Caitlin Rose, The Stand In
Nashville’s Caitlin Rose released her sophomore album this year, a fantastic set of whiskey-soaked country songs straight out of a 1950s Hollywood sound stage. It’s impressive that Rose is only 25 years old. But honestly, this girl could teach almost anyone a thing or two about writing and recording a great country album.
Night Beds, Country Sleep
One of the best debuts of 2013, Night Beds’ Country Sleep started with Winston Yellen dropping out of college, breaking up with a girlfriend and losing his job. Yellen then took to his ‘night bed’ in the back of his car, got himself lost driving around the country, and picked himself back up again. His ten-track debut is a gorgeous collection of songs, sparse and soaring, that hit right on the feeling of getting lost and finding your way back again.
Local Natives, Hummingbird
The LA boys from Local Natives have come a long way since their 2010 debut. Teaming up with The National’s Aaron Dessner,
it’s no surprise there’s more weight and heft to their sophomore release, Hummingbird. Lyrically, the songs are much more simple, packing twice as much emotion into half the lines. The hyperactive drums remain, but a lot of the clapping and shouting has been traded in for droning sirens and quiet chimes. Hummingbird is a gorgeous album that showcases Local Natives’ tremendous growth and talent.
Andrew Belle, Black Bear
Andrew Belle has always been a stellar songwriter, but his sophomore album took a sharp left turn into the world of dream pop and the result is spectacular. The tracks warm and build slowly, like driving through the mountains at dawn, rounding a bend in the road before you finally feel the sun on your face.
Bronze Radio Return, Up On and Over
Connecticut’s Bronze Radio Return released their third album in June, just in time to soundtrack summer. With all of the folk-rock bands that have had success in the past few years, Bronze Radio Return managed to slip through that genre with more upbeat and pop-heavy tracks. We’re likely to be hearing
a lot more of Bronze Radio Return in the months and years to come.
Jason Isbell, Southeastern
An album about discovery in the year since Jason Isbell got sober, his fourth solo album will break your heart. But you’ll listen to it ten times in a row anyways because, holy crap is it good. The opening track Cover
Me Up will hook you good, “So girl leave your boots by the bed we ain’t leavin’ this room / Til someone needs medical help or the magnolias bloom / It’s cold in this house and I ain’t goin’ out to chop wood / So cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good.” But from there, you’re on your own.
Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
been a good year for female country singers who know how to pack emotion and venom into their songwriting. Musgraves songwriting is an example of great storytelling. From hating your job to feeling stuck in life, there’s something for everyone in Same Trailer Different Park.