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  • By Alan Richard

CHANGE MAKERS: MY FAVORITES FROM 2023

Updated: Mar 5


Mya Byrne at the Love Rising concert in 2023.

Something changed in roots music in the past year.


If many artists hadn’t yet turned their focus to social-justice issues, the attacks on LGBTQ+ people by leaders in Tennessee and other states helped tilt the scale. (Not to mention all the new laws restricting teaching about race and other topics in many classrooms across the country.)


More trans and nonbinary artists in particular and other LGBTQ+ performers are performing bold protest songs and speaking out against injustice.


These artists — joining Black artists, especially Black women, and other queer artists, whom I highlighted in my favorite music of 2021 and 2022 — have become some of today’s most inspired performers in the broad genre known as Americana music. The truth is, they're now some of the most important voices in country music, too.


Maybe it’s because they really have something to say. Maybe it’s because they must say something. They’re actually writing and performing for their lives, challenging everyone to to speak up and sing out.


This was clear at the Love Rising concert and rally held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena in March of last year. Thousands gathered to protest the state legislation restricting the mention of LGBTQ+ persons in public schools, some types of long-accepted health care for trans persons, and more. Emceed by drag performers who delivered some of the best civil rights speeches I've evr heard, Allison Russell, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Joy Oladokun, and many others performed. (Read Ann Powers’ excellent story on the show for NPR here.)


During the show, veteran roots-rock artist Cidny Bullens introduced singer-songwriter Mya Byrne, noting that his friend's new album was filled with “the voice of courage, merely because she dares to be true to herself.“


“Give it up for trans women, y’all,” Byrne said, taking the stage. We live in a time when “we have to tear down the pillars of the thing they’re trying to build around us, because we will not be put in cages again,” she added. “But most of all I come to you with love.” 


Amanda Shires was one of the many artists to perform during the protest concert.

Indeed, Byrne's Rhinestone Tomboy is one of my favorites from 2023, packed with good songs including the outlaw-country opener, It Don't Fade, and some nice guitar solos by Byrne and her producer, the wonderful artist Aaron Lee Tasjan. (See the video below.)


“I've been thinkin' about the sunshine...,“ Byrne sings on the lead track. “Even in the bad times, it don't fade.“ 


While that song tells us to keep on the sunny side, it's clear that artists who are trans and queer have much more to share about their lives and other types of storytelling than the common (and important) theme of delving into their often emotional journeys and life’s transitions.


On a panel at AmericanaFest last fall, Byrne expressed frustration at how rarely trans artists are included in the festival beyond just a panel discussion on trans issues.


“I am a white Jewish woman from the New Jersey suburbs,” Byrne said. “If the sole representative of trans women at AmericanaFest is me, that’s a big fucking problem.” 


Many Black and Brown trans women still are overlooked, even in progressive music circles, she added. “It’s not OK… (and) until that changes, this community’s not going to grow,” she said. “A lot of young people are walking away from this community.”


This panel of trans artists spoke at AmericanaFest in fall2023. Mya Byrne is second from left, speaking with her friend Paisley Fields. Cidny Bullens, at far left, speaks with Ally Free.

I’m drawn to this movement of LGBTQ+ artists, especially the trans and nonbinary community of artists in the past year, with no small thanks to Black Opry, the organization founded by music writer and community organizer Holly G. to support Black and other underrepresented musicians. Black Opry helps marginalized country and roots-music artists find community and support, connect with booking agents and gigs, make studio recordings, and bring their work to a larger audience.


Among my favorite roots music of 2023, you’ll find even more remarkable albums and songs by only a few of the distinctive trans, nonbinary, and other queer artists (and their close allies) in Americana music.


These artists are the musical storytellers we need to hear in this country right now. They’re powerful, courageously transparent and outspoken, and they’re writing and and making music that challenges every last one of us to be better than we are, to open our hearts wider, to work for freedom, and to look for real meaning and inspiration in the songs, albums, and artists we follow and support.


I can’t think of many statements more powerful.


Mya Byrne, Rhinestone Tomboy


This strong aforementioned set of outlaw country with folk and alt-rock elements, is definitely worth exploring and likely only a prelude for more great music to come from Byrne. 


Byrne also teamed last year with her good friend, singer-songwriter Paisley Fields, for the single Burn This Statehouse Down, less a literal call to violence than to protest the hard-right turn among the Tennessee legislature in recent years.


