Martha Spencer: "Left Behind"

Martha Spencer is an old-time-style musician from Whitetop, Virginia, and “Left Behind” is her ghostly, longing and accomplished latest single. Together she and Michelle Kowalski have directed its evocative, cinematic and vintage-cool new video, filming it both in Whitetop and in Mouth of Wilson. You can find her self-titled debut album and more of her music now on her Bandcamp page.

Hannah Juanita: "Our Love is Done"

Carefree, confident and effortlessly cool, “Our Love Is Done” is the spiked, classic-sounding and instantly-alluring new single from Nashville’s Hannah Juanita. She and Michelle Kowalski meanwhile have directed its vintage-styled, easy-to-relate-to and charming brand-new video. This is the first delightful taste of her forthcoming debut LP, one she’ll release in the Spring.

Karen & the Sorrows: "When People Show You Who They Are"

Photo by Leah James

Translucent and Gothic, its poetry obsidian, “When People Show You Who They Are” is the powerful, pastoral new single from Brooklyn’s Karen & the Sorrows. Its quietly-charismatic new video meanwhile was directed by David Andrew Stoler and the artist herself. The track is taken from her excellent and recently-released Guaranteed Broken Heart LP, and you can order opaque-vinyl, black-vinyl, CD and digital versions of it from her Bandcamp page right now.

Kathryn Legendre’s “Going Crazy” and Tanya Montana Coe’s “Hometown”

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Image may contain: 1 person, standing, night and indoor
Photo by Roy Varga

Hopefully you’re watching Ken Burns’ landscape-altering film Country Music. It’s animated by a love for the genre coupled with a critical eye for historical realities — many unpleasant, painful and damning. It teaches that there was never one unbroken path from Jimmie Rodgers to now, and that the regressions and shifts arrived both cynically and naturally, from the boardroom to the grassroots. As importantly it shows that where we are now is the product of previously lightly-considered social forces — most notably the profound contributions to Country from Black, Mexican and women artists.

For those of you who have begun it, you’ll know that the twin poles of the program are Texas and Nashville, and here we’re featuring an artist from each. Both Kathryn Legendre and Tanya Montana Coe speak with a sharp-edged, easy eloquence for tradition, creativity, possibility and equality. They have much good to say and to represent about the genre’s past and future. Ms. Legendre’s most-recent EP Making It Up is available on her Bandcamp page, while Ms. Coe’s just-released Hide Your Emotion can be found on hers.