Independent Suggestions

emusicIn one of last summer’s discussion threads, Matt B., from Roughstock, mentioned a great place to buy music. As a compulsive music buyer, I was easily compelled to check it out.

For those who aren’t aware of it, E-music has a wide variety of independent digital music, including plenty of our favorite kind, country music. However, as an independent digital retailer, they don’t necessarily have the big, recognizable names. For me, this is refreshing because it forces me to do some serious searching on their site in order to purchase music from artists that I might otherwise inadvertently overlook.

I’ve found a ton of great music so far, including albums from Darrell Scott, Jason Boland, Reckless Kelly, The Be Good Tanyas, Chris Knight, etc. My favorite find, however, was the two bonus tracks on Kathy Mattea’s Coal.

My question to you tonight is in every way self-serving, but I’d like to have your help so that I can continue to expand my independent music collection. So, I come to you, our wise readers, with this question:

What lesser-known artists would you suggest who can be found on E-music or other independent outlets?


  1. Here’s some of the cool stuff I’ve picked up on eMusic over the past couple years:

    Rodney Hayden, Roger Wallace, Hayes Carll, Wayne Hancock, Malcolm Holcombe, Scott H. Biram, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Moot Davis, Gord Bamford, Larry Cordle, Shawn Camp, Donna Ulisse, lots more

    It’s basically one of the best things ever.

  2. I have a lot of those (including some suggested by you in the past), but I will be checking out the ones I don’t have yet. It’s like a treasure trove.

  3. Some interesting or not interesting stuff there are the Smith Music Group’s artists, Bruce Robison, there’s the new record from Aussie artist Adam Brand, the Ben Kweller new release, Charlie Allen, Drew Davis Band, James LeBlanc, Matt Stillwell, She & Him. etc…

  4. Lori McKenna.., although she is on a major label now, she is not nearly as well known as she deserves to be.

    Also Holly Bakehorn…her CD can be purchased on CD Baby…Not sure about E-music, but it’s an independent outlet anyway.

  5. Leeann, I think you wrote about Peter Cooper previously. the “You Don’t Have To Like Them Both” album by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper is on Emusic. Whilst I don’t like this as much as Peter’s solo album it is certainly worth a listen.

    Last week’s Australian CMAs got me hunting for some of the names featured in there. On Emusic I found a brilliant 2008 Various Artists compilation called “Gotta Go Country Vol 2”. This features people like Adam Brand and Melinda Schneider and also a wonderful version of the song “I’ve been Everywhere” by the Sunny Cowgirls.

    I had found Melinda Schneider’s solo 2008 album “Be Yourself” on Emusic last summer and that contains some wonderful songs including the one that beat out Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson in the award for musical collaboration category. “Still Here” a duet with Paul Kelly.

    Away from Australia, and to California, I am not sure whether “Swim” by The Whispertown 2000 will be to your liking? It is more in the broader Americana category than country. It features singer/songwriter Morgan Nagler. She has one of those very distinctive voices that I suspect people either love or hate. This was one of my very favorite albums of last year and I found it on Emusic

    Other country albums from Emusic I have bought recently, and am loving: Rodney Crowell’s brilliant “Sex & Gasoline and a self titled album by “The Tejas Brothers”.

  6. There’s a lot of good suggestions so far that I’d second, but here’s a few that haven’t been mentioned:

    Adam Hood – Different Groove
    Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash – Mile Markers
    A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver (One of my favorite live albums.)
    Corb Lund – Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!
    The Flatlanders (I’m still getting familiar with their other albums, but I like Now Again a lot)
    Jason Eady – From Underneath the Old (He’s gaining a lot of notoriety in Texas, for good reason, too.)
    Josh Grider (Million Miles to Go is my favorite so far.)
    Walt Wilkins (Can’t go wrong with Walt. The latest album, Diamonds in the Sun, isn’t all Walt though, so you might want to go with one of the older ones.)

  7. Thanks for the suggestions so far. I will check into the ones I don’t have for sure. Another album I got from Emusic that I really like is the No Depression compilation.

  8. With Lori McKenna’s “Unglamorous” album, I especially recommend the title cut, also “I Know You” , “Witness to Your Life” and “Drinklin’ Problem”…Not crazy for all the cuts on this album, but these four, and a few others, more than make it worth your while.

  9. Crooked Still (Sounds somewhat in tone like what I imagine a Nickel Creek traditional album would sound like)
    Samantha Martin

  10. I got another one…Sara Evans, The Early Years..

    This is an independent CD of some of Sara’s earliest, previously unreleased songs. The album was recorded when she was just 21 years old, and all of the songs on this album are either written or co-written by Sara.

    Roughly half of the songs are pure Country, and half pop Country style. Surprisingly sophisticated compositions for such a young and then unsigned artist. Sara’s voice is exquisite throughout, with only one or two strained vocal stretches,,,Amazingly refined, heartfelt and expressive vocals for one so young, while at the same time retaining plenty of youthful sincerity and freshness.

    Some of the songs on this album are as good as anything Sara has ever done, and most of these songs are better than most of what passes for “country” on the radio nowadays.

    “The Early Years” is published by E & S records and is available through CD Baby.

    This album is a hidden gem, and I highly recommend it.

  11. I want to mention that this thread convinced me to finally subscribe to eMusic (50 songs/month plan) and it’s marvelous. Here’s some of the stuff I’ve found that looks pretty good, so anyone else who starts up there has some familiar names to begin at:

    Lucinda Williams
    Jim Lauderdale
    Buddy Miller
    Old 97’s
    Steve Earle
    Robert Earl Keen
    Justin Townes Earle
    Townes Van Zandt
    Earl Thomas Conley
    Chris Knight
    Pat Green (a good old live album)
    Billy Joe Shaver
    Gillian Welch
    Todd Snider
    Dale Watson
    John Hiatt
    Jeffrey Foucault
    Eleven Hundred Springs
    Randy Rogers Band
    Dwight Yoakam
    The Gourds
    Old Crow Medicine Show
    John Prine
    Cross Canadian Ragweed
    Patty Griffin
    Hank Snow
    Avett Brothers
    Tift Merritt
    The Carter Family
    Jimmie Rodgers
    John Fogerty
    Creedence Clearwater Revival (they’ve got the remastered versions of their five main albums!)

  12. Yay! I’m glad you joined. I was so upset with myself because I forgot to check on Emusic before buying the JTE album from Amazon last week. That live Pat Green album is very good. I got mine from that five for $25 deal that he did last summer.

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