Today, Paste Magazine commemorated a few CE artists, praising their new releases among the best in Country and Americana this year.
#1 on the list is Caroline Spence‘s Mint Condition; journalist Ellen Johnson praises the record for its “everyman” perspective of storytelling that is sure to resonate with anyone who’ll bend an ear. Spence’s release emulates the country-folk aspect of Americana, taking her listeners on a lyrical, emotional journey. In Johnson’s words, “Mint Condition isn’t perfect. It doesn’t glide—it moseys. And the brief blunders along the way are just reflective of Spence’s own, the “mistakes” made by a human woman just trying to figure some sh*t out. As it happens, that soul-searching sounds like one of the best country releases of the year.”
#4 is awarded to Josh Ritter‘s Fever Breaks, which was released this past April as his 10th record. A piece compose with comrades Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Fever Breaks is Southern rock-leaning collaboration, as opposed to Ritter’s earlier works of folk. Ritter maintains his reputation as an artist whose lyrics shine the brightest in his works. Johnson praises Fever Breaks as “a record that sometimes boils over with searing southern rock ‘n’ roll, but more often still simmers with the warm, weary words of a man who’s done a lot of living in his 40-some-odd years.”
#8 goes to Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi‘s there is no Other. The record is a multicultural focus on the African-American influences in roots, acoustic and blues – while Turrisi offers his knowledge of Arabic music’s impact on European art. Johnson describes the tracks as “hymns, folktales or dispatches from some lost time or place;” condemning the idea of “othering” and the exile of outsiders. Giddens and Turrisi encourage society to identify the commonalities between us, instead of denouncing our differences. “If instruments from different parts of the world can work together so seamlessly, why can’t people?” —Ellen Johnson