Joan Shelley – Over and Even

Style: Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Morning, Reflective, Soothing, Gentle, Bittersweet, Warm, Mellow, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Soft, Vocal Harmonies, Melodic, Sparse, Polished Production

Instrumentation: Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Piano, Harmonium, Glockenspiel, Keyboards

Bill Callahan – Woke on a Whaleheart

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Alt-Country

Vibe: Observational, Deadpan, Earthy, Reflective, Rustic, Confident, Warm, Storytelling, Contemplative, Loner

Qualities: Lush, Choral Vocals, Lyrical, Rhythmic, Simple

Hiss Golden Messenger / Michael Chapman – Parallelogram

Style: Singer/Songwriter
HGM Side: Americana, Warm, Contemplative, Sunny, Rural, Passionate, Spiritual, Introspective
Chapman Side: Chamber Folk, Melancholy, Morning, Mellow, Autumnal, Reflective, Storytelling

Jimmy Carter and Dallas County Green – Summer Brings the Sunshine

Style: Country Rock, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Sunny, Rustic, Romantic, Warm, Summer, Sleek, Mellow

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Lush Arrangements, Polished Production, Melodic, Groovy, Technical

Jenks Miller and Rose Cross NC – Blues for WHAT

Style: Swamp Psych, Southern Gothic, Country Drone

Vibe: Haunting, Murky, Brooding, Bluesy, Adventure

Musical Qualities: Droney, Suite, Improvisation, Crescendo, Modal

Instrumentation: Electric Guitar, Organ, Grendel Drone Commander, Drums

Mickey Newbury – I Came to Hear the Music

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Progressive Country

Vibe: Introspective, Reflective, Heartfelt, Bittersweet, Longing, Lush, Warm, Soothing, Rustic, Tender, Sentimental, Spiritual, Contemplative, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lyrical, Melodic, Orchestral, Polished, Background Vocals

Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Superwolf

Style: Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Alt-Country, Slowcore

Vibe: Tender, Bittersweet, Stark, Cryptic, Storytelling, Melancholy, Lethargic, Poetic, Autumnal, Heartfelt, Mellow, Playful

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Soft, Sparse

Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine

While Magnolia Electric Co’s final record is still tinged with the weariness & melancholy that pervades all of Jason Molina’s previous work, Josephine also feels imbued with vital life force, bittersweet romance, and hopefulness that make it uplifting despite the odds.

Recommended if you dig dobro & lap steel, ditch-trilogy Neil young, and autumnal contemplation

P.G. Six – The Well of Memory

Style: Mystical Americana, Ritual Folk, Loner Folk

Vibe: Seeking, Contemplative, Gentle, Spiritual, Heartfelt, Intimate, Healing, Mystical, Pantheistic, Reflective, Soothing, Introspective, Warm, Nature

Musical Methods: Acoustic, Suite, Raga, Lyrical, Soft, Droney, Fingerstyle

P.G. Six – Slightly Sorry

Style: Loner Folk, Weird Americana, Folk Rock, Singer Songwriter

Vibe: Peaceful, Melancholy, Reflective, Romantic, Gentle, Rustic, Warm, Autumnal, Bittersweet, Breezy, Contemplative, Lethargic, Mellow, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Soft, Lush, Lyrical, Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Atmospheric

Sam Amidon – Sam Amidon

Style: Dream Folk, Jazz-Folk, Warped Americana

Vibes: Warm Melancholy, Springtime Reflection, Rootsy, Early Afternoons in the Garden, Dreamy, Intertwined, Heartfelt

Musical Qualities: Lush; Improvised Arrangements; Studio-as-an-Instrument, Melodic, Vocal Fx

Instrumentation: Banjo, Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Flute, Acoustic Bass, Synthesizers, Piano

John Carter – Fields

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Country-Jazz, Jazz Theater

Vibe: Rural, Historical, Sombre, Resolute, Intertwined, Passionate, Storytelling, Determined, Resolute, Heartfelt, Complex, Theatric, Conceptual

Musical Qualities: Suite, Acoustic, Progressive, Collective Improvisation, Polyphonic, Dynamic, Technical

Jackie-O Motherfucker – Liberation

Style: Free Folk, Mystical Americana, Drone, Free Improvisation, Post-Rock

Vibe: Weary, Hopeful, Rustic, Communal, Spiritual, Ragged, Eerie, Melancholy, Deconstructed, Hypnotic, Communal, Haunting, Raw, Suspenseful, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Dynamic, Lo-Fi, Atmospheric, Droney, Group Vocals, Dub FX

Instrumentation: Electric Guitars, Vibraphone, Flute, Drums, Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Saxophone, Banjo, Melodica, Sitar, Electronics, Turntable, Keyboards, Trumpet, Electric Bass