State lawmakers have passed restrictions on teaching in public schools around racial issues, most anything about LGBTQ+ people, and even drag shows. Plus, three progressive legislators were removed from office simply for speaking their mind and raising protests that were very much warranted during such a radical turn to the far right.






Jessye DeSilva, Renovations


I’m still finishing a long overdue feature on DeSilva, whose roots-pop and -rock album is filled with catchy, moving performances about their own transitions — themes that it turns out are quite universal. DeSilva’s singing and tasteful arrangements are traceable to Elton John, and the album features guests such as the incredible (and ubiquitous in this article) Aaron Lee Tasjan on guitar (check out the powerful song Firecracker), with whom DeSilva is working on new music, I believe.


On the song Clouds, the ballad co-written with musical partner Alex Calabrese, that closes DeSilva's album, the artist sings:

 

Darlin’ I can’t count the ways

that I’ve been stared at

But I can add up on one hand the times I’ve actually been seen

Early on I was so painfully aware of all the eyes

Growing up inside a world not meant for me...

 

We gotta learn to see ourselves

Without their clouds in our eyes

Make it loud, or make it soft

You stay sweet and strut your stuff






Cidny Bullens, Little Pieces


Look for my forthcoming, in-depth feature on the aforementioned Bullens, whose life and musical journey is among the most enthralling, at times tragic, and inspiring I’ve ever known. His new album, Little Pieces, is his first for the Nashville imprint of Kill Rock Stars, the New York-based label that’s signing some of the LGBTQ+ voices that I’m writing about these days.


Bullens’ straightforward rock ‘n roll also speaks to important transitions in life and features wonderful guest appearances by friends Beth Nielsen Chapman (in a great, rock-and-blues duet, Not With You) and sharp production and playing by Ray Kennedy and backing vocals by his spouse Siobhan Kennedy and other guests.

 

(If you’re not familiar, listen to Bullens’ outstanding 1999 album, Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth, a roots-rock record that artfully expresses the immense sorrow from losing a child and the hope that the artist discovered in unlikely precious moments.)




MORE GREAT MUSIC FROM 2023:

 

Margo Price, Strays


This is the best rock ‘n roll album of the year, in my view, continuing to show why Price and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit fill the space left by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in quality, attitude, and intelligence. (Heartbreakers’ guitarist Mike Campbell even makes an appearance on this latest album.)


This record is more about imagery and feel than straight-up narrative. I love all these songs, but the standouts include Change of Heart, Radio (with Sharon Van Etten), Time Machine, and Hell in the Heartland.

 

Various Artists, More Than a Whisper: Celebrating the Music of Nanci Griffith


A mostly reserved, lovingly performed tribute album to Griffith, a groundbreaking songwriter and unlikely country star who died in 2021.


The standout here is the ingenious Todd Snider’s rollicking, trucker-honky tonk take on Ford Econoline, but there's much more to discover here, especially if you're unfamiliar with Griffith's catalogue.



The album also features Steve Earle, Sarah Jarosz, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Shawn Colvin, Iris DeMint, and Ida Mae, among others, and should remind music lovers of the masterful storytelling and remarkable sense of place in so many of Griffith’s songs.


“I’m leavin’ Mississippi in the evening rain,” Molly Tuttle sings in the intriguing first line of Listen to the Radio, which she performs with Billy Strings:

 

These Delta towns wear satin gowns

In a high-beamed frame

Loretta Lynn guides my hands

through the radio

Where would I be in times like these

Without the songs Loretta wrote?

When you can't find a friend 

You've still got the radio… 





The great Emmylou Harris graces us with Love Wore a Halo (Back Before the War), her voice more weathered than in the past but sounding good, recorded with longtime musical friend Buddy Miller. Harris sings:


He owned a hotel on Jersey shore

She made her living seeing the sailors door to door

He was a small Hawaiian with a crooked smile

But he made her eyes light up like the heavens on the Fourth of July...




Every note of Lyle Lovett and Kathy Mattea’s version of Trouble in the Fields is stunning, and not just because of their stellar singing. The band includes Sam Bush, Al Perkins, and Victor Krauss.

There's also Kelsey Waldon and John Prine’s heartfelt duet on Love at the Five and Dime, recorded at the late Jack Clement’s Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa (previously owned by Clement of course), before Prine’s death.




Brandy Clark sings Gulf Coast Highway, an evocative, poetic portrait of life by the sea in east Texas, written by Griffith, guitarist Danny Flowers, and her former bandleader James Hooker. (I also love Griffith's version with Darius Rucker, and Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson's version, too.):


Highway 90, the jobs are gone

We tend our garden, we set the sun

This is the only place on Earth bluebonnets grow

And once a year they come and go

At this old house here by the road


And when we die we say we'll catch some blackbird's wing

And we will fly away to heaven

Come some sweet bluebonnet spring




The War and Treaty sing an appropriately gospel-style version of From a Distance, which the husband-and-wife duo recorded at Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. While Griffith recorded the song, it was written by Julie Gold and later became a smash for Bette Midler.

 

Mary Gauthier sings the title song on the tribute album, making More Than a Whisper sound like it was one of her own.

 

“What Loretta did for Nanci, Nanci did for me,” Gauthier writes in the liner notes of the tribute album.“She was every bit as good a songwriter as her peers Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. It’s long past time we shout her name from the highest hill in Hill Country, the home she left to chase, and then become, the light beyond those woods.”




Queen Esther, Rona


Don’t miss this substantial EP from singer, librettist, actress, and country music lover who lives in New York but grew up in South Carolina and Georgia. She sings soaring originals such as Oh My Stars and Where Is Home, and daringly (and beautifully) covers Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, and Bread with David Gates' Lost Without Your Love (which really works, I have to say).


I did a Q&A with the artist on this EP and reviewed her album release show in New York last year.


Queen Esther also has a new jazz album out this month. She has become a close friend since I met Esther and her partner, Douglas, in 2021 writing this in-depth profile, and these releases are only a prelude to her masterwork waiting in the wings.







On the latest album from this veteran Los Angeles soul singer — such a smart, warm fellow and now part of the Americana music family — Pierce looks to both the brighter side of the now while also exploring racism and our society's worst foundations and instincts.


Showing why his talent has earned him opening spots with Neil Young among others, Pierce deftly weaves together country, folk, and R&B elements on these excellent songs, including the fiddle-laden Batten Down the Hatches, the bracing Tulsa Town, and the mournful ballad Sidney Poitier, and the groovy hymn Meet Me at the Bottom.






Bobbie Nelson & Amanda Shires, Loving You


What an inspired, unlikely collaboration from two Texas natives grounded in traditional roots music. Largely covering American classics and gospel, Nelson's formidable piano pairs oddly but beautifully with Shires' wide-ranging, distinctive vocals.


This album is all the more poignant after Ms. Nelson's passing in 2022.


When brother Willie Nelson, with whom Bobbie played live for decades, joins the ladies on Summertime, the performance is nothing short of sublime.


(As an aside, I've also found the powerful memoir by the Nelson siblings, Me and Sister Bobbie, illuminating and poignant. On another note, it was cool when I realized that Shires spent part of her childhood in Mineral Wells, Texas, where my late grandparents were from and my mother was born.)



Devon Gilfillian, Let the Water Flow, from the album Love You Anyway


“Let the water flow to Georgia,” the dynamic Gilfillian sings, in what I presume is a hymn reflecting on the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in coastal Brunswick, Georgia.


The song takes on a heavier weight, though, raising memory of struggles for integration, voting rights, and a massive march a few years back end to gun violence.


An artist of considerable depth, I interviewed Gilfillian about his remake of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On album in its entirety, made to benefit progressive political organizations.

 

On Let the Water Flow, the standout track on his progressive R&B-and-pop album from last year, he sings:  

 

Let the water flow to Georgia

Like sweet rain in the southern heat

One day we'll find freedom

They'll hear us singing in the streets


Cause streams turn to rivers

And rivers to seas

God help us remember

Justice ain't just a dream




Iris DeMent, Workin’ on a World


I needed to hear the title cut on this terrific album — a socially conscious country-rock-and-gospel-roots collection by one of music's most distinctive voices.


On the uptempo song built on her soulful piano and complemented perfectly a horn section, DeMint sings about her frustrations with the disturbing trends in our society, then finding resolve in our not-so-distant history:


... But then I got to thinkin'

of the ones who came before

The sacrifices they made

to open up so many doors

Doors I got to walk through

on streets paved for me

by people who were workin' on a world

they never got to see...




Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Weathervanes


One of Isbell-and-band's most striking albums and maybe his thematically heaviest since Southeastern, this record rocks.


Uptempo, Heartbreaker-style singalongs are deceptively deep, including Back When We Were Close, an ode to late friend Justin Townes Earle. On Cast Iron Skillet, Isbell's usual but powerful place as the Southern Springsteen shines in a commentary on small-town characters, racism, and white rage.


