatters’ Stuart Henderson.

Music

Righteous Paths

The Drive-By Truckers' live shows once played like a songwriters-in-the-round session with electric guitars and increasingly empty bottles of Jack Daniels. Then Jason Isbell came along -- and it only got better.

Music

Jason Isbell: Sirens of the Ditch

Debut solo album from ex-Drive-By Trucker is a slickly produced record of conservative hard rock and country-tinged balladry whose polish floats a little too far from his former band's grungier orbit.

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