The Marfa Tapes is the rawest – and some might say most real - recording you’ll get from this trio - and it's all the better for it. Its unembellished sound and scruffy methodology is a quality we don’t have enough of in today’s often excessively tweaked and overly polished fare.
Rhiannon Giddens doesn’t need much time or supporting instrumentation to create fervently moving art. Even though the stripped-down qualities of They’re Calling Me Home are the result of the pandemic, they yield some of the most stirring music you’re likely to hear, this year or any other.
The third album from Esther Rose - her first for Full Time Hobby - is a harmony drenched alt-country heartbreak record. While augmenting her lap steel and fiddle with glossy mountain-top folk-pop, she dives headfirst into her most introspective and deeply personal songs thus far.
There aren’t many artists talented enough to pull off a concept this uniquely creative and idiosyncratic without a hint of pretension. But Israel Nash has honed this territory for a while. The result is an immaculately constructed, filmic album that’s both expansive yet personal.
Just knowing this is a Sturgill Simpson album is enough for most, but there's the added bonus that's he creatively let himself off the leash.