White Beretta tells the story about a teen couple's pregnancy and emotional abortion, presumably. The King of Oklahoma explores rural poverty and direness, and while the main character and narrator speaks from a modern white point of view, the tale may be insopired by Isbell's substantial and impressive role in the film Killers of the Flower Moon about the murderous overtaking of oil-drenched Osage lands by scurrilous nonnatives.


Speaking of Southeastern, Isbell’s 2013 breakthrough that'll always be one of my favorite records (along with some of his others) just saw an expanded 10th anniversary release that includes a remastered main album, demos, and live versions of all the songs--to which I saw Isbell give new life during his annual residency at the Ryman Auditorium last October.


Memphis-based music scholar Charles Hughes observes the importance of Southeastern and Isbell's music in the liner notes for the album's anniversary package. Be sure to check it out.

 


Among Nashville’s best hard-country artists, Byrd also seamlessly incorporates 1980s rock, alternative, and even punk elements into his originals and beautiful, well-chosen covers. He’s also become my friend, thanks to our mutual pal, the late writer and musician Peter Cooper.


Byrd’s an interesting cat and we always have lots to talk about. He may be Nashville's best gut-string guitarist and pure country singer, and he could be the only country artist to teach at a college for historically Black students. Read more about Byrd in my profile from 2022.


I caught Byrd's show during AmericanaFest last fall when he opened for the great singer-songwriter Kevin Gordon at the funky Eastside Bowl lounge.


Byrd performed with a full band and his brilliant musical partner, the incredible steel guitarist Paul Niehaus, also known for his work with the bands Lambchop and Calexico. Byrd and Niehaus perform most Wednesday nights at Dee’s Cocktail Lounge in the Madison section of Nashville.

Jon Byrd, at center, performs with Amelia White at right and Paul Niehaus at far left.

At the Eastside Bowl show last fall, Byrd asked his daughter to join him on harmony for his alt-country version of The Beatles’ Don't Let Me Down, from Byrd’s 2007 debut country album named for his father’s old auto parts store in Tuscaloosa. He dedicated the hilarious If Texas Is So Great, from the 2017 album Dirty Ol’ River, to our late friend Peter, the song’s co-writer.


Among the other highlights from Byrd’s show at Eastside Bowl that you’ll also find on Byrd’s newest album: His take on City People, written by his late friend from Birmingham, Alabama, Mats Roden of the Primitons, with cool harmony by Nashville alt-country artist Amelia White (who joined Byrd on stage and sings on the album).



He also sang I'll Be Her Only One, a country ballad written with Kevin Gordon (more on him below). The version on the new album recorded with a full band plays differently than the glistening, acoustic original played by Byrd with only Niehaus on their great EP, Me & Paul.


Byrd turned in a great performance as always of Johnny Paycheck’s (It Won't Be Long) and I’ll Be Hating You, which always comes across with a slight punk vibe when he plays it live, with Byrd’s gut-string picking adding a little Mexican-western flair.


He also sang These Days, a beautiful, wistful tune by his late friend Buck Jones, the Texas songwriter with whom Byrd traveled who also covered songs by the likes of Steven Fromholz and Walter Hyatt.




Amelia White joined Byrd again on A Fond Farewell, the poignant song from his 2011 album Down at the Well of Wishes, which he also sang at last year’s memorial event for Peter Cooper at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum:


Your troubadour collection

Who relied on your affection

We never seem so lost as we do now…

 

A fond farewell, it seems so strange

To find such love and still be parting ways

A fond farewell with you I send

A fond farewell until we meet again

Until we meet again


Also: Byrd’s excellent 2014 album of tastefully chosen covers by his own favorite songwriters, Route 41, is now available on Bandcamp for the first time.


(Editor’s note: In case you don’t know, Kevin Gordon is one of America’s most literary songwriters. His songs are poems about common characters of the South, or anywhere really, but he uses the language of the South to bring them to life. He delivers this poetry in Chuck Berry-inspired, blues-influenced rock that also strongly conjures a century of sounds from gospel, country, blues, and soul. He has a new album coming in early 2024, and I can’t wait to write more about it.)

 

Lucinda Williams, Stories from a Rock ‘n Roll Heart


Released alongside her memoir, which provides new insights into the life and songwriting of one of our masters, this record is Williams' best in years. It really rocks, her voice sounds in better form than I’ve heard in a longtime, and guests such as Bruce Springsteen and Patty Scialfa pitch in.