Smog – Red Apple Falls

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Slowcore, Alt-Country, Loner Folk

Vibe: Existential, Warm, Morning, Spiritual, Deadpan, Peaceful, Poetic, Introspective, Lonely, Melancholy, Mellow, Contemplative, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Slow, Lo-fi, Lush, Soft, Sparse, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Pedal Steel, Piano, Hammond Organ, Guitar, Trumpet, Drums, Drum Machine, Hurdy Gurdy, French Horn

Robbie Basho – Visions of the Country

Style: American Primitivism, Singer/Songwriter, Folk, Raga?Vibe: Mystical, Nature, Open, Passionate, Pastoral, Peaceful, Airy, Contemplative, Earthy, Impressionistic, Meditative, Morning, Spring, Spiritual,
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Indian-Influenced, Sparse, Technical

Hardin & Russell – Ring of Bone

Style: Country, Folk

Vibes: Melancholy, Desert, Western, Sombre, Lonely, Sad, Breezy, Peaceful, Dreamy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Lush

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Dobro, Piano, Fiddle, Trombone, Saxophone, Sousaphone, Trumpet, Flute, Congas, Electric Bass

Neko Case – Blacklisted

LP, Anti- Records, 2002 (2016, RE) Style: Gothic Americana, Alt-Country, Singer/Songwriter Vibe: Bittersweet, Rebellious, Haunting, Western, Passionate, Energetic, Longing, Anthemic, … More

Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms of Surrender

Vibe: Contemplative, Tender, Soothing, Warm, Bittersweet, Rustic, Open, Pastoral, Light

Themes: Family, Existential, Spirituality, Love

Musical Qualities: Soft, Melodic, Vocal Harmonies, Atmospheric Production, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Banjo, Piano, Organ, Harmonica, Mandolin Synthesizer, Electric Bass, Lap Steel Slide Guitar, Omnichord, Drums, Percussion

Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby

Style: Alt-Country, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Bittersweet, Warm, Angsty, Rustic, Heartfelt, Confident, Passionate, Twangy, Love, Breakup, Reflective, Sentimental, Lush, Rootsy

Instrumentation: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Lap Steel & Pedal Steel Slide Guitars, Fiddle, Electric & Upright Basses, Drums, Vocal Harmonies, Banjo, Mandolin, Organ, Accordion

Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon

Style: Americana, Country Soul, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock

Vibe: Warm, Introspective, Existential, Rustic, Mystical, Reflective, Uplifting, Christian

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Beware

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Loner Folk, Slowcore-Country

Vibes: Contemplative, Bittersweet, Warm, Loner, Mellow, Uplifting, Love, Break-up, Intimate, Heartfelt, Playful, Soothing, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Lyrical, Vocal Harmonies

Michael Hurley – The Time of the Foxgloves

Style: Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Warm, Spring, Rootsy, Peaceful, Tender, Morning, Rustic, Lethargic, Nature

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Melodic

Akron/Family – Set Em Wild, Set Em Free

These guys are my favorite American Rock band. Every album they’ve released explores different sides of rock, folk, experimental and psychedelic music in such a natural, unforced way that my mind usually envisions them jamming by a campfire in the woods. What’s even better is I imagine I’m there with them singing along and worshipping the great creative spirit that inspires their music. There’s such an unpretentious, inclusive sense of community and spirituality in their music that I can’t help but feel welcomed and embraced into the family.

Jackie O Motherfucker – Change [Tour Edition]

Style: Free Folk, Mystical Americana, Post-Rock

Vibe: Ragged, Deconstructed, Rustic, Warm, Communal, Ritualistic, Messy, Raw, Triumphant, Mystical, Eerie

Musical Qualities: Group Vocals, Collective Improvisation, Acoustic, Loose, Lo-fi

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vibraphone, Slide Guitar, Fiddle, Saxophone, Drums, Upright Bass

Ben Lamar Gay – Open Arms to Open Us

Style: Creative Music, Future Jazz, Organic Beat Music, Pan-Americana, Art Pop

Vibe: Romantic, Sci-Fi, Determined, Triumphant, Colorful, Eclectic, Communal, Futuristic, Groovy, Rootsy, Spiritual, Warm

Musical Qualities: Thematic, Polyphonic, Percussive, Polyrythmic, Percussive, Improvisation, Electro-Acoustic, Progressive

Jakob Battick – Rabbit’s Moon

Style: Dream Country, Slow-Drip Americana, Gothic Country, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Sedated, Nocturnal, Contemplative, Dreamy, Haunting, Pastoral, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Slow, Sparse, Acoustic, Lyrical

