Great songwriters can slay us with their humanity, their willingness to say the things we won’t say, to play the sounds that awaken parts of us we never knew existed. Roots music is full of those songwriters, whether it’s Hayes Carll transcending heartbreak and life in general, or Charles Bradley laying it all on the line. Whether it’s Jill and Matthew Barber playing into the tension – the kind of history only siblings share – or Robbie Fulks setting his humor aside for a set of earnest, straight-forward tunes. This continues to be an incredible year for great new music and there’s plenty to connect with here. Scroll on down for the highlights.