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The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.

Recent
Music

The Best Jazz of 2018

The definition of "jazz" has never been broader, and the music has never been brighter. Two PopMatters critics pick their favorites in four modern jazz categories.

Justin Cober-Lake and Will Layman
Music

Jazz Legend Charles Lloyd and Americana's Lucinda Williams Join Forces Beautifully on 'Vanished Gardens'

Charles Lloyd's Americana/jazz group is joined by the marvelous Lucinda Williams on half the tracks here, creating a diverse, minor masterpiece.

Music

Lucinda Williams: This Sweet Old World

Redoing an entire album is a surprising and bold move, but on This Sweet Old World the gambit pays off. It's anything but a retread.

Interviews

Lucinda Williams Is Not Afraid to Explore Uncomfortable Spaces

“My writing reflects how I’m feeling at any given time,” Williams says. “Now that I’m older, I’ve suffered those losses and my songs are going to reflect that.”

Chrissie Dickinson
Music

Lucinda Williams: The Ghosts of Highway 20

On her superb new album, Lucinda Williams takes the wheel for a memory trip down Highway 20.

Music

Buddy Miller and Friends: Cayamo Sessions at Sea

Buddy Miller is a born collaborator, always managing to get brilliant performances out of the musicians he works with. This collection, which finds him dipping into the bag of country classics, is no exception.

Music

Lucinda Williams: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

Both familiar and challenging, Williams' new record invites her audience to dance slow and close to a set of adult songs for adult listeners.

Music

Parker Millsap: Parker Millsap

Road tunes and leavetakings are a fitting metaphorical trope for this album, because Millsap is clearly going places.

Music

Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams (25th Anniversary)

A truly great album, out of print for a decade, is back, tracing the emergence of a brilliant songwriter.

Music

Various Artists: Kin: Songs By Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell

Singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell and poet Mary Karr collaborate on a moving exploration of different kinds of kinship.

Music

Katya Chorover: Big Big Love

With some help from Casey Neill, Katya Chorover delivers her first album in a decade. It's been worth the wait.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Walter Rose: Cast Your Stone

Weathered, literary songs from a weathered, literary soul.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Various Artists: The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams

The only thing more exciting than the release of 12 previously unrecorded Hank Williams lyrics is the group of artists recruited to put them together.

Music

Infamous Love Songs: An Interview with Over the Rhine

Their latest album was funded by their fans, Lucinda Williams stopped by to sing on a track, and the group's new record label is named after their dog. Welcome to the wonderful world of Over the Rhine ...

Erin Lyndal Martin
Music

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings: Kings and Queens

Kings and Queens is a collection just bursting to the seams with pure talent, and is the group's most ambitious statement to date.

Music

Tracks They'll Be Talking About: 5 Divisive Songs on Great Albums

Bon Iver's "Beth/Rest" is just the latest song that beguiles as many fans as it detracts.

Music

The Year in Music: November 2010

November 2010, the subject of our latest look at the year’s biggest events in music, was a month full of new releases, award shows, and artist recognition.

Music

Ray Davies: See My Friends

Ray Davies' latest album is part tribute compilation, part vanity project. Mark my words, no one will be discussing this a year from now.

Music

"In a Different Place Now": An Interview with Lucinda Williams

In her first ever interview with PopMatters, Lucinda Williams explains how her latest album, Blessed, was shaped by the dueling forces of love and death.

Music

Anna Bullard: Split Heart

No one moment on Split Heart really reaches out and grabs you; instead, the album ends up being the best kind of background music, like a soundtrack for your daily comings and goings.

Freeden Oeur
Music

The Best Americana Music of 2008

It did seem -- perhaps because of the genre's traditional real-world concerns -- like a lot of the year's best Americana releases sensed the storm clouds gathering.

Music

Lucinda Williams: Little Honey

Finally, Lucinda is in love. Is that a good thing?

Reviews

Lucinda Williams

Judging by this concert, Williams seems to have emerged unscathed from the demons that used to torment her. She sang with an easygoing grace. The edginess that once made her concerts dangerous was no longer present. It was clear Williams was having a good time and enjoyed performing to an appreciative audience.

Steven Horowitz
Reviews

Lucinda Williams - Austin City Limits Taping

When Lucinda Williams declares "This is one of those times we [can] all get together regardless of politics" all possible complaints wither away.

David Pyndus
Reviews

Lucinda Williams

Resident fan-rankler Vijith Assar takes a country legend to task for distracting orchestration and overbearing activism. In love with Lucinda? Check back Monday for a contrasting view.

Vijith Assar
Music

Lucinda Williams: West

In her search for something "mature yet hip", Williams seems to have forgotten that there's nothing more mature, more hip, or indeed more totally happening than the magic that occurs when she plays country. Pedal steel guitar and all.

Roger Holland
Reviews

Lucinda Williams: Live from Austin, TX [DVD]

This 16-song set documents the period in Lucinda Williams' career when she was about to leave the mortal realm of underground hero and enter the pantheon of great American songwriters.

Michael Franco
Music

Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears

World without Tears, her seventh record and follow-up to 2001's minimalist Essence, finds Williams working in a new environment.

S. Renee Dechert
Reviews
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