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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”