Check out our favorite track to see what we mean. That would be his grandfather, R. Burnside, perhaps the greatest purveyor of those peculiar, Mississippi Hill Country blues. Cedric was always a powerhouse drummer, and over the years, he has become just as proficient on the guitar.
This is the point in our list where protest emerges. But first, a brief story: Back in his Whiskeytown days, Ryan Adams developed a reputation for repeatedly firing band members. But American Aquarium founder B. Barham long ago surpassed Adams: Over the last 12 years, about 30 different musicians have been members of American Aquarium.
But things have changed a lot for Barham in recent years. He gave up drinking. He released a masterful, lyrically rich solo album, Rockingham , that landed on our list in He got married, and this year, his family welcomed little Josephine Pearl Barham into the world. When did the Land of the Free become the Home of the Afraid? Afraid of the world, afraid of the truth, afraid of each other. An impressive debut. Charles Lloyd is an year-old tenor saxophonist who played with the likes of Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderley, and Keith Jarrett back in the s. And he is no stranger to collaboration with musicians from outside the jazz world: He played with both the Doors and the Byrds a half-century ago.
This collaboration with Lucinda Williams almost slipped under our radar when it came out in June. Roots: Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. McBryde uncannily inhabits the spirit of every rebellious kid who tried to get out of a too small Southern town. Listening to Girl Going Nowhere , you get the feeling she could — and might very well — kick your ass. If you ever get tired of bein' happy, give me a call.
For the last 20 years, Will Hoge has made music in Nashville, building a crowd of fans for his own performances while simultaneously writing songs with and for mainstream country artists. Hoge has two children who attend the same school where his wife teaches. You sit around spoutin' more bullshit online. I don't believe in the devil, but you might make me go and change my mind. Few on the trap scene rap so darkly and effectively about life inside the trap. On the other hand, when asked about the length of his rap sheet, he often jokes that you can just Google his government name and see for yourself.
But frontman Sam Melo, who grew up Pentecostal and for a time was a Christian rapper, and his bandmates prove wrong any stereotypes you might have about Appalachia. Which is not surprising, because his father, Bucky Baxter, played pedal steel on it. If anything, the model for the sound of Wide Awake is Revolver -era Beatles.
All I ever want is money.
But I never wanna work for the money. So, I borrowed all the money from a woman. Any Liz Phair fans in the house? Phair was 26 years old when her landmark Exile in Guyville was released. That album was a feminist watershed: It made it clear that boys who tried to use girls could have the tables turned on them. Allison, barely of drinking age, is bold. Roots: Coral City, Florida. Home: Los Angeles, California. Get it?
Denzel Curry is clearly not afraid of breaking taboos, as this album makes abundantly clear. The rap game has always been a little like professional wrestling.
The beefs between rappers on social media present us with the choice to root for the good guy or the bad guy. Last month, Curry actually staged a hometown show in Miami where he performed in a wrestling ring. I think, in this particular beef, he might be my good guy. It just needs to be a record you can soak in. Tuscumbia was my feel-good record of This record is subtle, and it makes you listen carefully. Rosanne Cash has always been capable of writing such finely tuned expressions, and now, in her early 60s, her skills are sharper than ever, and the subject matter at this stage of her life is more substantive.
For more on that song and how it came to be, read our recent interview with Cash. Speaking of songwriters who ponder the later chapters of life, national treasure John Prine gave us his first collection of original songs since Yeah, I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long. There is evidence of that throughout the album, but nowhere is it more potent than on our favorite track. Topicality has never been a hallmark of the great North Carolina punk band Superchunk.
Which is something even adults have needed the last couple of years. The Chunk still rules. D — born Destin Choice Route in Atlanta in — you will first marvel at his sheer verbal skills. D raps like a machine gun, and we mean this literally: An AK fires at a rate of rounds a minute.
We actually timed it. Like Denzel Curry, J. D challenges the endemic issues facing Atlanta trap music, but does so from a hometown perspective. Tenkiller displays the skillful songcraft of both men. They do not hold back. Do you blame existence? Sort of giving that up and just accepting how it is and saying, this is fine. You slip into a dream state, a place where objects have a force and undeniable power. A place where everything and everyone is electrified, energized, and connected. I will personally guarantee you have never heard anything like MITH.
On this album, Holley is paired with musicians Who seem remarkably capable of creating sonic environments to surround all those ideas. From the get-go, Kacey Musgraves had a way of capturing compact but cutting little word pictures of Southern small-town life. Giddy-up, giddy-up. A year-old Virginian wrote one of the most poetic song lyrics of the year. Roots: Memphis, Tennessee Baker. He's older and wiser than the young man on the cover of his '70s albums but still passionate about God and the music God has allowed him to write, record and perform.
