News / Arts & Entertainment

2013: The Year in Roots Music

Slaid Cleaves (credit: Karen Cleaves)
Slaid Cleaves (credit: Karen Cleaves)
Katherine Cole
As we close out 2013, it's time to share some highlights of American Roots music highlights for the year.

They include Slaid Cleaves’ 10th release-“Still Fighting The War.” The original inspiration for the song  came to Cleaves from a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning photos of Iraq War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s a song that ended up taking him four years to write.  

“I’d seen stories in the news about Vets coming back and having a hard time and you know, frankly, I knew…I remember writing down in a notebook when we went to war in Iraq… I said ’10 years from now, we’re going to have Iraq War Vets on every street corner, they’re going to be homeless," Cleaves said. "They’re going to be having a hard time adjusting. It’s going to be the Vietnam situation all over again.’ I wanted to write a song that kind of told their story. Not to advocate or anything. But just tell their story-that people are having a hard time coming back.”

2013: The Year in Roots Music
2013: The Year in Roots Musici
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Other discs receiving widespread acclaim this year include “American Kid,” the seventh release by Austin singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, “The Ash & Clay”-- a disc showcasing great harmonies by indie folk duo The Milk Carton Kids -- and “Build Me Up From Bones,” which earned Sarah Jarosz two Grammy nominations.

Jason Isbell performs at the 54th edition of the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, July 27, 2013.Jason Isbell performs at the 54th edition of the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, July 27, 2013.
x
Jason Isbell performs at the 54th edition of the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, July 27, 2013.
Jason Isbell performs at the 54th edition of the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, July 27, 2013.
It has also been a big year for Nashville-based singer, songwriter and guitarist Jason Isbell. “Southeastern,” Isbell’s first album since quitting drinking, getting married and, as he puts it, “straightening my life out” has landed on many music critics’ “Best of 2013” lists.

Isbell creates vivid characters in his songs, blending country, rock and soul.  After spending much of this year touring the U.S., Canada and Europe, Isbell just announced that in 2014 he will make his first ever tour of Australia and New Zealand.

It was a good year for bluegrass, too.  Country star Alan Jackson talked for 15 years about making a bluegrass record and finally did, calling on many of Nashville’s best pickers to play with him.

Perennial favorite The Del McCoury band was back with “The Streets of Baltimore.” McCoury, who will turn 75 in two months, has been playing bluegrass and touring for more than half a century. The new recording finds the band covering Bobby Bare’s 1966 hit on the title track and the jazz standard “Misty,” They even bring in some honky-tonk piano as they tackle Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Once More With Feeling.”

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (Photo by Mark Seliger)Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (Photo by Mark Seliger)
x
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (Photo by Mark Seliger)
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (Photo by Mark Seliger)
Other bluegrass albums of note this year include “Carry Me Home” by Old Crow Medicine Show and “Love Has Come for You,” the disc of original songs by Edie Brickell and the actor-comedian-author-and-musician Steve Martin.

The International Bluegrass Music Association named New York based quintet The Gibson Brothers “Entertainer of the Year” for a second straight year. They also named Eric Gibson “Songwriter of the Year” and "They Called it Music," which Gibson wrote with Joe Newberry, “Song of the Year.”

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis and his father, pianist Ellis Marsalis, perform with their quartet at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, Maryland. They also sit down with "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten to talk about their hometown, New Orleans, and the music on their new recording, “The Last Southern Gentleman.”