Best Alt Country Releases of 2013 (So Far)
It's been an exceptionally good year so far for alt country albums. A lot of other indie-oriented styles tend to be transitory, but there's always an alt-country undercurrent flowing strong and steady under the radar, and every so often it gets closer to the surface. In 2013, a small selection of maverick country music (Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe, Chris Stapleton) even managed to sneak into the ever-shrinking major-label realm, proving that progressive country can stand on its own in the mainstream, even if The Civil Wars will probably never outsell Florida Georgia Line. As much as it underscores the style's current renaissance, the process of gathering its recent highlights under one roof also shows what a broad spectrum of sounds alt country can encompass, from the rough-edged roots rock of Reckless Kelly to the arty Americana of Neko Case, the soulful newgrass of The SteelDrivers, the sharp songcraft of Robbie Fulks and more.