Jerry David Decicca – Understanding Land

Style: Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Folk

Vibe: Peaceful, Rustic, Deadpan, Mellow, Lethargic, Nature, Warm, Morning

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Slow, Vocal Harmonies, Lush, Simple

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Lap Steel & Pedal Steel Guitars, Strings, Upright Bass, Vibraphone, Tabla, Bongos

Angels of Light – We Are Him

Style: Gothic Americana, Experimental Folk-Rock

Vibe: Rustic, Creepy, Surreal, Autumnal, Nihilistic, Disturbing, Dark, Bittersweet, Rootsy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Rhythmic, Repetition, Vocal Harmonies

Neil Young – On the Beach

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Ditch Americana, Country Rock, Folk Rock

Moods: Loner, Introspective, Melancholy, Alienation, Bittersweet, Apocalyptic, Depressive, Lonely, Sombre, Rebellious

Eric Chenaux – Dull Lights

Style: Warped Americana, Free Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Heartfelt, Airy, Raw, Lethargic, Soft, Psychedelic, Peaceful

Musical Qualities: Loose, Lyrical, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Vocals, Banjo, Electric Guitar w/ Fx, Lap Steel, Drums

Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin Grass – Vol. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions)

Style: Progressive Bluegrass, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Energetic, Heartfelt, Rootsy, Communal, Passionate, Sunny, Warm

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lyrical, Fast, Technical

Instrumentation: Mandolin, Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Banjo, Upright Bass

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie & Matt Sweeney – Superwolves

Style: Americana, Singer-Songwriter, Folk, Slowcore

Vibe: Moody, Cryptic, Grim, Playful, Surreal, Stark, Sexual, Bittersweet, Warm, Dark Humor

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Acoustic, Melodic, Sparse

David Crosby – If Only I Could Remember My Name…

Style: Folk Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Cosmic Americana

Vibe: Dreamy, Hippy, Longing, Bittersweet, Airy, Autumnal, Warm, Loose, Peaceful, Ethereal, Introspective, Psychedelic, Hypnotic, Mellow, Meandering, Stoned, Communal

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Heavy Reverb, Jams

Papa M – Whatever, Mortal

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Slowcore, Americana

Vibe: Apathetic, Bittersweet, Breakup, Contemplative, Depressive, Humorous, Intimate, Lethargic, Loner, Love, Melancholy, Mellow, Moody, Personal, Rootsy

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Sparse, Simple

Hiss Golden Messenger – Haw

Style: Country-Soul, Americana, Singer/Songwriter??
Vibe: Passionate, Rootsy, Rural, Spiritual, Triumphant, Uplifting, Warm, Contemplative, Introspective??Musical Attributes: Lush, Lyrical??Lyrical Themes: Existential, Christian

Califone – All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

Style: New Weird America, Alt-Country, Psychedelic Americana, Chamber Folk

Vibe: Rustic, Rootsy, Bittersweet, Psychedelic

Musical Attributes: Chamber, Percussive, Studio-as-an-instrument, Rhythmic, Electro-Acoustic, Loops

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Vocals, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Fiddle, Mallet Percussion, Horns, Electronic Percussion, Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Piano

Sixteen Horsepower – Folklore

Style: Gothic Country, Americana, Chamber Folk?Vibe: Rustic, Sombre, Murky, Rootsy, Ominous, Loner, Western, Melancholy, Moody, Dark?Musical Attributes: Acoustic Instrumentation (Banjo, Upright Bass, Cello, Acoustic Guitar, Accordion, Piano), Atmospheric, Droney, Slow, Lyrical?Lyrical Themes: Alienation, Religious, Christian, Storytelling

Magnolia Electric Co. – What Comes After the Blues

“Human hearts and pain should never be separate, then they wouldn’t tear themselves apart both trying to fit”. The first album under the Magnolia Electric Co. name touches on the loneliness and depression of much of Jason Molina’s work, but it also contains a fair amount of the hope, light, and perseverance one needs in times of struggle. The musicians here were recorded live in a room by the great Steve Albini, featuring slide guitar, fiddle, and beautiful vocal harmonies from Molina’s band members. With its mix of melancholy Americana, country-tinged rock, and stripped back folk, What Comes After the Blues feels like a continuation of Neil Young’s great ditch trilogy.

Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Co

“Sometimes it’s hard doing anything”. Somehow Jason Molina knows how to perfectly express what depression feels like without ever succumbing to hopelessness. His music has been a friend and a voice of encouragement when I need it most, reminding me to persist and not beat myself up when I feel unproductive or lazy or unmotivated. “The real truth about it is no one gets it right. The real truth about it is we’re all supposed to try”