Jason Isbell – The Nashville Sound

John Baumann – Proving Grounds

John Moreland (Photo by Joey Kneiser)
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Q&A: John Moreland The Oklahoma troubadour talks about his hardcore roots and the road to "Big Bad Luv"

By Mike Ethan Messick A soulful, gritty-voiced mountain of a man hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, John Moreland has gradually built up a catalog of heartbreakingly …

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Sunny Sweeney (Photo by Christina Feddersen)
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Q&A: Sunny Sweeney The sassy but down-to-earth Texas country singer on writing her excellent new album “Trophy,” knowing when to go vulnerable and when to snark it up, and why she'll never get used to all those Grand Ole Opry invites — or feel anything but proud of her very first record.

By Richard Skanse Sunny Sweeney does more before 9 a.m. than most late-rising lazy music writers do all day. Granted, so does just about everybody, …

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Jay Farrar and Son Volt (Photo by David McClister)
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Q&A: Jay Farrar The Son Volt frontman talks about “Notes of Blue,” finding inspiration in alternate guitar tunings, and the importance of challenging oneself

By Scott Schinder It’s been over 20 years since Jay Farrar launched Son Volt in the wake of the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, the pioneering …

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Nikki Lane, Highway Queen (Photo by Semi Song)
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Q&A: Nikki Lane From High Class Hillbilly to “Highway Queen,” the Nashville-based entrepreneur and upstart Americana maverick has always kept her hands on the wheel

By Scott Schinder On the cover of her third album, Highway Queen, outlaw-country upstart Nikki Lane poses in a vintage dress, draped across the horns …

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Merchants of Red-Eyed Soul: Kevin Russell and his medicine men (and women). (Courtesy Shinyribs)
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Q&A: Kevin Russell of Shinyribs The leader of Austin’s most happening good-times band on the making of “I Got Your Medicine,” his recipe for cooking up red-eyed soul and where he gets his “hot-poppin’” threads.

By Rob Patterson Things are looking bright — or one could say shiny — for Austin’s Shinyribs right now. What began as a side project …

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Aaron Watson (Photo by Joseph Llanes)
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Q&A: Aaron Watson The “Underdog” country music sensation talks about his new album, “Vaquero,” staying the course, keeping the faith, sticking to his independent Texas roots, and why he’s not bothered when some folks call him an up-and-comer after 18 years and more than a dozen releases.

By Mike Ethan Messick In the last decade and a half of independent Texas country music, few artists have been as steadfast and reliable as …

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Photo by Alexandra Valenti
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Q&A: Tift Merritt The North Carolina songwriter on moving forward, coming home, working with Sam Beam and His Golden Messenger, and writing "Stitch of the World"

By Scott Schinder Tift Merritt’s sixth studio album, Stitch of the World, finds the North Carolina-bred singer-songwriter-guitarist delivering some of her most potent country-soul songcraft …

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Jeremy Plato takes the wheel on the Departed's new album, "In Retrospect." (Photo courtesy Cody Canada and the Departed)
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Q&A: Jeremy Plato of the Departed With the new country covers album “In Retrospect,” the Red Dirt bassist steps into the frontman spotlight

By Kelly Dearmore Cody Canada and the Departed have been through quite a few changes since their debut just five years ago. They introduced themselves …

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Courtesy Robert Earl Keen/TKO Marketing
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Q&A: Robert Earl Keen The king of the Texas-Americana music hill talks about his new double-album “Live Dinner Reunion,” his love of bluegrass and bubbly pilsners, and his current obsession with crafting the perfect 90-second song.

By Mike Ethan Messick Few artists are as central to the birth and sustenance of a music scene as Robert Earl Keen is to the …

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Courtesy CTK Entertainment
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Q&A: Zac Wilkerson The Amarillo singer talks about working with Walt Wilkins, revisiting the songs of his youth and dealing with grief on “Dustbowl Soul.” 

By Thomas D. Mooney Years back, Texas music pioneer Doug Sahm told Kevin Russell — a pioneering voice in his own right — that there …

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Willie Nelson – God’s Problem Child
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