UPDATE: I caught Williams' show at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on Jan. 27 (of this year) and was moved by her intimate performance and musings about her songs and life. She captivated the audience with stories about growing up, her influences, and some of the rowdy characters she knew over the years. Beautiful photos of her family, home videos, and stunning additional photography and visuals accompanied the music.


These chapters in life inspired her songwriting, as described in her candid memoir, Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets.


Her voice sounded beautiful in the face of her health issues on songs I don't believe I've heard her sing before: Blind Pearly Brown, a tribute to the gospel-blues street performer she knew as a child in Macon, Georgia; Little Angel, Little Brother, about her free spirited brother; the rustic throwback Heaven Blues; and new songs Rock N Roll Heart (which rocked live) and Where the Song Will Find Me.


A snapshot of Lucinda Williams and band performing in Atlanta on Jan. 27, 2024.

She was joined by her stellar band: electric and steel guitarist Doug Pettibone, guitarist Marc Ford (I loved the tone of his his solo on Crescent City), bassist David Sutton, and drummer Butch Norton. She even mentioned the possibility of recording some music with Steve Earle.


What a special show from this master-poet and songwriter, and I know that her longtime followers, including me, are so grateful that she's doing this tour.





Rhiannon Giddens, You’re the One


Giddens’ most polished and varied set to date, the songs on her latest album range from roots-pop to rock, ragtime, R&B, gospel, blues, and Cajun-creole.


Like many roots music fans, I’ve followed Giddens’ career through her string band days in the Carolina Chocolate Drops to her brilliant solo albums with songs by Odetta, Dolly Parton, the Staple Singers, and Patsy Cline.


This album is Giddens’ first of all original songs, mostly celebratory, but also the bracing narrative of the killing of young Black men in Another Wasted Life.


I particularly like her duet with Jason Isbell, Yet to Be, in a coupling of musical geniuses.

The narrative could be drawn from the lives of each singer's ancestors. Giddens sings of a young woman migrating away from the farm and Isbell about a man who catches a steamer out of Liverpool hoping for work and praying for love.


To state the obvious, it's about how we’re all woven together. The chorus acknowledges the current troubled times and optimism for the future:

 

It’s a long, long way from where we’ve been

The here and now is better than it was back then

Today may break your heart, but tomorrow holds the key

We’ve come so far but the best is yet to be





Rissi Palmer, Still Here (EP)


A nice collection of songs from a country music groundbreaker, inspiration to many, and host of the excellent Color Me Country program on Apple Music.


The highlight for me is the title track, a country rock-and-blues-meets-Stax-soul duet (doesn't that say it all about the falsehoods of genres?) with Miko Marks, another singer who pushed for a career in country music only to find resistance in the industry. Together, these powerful singers and artists proclaim that they've emerged from their music-business nightmares with their souls, music, and integrity very much intact and ultimately triumphant:


I'm still here

Made it through the mud and tears Tried to make me disappear Counted me out for all these years

Whom shall I fear?


God forgive me, couldn't see my strengths Didn't know the power I was working with

Walk through hell to reclaim my crown

They ain't got nothing that can burn me down


I'm still here...




The Rolling Stones, Sweet Sound of Heaven (from the album Hackney Diamonds)


Has Mick Jagger sung this passionately on a studio recording in decades? You’d be hard to find anything better than this open-hearted, straight-up gospel number with Margie Clayton-style backing from Lady Gaga and a little piano from Stevie Wonder. A bit overblown, perhaps, but I think it's marvelous.




Van Plating, Orange Blossom Child


I was captivated by her solo performance of the title song from this album in a crowded living room at the Black Opry House during AmericanaFest back in 2022, and I fully intended to write more about her new album this year, but time got away from me.


Keep an eye on this talented, gracious, Florida-based artist, who writes and sings with plenty of rock 'n roll soul.






The latest full album by soul music great William Bell,  one of the earliest Stax Records artists in Memphis, kicks off with a single released early enough for last year’s list. The rest of the album isn’t quite as gritty, but there are some nice, smooth soul songs here that’ll make you smile. I had the wonderful experience of interviewing Mr. Bell about this album for this story in 2023.


In case you don't know Mr. Bell's music, go listen to some of his classics right now, for heaven's sake: the entire album Soul of a Bell; and songs such as I Forgot to Be Your Lover, Born Under a Bad Sign (also covered brilliantly by bluesman Albert King), and Private Number with Judy Clay.