These days Chuck Girard is making worship music and still ministering in churches. One of the interesting things about his self-titled solo debut album from was that there was a great deal of worship on there although it wasn't seen as something generic. It's a direction he's explored ever since. Which was an attempt on my part to write a worship song. In fact it's kind of funny how that came to be. I was married by this time and I told my wife, 'I'd like to put a worship song on the album.
We pulled out guitars one night and started to worship again. This chorus was birthed in that time of worship.
Just the chorus part. And then I didn't think much about it. From a songwriter's perspective, to me it was a little simplistic and it was just something that we did up in the cabin, you know? But my wife reminded me of it. She said, 'You know you really should finish that song. I'd like to do something a little more artsy, a little more artistic. I wrote the verses in about 15 minutes and of course 'Sometimes Alleluia' went on to be my most well known song. It kind of established me as a solo artist because it was that crossover song that you're looking for, where people see you as an artist and not just as part of a group that disbanded.
It's a very difficult thing to do, by the way, to break out of that group identity and very few successfully do it. For the debut he remembers, "The only thing that I had in mind when making that album was I thought it should be positive, not particularly confrontational or have controversial subject matter. So in a way I looked at it like a safe album. It had songs like 'Evermore' and my autobiographical 'Rock'n'Roll Preacher'.
It had some rockin' songs but for the most part it was worshipful and it was very positive lyrics. He continues reviewing his solo material, "In 'Glow In The Dark' came out and I put a few songs on there that dealt more with the struggles of the Christian life. Looking at subject matter from outside rather than my own experiences. So in a way I always tried to temper the more edgy type of lyric with the safer album because you have to keep that financial base in mind.
You have to be able to do well enough with each album to make another one. So if you just want to be the controversial artist you might only make a couple of albums. So that was part of my plan.
It wasn't until years later that I discovered worship and I realised that there were elements of my songs that were worshipful and I was able to define it a little more. In those days when I was creating the first couple of albums, I wasn't really thinking in terms of, 'Let's make a worship album.
As well as being the first Christian music I'd ever heard, Girard was the second Christian concert I ever attended. After Garth Hewitt in a church hall, somewhere in deepest, darkest Northumberland, Chuck and his band performed at Newcastle City Hall in late Apart from finishing his show with "Sometimes Alleluia", it's all a bit of a blur now apart from the memory of Girard sitting at a huge grand piano for the evening, backed by a band.
It was in the late '70s and early '80s that things began to change for Girard. His last couple of albums for the Good News label, 'Take It Easy' and 'The Stand', hadn't been so well supported by the label and had failed to sustain the momentum of his earlier solo material. It was almost as though the industry around him was changing and Chuck was finding it difficult to find his place in the early '80s.
Reflecting now, he observes, "Well I probably could have stayed in the industry. My relationship with my label was a little bit rocky through the whole year period. It was a mutual thing. We mutually agreed to go our separate ways. I had another contract pending with Light Records - Ralph Carmichael's label. I went through this time of tremendous spiritual renewal and upheaval in my life in God dealt with some things that needed to be taken care of in my life.
And as a result of that I began to examine a lot of my decisions, my direction in life. And really more like a token thing, I tossed off a little prayer, 'Lord if you don't want me to sign this contract, show me. I'm open. So they'd already delayed the start of an album a couple of times. They were pushing it back three or four months at a time. So it happened again this last time right after I prayed the prayer. I just took it as a sign that it wasn't working. This is the third delay!
I won't be able to record again for four or five months.
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So I just called them up and said, 'Look this isn't working. I don't think I'd sign the contract if I had it. He was cool to let me out. He remembers, "By my own decision I got out of the industry. It was shortly before they basically moved to Nashville. I never really regretted it. I never really looked back. There were times where it's been very difficult because when you get out of the industry, first thing that happens is you have no visibility anymore.
You don't have the money to take out ads and magazine covers and all that. So people think that you've dropped out of the scene. Well that wasn't true but that's how people perceived it. Then you're making your own albums and your own money, which is extremely stressful. I just took all that on.
Girard observes, "But it some ways it was a really positive thing because you maintain the control. Like today, I own all my catalogues from and now I'm exploring digital delivery with iTunes-type stuff. I can do that. But my '70s stuff is all tied up. I have no rights to that to this day. The people that do have the rights aren't interested in pursuing anything as far as I can tell.
So that music is kind of in bondage. I think that was probably one of the most positive things that happened out of the whole struggle that it became. It was a huge financial burden and there was no real promotion. No ability to promote. No way to get it on the radio.
So you shift a lot of things to do that. But again, I don't regret it.