What I like to call New Classic Rock first emerged in the late '80s and '90s. It was back then that The Black Crowes, as well as Wilco and Drive-By Truckers a few years later, all started creating music deeply rooted in the unique blend of rock, blues, soul and country that defines a large portion of the classic-rock canon (from Bob Dylan and the Stones to Neil Young and The Band). But even though all three of these bands have achieved their fair share of commercial and critical acclaim, the artists most responsible for turning New Classic Rock into a genuine mainstream force -- The Black Keys and Jack White (as well as his White Stripes) -- didn't come into their own until the current century.
Nowadays, the movement's ranks swell with an assortment of vital acts and outfits. Easily the most high profile are Alabama Shakes, a soulful Southern group fronted by the dynamic Brittany Howard, and Gary Clark Jr., a Texas six-stringer who sounds like a pitch-perfect fusion of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Black Key Dan Auerbach. Other notables are North Mississippi Allstars (their Keys to the Kingdom is one of the best roots-rock albums of the last 20 years), The Sheepdogs (who sound like Elton fronting The Guess Who, believe it or not) and Tedeschi Trucks Band (jam-band offspring of the mighty Allman Brothers Band).