Various Artists

Americana: The Very Best of New American Music

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Although it is difficult to actually define what "contemporary" Americana is these days, you know it when you hear it. This two-disc collection gathers tracks from the rock, country, folk, and bluegrass fields, and while some of the names are well-known (Vince Gill, for one), most of these artists have never been played on commercial radio during drive time. Some of the highlights here include "Louis Armstrong's Broken Heart" by Eric Taylor, "Nightshift Guru" by the Cash Brothers, "Broke Down" by Slaid Cleaves, and "El Paso" by the Gourds, making this a fine introduction to a world of music that bubbles along defiantly beneath the pop-commercial radar.

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