FAREWELL TO A FRIEND: AN IMPORTANT MOMENT FROM 2023:


I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the memorial event for my friend (and friend and mentor to many) Peter Cooper held in February 2023. A renowned music writer and longtime creative presence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, he died in late 2022.


An ardent fan and true friend to many of us who love music, Peter would've been grateful to know his former musical partners Eric Brace and Thomm Jutz joined luminaries such as Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, and Hall of Fame member Bill Anderson, to perform his songs during a very musical remembrance. Read my account of the memorial event and my personal tribute to this special man.



UPDATE: Peter also had a longtime affiliation with Spartanburg, South Carolina, and even wrote a musical history of the city. Peter and others with important roles in the musical life of Sparkle City were honored at an event late last year.


The late Peter Cooper: Father, musician, writer, and friend to many

Performers included singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman (a local native and my soul sister) and many others. Baker Maultsby, a local writer and musician who became one of Peter's closest friends during their time at Wofford College there, gave remarks. The concert celebrated the announcement of new markers on the Spartanburg Music Trail, including one in Peter's honor. (Other performers from Spartanburg or with close ties to the city honored on the trail include songster Pink Anderson; Ira Tucker, leader of gospel legends the Dixie Hummingbirds, who may have been as influential on R&B music as Sam Cooke; the Rev. Julius Cheeks, another gospel great and major influence in Wilson Pickett's singing; Southern rock giants the Marshall Tucker Band; the brilliant guitarist Hank Garland and others.


As an aside that I've mentioned before on SoulCountry, I had the heartbreaking task back in 1996 to write about the sudden passing of Walter Hyatt, who would later become another music trail honoree. I was a young reporter for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, where Baker and Peter also later worked, . He had formed Uncle Walt's Band with fellow trail honorees David Ball and Champ Hood who also grew up in Spartanburg. The jazzy-folk trio was based in Austin, Texas, and a primary influence on Lyle Lovett.

Hyatt was aboard the ValuJet plane that crashed in Florida. Chip Smith met me at the side entrance of the newspaper building to give me the news about his friend. Then he connected me with Hyatt's friends, including David Ball and Marshall Chapman, which turned out to be a great blessing in my life and sent me in many new musical directions as a writer, fan, and music lover.


MORE GOOD MUSIC FROM THE PAST YEAR (Let me know if you think I've forgotten anything):

Aaron Lee Tasjan, Naked Pop Songs Live!

Alice Gerrard, Sun to Sun

Algiers, Shook

Arlo Parks, My Soft Machine

Amos Lee, Honeysuckle Switches: The Songs of Lucinda Williams


Amy Ray, If It All Goes South

Allison Russell, The Returner

Black Pumas, Chronicles of a Diamond

Buddy and Julie Miller, In the Throes

Dolly Parton, Rockstar


Dom Flemons, Traveling Wildfire

Durand Jones, Wait Til I Get Over You

Jessi Colter, Edge of Forever

Joe Henry, All the Eye Can See

Laura Cantrell, Just Like a Rose: The Anniversary Sessions


Lilli Lewis, All Is Forgiven

Maia Sharp, Reckless Thoughts Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, City of Gold

Nickel Creek, Celebrants

Paisley Fields, The Field Sessions


Roberta Lea, Too Much of a Woman

Rodney Crowell, The Chicago Sessions

Ron Sexsmith, The Vivian Line

Sunny War, Anarchist Gospel

Tanya Tucker, Sweet Western Sounds


The Baseball Project, Grand Salami Time

Thomm Jutz and Martin Simpson, Nothing But Green Willow: The Songs of Mary Sands and Jane Gentry

Todd Snider, Crank It, We’re Doomed

Tommy Prine, This Far South

Tracy Nelson, Life Don’t Miss Nobody


Tre’ Burt, Traffic Fiction

Tyler Childers, Rustin’ in the Rain

Various Artists, A Song for Leon: A Tribute to Leon Russell (Check out Monica Martin’s remarkable performance of Russell’s A Song for You.)


Various Artists, Soul’d Out: The Complete Wattstax Concert

Various Artists: Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos

William Prince, Stand In the Joy

Willie Nelson, Bluegrass


LOOKING FORWARD TO THESE ALBUMS IN 2024:

Willi Carlisle, Critterland (Loved his performance at AmericanaFest.)

Mary Bragg, Tie Me to You

Adeem the Artist, Anniversary 

Queen Esther, Blackbirding 

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