In 2020, Americana artists empathetically dealt with the things that bind us together and keep us apart. The albums on this list encourage hope for the future based on a belief in the human spirit.
Starting Over doesn't do so much of what its title suggests as it builds on Chris Stapleton's solid foundation across rootsy music for another decisive step forward.
On Trouble and Strife, Joan Osborne goes Americana and interviews immigrants and tells a story of persevering in these extraordinary and difficult times. Osborne chronicles what she sees and challenges listeners to take action.
Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.
On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.
Drawing on inspiration from Gillian Welch, Ryan Martin delivers a song that taps into classic country-rock of the early 1970s. "You can certainly dance to it," he says.
The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.
On Aftermath, Elizabeth Cook reflects on what has passed and continues as a protagonist who has been changed by experience. She's not willing to accept what is.