Every generation talks about the dearth of genuine, good music being made by “real musicians” as compared to days gone by. However, I find that premise a fallacy. When I was a kid, I just had to dig a little deeper to hear some great music being made (usually being played way left of the dial on college radio), and I escaped the vapid pop of the day. Today is no different. I present to you some talented, soulful, creative, real-deal musicians making real-deal music. Hailing from Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Alabama respectively, Sturgill Simpson, John Fullbright, and Jason Isbell are some of the most lauded roots musicians making music today.
Sturgill Simpson has been gaining a lot of popularly lately with his old-school country sounds and soulful vocals. He recently played an NPR Tiny Desk concert and was nominated for a Grammy Awards for best Americana album for his Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. His sound harkens back to the likes of Waylon Jennings while still sounding new and original. (I found out that I am not the only one that makes that comparison). Here he is with “Life of Sin”:
John Fullbright was born and raised on a 80-acre farm in Oklahoma. His debut album, From the Ground Up, was an homage to the farm house he grew up in and it was nominated for a Grammy in 2013. He was a critical success. And his latest album, Songs has also been well-received. Here is “Gawd Above” from the first album:
Jason Isbell, a former band member of southern rock band Drive-By Truckers, made one of the most acclaimed albums of 2013. After several solo albums, Jason Isbell hit big with his fourth solo album, Southeastern. This song really choked me up. Here is “Traveling alone”: